BELGRADE – Efraim Zuroff, a Nazi-hunter and director of the Simon Wiesenthal Center (SWC), announced on Tuesday that the operation dubbed “Last Chance” aimed at bringing Nazi war criminals to justice will also be carried out in Serbia soon.
Zuroff warned about the growth of neo-fascism everywhere in the European Union, especially in certain eastern countries such as Croatia, when the situation has deteriorated since Stjepan Mesic left the president’s office.
There are three reasons for my visit to Belgrade: the first one is to lay the groundwork for launching the operation “Last Chance”, the project aimed at finding Nazi war criminals as part of which a reward will be offered for useful pieces of information, which can help find those criminals in Serbia in the next three months, Zuroff said in an interview to Tanjug.
“Last Chance” is probably the last major effort to bring Nazi criminals to justice, so far it has been carried out in Germany, Lithuania, Latvia, Estonia, Poland, Romania, Austria, Croatia and Hungary.
The operation is a joint project of the SWC and Targum Shlishi Foundation.
Zuroff explained that he came to Belgrade to promote his book “Operation Last Chance”, which came out in Serbian, and visit the former death camp Staro Sajmiste, an important site in the history of World War II, Holocaust and terrible crimes that took place in Serbia.
Zuroff noted that neo-fascism is on the rise, adding that this should be dealt with.
There are many reasons for that: the economic recession, globalization, fear of losing the national identity, but part of the problem also lies in the fact that Brussels is asleep, he said, adding that one would expect that new member states should have espoused the European values before joining the bloc.
However, we are witnessing attempts in all states of the EU, especially in the countries such as Slovenia, Latvia, Estonia, Croatia and others, at historical revisionism concerning the Holocaust in World War II, the growth of neo-fascism, election of right-wing officials with the ultra-nationalist agenda, Zuroff said.
Zuroff qualified as shameful the incident at the Maksimir stadium in Zagreb, when Croatia’s football player Josip Simunic took the microphone after the match and shouted the infamous Ustasha salute, and noted that the reaction of several thousand sports fans who responded to it gave even more cause for concern.
Zuroff said that Serbia is probably one of the few countries in eastern Europe that appreciate the SWC work, noting that the Serbian Orthodox Church and local groups also back the efforts of this center.