December 2005  
“Operation: Last Chance” – Update #7

Three arrest warrants, two extradition requests and dozens of investigations against suspected Nazi war criminals are among the practical results achieved by “Operation: Last Chance” since its launch in Vilnius, Lithuania in July 2002. The latest and most important developments are:

1. Croatia has officially indicted former Požega police chief Milivoj Ašner for crimes committed against Serbs, Jews and Gypsies and has requested his extradition from Austria where he currently resides (in Klagenfurt at 8 Paulitschgasse). Austria has initially refused the Croatian request on the grounds that Ašner is an Austrian citizen who is therefore ineligible for extradition to stand trial abroad. Austria is currently conducting its own criminal investigation against Ašner and we expect a decision regarding his prosecution in Austria within the next few weeks;
2. Austria has issued an arrest warrant for Dr. Aribert Heim in the wake of the renewed efforts by the German and Spanish police, with the assistance of the Wiesenthal Center, to locate the physician known as “Dr. Death” from Mauthausen and to finally bring him to trial for his crimes. During the past three months, we have received numerous possible “sightings” of Heim in various European countries, some of which were quite credible, along with others, which were obviously mistaken or purposely false. We are working very closely with the special task force established by the Landeskriminalamt of Baden-Wurtemburg in Germany to carefully evaluate all the information to facilitate the investigation;
3. A date has been set for the appeal by Karoly (Charles) Zentai against his extradition to Hungary to stand trial for murder. The hearings will begin on Monday, February 13, 2006 in Perth , Australia . If Zentai's appeal will be rejected, and his extradition order signed by the Australian Justice Minister, he will be extradited to Budapest to be tried, and this will be the first time that a Hungarian Nazi war criminal will be prosecuted since Hungary became a democracy;
4. In the wake of the Zentai case, Labor MP Michael Danby exposed another Hungarian Nazi collaborator living in Australia in late August 2005. The Wiesenthal Center initiated an investigation into the wartime activities of Arrow Cross operative Lajos Polgar, currently residing in Melbourne , and based on Polgar's admissions and documents obtained by journalist Natasha Robinson of The Australian , the Center asked the Hungarian judicial authorities in late October 2005 to launch an official investigation against him. A month later, Dr. Andras Gyenge, the Hungarian ambassador to Israel, informed the Center that an official investigation for genocide had been initiated in Hungary against Lajos Polgar.