NEW YORK (Jun. 5)
The World Jewish Congress this week released a 95-page report detailing its findings on what the organization calls the “hidden years” of Kurt Waldheim, the former United Nations Secretary General and front runner in Sunday’s Austrian Presidential run-off election.
The report details “one of the most elaborate deceptions of our time” and includes the recently-released secret UN file on Waldheim. According to that file, the UN War Crimes Commission in 1948 said Waldheim should stand trial for “murder” and “putting hostages to death.”
The WJC has transmitted a copy of the report to the U.S. Justice Department and it again called on Attorney General Edwin Meese to implement the recommendation of his Department’s Office of Special Investigations which concluded that American law requires that Waldheim be barred from entering the United States.
The WJC released its report in conjunction with a major address in London by the organization’s president, Edgar Bronfman, who described Waldheim as an “amoral and unrepentant liar” whose election as President of Austria “would be an act of symbolic amnesty for the Holocaust.”
THE WJC REPORT
The annotated WJC report elaborates on what has begun to emerge about Waldheim:
A section on “Kurt Waldheim’s own words” details how “he has lied about his past” and continues to do so.
Documents from Waldheim’s personnel file show he belonged to three Nazi organizations, including Hitler’s “Brownshirts.”
A medal awarded to Waldheim was one of only three received for merit “under enemy fire” in the brutal anti-partisan campaign known as the Kozara Massacres in Yugoslavia during 1942.
Waldheim, who long claimed an anti-Nazi background, wrote his dissertation on a pan-German ideologist. In his dissertation he wrote of the “magnificent collaboration of all the peoples of Europe under the leadership of the Reich.”
Waldheim is pinpointed in a series of SS photographs at a strategy session for “Operation Black” a campaign involving a brutal series of atrocities by Axis forces against Yugoslav villages in 1943.
On August 8, 1943, Waldheim entered in the war diary Hitler’s criminal order on the shootings of partisans after capture.
Captured Nazi war documents show Waldheim’s briefing another officer about arrangements for the forcible transport of tens of thousands of Italian soldiers from Greece to German slave labor camps.
As a senior intelligence officer, Waldheim’s duties were listed as including “prisoner interrogation” and “special tasks”-the latter, a euphemism in Nazi reports which generally described secret measures related to mass terror, torture or executions.
Waldheim’s oft-repeated claims of being a low-level soldier are shattered by documents showing he personally gave briefings to the chief of the general staff of the high command of Army Group E.
Nazi war documents show the presence of Waldheim at general staff meetings during which the “effective” use of hostages and the utilization of civilian slave labor were discussed.
The WJC has to date located 19 intelligence reports signed by Waldheim in which he relayed information extracted from prisoners.
In 1944, in both Greece and Yugoslavia, intelligence reports signed by Waldheim which pinpoint centers of anti-Nazi activity, were followed by reprisal measures by the German army which carried out murderous atrocities against civilians.
A Waldheim report was actually used at Nuremberg as evidence of war crimes in Greece.
It was Waldheim’s very intelligence unit that detailed the number of Jews in Corfu prior to their subsequent deportation to Auschwitz in 1944.
GOVERNMENTAL INVESTIGATIONS SUMMARIZED
The report also summarizes governmental investigations to date on Waldheim. It finds:
In 1947, Yugoslavia branded Waldheim a war criminal and said his extradition was mandatory in order that he stand trial as a murderer.
The U.N. war crimes commission in 1948 said there was “sufficient evidence to justify prosecution” of Waldheim on charges of “murder” and “putting hostages to death.”
The U.S. army, on the basis of the U.N. Commission’s findings placed Waldheim on its 1948 “wanted list” which listed him as wanted for “murder.”
The current investigation by the U.S. Justice Department’s Office of Special Investigations concluded that Waldheim should be barred from entering the United States. Under American law, “Nazi-persecutors” are prohibited entry into the U.S.
Israel’s Justice Minister said his country’s continuing investigation had already shown “there is a basis for putting Kurt Waldheim on trial.”
In Austria, the head of the State police between 1945 and 1947, Heinrich Duermayer, confirmed that his office had not investigated Waldheim in 1945 when he began his service in the Foreign Ministry. On April 22 of this year, Austria’s President sought to exonerate Waldheim of war crimes charges in a television address to the nation. He acknowledged Waldheim must have known about atrocities.
Although Waldheim has claimed the superpowers had checked into his background and cleared him, on April 9 a Soviet spokesman said “no attempt was made to investigate Mr. Waldheim.”
In releasing the report, the WJC stressed it is of an interim nature. “We are presently looking through several hundred pages of more documents which will be released as we complete our analysis of them,” the WJC noted.