VIENNA (Jan. 25)
An international panel of historians met here Monday for its fourth and possibly final session to examine the alleged role of Kurt Waldheim in Nazi atrocities in the Balkans. He served there as an intelligence officer in the German Army during World War II.
The panel’s report, which could determine whether the Austrian president resigns, was to have been issued in mid-January, but it is not expected to be ready before the second or third week of February.
The panel, headed by Hans Peter Kurz of Switzerland, consists of military historians from Belgium, Britain, Greece, Israel, West Germany, the United States and Yugoslavia. It was set up and financed by the Austrian government to determine the veracity of allegations that Waldheim was involved in the deportation of Greek Jews and atrocities against civilians and partisan fighters in Yugoslavia.
Waldheim has denied all charges, but in fact had concealed his wartime military service for more than 40 years, during which he served two terms as United Nations secretary general. He was elected president of Austria in 1986.
A Yugoslav military historian told Belgrade television Saturday that Waldheim was deeply involved in atrocities there. A spokesman for Waldheim rejected that charge, which he said was intended to influence the investigation.
The panel will hear directly from Waldheim next week, and from the Yugoslav, whose surname is Plence, according to Austrian radio.