The U.S. Justice Department’s Office of Special Investigations was conducting an inquiry into Herbert von Karajan’s wartime activities in the Nazi Party, when the world-famous conductor died last month, OSI officials have confirmed.
Von Karajan, who died July 16 at the age of 81, was a member of the Nazi Party during the Third Reich.
The investigation began within the past year, following allegations that OSI Director Neal Sher would not disclose.
Elan Steinberg, executive vice president of the World Jewish Congress, said that OSI was “absolutely correct in looking at” the case. He pointed out that von Karajan had “lied about his Nazi past,” specifically about the time he served as a member of the Nazi Party.
WJC brought information to OSI’s attention within the past year on von Karajan, but it is unclear whether that material prompted OSI’s investigation.
Since von Karajan was an Austrian citizen, it was not possible for OSI to strip him of citizenship or deport him.
But if the investigation had found he was linked to Nazi war crimes, he could have been placed on the Justice Department “watch list” barring entry to the United States.
The Archive of the Jewish Telegraphic Agency includes articles published from 1923 to 2008. Archive stories reflect the journalistic standards and practices of the time they were published.