Menu JTA Search

Israeli, Austria Officials Examine Waldheim Files: Israeli Envoy Says File Contents Indicate That Wa

Binyamin Netanyahu, Israel’s Ambassador to the United Nations, examined the file on former UN Secretary General Kurt Waldheim at the UN archives here Wednesday morning and said afterwards that the contents of the file indicated that the matter of Waldheim’s alleged Nazi past cannot be “laid to rest.” (Related story, P.3.)

Representatives of the Austrian Mission to the UN, who also examined the file at the UN archives Wednesday morning, issued a statement that they had inspected the documents but offered no further comment. Both the Israeli and Austrian representatives were given copies of the file which they said would be conveyed immediately to their respective governments.

Waldheim, a candidate for the Presidency of Austria in next month’s elections, has been widely accused of participation in war crimes while serving as a lieutenant in the Wehrmacht in the Balkans during World War II. He is charged specifically with a role in the murder of Yugoslav partisans, women and children and the deportation of Greek Jews from Salonika and from the islands of Crete and Rhodes.

The Waldheim file is part of some 40,000 documents on suspected Nazi war criminals compiled by the now-defunct United Nations War Crimes Commission, stored at UN archives in a building at 345 Park Avenue South in Manhattan. Netanyahu said after inspecting it that there are grounds for further investigation of the Waldheim case.

NEED FOR FURTHER INVESTIGATION

“From an initial look at the content of the file it cannot be said that the matter can be laid to rest,” the Israeli envoy said. He added, “There is a clear indication of a need for further comprehensive investigation” and that he will send a copys of the content of the file to the Israel government.

Netanyahu noted that he examined the file but cannot reveal details of it. The UN archives are accessible only to representatives of governments in strictest confidentiality.

The Austrian UN Mission issued a statement Wednesday in the names of Karl Fischer and Thomas Klestil, Austria’s Ambassadors to the UN and U.S., respectively. They said the Waldheim file contained only a few pages, that they had compared the copy they received with the original but did not read the documents.

The Austrian statement said that “the file, together with documents from the World Jewish Congress, will be sent to Austrian Foreign Minister Leopold Gratz by special courier later today (Wednesday). The Foreign Minister, on behalf of the Austrian government, will hand over the documents to Federal President Rudolph Kirchschlaeger.”

A UN spokesman said, meanwhile, that the U.S. so far has not requested access to the Waldheim file. News reports Wednesday quoted a U.S. official as saying that the U.S. would formally ask the UN for access to the file in the next few days.

NEXT STORY