Kurt Waldheim

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Kurt Waldheim bigraphy, stories - Secretary-General of the United Nations from 1972 to 1981, and President of Austria from 1986 to 1992

Kurt Waldheim : biography

21 December 1918 – 14 June 2007

Kurt Josef Waldheim ( 21 December 1918 – 14 June 2007) was an Austrian diplomat and politician. Waldheim was the fourth Secretary-General of the United Nations from 1972 to 1981, and the ninth President of Austria, from 1986 to 1992. While he was running for President in Austria in 1985, his service as an intelligence officer in the Wehrmacht during World War II raised international controversy.

Early life and education

Waldheim was born in Sankt Andrä-Wördern, a village near Vienna, on 21 December 1918. His father was a Roman Catholic school inspector of Czech origin named Watzlawick, The Daily Telegraph, 15 June 2007. (original Czech spelling Václavík) who changed his name that year as the Habsburg monarchy collapsed. Waldheim served in the Austrian Army (1936–37) and attended the Vienna Consular Academy, where he graduated in 1939. Waldheim’s father was active in the Christian Social Party. Waldheim himself was politically unaffiliated during these years at the Academy. Shortly after the German annexation of Austria in 1938, a 20-year old Waldheim applied for membership in the National Socialist German Students’ League (NSDStB), a division of the Nazi Party.Report of the International Historical Commission of 8 February 1988, section on "Membership in National Socialist Organizations", as cited for example in http://nationalsozialismus.at/Themen/Umgang/waldheim.htm Shortly thereafter he became a registered member of the mounted corps of the SA.

On 19 August 1944, he married Elisabeth Ritschel in Vienna; their first daughter, Lieselotte, was born the following year. A son, Gerhard, and another daughter, Christa, followed.

Media references

  • W. G. Sebald’s novel The Rings of Saturn (1995; English trans., 1998) refers to Waldheim, though not by name.http://www.buzzwords.ndo.co.uk/mellor/ringsofsaturn.html
  • As a much-heralded invited guest on Dame Edna Everage’s talk show The Dame Edna Experience, a dignified "Kurt Waldheim" began a grand entrance, except that halfway down the staircase, he abruptly fell through a hidden chute and disappeared: the band’s fanfare stopped as Dame Edna explained she had decided at the last minute to "abort" Dr. Waldheim’s appearance because it would have been "too political". The episode aired 12 September 1987.
  • A running segment on The Howard Stern Show is called Guess Who’s the Jew and features Fred Norris portraying a Nazi Kurt Waldheim, Jr.
  • Musician Lou Reed’s 1988 New York album contains a song called "Good Evening Mr. Waldheim."
  • Harry Turtledove’s 2003 alternate history novel, In the Presence of Mine Enemies, in which Germany won the Second World War, a "Kurt Haldweim" is the third Führer of Germany, and parts of Haldweim’s biography closely parallel Waldheim’s.
  • In a 1988 ice hockey film entitled Hockey, The Lighter Side, former New York Rangers goaltender John Davidson is explaining his fictional goaltender school and as hockey highlights play, he exclaims, "You’ll have more shots taken at you than Kurt Waldheim".
  • In episode 3, series 2 of The Million Pound Radio Show, Andy Hamilton announces next week’s special guest as Waldheim, "although he’ll deny [his appearance on the show] in 40 years time."
  • In an episode of The New Statesman, aired in 1989, Alan B’Stard (Rik Mayall) attempts to blackmail an aged former Nazi officer, who complains that, "it’s not fair; I’m living here in the tripe capital of Europe, while Kurt Waldheim is President of Austria – and he was beneath me!"
  • American poet Srikanth Reddy’s 2011 book Voyager presents a collection of poems and fragments created by erasing large sections of Waldheim’s memoir In the Eye of the Storm.
  • Graphic novel and film Persepolis (comics) by Marjane Satrapi reference the election in Austria.

Later years and death