GENEVA (May. 27)
The dean of the California-based Simon Wiesenthal Center reported Monday that the United States has said it will actively oppose the appointment of Hermann Klenner of East Germany to a top UN post because of allegations that he was a member of the Nazi Party.
Rabbi Marvin Hier, attending a conference on security and cooperation dealing with human rights issues in Bern, said the Center was informed of the U.S. policy decision in a letter dated May 16 it received from Alan Keyes, the U.S. Under Secretary of State for International Organizational Affairs.
The letter was in response to an earlier letter the Center sent to Keyes urging that he intervene in the Klenner case. Klenner was appointed one of three vice presidents of the United Nations Commission on Human Rights, which meets here once a year for six weeks. Under a system of diplomatic rotation, Klenner will automatically gain the right to become commission chairman next year.
Klenner has been accused by the Israeli delegate to the UN Human Rights Conference, Ephraim Dubek, of having been an active Nazi and the number of his card as Party member was produced. The card number allegedly held by Klenner is 97-56-141. He is reported to have joined the party on April 20, 1944.
Klenner has never denied his Nazi membership and has refused to discuss it. Last month, Israel’s United Nations Ambassador, Binyamin Netanyahu, received access to two files in the UN War Crimes Commission archives, including one marked “Klenner.” The other file was on Alois Brenner, said to now be living in Syria.
Keyes, in the letter to Hier, said, “I share your anger at the recent appointment of an East German diplomat, Hermann Klenner, as vice president of the UN Commission on Human Rights. We must do whatever we can to ensure that such situations do not occur again.
“The State Department is now actively engaged in diplomatic efforts to prevent Mr. Keener’s nomination as the East European candidate for chairmanship of the Commission in 1987. Please be assured of the great moral repugnance I feel toward the Klenner appointment and the commitment of our government to opposing such travesties.” Meanwhile, Wiesenthal Center officials made public Monday a 99-page study, “Portrait of Infamy,” which deals with alleged Soviet anti-Semitic caricatures which the Center said have their roots in Nazi ideology. Copies of the report were presented to the Ambassadors and delegates from numerous countries. The Soviet Union requested the report and received it via the U.S. delegation.
Rabbi Abraham Cooper, associate dean of the Center in Los Angeles, told the Jewish Telegraphic Agency that the study clearly refutes the assertion by Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev who continues to deny the existence of an official Soviet policy of anti-Semitism.