NEW YORK (Jul. 31)
Kurt Waldheim personally kept under lock and key the most sensitive secret documents and papers of Hitler’s army in the Balkans during the final year of World War II.
So sensitive were these documents–a record of the Nazis’ secret communications and orders–that they were all destroyed by the Germans prior to their surrender.
This top secret records-diary was given into the safe-keeping of Oberleutnant (First Lieutenant) Kurt Waldheim according to a secret duties schedule dated February 15, 1944 which was located among captured war documents stored in the U.S. National Archives. The document, found by World Jewish Congress researchers, has been transmitted to the U.S. Justice Department.
The document, labelled “Geheim” (“secret”), was issued from the headquarters of the “High Command of Army Group E.” It set forth changes in the “work allocation of the High Command” of this army group.
TASKS SPECIFIED IN THE DOCUMENT
Among the changes in individual tasks specified in the document were those of the “O3” intelligence officer at the High Command. Waldheim–as he acknowledged to the U.S. Justice Department in his memo of April 6–was the designated O3 officer.
(As O3, he “was the deputy of the chief intelligence officer . . . responsible for all operational intelligence and the control of the intelligence staff.”–From the declassified study “German Military Intelligence” by the U.S. War Department’s Military Intelligence Division, 1946.)
The document, released Thursday, orders an addition to the work assignment schedule which details the O3’s tasks. Responsibility for the “V.S.-Brieftagebuch” (Records-Diary) is assigned to the OS according to this document, which states that the appropriate notation is to be inserted in the O3’s work schedule in the column prior to where his responsibility for assessment of the “enemy situation” is specified.
The “V.S. (verschluss sachen) Brieftagebuch” were the army’s most sensitive documents kept “under lock and key” (verschluss sachen means literally, “locked up things”).
CONTENTS OF THE RECORDS-DIARY
According to the noted historian Gerald Fleming, (author of “Hitler and the Final Solution”), “V.S. contained the record of secret orders and communications and were all destroyed by the Germans: there is no knowledge of any such record books surviving.” Beyond secret war plans, orders such as those relating to Jewish deportations and reprisals were examples of the kinds of confidential records held in safe-keeping, Fleming noted.
The WJC noted that the work assignment order is in fact confirmed by a previously-released Nazi war document. According to a December 1, 1943 organizational chart of Army Group E, the hand-written notation “V.S. Brieftagebuch” is located beneath Waldheim’s name in theO3 column.
Fleming stressed that responsibility for the V. S. records-diary was delegated by the High Command “to the most trusted officer within intelligence. “These locked-up secret records-diaries were so sensitive that a special controller Regierungsinspektor (government inspector) used to check on the way they were locked away by unexpected visits,” Fleming pointed out.
“For Kurt Waldheim to have received this responsibility in February, 1944, indicated the High Command’s complete proven trust in him,” Fleming observed. The 1944 secret work schedule also links Waldheim with the “Abwehr” (counter-intelligence), since the order specifically assigns Waldheim responsibility for “personnel matters” of the “Abwehr Troop”.
In releasing the document Thursday, the WJC again called on Attorney General Edwin Meese “to enforce the law and place Waldheim on the ‘watch list’ of aliens excludable from the United States.” In April, the Justice Department’s Office of Special Investigations concluded that under American law, Waldheim should be excluded as a “Nazi persecutor.”