VIENNA (Dec. 2)
Syrians who served in the German army during World War II have demanded that the United States place them on its “watch list” so that they can demonstrate their solidarity with Austrian President Kurt Waldheim.
The Syrian branch of the Oesterreichischer Kameradschaftsbund Austria’s largest veterans organization, sent a petition to the organization’s headquarters in Vienna. It said that since they had been soldiers in the Wehrmacht, like Waldheim, they want to share his lot.
Waldheim was placed on the U.S. Justice Department’s “watch list” of aliens denied entry into the United States because of evidence of his complicity in the deportation of Greek Jews and knowledge of other atrocities while serving as a German army intelligence officer in the Balkans during the war.
But the veterans organization, which has undergone a change of leadership and of politics recently, said it will not hand over the Syrian petition to the new American ambassador, Henry Anatole Grunwald, when he arrives here later this month. According to the veterans group, this is for “reconciliation reasons.” Vienna-born Grunwald, who is Jewish, recently retired as editor in chief of the Time magazine.