Accused Nazi collaborators death leaves bitter taste

san jose, costa rica (jta) | Accused Nazi collaborator Bohdan Koziy died Nov. 29 of a stroke in Costa Rica, just nine days after Poland requested his extradition. He was 81.

News of Koziy’s death was received with somber disappointment by top Nazi hunters and Costa Rican Jewish leaders, who had been cheered by the prospect of seeing Koziy finally face trial after more than two decades of frustrated efforts to bring him to justice.

“This is an unfortunate turn of circumstances,” said Efraim Zuroff, director of the Simon Wiesenthal Center’s Israel office and Koziy’s main pursuer since the early 1980s. “At the precise moment in which he was going to face charges, he died. He didn’t deserve to die without being prosecuted for his crimes.”

“This leaves a really, really bitter taste,” said Mioses Flachler of the local B’nai B’rith chapter and one of a team of local lawyers who have followed the case. “We could not extradite him, he died here and we couldn’t even question him. Justice was not done.”

Koziy was accused of having participated in a police force set up by Nazi occupiers in territory that belonged to prewar Poland and now lies in Ukraine.