Kurt Waldheim

Kurt Waldheim


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Kurt Waldheim nació en Sank Andra-Wordern, cerca de Viena, Austria, el 21 de diciembre de 1918. Durante la Segunda Guerra Mundial fue herido y luego dado de baja del ejército alemán.

En 1945, Waldheim se incorporó al servicio diplomático austriaco y se desempeñó como Primer Secretario de la Legación en Francia (1948-1951) y Jefe del Departamento de Personal del Ministerio de Relaciones Exteriores (1951-55). A esto le siguieron puestos diplomáticos en Canadá (1956-60) y como jefe del Departamento Político del Ministerio de Relaciones Exteriores de Austria (1960-62).

En 1964, Waldheim se convirtió en representante permanente de Austria ante las Naciones Unidas. Ocupó este cargo durante más de cuatro años y durante este período se desempeñó como presidente de la Comisión de Utilización del Espacio Ultraterrestre con Fines Pacíficos.

Waldheim regresó a Austria en 1968 para asumir el cargo de Ministro Federal de Relaciones Exteriores. A esto le siguió el cargo de Presidente del Comité de Salvaguardias del Organismo Internacional de Energía Atómica.

En 1972, Waldheim se convirtió en Secretario General de las Naciones Unidas. Ocupó el cargo durante nueve años y durante este período realizó varias visitas en un intento por poner fin al conflicto militar y político. Esto incluyó a Sudáfrica, Chipre, Siria, Líbano, Israel, Egipto, Jordania, India, Pakistán, Bangladesh y Vietnam.

Waldheim fue elegido presidente de Austria en 1986. Poco después de su victoria, se reveló que durante la Segunda Guerra Mundial Waldheim era un oficial de inteligencia nazi que estaba involucrado en el transporte de judíos a los campos de concentración. Esta información fue en parte responsable de la derrota de Waldheim en 1992.

El Departamento de Justicia de Estados Unidos publicó un informe en 1994 que confirmó que Waldheim había estado involucrado en atrocidades contra judíos, civiles y soldados aliados durante la guerra.


El pasado nazi del exjefe de la ONU encubierto

La semana pasada, el ex secretario general de la ONU y presidente de Austria, Kurt Waldheim, murió a la edad de 88 años. Su familia estaba con él cuando sucumbió a una insuficiencia cardiovascular.

Los obituarios oficiales lo han honrado como un gran estadista austriaco e internacional. El ex canciller austríaco Wolfgang Schüssel (Partido del Pueblo de Austria, ÖVP) habló de Waldheim como "un gran luchador por la paz y la libertad en el mundo". El secretario general de la ONU, Ban Ki-moon, y diplomáticos de varios países expresaron su simpatía por la República de Austria y la familia Waldheim.

Nadie en representación de las Naciones Unidas ha recordado la época de Waldheim como miembro del Partido Nacional Socialista (Nazi) de Hitler y como oficial de la Wehrmacht (fuerzas armadas alemanas) durante la Segunda Guerra Mundial. Según informes de prensa, "la alusión más clara al pasado de Waldheim durante el período de Hitler" provino del embajador de México ante la ONU, Claude Heller. Habló de Waldheim como un político con "habilidades excepcionales", como un diplomático que había pertenecido a una generación que experimentó una "fase turbulenta de la historia".

Este es el eufemismo empleado por el embajador de México en la ONU para describir los años 1933 a 1945, en los que el régimen de Hitler desató la Segunda Guerra Mundial, y en los que murieron aproximadamente 50 millones de personas. Esta “fase turbulenta de la historia” también incluyó el Holocausto, en el que más de 6 millones de judíos fueron aniquilados. Muchos en el régimen nazi comparten la responsabilidad de estos mayores crímenes en la historia de la humanidad. Uno de ellos fue Kurt Waldheim. Pero como tantos otros, nunca fue llamado a rendir cuentas.

A lo largo de su vida, Kurt Waldheim ocultó, reprimió, minimizó y negó su participación en los crímenes de los nazis.

Waldheim nació como hijo de un maestro el 21 de diciembre de 1918 en la Baja Austria. Después de graduarse de la escuela secundaria, se inscribió voluntariamente en el servicio militar. Luego, de 1937 a 1938, estudió derecho en Viena. Al comienzo de la Segunda Guerra Mundial, Waldheim fue reclutado por la Wehrmacht y desde diciembre de 1940 fue segundo teniente en una Unidad de Exploración de Caballería con la 45 División de Infantería.

Participó con su división en la campaña rusa, siendo herido en diciembre de 1941. Después de estancias en hospitales militares en Frankfurt an der Oder y Viena, en abril de 1942 se le ordenó a Bosnia occidental como oficial de enlace con las tropas de ocupación italianas.

A partir de abril de 1943, perteneció al Grupo de Ejércitos E, cuyo estado mayor estaba alojado en Salónica, en el norte de Grecia. Como oficial del estado mayor del general Alexander Löhr en Salónica, debe haber tenido conocimiento de la deportación de aproximadamente 40.000 judíos a los campos de concentración de Auschwitz y Treblinka. Asimismo, habría sabido de los transportes de prisioneros italianos al Reich alemán, en un momento en el que no existía un estado de guerra entre Alemania e Italia.

Como oficial de estado mayor en Bosnia occidental, Waldheim habría tenido conocimiento de las masacres cometidas allí de partisanos yugoslavos, así como de la destrucción de numerosas aldeas. Waldheim estaba familiarizado con las órdenes tácticas, estratégicas y administrativas y era responsable de producir informes de situación para el estado mayor del ejército.

Waldheim era miembro del personal montado de las tropas de asalto de los nazis (Sturm Abteilung, SA) y pertenecía a la Federación Nacional Socialista de Estudiantes Alemanes (NSDStB). En 1944, durante la guerra, Waldheim completó sus estudios de derecho y obtuvo un doctorado en jurisprudencia. Desde la primavera de 1945 hasta el final de la guerra, estuvo destinado en Trieste.

