Jerusalem – The Simon Wiesenthal Center today protested the utter failure this past Sunday of the Austrian authorities to prevent or stop the widespread use of Croatian fascist Ustasha symbols at a gathering of Croatian nationalist extremists held in Bleiburg, Austria. In a statement issued in Jerusalem and transmitted orally to the Deputy Chief of Mission of the Austrian Embassy in Israel, the Center’s chief Nazi-hunter, Israel director, Dr. Efraim Zuroff called for a full investigation of the events at Bleiburg and for steps to be taken to prevent their recurrence.
According to Zuroff:
“The fascist demonstrators at Bleiburg made a mockery of Austria’s ban on the use of Nazi symbols and its law against Holocaust denial by showing up in Ustasha uniforms and waving photographs of Ustasha leader Ante Pavelic, the person most responsible for the genocide carried out by the Croatian state (NDH) against Serbs, Jews and Gypsies during World War II.
“Is it any wonder that Austria continues to give haven to Croatian war criminal Milivoj Ašner, who lives in nearby Klagenfurt? If nationalist extremists can parade in Ustasha uniforms in 2007, today’s Austria is obviously sympathetic to Ašner, whose extradition to stand trial in Croatia for his crimes as Požega police chief has been blocked by Austria for over a year and a half.”
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