Požega, Croatia – The Simon Wiesenthal Center’s chief Nazi-hunter Israel director Dr. Efraim Zuroff met here today with local mayor Zdravko Ronko in order to update him on the case of former Pozega police chief Milivoj Ašner and to urge him to issue a formal condemnation of the crimes committed against Serbs, Jews, and Gypsies in Požega during World War II. In addition, Zuroff urged Mayor Ronko to take immediate action to stop the ongoing vandalization and desecration of the Jewish cemetery of Požega , which Zuroff visited together with several descendants of the local Jewish community.
In a press conference held today at the Požega municipality, Zuroff reiterated the Center’s call for the immediate prosecution of Milivoj Ašner, currently in Klagenfurt, Austria, noting that more than a year had passed since he had submitted the evidence (received from researcher Alen Budaj) to Croatian Attorney-General Mladen Bajic, following the launching in Croatia on June 30, 2004 of “Operation: Last Chance”. He also called for immediate steps to stop the ongoing vandalization and desecration of the Požega Jewish cemetery, which had no gate, fence or protection of any sort.
Mayor Ronko condemned the crimes committed against innocent civilians in Požega and called for the prosecution of those guilty. He claimed that plans had been prepared for the preservation of the Požega Jewish cemetery, but pointed to bureaucratic difficulties, which had prevented their implementation. He noted with satisfaction that plaques marking the locations of the town’s three pre-World War II synagogues would soon be in place.
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