Al igual que en Alemania Occidental, donde numerosos antiguos nazis continuaron sus carreras en el nuevo estado, nada parecía impedir que Kurt Waldheim siguiera una brillante carrera diplomática después del final de la guerra. Ingresó en el servicio diplomático de Austria en 1945. De 1948 a 1951, fue primer secretario de la embajada de Austria en París y dirigió el departamento de personal del Ministerio de Relaciones Exteriores. En mayo de 1955, Waldheim se convirtió en observador permanente de Austria en las Naciones Unidas en Nueva York. En marzo de 1956, fue a Canadá como embajador.

Waldheim utilizó sus antiguos contactos para ascender rápidamente en el servicio diplomático. Entre 1960 y 1964, dirigió varios departamentos del Ministerio de Relaciones Exteriores de Viena. Tras la admisión de Austria en la ONU en 1955, fue miembro de la delegación austriaca en la Asamblea General. Desde principios de 1965, representó a Austria en la ONU.

Entre 1968 y 1970, Waldheim fue ministro de Relaciones Exteriores de Austria, aunque no pertenecía a ningún partido político. En 1971, el conservador ÖVP lo nominó para el cargo de presidente federal. Aunque el cargo de presidente de Austria es en gran parte ceremonial, está sujeto a elección popular directa. Aunque Waldheim perdió las elecciones de 1971, poco después sucedió a U Thant de Birmania como Secretario General de la ONU. Ocupó este cargo durante 10 años, hasta 1981.

El asunto Waldheim

En 1986, el ÖVP volvió a proponer a Waldheim para la presidencia austriaca. Trató de ganar puntos explotando su cargo como Secretario General de la ONU, por ejemplo, produciendo un cartel electoral con el lema “Un austriaco en quien el mundo confía”, que lo representaba de pie ante el horizonte de Nueva York.

En un artículo bien investigado en ese momento, Hubertus Czernin de la revista de noticias austriaca Perfil expuso el papel de Waldheim durante la guerra. Recordando el "asunto Waldheim", Perfil escribe hoy: "Czernin no fue el primer periodista en descubrir las áreas oscuras en el CV de Waldheim". En la primavera de 1971, cuando Waldheim se presentó al ÖVP en las elecciones presidenciales, la derecha Salzburger Volksblatt escribió que Waldheim era un miembro de las "SS-Reiterstandarte" (Abanderados montados de las SS). “Con suerte, el ÖVP no se desvinculará de él, exigió vigorosamente el periódico de derecha”.

De acuerdo a Perfil, el rumor era incorrecto que Waldheim nunca había estado con las SS. Pero lo que fue significativo sobre el Volksblatt La alegación fue que nadie estaba interesado en el pasado nazi de Waldheim, y especialmente los socialdemócratas austriacos (SPÖ). Justo antes, cuatro ex miembros de las SS habían sido incorporados al gobierno del SPÖ.

Sin embargo, las cosas eran diferentes en 1986. Waldheim acababa de publicar una autobiografía titulada En el Palacio de Cristal de la Política Mundial (Im Glaspalast der Weltpolitik), que contenía muy poco sobre sus actividades bajo el dominio nazi y durante la Segunda Guerra Mundial, al tiempo que incluía muchas falsedades. Ocultó su membresía en organizaciones nazis como el SA Reiterkorps (SA Mounted Corps) y la federación de estudiantes nazi, así como sus actividades como oficial en Salónica de 1942 a 1943. Waldheim afirmó que había sido herido en el frente oriental y había pasado el resto de la guerra en Austria. En el libro de Waldheim no se puede encontrar ninguna palabra sobre su colaboración con el general de la Wehrmacht Alexander Löhr, quien fue condenado a muerte el 16 de febrero de 1947 en Yugoslavia como criminal de guerra.

El propio Waldheim había concedido a Czernin la posibilidad de ver sus registros de las fuerzas armadas, quien pudo confirmar su membresía en las SA y en la federación de estudiantes nazi. De acuerdo a Perfil, dos meses antes de las elecciones, Czernin había querido entrevistar a Waldheim sobre su pasado nazi, conduciendo una noche al castillo de Ebreichsdorf cerca de Viena, donde la aristocrática familia Drasche estaba celebrando una elegante recepción para Waldheim. "Me senté en el vestíbulo de entrada y esperé", recordó Czernin más tarde. "De repente, Waldheim se me acercó, me puso la mano en el hombro y me dijo: 'No te preocupes'", afirmando que tampoco podía explicar las notas en sus registros militares.

Claramente, Waldheim interpretó mal la situación. Dado que el periodista Czernin provenía de una “familia aristocrática” y Waldheim conocía bien a su abuelo, el industrial Franz Josef Mayer Gunthof, obviamente creía que Czernin solo quería advertirle.

Pero dos días después, el 3 de marzo de 1986, apareció el artículo de Czernin con el título "Waldheim y las SA". Solo un día después, el New York Times También publicó un artículo sobre Waldheim, ilustrándolo con una foto que muestra a Waldheim con un uniforme de la Wehrmacht al lado del líder del grupo de las SS Artur Phleps en Podgorica, Bosnia.

Algo más tarde, Czernin también se enteró de que Waldheim había recibido la medalla Zvonimir, un honor otorgado por el régimen fascista de Ustasha en Croacia, que colaboró ​​con los nazis.

La primera reacción de Waldheim fue la negación. Más tarde, cuando esto era insostenible, se puso a la defensiva: "No hice nada más en la guerra que cientos de miles de austriacos, cumplí con mi deber de soldado". Waldheim afirmó que las denuncias eran parte de una campaña de difamación masiva. “No encontrarás nada. Nosotros [!] Éramos decentes ". Además, afirmó, era "un escándalo sacar a soldados decentes a través de la suciedad de esa manera".

Demandó al presidente del Congreso Mundial Judío (WJC), Edgar M. Bronfman, quien lo había llamado "una parte y un engranaje de la máquina de matar nazi". Waldheim solo retiró esta acción en 1988, después de que Bronfman dijera que el WJC estaba preparado para detener su campaña en su contra. Mientras tanto, EE. UU. Había incluido a Waldheim en su denominada Lista de Vigilancia debido a su pasado como oficial de la Wehrmacht en los Balcanes durante la Segunda Guerra Mundial, una acción que equivalía a la prohibición de viajar a EE. UU. Permaneció en la lista hasta su muerte.

