Kurt Waldheim

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Kurt Waldheim : biography

21 December 1918 – 14 June 2007

Declassified CIA documents show that the CIA had been aware of his wartime past since 1945.Historical Analysis of 20 Name Files from CIA Records http://www.archives.gov/iwg/declassified-records/rg-263-cia-records/rg-263-report.html Information about Waldheim’s wartime past was also previously published by a pro-German Austrian newspaper, Salzburger Volksblatt, during the 1971 presidential election campaign, including the claim of an SS membership, but the matter was supposedly regarded as unimportant or even advantageous for the candidate at that time.World Socialist Web Site obituary

It has been asserted that his wartime past and the discrepancies in his biography, In the Eye of the Storm, must have been well-known to both superpowers before he was elected UN Secretary General, and there were rumours that the KGB had blackmailed him during his UN time. Alternative links and A long article in The Washington Post (30 October 1986) on the question of possible Soviet blackmail is quoted at length here.

In 1994, former Mossad officer Victor Ostrovsky claimed in his book The Other Side of Deception that Mossad doctored the file of the then UN Secretary General to implicate him in Nazi crimes. These allegedly false documents were subsequently "discovered" by Benjamin Netanyahu in the UN file and triggered the "Waldheim Affair". Ostrovsky says it was motivated by Waldheim’s criticism of Israel’s war in Lebanon. Controversy surrounds Ostrovsky because many of his revelations have not been sourced or otherwise confirmed, leading several critics to say that most of his work (including TOSOD) is fictional. Ostrovsky’s service in Mossad was confirmed when the Israeli government unsuccessfully attempted to stop publication of his book

The International Committee of Historians and allegations of Nazi war crimes

In view of the ongoing international controversy, the Austrian government decided to appoint an international committee of historians to examine Waldheim’s life between 1938 and 1945. Their report found no evidence of any personal involvement in those crimes. Although Waldheim had stated that he was unaware of any crimes taking place, the committee cited evidence that Waldheim must have known about war crimes.Simon Wiesenthal "The Waldheim Case" in Contemporary Jewish Writing in Austria edited by Dagmar Lorenz. pp 81-95, University of Nebraska press

In response to Waldheim’s denial that he knew about war crimes, Simon Wiesenthal stated that since Waldheim was stationed from Salonika while, over the course of several weeks, the Jewish community which formed one third of the population there, was sent to Auschwitz:

I could only reply what the committee of historians likewise made clear in its report: "I cannot believe you."Simon Wiesenthal "The Waldheim Case" in Contemporary Jewish Writing in Austria edited by Dagmar Lorenz. page 91, University of Nebraska Press

Wiesenthal stated the committee found no evidence that Waldheim took part in any war crimes but was guilty of lying about his military record. The International Committee in February 1988 concluded with that he could not stop what was going on in Yugoslavia and Greece even if he knew:

In favour of Waldheim is, that he only had very minor possibilities to act against the injustices happening. Actions against these, depending on which level the resistance occurred, were of very different importance. For a young member of the staff, who did not have any military authority on the army group level, the practical possibilities for resistance were very limited and with a high probability would not have led to any actual results. Resistance would have been limited to a formal protest or on the refusal to serve any longer in the army, which would have seemed to be a courageous act, however would have not led to any practical achievement.James L. Collins Jr. u.a.: , 8. Februar 1988. (translated from German)