Austrian leader celebrates Gestapo birthday

The Simon Wiesenthal Center demanded the resignation of an Austrian governor
who attended a former Gestapo leader’s birthday celebration.Tyrol province Gov. Herwig Von Staa joined other politicians
to mark the 90th birthday of Ferdinand Obenfeldner, who oversaw the Gestapo in
Innsbruck during Kristallnacht in 1938. He also served as deputy mayor of
Innsbruck from 1962 to 1985. Efraim Zuroff, a Nazi hunter for the Los
Angeles-based Wiesenthal Center, told The Associated Press he was outraged “that
individuals whose deeds during the Nazi period – who should be publicly
repudiated – instead are honored by Austrian public figures who clearly should
be acting differently.”Zuroff learned of Obenfeldner’s past when Austrian
teachers contacted the center about the January birthday party. In addition to Von Staa, the mayor of Innsbruck and several regional
leaders of the Social Democratic Party attended. Tyrol’s Social
Democrats, defending their attendance, said
on a party Web site that Obenfeldner has “always stood on the side of democracy,” according to The Associated Press.

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