Los partidarios de Waldheim hablaron de una "campaña sucia". Dentro del ÖVP había quienes veían a Waldheim como la víctima de "ciertos círculos en la costa este", una taquigrafía antisemita común para los judíos. Los periódicos sensacionalistas estaban llenos de cartas de lectores antisemitas. Michael Graff, en ese momento secretario general del ÖVP, dijo: "Mientras no se pueda probar que él personalmente estranguló a seis judíos, no hay problema". Poco tiempo después, Graff tuvo que dimitir de su puesto de secretario general de la ÖVP. Sin embargo, el lema oficial de la campaña presidencial de Waldheim fue "¡Ahora más que nunca!"

Waldheim ganó las elecciones. Hasta el final de su mandato en 1991, solo pudo visitar los estados árabes y el Vaticano. En todos los demás países, se lo consideraba un invitado no deseado. Poco después de la elección de Waldheim, el gobierno austríaco de Kurt Vranitzky (SPÖ) estableció una comisión internacional de historiadores. Esto no pudo encontrar evidencia de ninguna participación directa de Waldheim en crímenes de guerra. La comisión probó la pertenencia de Waldheim a las SA y a la Federación Nacional Socialista de Estudiantes Alemanes (NSDStB), así como que había estado destinado como oficial de estado mayor y miembro del servicio central de inteligencia del Grupo de Ejércitos E en los Balcanes, lo que Waldheim había negado.

En su informe final, la comisión escribió: “La comisión no ha tenido conocimiento de ningún caso en el que Waldheim haya presentado una objeción o haya protestado contra una injusticia de la que claramente hubiera sabido o emprendido algún tipo de contramedida para prevenir tal injusticia o en menos para dificultar su implementación. Por el contrario, participó reiteradamente en procedimientos ilegales y así facilitó su ejecución ”.

Con justificación, en su obituario de Waldheim, la revista de noticias alemana Der Spiegel recuerda el caso Filbinger: “El caso recuerda el del ex primer ministro de Baden-Württemberg Hans Filbinger, recientemente fallecido, cuyo pasado como juez naval nazi en combinación con su declaración atroz y fatal ('¿Qué era la justicia en ese momento , no puede ser una injusticia hoy ') forzó su renuncia al cargo en la década de 1970 ”.

De hecho, Waldheim, al igual que Filbinger, nunca se disoció de los nazis. En su testamento, escrito poco antes de su muerte, niega cualquier responsabilidad y pinta un cuadro de alguien que no hizo más que su deber. "Sí, también cometí errores", escribió Waldheim. "Pero estos ciertamente no eran los de un compañero de viaje, y mucho menos los de los cómplices de un régimen criminal". Él ve la "razón para lidiar con estos acontecimientos demasiado tarde", particularmente en "la naturaleza agitada de mi sobrecargada vida internacional, durante años y décadas".

"Sin embargo, probablemente fue esa política de estado, que tuvimos que representar como diplomáticos en el período de posguerra, y que abrió el camino a la libertad y la constitucionalidad para nosotros los austriacos como 'las primeras víctimas de Hitler'". Las "acusaciones monstruosas" contra él no tenía nada que ver con su vida y su pensamiento. Estaba conmocionado, insultado e incluso consternado "por el contenido y el alcance de estas acusaciones".

La muerte de Waldheim nos recordó cuán fuerte fue la influencia política de toda una capa de incorregibles viejos nazis en la historia de posguerra de Alemania y Austria.


Contenido

El Secretario General de las Naciones Unidas es designado por la Asamblea General por recomendación del Consejo de Seguridad. Los candidatos para el cargo pueden ser vetados por cualquiera de los cinco miembros permanentes. Los miembros de la OTAN y del Pacto de Varsovia no eran elegibles para el puesto, ya que serían vetados por la superpotencia contraria. Solo los diplomáticos de países neutrales podían esperar escapar de un veto.

El 18 de enero de 1971, el Secretario General U Thant anunció que no buscaría otro mandato. [1] Thant se había desempeñado como Secretario General desde 1961, cuando su predecesor Dag Hammarskjöld murió en un accidente aéreo. La Unión Soviética, Francia y los países del Tercer Mundo querían reclutar a Thant durante al menos un año más en el cargo, [2] [3] ya que se había opuesto firmemente al apartheid y al colonialismo. [4] Sin embargo, Thant declaró que su decisión era "final y categórica", [5] y que no serviría "ni siquiera durante dos meses" después del final de su mandato. [6] Estados Unidos también se opuso a otro término para Thant, citando sus deficiencias administrativas y su oposición a la guerra de Vietnam. [4]

Candidatos oficiales
Imagen Candidato Posición Nominado por Grupo regional Notas
Príncipe Sadruddin Aga Khan Alto Comisionado de las Naciones Unidas para los Refugiados Estados Unidos Grupo Asia-Pacífico Triple ciudadano de Francia, Irán y Suiza, pero nominado por Estados Unidos.
Hamilton Shirley Amerasinghe Representante Permanente de Ceilán ante la ONU [7] Ceilán Grupo Asia-Pacífico
Felipe Herrera Presidente del Banco Interamericano de Desarrollo (1960-1970) Chile Grupo de América Latina y el Caribe
Gunnar sacudiendo Representante Especial de la ONU en el Medio Oriente (1967-1971), Embajador de Suecia en la Unión Soviética [8] Unión Soviética Grupo de Europa occidental y otros Ciudadano de Suecia, pero nominado por la Unión Soviética como alternativa escandinava a Jakobson. Declaró que no se postularía para el cargo, pero que desempeñaría sus funciones si el Consejo de Seguridad lo seleccionaba por unanimidad.
Max Jakobson Representante Permanente de Finlandia ante la ONU [9] Finlandia Grupo de Europa occidental y otros
Endelkachew Makonnen Ministro de Comunicaciones de Etiopía, ex Representante Permanente de Etiopía ante la ONU [9] Etiopía Grupo africano [10]
Kurt Waldheim Presidente del Comité de las Naciones Unidas sobre la Utilización del Espacio Ultraterrestre con Fines Pacíficos [9] Austria Grupo de Europa occidental y otros

