Ida Labudović


Over the occasion of honoring the Shoah victims, Dr. Efraim Zuroff, Director of Simon Wiesenthal Center - Israel gave an Interview for “Die Presse”.  


You published hundreds of Articles about Holocaust, what are your personal feelings and views concerning the International Holocaust Remembrance Day?

I have mixed feelings about January 27 as International Holocaust Remembrance Day. On the one hand, it is a tremendous achievement for the Jewish people that our worst tragedy has been granted international recognition in an unprecedented manner and this fact can be used to create awareness and sensitivity to the Holocaust all over the world in a very positive way. But it is still not clear what is being done all over the world on this day. If, for example, this day will be exploited in the Arab  and Moslem world to attack Israel because of the situation in the Middle East, then not only does such a day have a negative result but it clearly does not serve the purpose for which it was created.


You stressed the need of forming Simon Wiesenthal Center here and you are also very critical concerning Austria and its law against living Nazi criminals, what would be in your opinion the way which serves the justice?

Instead of searching for every possible reason, why NOT to prosecute Nazi war criminals, the whole approach should be the opposite-to do everything possible to make them pay for their crimes. These murderers might be old, but they do not deserve any sympathy.Many of them were cold-blooded killers who murdered woman, children and the elderly.


Sandor Kepiro, who also took part in Novi Sad massacre in January 1942 when over 1300 people,  the majority of them Jews, were killed and thrown in frozen Danube, never served his sentence. You are known as “the last Nazi hunter, also leading Operation Last Chance and for the moment oriented in the direction of eastern European Countries, what are the difficulties in bringing Nazi criminals to justice there?

Anyone who is acquainted with the current situation as far as the efforts to bring Nazi war crimnals to justice is concerned, understands that very often, the key problem is not finding the criminal and/or the evidence against him or her, but the lack of political will to prosecute these criminals in the country in which they committed their crimes or the country in which the criminal is currently residing. In this respect, Austria is a perfect example. Majdanek guard Erna Wallisch and Pozega police chief Milivoj Asner are the beneficiaries of the lack of political will in Austria to prosecute Holocaust perpetrators.


It is not easy to take a distance from the Movie Hafners Paradies, what is actually the moral of this movie and which consequences could it provoke?

I did not see the movie but I read about it. It is infuriating to listen to a Nazi like Hafner and to know that he is free to spread his racism and extremism, but without proof of war crimes, we cannot take legal action aginst him.


Internet is a weapon of Neo-Nazi groups in which they, for example, publish names of members of Jewish Communities. In what extent are they a threat to the Society?

There is no question that the Internet has tremendous potential to cause harm, which is why every year the Wiesenthal Center produces a CD with all the hate sites we can found (There are already over 5,000 such sites. A decade ago, there were less than five.) which we distribute to world leaders, members of parliment, etc.