Zentai: Answers from the family

May 20, 2011 by J-Wire Staff
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J-Wire asked Ernie Steiner, the son of 89-yt-old Perth man Charles Zentai whose extradition to Hungary has been sought by authorities in connection with the 1944 brutal murder of Jewish youth Peter Balazs for a comment following the decision of three Federal Court judges to reserve their decision. Zentai’s extradition had been over-ruled by an earlier appeal…one now challenged by the Federal Government.

Steiner had this to say to J-Wire: “I would like to reiterate that contrary to reports in the media, my father was never a Nazi, detested Nazi ideals and their occupation of his country, was not an officer at the time of Peter Balazs’s death and was not in Budapest on November 8, 1944 when Peter Balazs was murdered by Lieutenant Lajos Nagy and Captain Bela Mader. Living witness and Sydney resident Karoly Cs Szabo who was at the barracks at the time of Peter Balazs’s beating has signed an affidavit to this effect. Charles Zentai has never been in hiding as alleged and the Hungarian authorities always knew his whereabouts from 1945 onwards. We have sent clear evidence of this to Minister O’Connor and also to Tibor Navracsics the Hungarian Minister for Justice. Unfortunately the Australian Minister for Home Affairs has stated that he is not considering issues of innocence or guilt. The Minister’s lawyer, Stephen Lloyd also stated in the Federal Court this week that the Minister has no obligation towards Mr Zentai, even though he is a long standing Australian citizen who should expect fair and better treatment by his own Government. My father has done everything possible to prove his innocence with detailed evidence in submissions to the Attorney-General’s Department and has even passed a professional lie detector test. He has repeatedly said that he would make himself available to Hungarian authorities to question him here in Australia. This is the most logical option in this matter. He has nothing to hide but it is perfectly reasonable that he does not want to subject himself to indefinite incarceration in a Hungarian prison at nearly 90 years of age away from specialist medical care while the Hungarian Government decides what to do with his case. For now we must wait 2-3 months before a decision is given by the Federal Court following this week’s Appeal. Declarations by Efraim Zuroff on the back of the Demjanjuk and Kepiro trials that Charles Zentai is a holocaust perpetrator who has killed many people are totally false, without foundation and have irretrievably prejudiced the case against an innocent man. Our family is very grateful for the sincerity and belief of Malcolm McCusker QC and Dr Peter Johnston in fighting this massive injustice in the Federal Court this week.


2 Responses to “Zentai: Answers from the family”
  1. Steve says:

    Steiner claims that his “father has done everything possible to prove his innocence …”
    …except go to Hungary and face the charges.

  2. gordon says:

    Appeasement, appeasement, appeasement….that’s all that I’ve seen from the Australian Govt on this matter. I’m no lawyer but I can see that old man Zentai has just become a last ditch stand for a dying industry – the holocaust lawyers!
    Who will they go for next when the old men are dead? The sons and daughters? One evil leads to another for sure!

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