State Department Criticized for Granting a Visa to a Former Nazi

Rep. Ted Weiss (D. NY) today sharply criticized the State Department for granting a visa to the Mayor of an Austrian ski resort community who has been identified as a former sergeant of an SS infantry brigade responsible for the murders of Jews and other civilians in Nazi occupied East Europe during World War II.

Franz Hausberger served as a Unterscharfuehrer in the notorious First SS Infantry Brigade which, according to the Anti-Defamation League of B’nai B’rith, was responsible for mopping-up operations behind German lines in the Soviet Union. Later during the war, he was transferred to an administrative post in Amersfoort, a concentration camp in The Netherands.

EMBARRASSMENT TO MIAMI BEACH MAYOR

Hausberger’s brief visit to the U.S. is of further embarrassment to Miami Beach Mayor Malcolm Fromberg, a past official of the B’nai B’rith International. Fromberg, apparently unaware of Hausberger’s past activities, presented him with a gold city medallion. Hausberger and Fromberg were also joined by Governor Bob Graham at dedication ceremonies of a new boardwalk in Miami Beach, a heavily Jewish populated community.

Hausberger had come to Miami Beach to promote tourism to his city, Mayrhofen in the Austrian Alps. He reportedly fled the U.S. on Saturday night, September 22, one day after the ceremonies and shortly after Simon Wiesenthal, head of the Nazi Documentation Center in Vienna, revealed Hausberger’s past and his travels to the U.S. Wiesenthal contacted the ADL and the U.S. authorities.

When confronted with Hausberger’s past, Fromberg was quoted as saying, “Oh God. I don’t believe this. There is no single incident, given my Jewish background that could happen that would cause me more anguish than this.”

DISMAYED BY INADEQUATE SCREENING

Weiss said he was “dismayed by the State Department’s inadequate screening of the visa application” of Hausberger. “I find it particularly appalling that Mr. Hausberger was permitted to enter our country … to receive an award in Miami Beach,” wrote Weiss in a

Hausberger never went on trial for his war crimes for lack of witnesses, but when his past was discovered in recent years, Dutch tourist organizations boycotted his hometown, which had until then been a frequent holiday resort.

In Vienna, Austrian Radio quoted two deputy mayors, one a Socialist and the other a Conservative, as having called for Hausberger’s abstention from running again for the same post in the next municipa elections, saying his past has become an obstacle to the community’s tourism business.

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