Max Jakobson de Finlandia entró en la carrera el 20 de enero de 1971. Jakobson había adoptado una postura fuertemente anticolonial, lo que le valió el apoyo de los países africanos recientemente independientes. [11] Fue apoyado por los Estados Unidos y el Reino Unido, mientras que Francia estaba preocupada solo por su incapacidad para hablar francés. [6] Jakobson había sido elogiado en privado por diplomáticos árabes por su imparcialidad al presidir un comité sobre refugiados palestinos. [9] Sin embargo, los países árabes y la Unión Soviética expresaron su creencia de que estaría sujeto a la presión sionista debido a su ascendencia judía. [3] Los diplomáticos occidentales creían que la Unión Soviética en realidad se oponía a Jakobson debido a sus opiniones sobre las relaciones entre Finlandia y la Unión Soviética, [12] [13] pero el diplomático soviético Victor Israelyan reveló décadas más tarde que la Unión Soviética vetó a Jakobson en nombre de los árabes. [14]: 206–207

Durante mucho tiempo se rumoreaba que Kurt Waldheim de Austria estaba interesado en el puesto de Secretario General. [11] Después de perder las elecciones presidenciales austriacas ante el titular Franz Jonas en abril de 1971, [15] Waldheim dirigió sus esfuerzos hacia la Secretaría General de la ONU. El 16 de junio de 1971, Waldheim pidió al Departamento de Estado de los Estados Unidos que le hiciera saber que estaría disponible para el puesto. A diferencia de Jakobson, Waldheim hablaba francés con fluidez y podía contar con el voto francés. [16] Waldheim también contó con el apoyo soviético en caso de que la candidatura de Jakobson comenzara a flaquear. [17] Estados Unidos no estaba entusiasmado con Waldheim, ya que su "mayor activo" y "mayor responsabilidad" era que no tenía enemigos y no haría nada para crear enemigos. [18]

Gunnar Jarring de Suecia era un candidato de caballo negro. Aunque Jakobson ganó el respaldo sueco como candidato escandinavo, la Unión Soviética hizo flotar el nombre de Jarring como una alternativa escandinava. [13]

Felipe Herrera de Chile obtuvo apoyo al final de la carrera cuando los países latinoamericanos se unieron detrás de su candidatura. Aunque Herrera había sido nominado por el gobierno izquierdista de Allende, incluso la junta militar de Argentina se comprometió a apoyarlo como candidato latinoamericano. [19] Herrera fue bien considerado en América Latina como el ex director del Banco Interamericano de Desarrollo, donde se le conocía como un "desarrollista". [20] Sin embargo, Estados Unidos se opuso a cualquier candidato nominado por el gobierno de Allende y consideró que Herrera era "un mal gerente para empezar". [20] El 20 de octubre de 1971, Estados Unidos ordenó a sus embajadores que le dijeran a los ministros de Relaciones Exteriores de América Latina, "con profunda confianza", que Estados Unidos no podía apoyar a un candidato chileno. [19] El 5 de noviembre de 1971, George Bush se reunió con Herrera y le reveló que Estados Unidos no apoyaría su candidatura. [21]

Consultas de los miembros permanentes Editar

En elecciones pasadas, las dos superpotencias habían controlado la selección del próximo Secretario General. [22] Sin embargo, la selección de 1971 se complicó por el estado incierto del escaño chino en las Naciones Unidas. El 20 de noviembre de 1970, la mayoría de la Asamblea General votó para expulsar a la República de China de las Naciones Unidas y reemplazarla por la República Popular de China. Aunque la votación no alcanzó los dos tercios necesarios para entrar en vigor, los partidarios de la China comunista confiaban en la victoria en 1971. [23] El 25 de octubre de 1971, dos tercios de la Asamblea General votaron para expulsar a China nacionalista de los Estados Unidos. Naciones. El veto chino quedó en manos de la China comunista, un país del Tercer Mundo que no estaba alineado ni con Estados Unidos ni con la Unión Soviética.

Estados Unidos y la Unión Soviética evitaron discutir sobre la secretaría general mientras esperaban para ver cuál sería la posición china. [22] Desde el principio de la contienda, Max Jakobson se había presentado como el único candidato aceptable para la República Popular China. [4] Los chinos no se comprometieron públicamente con la selección de un Secretario General. [24] Sin embargo, revelaron a los otros miembros permanentes que sus principales opciones eran Herrera y Jakobson. [25]

El 6 de diciembre de 1971, los miembros permanentes finalmente comenzaron a reunirse para discutir la selección de un Secretario General. [26] A pesar de la decisión "definitiva e inequívoca" de Thant de dimitir, [27] la Unión Soviética expresó su deseo de reclutar a Thant durante al menos unos meses para hacer frente a la Guerra Indo-Pakistaní de 1971. [24] Aunque Thant había Recientemente fue tratado en el Hospital Leroy por una úlcera sangrante, [22] el embajador soviético Yakov Malik dijo que no se podía esperar que Thant estuviera "100 por ciento en forma como astronauta" y necesitaba dos semanas de vacaciones. Los embajadores de Estados Unidos y Gran Bretaña argumentaron que Thant debería poder renunciar, [26] [24] y el secretario de Estado de Estados Unidos, William P. Rogers, ordenó a Bush que vetara a Thant si su nombre aparecía en la boleta. [25]

