December 26th 2009 09:01:29 PM
I submitted a letter to the editor at Miami Herald about the writer’s insertion of the adjective “Jewish” to describe the concentration camps at Jasenovac, but in the meantime there is another point to make about the same article, which appeared last month:
Minutes after a judge in Croatia condemned Dinko Sakic in 1999 to 20 years in prison for crimes committed during World War II, a man came up to Efraim Zuroff and told him he only had two words for him: “Thank You.'’
Zuroff, 61, a Nazi hunter from the Simon Wiesenthal Center, had captured Sakic in Argentina, where the head of Jasenovac, the largest Jewish extermination camp in Croatia, had been living for years.
The man who approached Zuroff in court was the brother of Milan Boskovic, who Sakic was believed to have executed with his own hands.
“That was one of the happiest moments of my career,'’ Zuroff said during a three-day visit to Miami to promote his book Operation Last Chance, which chronicles his quest to bring Nazi criminals to justice during three decades.
Zuroff appeared Monday night at Florida International University…Zuroff, the last of a small legion of men who hunted down Nazis through five continents, is working against the clock, well aware that almost seven decades since the Holocaust, few Nazis remain alive.
That’s why in 2002, Zuroff launched an offensive called Operation Last Chance, which offers financial rewards up to $10,000 for information that leads to the conviction and punishment of Nazi war criminals. The project has led to the names of 520 suspected Nazi officials, 100 of which have been submitted to local prosecutors.
One of the most frustrating setbacks of Zuroff’s career occurred last summer, he said.
For more than two years, he had been following leads on the whereabouts of Aribert Heim — an Austrian doctor nicknamed “Dr. Death'’ because he removed the organs of Jewish prisoners without using anesthesia. The Wiesenthal Center offered a $500,000 reward for Heim’s capture.
But relatives of Heim’s and other witnesses told The New York Times that in 1992, he had died of rectal cancer in Cairo, where he had lived and converted to Islam — and also changed his name to Tarek Hussein Farid.
German police confirmed that a suitcase found at the Hotel Kasr el-Madina, in Cairo, where Heim lived, contained letters and legal and financial records that linked Heim to the suitcase.
Zuroff refuses to close the case because he doubts any information provided by relatives of Nazi officials. […]
Indeed, it is well known that in addition to Latin America, the Middle East was also a destination for fleeing Nazis. In the now virulently anti-Semitic regions of Latin America and the Middle East, the Nazis had set about indoctrinating the local populations into the National Socialist ideology, and grooming new leaders. At the same time, according to Chuck Morse, it wasn’t until Hitler met with the Jerusalem mufti that his plan to exile the Jews became a plan to exterminate the Jews. Leading to the question: Who’s been converting whom?
I opened the post by saying that I submitted a letter to the Miami Herald about the writer’s description of Jasenovac as a “Jewish concentration camp.” It’s been a month since I sent that later and so it’s probably safe to say that it will not be published. So I’ll reproduce it here for the paper’s embarrassment:
Daniel Shoer Roth’s piece (“Nazi hunter, speaking in Miami, chronicles his triumphs and frustrations,” Nov. 16) included the sentence “Zuroff…had captured [Dinko] Sakic in Argentina, where the head of Jasenovac, the largest Jewish extermination camp in Croatia, had been living for years.”
Jasenovac, the third-largest concentration camp system of WW2 — and conspicuously the least known — was not a “Jewish” camp. It was set up by the Croatians to liquidate Serbs, more than 500,000 of whom perished there in methods so barbaric that the comparatively humanitarian Germans had to put an end to the madness of their Croatian allies — the Ustashe, as the Croatian regime was called. (The Germans did so because the stories were causing revolts in Yugoslavia’s countryside.) The 40,000 Jews and 10,000 gypsies plus many anti-fascist Croats who died at Jasenovac were mere garnish around the main platter — Serbs. The Croatians were assisted not only by Croatian-Catholic clergy acting as guards and executioners, but by Bosnian Muslims serving at the camps and in their own Nazi divisions, set up by Jerusalem Mufti Haj Amin el-Husseini.
As a Jew, I take exception to the widespread and concerted effort to cover up the Holocaust of the Serbian people in WWII — a genocide that led directly to the 1990s Balkan wars when, upon Croatia’s and Bosnia’s illegal secessions and border usurpations from Yugoslavia, Serbs living there suddenly found themselves under the rule of the very people who slaughtered their families. Survival dictated seceding from the secessionists. This is what caused the wars, and not some guy named Milosevic, as the thorough indoctrination goes.
One has to wonder about the insertion of the adjective “Jewish” before the words “concentration camp” to begin with, particularly when its absence would have rendered the sentence entirely inconspicuous. Call it an error, but please note that it’s thanks to the diligent placement of inaccuracies and omissions like this over the past 20 years of Balkans coverage that we arrived at the very surreal point of wartime Croatian president Franjo Tudjman and Bosnian president Alija Izetbegovic being invited to the 1993 dedication ceremony of the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum. The latter was a recruiter for Hitler in his youth and wrote a supremacist tract titled “The Islamic Declaration.” The former was a Holocaust minimizer who in his book The Wastelands of Historical Reality blamed Jews for their fates at Jasenovac, and who as president praised the Ustashe and tried to re-bury their remains at a memorial where Jewish victims lay. (He also called Jews “Judeo-Nazis” for their “genocidal” policies toward Palestinians.) At the Holocaust Museum itself, none of the Croatians’ or Bosniaks’ handiwork — either against Jews or Serbs — was visible among the extensive displays. Instead, the museum’s walls depicted Croatians and Bosniaks as the exclusive victims of the current wars in their region, and Serbs as the exclusive culprits. Imagine: a Holocaust museum promoting a contemporary agenda.
But Mr. Roth deserves credit for not shying away from mentioning that the Nazi whom the hunter still seeks — the possibly deceased Austrian doctor who removed Jewish organs without anesthesia — moved to Cairo and converted to Islam. Indeed, it was shortly after his meeting with the Jerusalem mufti that Hitler’s plan to exile the Jews transformed into a plan to exterminate them instead.