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Israel Has No Official Comment on Latest Reports Linking Waldheim to Nazi Atrocities in Yugoslavia

Israel has refrained from any official comment on reports published last week that Austrian President Kurt Waldheim participated in Nazi atrocities against Yugoslavian civilians during World War II.

A Foreign Ministry spokesman said Friday that the report, published the previous day in The Washington Post, would have to be studied in detail before a response is made. According to the report, Waldheim, a Wehrmacht intelligence officer in the Balkans at the time, was directly involved in the massacre of civilians in what the Nazis called a “pacification” operation.

Israel has still not decided whether to send an Ambassador to Vienna to replace its former envoy, Michael Elizur, who has retired. Austria announced last week that it was recalling its Ambassador, Otto Pleinert, from Israel for consultations.

Foreign Ministry sources, meanwhile, confirmed a report Friday that the wife of the Israeli Charge d’Affaires in Vienna attended a reception given by Waldheim’s wife. The sources said it was a matter of “simple courtesy.”