El 17 de diciembre de 1971, el Consejo de Seguridad se reunió a puerta cerrada para votar sobre la selección de un Secretario General. La votación fue secreta, los miembros permanentes votaron en papeletas rojas y los miembros rotativos votaron en papeletas blancas. Aunque se suponía que Jakobson era el favorito durante los últimos 11 meses, [7] Kurt Waldheim fue el único candidato que obtuvo la mayoría requerida de 9 votos. [8] Sin embargo, Waldheim fue vetado por China y el Reino Unido. [28]: 411 Felipe Herrera de Chile se mantuvo en la boleta electoral por insistencia china y soviética. [8] Todos los candidatos fueron vetados excepto Gunnar Jarring de Suecia, quien se convirtió en el presunto favorito. [29]

El 20 de diciembre de 1971, Waldheim siguió liderando con 11 votos pero fue vetado por China. Carlos Ortiz de Rozas llegó a la boleta con 10 votos sorprendentemente fuertes, pero fue vetado por la Unión Soviética. Jakobson recibió el mínimo requerido de 9 votos, pero fue vetado por la Unión Soviética. Jarring logró solo 7 votos y recibió un doble veto, incluido uno de China. [30] Cada candidato recibió al menos un veto, y un candidato fue incluso vetado por cuatro miembros permanentes. [31] Los diplomáticos esperaban que el duelo por veto continuara en la tercera ronda de votaciones. [30]

Victoria accidental de Waldheim Editar

El 21 de diciembre de 1971, las delegaciones de Estados Unidos y Gran Bretaña recibieron instrucciones de sus gobiernos para evitar que Kurt Waldheim fuera seleccionado en la votación de ese día. Dado que ambos países habían votado a favor de Waldheim el 20 de diciembre de 1971, decidieron abstenerse si estaban "razonablemente seguros" de que los chinos volverían a vetar a Waldheim. El embajador estadounidense George H. W. Bush pidió al embajador británico Colin Crowe que hablara con los chinos, pero Crowe pensó que eso "sólo despertaría sospechas". En cambio, preguntaron a los embajadores noruego y finlandés cómo votarían los chinos, recibiendo garantías de que los chinos seguirían vetando a Waldheim. Bush también habló con Jakobson, quien dijo que los chinos vetarían a Waldheim "hasta el final". [32]

En la tercera ronda de votaciones, Carlos Ortiz de Rozas se colocó a la cabeza con 12 votos pero fue vetado por la Unión Soviética. Waldheim quedó en segundo lugar con 11 votos, pero no recibió vetos. [33] Para sorpresa de estadounidenses y británicos, los chinos se abstuvieron en lugar de vetar a Waldheim. [32] Como resultado, Kurt Waldheim fue seleccionado como Secretario General de las Naciones Unidas por un período que comenzaría el 1 de enero de 1972. [33]

Resultados de la votación Editar

Resultados de la selección del Secretario General de las Naciones Unidas, 1971
Candidato 17 de diciembre [8]
La ronda 1
Para Contra Abstenerse Vetos
Príncipe Sadruddin Aga Khan 3 Si (desconocido)
Hamilton Shirley Amerasinghe 5 Si (desconocido)
Felipe Herrera 7 4 4
Gunnar sacudiendo 7 5 3 Ninguno
Max Jakobson 8 5 2 Si (desconocido)
Endelkachew Makonnen 4 Si (desconocido)
Kurt Waldheim 10 3 2
Resultados de la selección del Secretario General de las Naciones Unidas, 1971
Candidato 20 de diciembre [31] 21 de diciembre [32]
La ronda 2 Ronda 3
Para Contra Abstenerse Vetos Para Contra Abstenerse Vetos
Hamilton Shirley Amerasinghe 4 6 5 Eliminado de la boleta
Issoufou Saidou-Djermakoye 5 8 2 Eliminado de la boleta
Felipe Herrera 7 6 2
Gunnar sacudiendo 7 4 4 + 1 (desconocido)
Max Jakobson 9 5 1 9 5 1
Carlos Ortiz de Rozas 10 3 2 12 3 0
Abdul Majid Rahmena 3 8 4 Eliminado de la boleta
Shridath Ramphal 3 7 5 Eliminado de la boleta
Gabriel Valdés 7 5 3
Kurt Waldheim 11 2 2 11 1 3 Ninguno

La campaña austriaca a favor de Kurt Waldheim fue un éxito a pesar de que "se consideraba que carecía de la estatura y el impulso suficientes para ser tomado en serio". [17] El embajador francés Jacques Kosciusco-Morizet dijo que "no era suficiente tener un candidato contra el que no hay objeciones. Un candidato a SYG [Secretario General] también debería tener algo a su favor". El embajador británico Colin Crowe no estuvo de acuerdo con que Waldheim fuera incluso "no objetable". [25] Sin embargo, Waldheim recibió un fuerte respaldo diplomático del gobierno socialdemócrata de Austria bajo Bruno Kreisky, a pesar de que Waldheim era del opositor Partido Popular Austriaco. Waldheim también fue favorecido por la Unión Soviética. Durante una cena en la casa de Waldheim, el embajador soviético Yakov Malik propuso un brindis por el anfitrión, "Que todos tus deseos se hagan realidad". [33]


ASUNTO WALDHEIM

El "caso Waldheim" es el término que se aplica convencionalmente a la controversia en torno a la revelación del pasado previamente desconocido de Kurt Waldheim, exsecretario general de las Naciones Unidas, que surgió durante su campaña para la presidencia de Austria en 1986. El asunto no solo se centró la atención internacional sobre Waldheim personalmente, pero también planteó cuestiones más amplias relacionadas con la historia del antisemitismo en Austria y el papel que jugaron los austriacos en la dictadura nazi y la "Solución Final". Un concomitante del caso Waldheim fue el resurgimiento en la cultura política austriaca de la apelación al prejuicio antisemita con fines políticos. Empleando un idioma codificado más apropiado para el debate político "post-Auschwitz", el campo de Waldheim (principalmente el Partido Popular Austriaco Demócrata Cristiano [övp], que lo había nominado) ayudó a construir una imagen hostil de los judíos ("Feindbild") que sirvió tanto para desviar las críticas a la credibilidad de Waldheim y explicar la "campaña" internacional en su contra. La suposición central de este "Feindbild" era que Waldheim y Austria estaban siendo atacados por una conspiración judía internacional.

