Thursday, August 13, 2009 10:12 PM
The United States Senate
Sep 18, 2008
Section 47

Sen. Gordon Smith [R-OR]: Mr. President, I rise today to commend Dr. Ephraim Zuroff and the Simon Wiesenthal Center for their efforts to track down the last Nazi war criminals from World War II. Their work is enormously important, both in bringing the guilty to justice and preventing future acts of genocide. The statute of limitations does not--must not--expire on crimes against humanity. Earlier this year, I introduced the World War II War Crimes Accountability Act with Senator Nelson, which I hope will help Dr. Zuroff and the Simon Wiesenthal Center in their noble effort.

One of the main targets of this effort is Milivoj Asner, who during World War II was the fascist police chief of Pozega, Yugoslavia. Serving the Nazi-allied Ustasha regime in his native Croatia, Asner presided over the destruction of the local Jewish, Serb, and Gypsy populations. After the war ended, Asner fled to Austria, where he lived in obscurity until he was finally charged with war crimes by Croatia in 2005. His extradition has been delayed, however, by Austrian federal and local bureaucratic obstruction. Austrian authorities have claimed that Asner is in poor health, though apparently that infirmity did not stop him from attending a Euro 2008 soccer game this past summer, where he was spotted by a British newspaper. In light of this evidence, the local and national Austrian authorities must summon the political will to bring Asner to justice.

The Simon Wiesenthal Center launched Operation: Last Chance in 2002 to identify and assist in the prosecution of the remaining Nazi war criminals still at large. Dr. Zuroff, who has been leading this effort, should be highly commended for his outstanding efforts in bringing the most guilty Nazis to justice. Of these, Asner is near the top of his list.

Even today, the crimes of people such as Asner in the service of pro-Nazi regimes strain our understanding of hate. National Socialist Germany today is an icon remembered only for its brutality, its mantra of genocide, and its culture of racism. And those last Nazis, who are waiting out their last days under the coming twilight, must not be allowed to go quietly into the night, as did too many of their victims. For the souls that were lost, and even more for those that remain, there must be justice. I commend Dr. Zuroff and the Simon Wiesenthal Center in the highest possible terms, and urge the U.S. Government to do all it can to help them in their cause.