Former Nazi Accused of Massacre in Slovakia
Ladislav Niznansky is on trial in Germany for his alleged involvement in the killing of Slovak civilians at the end of World War II. The 88-year-old former Nazi commander has been on trial for more than a year in connection with three massacres perpetrated in early 1945 after a failed uprising against Slovakia's Nazi puppet government. Niznansky is charged with 164 counts of murder.
A former Slovak army captain who at first supported the revolt, Niznansky changed sides after his capture and took charge of the Slovak section of a Nazi unit code-named Edelweiss that hunted resistance fighters and Jews. In one attack, Edelweiss, working with a unit of the elite SS and another unit that included German soldiers and ethnic German irregulars, surrounded the village of Klak to prevent anyone escaping alive, according to the prosecutor. No effort was even made to determine whether resistance fighters were in the village, he said, adding that men, women and small children were massacred.
Niznansky was convicted of the shootings and other killings in a 1962 Czechoslovak trial and was sentenced to death in absentia. Several elderly witnesses invited to testify in the German trial, however, denied their 1962 testimony and said there was no firm evidence that Niznansky himself shot any of the victims. The court released Niznansky from custody in October 2004, citing contradictory testimony from a former Edelweiss member whose evidence helped secure his 1962 conviction.
Source: Jerusalem Post, (November 29, 2005)