Kurt Waldheim había disfrutado de una carrera excepcionalmente exitosa en el servicio exterior de Austria después de la Segunda Guerra Mundial. Asumido como secretario del ministro de Relaciones Exteriores Karl Gruber en 1946, Waldheim ocupó varios puestos en el extranjero y en Viena, incluidos dos períodos como representante de Austria en la ONU, y fue nombrado ministro de Relaciones Exteriores en enero de 1968 por el canciller Josef Klaus (övp). Su mandato como ministro terminó en marzo de 1970, cuando los socialistas (spö) de Bruno Kreisky ganaron las elecciones parlamentarias. Poco después, Waldheim regresó a Nueva York como embajador de Austria ante la ONU. En enero de 1971, se encontraba de nuevo en Viena temporalmente para presentarse como candidato a presidente de la övp, que en Austria es un cargo mayoritariamente ceremonial para el que se celebran elecciones cada seis años. Aunque tuvo una actuación muy respetable, Waldheim perdió ante el actual socialista Franz Jonas y luego regresó a su puesto en Nueva York. El 22 de diciembre de 1971, Waldheim fue elegido secretario general de la ONU y reelegido para un segundo mandato en 1976. Sin embargo, su candidatura para un tercer mandato fracasó, y en marzo de 1982, Waldheim, descrito por un periodista como "el más diplomático austríaco exitoso desde Metternich ", finalmente regresó a Austria.

La prominencia internacional y la ambición personal de Waldheim dejaron pocas dudas de que se postularía para la presidencia austriaca en 1986, pero no estaba claro si como candidato de la övp o como candidato de consenso de los dos partidos principales. La övp esperaba sacar la máxima ventaja política de la candidatura de Waldheim para sí misma, sin identificarlo tan estrechamente con ella que pondría en peligro la elección de Waldheim como presidente o el esperado "giro" político concomitante. El entonces presidente Alois Mock impulsó la nominación de Waldheim por la övp como candidato "no partidista" en marzo de 1985, más de un año antes de las elecciones, muy temprano para los estándares tradicionales austriacos. El spö, también consciente del atractivo electoral de Waldheim, no había descartado una candidatura conjunta hasta que se enfrentó al hecho consumado del övp. Un mes después, la spö presentó a Kurt Steyrer, entonces ministro de Salud y Medio Ambiente, como abanderado. Dos candidatos menores, Freda Meissner-Blau de los Verdes, y Otto Scrinzi, ex miembro del parlamento fpö y representante de la extrema derecha nacionalista (alemana) en Austria, también participaron en la contienda.

La fase inicial relativamente tranquila de la campaña, en la que Kurt Waldheim fue el claro favorito, terminó abruptamente en marzo de 1986. De hecho, se puede decir que el asunto Waldheim data del 3 de marzo de 1986, cuando el semanario austríaco Perfil documentos publicados que primero revelan detalles del pasado desconocido de Waldheim. Perfil Las revelaciones fueron seguidas el 4 de marzo por revelaciones casi idénticas por el * Congreso Judío Mundial (wjc), y el New York Times (nyt). Se dijo que la clave para desbloquear las pruebas era una imagen publicada por una unidad del ejército, que colocó a Waldheim en Yugoslavia en un momento específico y, por lo tanto, podría desbloquear su historial de guerra. Esto le dio al historiador Robert Herstein, encargado por el Congreso Judío Mundial, un lugar para comenzar.

Waldheim siempre había negado cualquier afiliación con los nazis de cualquier tipo y, tanto en sus declaraciones públicas como en los pasajes relevantes de sus memorias, había afirmado que su servicio militar terminó en el invierno de 1941-1942, con sus heridas en el este. parte delantera. La evidencia hecha pública por Perfil, el wjc y el nyt sugirieron, por el contrario, que el ex secretario general había sido miembro de la Unión de Estudiantes Nazi y que también había pertenecido a una unidad de equitación montada de la Sturmabteilung, o sa, mientras asistía a la Academia Consular de Viena. entre 1937 y 1939. Otros documentos revelaron que Waldheim había sido declarado apto para el servicio en 1942, después de que su herida había sanado. A finales de marzo de 1942, Waldheim había sido asignado al Alto Mando del Ejército 12 (que se convirtió en el Grupo de Ejércitos E en enero de 1943), luego basado en Thessalonika (Salónica), y permaneció unido a él hasta el final de la guerra. El Grupo de Ejércitos E, comandado por Alexander Löhr, era conocido por su participación en las deportaciones de judíos de Grecia y por el salvajismo de sus operaciones militares contra los partisanos yugoslavos y sus presuntos partidarios civiles.

For his part, Waldheim denied membership in any Nazi organization and offered evidence suggesting his ideological hostility to Nazism. He conceded having served in Army Group E, but denied participation of any kind in atrocities committed by units under Löhr's command, and claimed to have known nothing of the deportation of the Jews of Thessalonika.

The more general strategy pursued by Waldheim and his supporters was to brand the disclosures as part of a "defamation campaign" designed to inhibit his chances in the presidential election. Waldheim's argument ran along the following lines: the accusations of the wjc and the nyt represent a continuation of a slander campaign which the spö had been waging against him for some time. The Socialists or their accomplices had fed documents to the wjc and the nyt in order to damage Waldheim's international reputation, his main advantage over Steyrer. Such allegations were all the less credible, since Waldheim had been cleared by the Austrian secret service at the time he entered the diplomatic service 40 years previously. Moreover, during his candidacy for un secretary general, the cia, the kgb, and the Israelis all investigated him and would not have allowed his election had there been anything in the least incriminating against him. He had not mentioned his tour of duty in the Balkans in his memoirs, Waldheim claimed, because he had had such a minor function and also because his injury on the eastern front had represented a major caesura in his life. He also said that he knew nothing of Jewish deportations and had had nothing to do with other atrocities. But if Waldheim were to be blamed for such things, then truly every Wehrmacht soldier would also come under suspicion.

