Secret UN File on Waldheim Made Public by Wjcongress
Menu JTA Search

Secret UN File on Waldheim Made Public by Wjcongress

Download PDF for this date

The United Nations War Crimes Commission said in 1948 that Austrian Presidential candidate Kurt Waldheim should stand trial for “murder” and “putting hostages to death according to the secret file on the former United Nations Secretary General housed in the UN archives and released here.

The file, part of some 40,000 sealed files on accused war criminals, witnesses and others contained in the archives, was publicly released last Friday for the first time by the World Jewish Congress. The WJC said it obtained the UN dossier from non-governmental sources who requested anonymity. The seven page document represents the findings of the long defunct Commission that examined the evidence against Waldheim submitted to it by Yugoslavia in 1947.

On the basis of that examination, the UN Commission assigned Waldheim an “A” classification, meaning the evidence clearly justified his prosecution as a war criminal. The UN file states that from April 1944 to May 1945, Waldheim, as a German intelligence officer, was “responsible for the retaliation actions carried out by the Wehrmacht units in Yugoslavia.” In this connection, he is charged with “murder” and “putting hostages to death.” The UN dossier notes that the evidence and “files concerning this charge are in the possession of the Yugoslav War Crimes Commission.” The dossier also contains, according to the World Jewish Congress, extracts from the Yugoslav files. Parts of the Yugoslav file have been publicly released in Belgrade. It is reported to link Waldheim with atrocities committed during the war.

Waldheim, the frontrunner in the June 8 Austrian Presidential run-off election, has denied participating in atrocities against partisans and villagers. He has also denied involvement or knowledge in the mass deportation of Greek Jews while he was assigned as an intelligence officer to a unit which participated in the deportations. Waldheim, meanwhile, has accused the WJC and others of interfering in internal Austrian matters.

The UN file from the War Crimes Commission was compiled by the 17 members of the commission that operated in London from 1943 to 1948. In Waldheim’s case, the Commission followed its standard practice of summarizing evidence against international legal norms and rendering a judgement about whether the case merited prosecution, the WJC said.


The WJC, in releasing the document, called it “the smoking gun.” It said in a statement that “an independent international body examined the evidence and, unswayed by any political consideration, determined that Waldheim should face prosecution for war crimes.” It noted that no person with such a UN commission listing had ever openly been allowed to enter the United States.

The Justice Department’s Office of Special Investigations concluded in a recommendation to Attorney General Edwin Meese recently that Waldheim should be barred from entering the U.S. under the terms of the Holtzman Amendment which bars from the country those persons who participated in Nazi atrocities. The OSI’s recommendation is currently before the Attorney General.

Founding Funders

The digitization of the JTA Archive would not have been possible without the generous support of the following donors:
  • The Gottesman Fund
  • Righteous Persons Foundation
  • Charles H. Revson Foundation
  • Elisa Spungen Bildner and Robert Bildner, in honor of Norma Spungen
  • George S. Blumenthal
  • Grace and Scott Offen Charitable Fund