VIENNA (Aug. 21)
Walter Reder, a former SS Major and convicted war criminal, whose cordial reception by Austrian Defense Minister Friedhelm Frischenschlager earlier this year after an early release from an Italian prison had triggered a storm of protests in Austria and abroad, has been honored by an SS veterans organization in Carinthia. This was reported by the Austrian news-magazine, Profil.
According to the report, Reder was awarded the Golden Honorary Medal of the Kameradschaft IV, an organization described by the book, “Recht-sextremismus in Oesterreich” (“The Extreme Right in Austria”) as a leading voice of the extreme right. The ceremony took place in a restaurant in Klagenfurt, the capital of Austria’s southernmost province, Carinthia.
The magazine reported that Reder, after his return to his native Austria, had been accommodated in a garrison outside of Vienna and later was hidden in a Roman Catholic monastery. The abbot of the monastery, however, has denied this report.
Reder is now living in Krumpendorf, Carinthia, in an apartment be longing to Wilhelm Gorton, a member of the Austrian Parliament representing the conservative opposition Volkspartei (People’s Party) which sharply criticized the warm reception extended to Reder by Frischenschlager. The criticism sparked a parliamentary motion of non-confidence in the government, which failed to pass. Despite the official attitude of the Volkspartei, the party could not stop Gorton to provide Reder with a home and a job.
Austria had promised the Italian authorities that Reder would be kept in custody until his sentence was to end in July, six months after he was released and returned to Austria. Since July 14, Reder has regained his full freedom.