Although the Waldheim affair became an international media extravaganza, the principal source of documents relating to Waldheim's past, as well as his most vocal critic, was the wjc, an organization based in New York whose primary activities involve campaigning to defend threatened Jewish communities throughout the world and lobbying for what it perceives as the common interests of Jews. The series of press releases and disclosures of documents (24 between March 4 and July 8, date of the second round of the Austrian presidential election) by the wjc set the pace and largely the terms for the debate on Waldheim in the United States. In the early phase of the controversy, the wjc published evidence relating to Waldheim's membership in the sa and Nazi Student Union, which it believed amounted to proof of his "Nazi past." The material on Waldheim's wartime past the wjc first presented was patchy and inconclusive, but over the next several months it made public dozens of additional documents which helped complete the picture of Waldheim's various duties in the Balkans.

On March 22, the wjc published a copy of the Central Registry of War Criminals and Security Suspects (crowcass), a list compiled by the U.S. Army of persons suspected of war crimes, showing that Waldheim had been sought by Yugoslavia after the war for, among other things, murder. The basis for the crowcass listing was a file of the United Nations War Crimes Commission (unwcc), and this latter file was in turn based on a dossier prepared by the Yugoslav authorities and submitted to the unwcc shortly before it concluded its deliberations in 1948.

With the publication of the Yugoslav file, known as the Odluka, or "Decision," the debate on Waldheim's past acquired a far more serious dimension: allegations of war crimes had been leveled against Waldheim by the Yugoslav War Crimes Commission, and these had been reviewed and endorsed by the unwcc. The wjc's subsequent disclosures as well as the discussion on Waldheim's past in general were heavily influenced by this new discovery.

On March 25, 1986, the wjc presented the findings of Robert E. Herzstein, the historian it had commissioned to look into Waldheim's past. Herzstein had discovered that Waldheim had served as a staff officer in the military intelligence department of Army Group e and had been assigned to the Battle Group West Bosnia, whose troops were responsible for the slaughter of thousands of Yugoslavs in the Kozara Mountains in 1942. Waldheim had also received an award for valor (the King Zvonimir medal) from the puppet Croatian government at the end of this campaign.

The wjc continued to offer documents it felt corroborated the findings in the Odluka, and pressed U.S. Attorney General Edwin Meese to place Waldheim's name on the so-called "watch list" of undesirable aliens, effectively barring him from entering the U.S. In the international media, calls for the publication of Waldheim's un file were coupled with more intensive efforts to find a "smoking gun."

The issues involving Waldheim's possible criminality were in any event never self-evident. The possibilities for inferring something opprobrious about Waldheim's service in the Wehrmacht from his previously concealed "Nazi past" were legion, while the publication of the crowcass and the Yugoslav Odluka transformed vague intimations about his military duties into concrete juridical suspicion.

Embarrassing, if not necessarily incriminating, documents were surfacing daily, but there were few around who could reliably interpret what they meant. Moreover, merely keeping track of Waldheim's whereabouts in the Balkans was difficult: he had served in seven different posts in at least ten locations in Serbia-Montenegro, Albania, and Greece. The issue of Waldheim's possible war criminality was also complicated by ignorance about the practice of the Nuremberg Tribunal. On the one hand, much of what the Wehrmacht did to Yugoslav partisans was gruesome but "legal." On the other hand, the conditions under which an officer of Waldheim's rank and position could even incur criminal liability were narrowly circumscribed. Categories of guilt, complicity, responsibility, etc., easily elided, while the suspicious background to the compilation of the Odluka, which undermined if not vitiated the charges made in it, only became known later.

In Austria itself, Waldheim and his supporters continued to portray all new claims about his wartime role as slander, and Waldheim as the victim of a coordinated international "defamation campaign," initiated by socialists, led by the World Jewish Congress, and promoted by the international press, particularly the New York Times. In the course of the election campaign, the wjc became the main object of abuse, and the abundant political invective arrayed by politicians of the övp against it as scapegoat helped promote and legitimate antisemitic prejudice in public discourse to an extent unseen since 1945. Waldheim also attempted to identify his own fate with that of his generation and country by claiming that he, like thousands of other Austrians, had merely done his "duty" under Nazi Germany, an appeal which struck a responsive note among many Austrian voters. In the election on May 4, 1986, Waldheim polled 49.7% of the votes, just short of the majority needed to win. During the six weeks leading up to the second round, the Socialists emphasized their candidate's ability to reconcile a divided nation, but to no avail. Waldheim won the second round handily: his 53.9% of the votes was the largest of its kind (i.e., when not running against an incumbent) in the Second Republic.

Whatever actually determined Austrian voting behavior is open to a great deal of speculation, but the result was almost certainly not affected in any significant way by a negative backlash against the Waldheim camp's antisemitic wager. At the same time, the election does not appear reducible to a moral referendum on Waldheim or his past, for it is doubtful either that Austrian voters conceived the election in such ethico-political terms or that their votes reflected their respective moral choices. Dissatisfaction with government policies or the desire to deliver a protest vote for any one of several reasons seem to have motivated voters at least as much as a reflexive national spite or even antisemitic prejudice. What cannot be doubted is that Waldheim's diminished credibility and his perceived trivialization of Nazi atrocities (in the eyes of his critics, if not his supporters) did not cost him the election.

Contrary to Waldheim's expectations, interest in the unanswered questions about his past did not disappear after his election. Waldheim received no official invitations from any country in Western Europe, and some official government visitors to Austria even avoided traveling to Vienna, as protocol would otherwise have required them to pay a courtesy call on the Austrian president. Some prominent private individuals, such as political scientist Ralf Dahrendorf, also boycotted events where Waldheim would have been present. In April 1987, the U.S. Department of Justice announced that it was placing Waldheim on the watch list, further reinforcing his pariah status.

Since Waldheim's election, three independent research efforts, a commission of seven historians established at the request of the Austrian government, a panel of five international jurists engaged by British and U.S. television production companies, and a commission of the British Ministry of Defense, have illuminated Waldheim's wartime career in great detail, and none found anything in Waldheim's behavior which could implicate him personally in any criminal activity. Waldheim himself considered these judgments a complete vindication, and he and his supporters found the stigma which still attached to him incomprehensible.

