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Simon Wiesenthal Center
1 Mendele Street
Jerusalem 92147
ISRAEL
Phone: 011-972-2-5631-273 /5
Fax: 011-972-2-5631-276

Efraim Zuroff, Israel Director
swcjerus@netvision.net.il

June 2, 2005

Wiesenthal Center Calls Upon Austrian Authorities to Take Legal Action Against Croatian Nazi War Criminal Living in Klagenfurt

The Simon Wiesenthal Center today urged the Austrian government to finally take legal action against Croatian Nazi war criminal Milivoj Asner who escaped to Austria from Croatia last July following his exposure by the Center in the framework of its "Operation: Last Chance" project, which offers financial rewards for information which facilitates the conviction and punishment of Holocaust perpetrators.

In a letter sent today to Austrian ambassador to Israel Dr. Kurt Hengl, the Center’s chief Nazi-hunter Israel director Dr. Efraim Zuroff noted that Asner’s presence in Klagenfurt has been well-known to the Austrian authorities for months, but yet they have hereto not taken any legal action against him in direct contradiction of the declarations by Austrian leaders of their determination to bring Holocaust perpetrators to justice.

According to Zuroff:

"Despite the plethora of incriminating evidence against Asner and his important role in the persecution, and deportation to concentration camps where they were murdered, of hundreds of Serbs, Jews, and Gypsies, the Austrian government has hereto refrained from taking any legal measures against this Nazi war criminal. While it is true that Asner is currently under investigation in Croatia for his crimes, there is no guarantee that he will indeed be indicted and as time goes by without any legal steps being taken, the chances of his prosecution diminish.

"Under these circumstances, I urge you to convey to your government the necessity of urgent legal measures by the Austrian authorities, whose actions in this matter will finally lend practical credence to their professed good intentions and declared determination to hold Holocaust perpetrators accountable for their crimes.

During World War II, Asner served as police chief of the Croatian city of Slavonska Pozega. In a recent (May 5, 2005) interview to the Croatian weekly Hrvatski List, Asner declared that he would gladly repeat his World War II activities."

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