The Double Standard on Communist War Criminals

Lawndale News Chicago's Bilingual Newspaper - Commentary

by Daniel Nardini

If the name Bela Biszku is not familiar, it is because information about his trial and crimes were not widely reported outside of Hungary. Biszku was the head of the Ministry of Interior—Hungary’s Communist secret police. He headed the Hungarian Communist secret police from 1957 to 1961, and was personally responsible for the slaughter of 400 people during the failed Hungarian Revolution of 1956 against Soviet rule. Even after the fall of Communism in Eastern Europe, he was not tried by any non-communist government in Hungary until 2014. At the end of 2015, he received a suspended sentence and will most likely not be tried again.

Another name that is not familiar is Salomon Morel. During World War II, he fought in a number of Communist partisan groups. At the end of the war he became a member of the Communist Polish United Workers’ Party, and was put in charge of the Zgoda slave labor camp. He was responsible for the mass murder of 1,500 Polish and German Silesians, and after the Communist government in Poland fell, Morel fled to Israel (Morel being a Jew). Because Morel went to Israel under the Law of Return, the Israeli government refused to extradite him to Poland for war crimes and crimes against humanity. Morel died of old age in Israel in 2007. The supreme irony here is that even though Salomon Morel was a Communist war criminal, he was not extradited for trial because he was a Jew. Then there is the case of Mengistu Haile Miriam—the former ruler of Ethiopia. Guilty of an estimated two million deaths, he sits comfortably in exile in Zimbabwe. The Zimbabwean government to this day refuses to extradite him to Ethiopia for war crimes and crimes against humanity.

No Russian and certainly no Chinese Communist officials or secret police or slave labor camp officers have ever been put on trial for their crimes against humanity. About the only four countries that have really bothered to prosecute its Communist war criminals have been Cambodia, the Czech Republic, Germany (in regards to former East German officials), and Romania. Many other Eastern European regimes have either swept their Communist past crimes under the rug, or have not bothered to teach the young generation what those crimes were. It seems in too many cases to be a policy of “forgive and forget.” With an estimated 100 million people having been slaughtered by various Communist regimes over the decades, it is impossible to forget.

Even in Cambodia, only five former Khmer Rouge officials have ever been successfully prosecuted. The Cambodian government under Prime Minister Hun Sen has sought to slow down and even stop the process of going after those Khmer Rouge officials responsible for the Cambodian genocide from 1975-1979. But I guess it is no surprise that for the most part former Communist officials guilty of war crimes and crimes against humanity will ever be tried simply because there is no will for most governments in the world to go after them. And with Communist regimes still in China, Cuba, Laos, North Korea and Vietnam, it is doubtful that Communist war criminals will ever see justice. While Nazi war criminals are being hunted throughout the world, it seems that Communist war criminals are being given shelter and a wink and a nod.

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