ZAGREB (AFP) - The head of the Holocaust memorial group the Simon Wiesenthal
Center criticized Croatia over a newly opened museum at the site of a fascist
World War II concentration camp, in written comments.
"I saw an exhibition which was a big disappointment," Efraim Zuroff wrote in an article published in the weekly Globus.
"To my disbelief, there was not a single photograph of the commanders of Jasenovac," he said of the camp at which his organization estimates some 600,000 mostly
Serbs and Jews were killed during World War II.
Zuroff said that any young visitors
to the museum would "leave probably more confused then they were before" they visited an education center on atrocities committed at the camp by the "Ustasha" regime.
"In a museum dealing with
nameless Ustasha (members), no individual can be made responsible," said Zuroff.
"More importantly, it lacks
materials or explanations about the development of the Ustasha
ideology before the war -- hatred against Serbs and anti-Semitism,
which helped the spread of genocidal policy," he added.
The education center was opened Monday
along with a new permanent layout of the Jasenovac museum
in an official ceremony attended by Croatian President Stipe
Mesic and Prime Minister Ivo Sanader.
The memorial museum exhibits the names
of about 70,000 people killed at the camp.
But the number of people murdered
at Jasenovac -- mainly Serbs, followed by Jews, Roma and
anti-fascist Croatians -- is still disputed, with estimates
ranging between 100,000 by the US Holocaust Memorial Museum
and 700,000 by Belgrade.
During his visit Zuroff met with Croatian
state attorney Mladen Bajic and urged him to intensify efforts
to prosecute Ustasha police chief Milovoj Asner, now living
in Klagenfurt, Austria.
Vienna rejected a request by Croatia
in September 2005 for Asner's extradition on the basis that
he has an Austrian passport, but said it would consider trying
the man itself.
Asner, 93, is accused by the Wiesenthal
Centre of having participated in the persecution and deportation
of hundreds of people killed in Ustasha concentration camps.
"Time is rapidly running
out in this case and therefore a concentrated effort must
be made by all involved parties to finally convince the Austrian
authorities that there is absolutely no basis for their refusal
to turn over the former police chief," Zuroff said in a statement.
Zuroff also pressed Croatia to investigate
former Ustasha commander Ivo Rojnica who is living in Argentina.