Waldheim's diplomatic isolation was broken initially by Pope John Paul ii, who received Waldheim officially in June 1987, and Waldheim subsequently visited a few Arab countries, some of whose papers had defended Waldheim against ostensible Zionist attacks. Though in April 1990 the U.S. Justice Department confirmed its decision to bar Waldheim, an indication of a possible thaw in attitudes toward Waldheim came the following July, when presidents Richard von Weizsäcker of Germany and Vaclav Havel of Czechoslovakia publicly met Waldheim at the Salzburg Festival, where Havel gave the ceremonial address in which he, albeit, indirectly attacked Waldheim by speaking of those who distort their memoirs.

In Austria itself, President Waldheim did not become the kind of integrative figure he had wished. Waldheim was initially an irritation and embarrassment to many, and was even forced by opponents in the government into remaining silent at the official commemoration of jubilee of the Austrian Anschluss in March 1988. During the second half of his term, which ended in 1992, on the other hand, Waldheim's treatment in the press suggested that increasing numbers of Austrians had accepted Waldheim as president, even though he would never be accorded the respect and affection his predecessors had enjoyed.

More broadly conceived, the Waldheim affair symbolizes the postwar unwillingness or inability adequately to confront the complications of the Nazi abomination. It remains to be seen whether current infelicitous images of Austria's Nazi past will be supplanted by the more prosaic Trapp family pendant, or whether the Waldheim affair becomes the occasion for a more general effort on all sides to come to terms with the past. If so, then Waldheim may indeed be said to have performed an important function.


BIBLIOGRAFÍA

Cohen, Bernard, and Luc Rosenzweig. Waldheim. Translated by Josephine Bacon. New York, 1987.

Herzstein, Robert Edwin. Waldheim: The Missing Years. New York, 1988.

Ryan, James Daniel. The United Nations under Kurt Waldheim, 1972–1981. Lanham, Md., 2001.

Uhl, Heidemarie. "Österreich. Vom Opfermythos zur Mitverantwortungthese: Die Transformationen des österreichischen Gedächtnisses." En Mythen der Nationen. 1945—Arena der Erinnerungen, edited by Monica Flacke. Mainz, Germany, 2004.

Waldheim, Kurt. Im Glaspalast der Weltpolitik. Düsseldorf, Germany, 1985. Published in English as In the Eye of the Storm: A Memoir. Bethesda, Md., 1986.


Kurt Waldheim dies at 88 ex-UN chief hid Nazi past

Kurt Waldheim, the former UN secretary general and president of Austria whose hidden complicity in Nazi war crimes was exposed late in his career, died Thursday in Vienna, Austrian media reported. He was 88. He died of heart failure, the state broadcaster ORF reported.

Although it was never proved that Waldheim himself committed atrocities during World War II, he was a lieutenant in army intelligence, attached to brutal German military units that executed thousands of Yugoslav partisans and civilians and deported thousands of Greek Jews to death camps from 1942 to 1944. Waldheim lied about his wartime service in the Balkans, maintaining that his military career ended in 1942 after he was wounded in a battle on the Russian front.

But more than four decades later, his assertions were disputed by witnesses, photographs, medals and commendations given to Waldheim, and by his own signature on documents linked to massacres and deportations.

Kurt Waldheim was born on Dec. 21, 1918, in St. Andrä-Wördern, a village near Vienna. His father, Walter, the son of an impoverished blacksmith, became the local school superintendent and married a daughter of the mayor.

In his 1985 memoir, "In the Eye of the Storm," Kurt Waldheim described Austria in the aftermath of World War I as "the defeated, ruined, truncated remnant of the former Austro-Hungarian Habsburg Empire."

But thanks to his parents' middle-class standing, he and his brother and sister suffered few of the economic deprivations that most Austrians endured during the 1920s.

In March 1938, Adolf Hitler ordered his army into Austria and annexed the country. Because of his known anti-Nazi sympathies, Walter Waldheim was twice arrested by the Gestapo and lost his job.

"Our family was under constant surveillance," Waldheim wrote. "We lived in daily apprehension."

When defending himself against assertions that he had links to the Nazis, Waldheim always asserted that he never had belonged to a Nazi-affiliated group. But, in fact, at the age of 19 he joined the National Socialist German Students League - a Nazi youth organization - just a month after the Anschluss. Then in November 1938, he enrolled in the SA, the paramilitary Nazi organization of storm troopers.

Robert Edwin Herzstein, a historian and professor at the University of South Carolina, played a crucial role in uncovering Waldheim's Nazi past through archival research.

"Kurt Waldheim did not, in fact, order, incite or personally commit what is commonly called a war crime," Herzstein wrote. "But this nonguilt must not be confused with innocence. The fact that Waldheim played a significant role in military units that unquestionably committed war crimes makes him at the very least morally complicit in those crimes."

Waldheim may have been able to hide his past for so long because of the web of intrigue between intelligence services in the Cold War era. By early 1948, the UN War Crimes Commission listed him as a suspected war criminal subject to trial. Yet no government pressed to bring Waldheim to account or even to reveal his unsavory history.

Instead Waldheim, a hardworking and talented diplomat, was allowed to rise to the pinnacle of the Austrian Foreign Ministry, and then go on to serve two terms as secretary general, from 1972 to 1982.

It was a period when the world body was increasingly dominated by third world rhetoric and paralyzed by disagreements between the superpowers. As secretary general, Waldheim was often criticized - by governments in the West, East and the third world - as ineffectual and overly cautious in his attempts to find solutions to the many conflicts erupting around the globe.

It was not until Waldheim left the United Nations and then ran for president of Austria in 1986 that his wartime past became widely known. During his presidential campaign, the efforts of his political opponents, investigative journalists, historians and the World Jewish Congress uncovered archival evidence of Waldheim's involvement with the Nazi movement as a student and his wartime role in the Balkans.

But the disclosures sparked a nationalist backlash in Austria that aided Waldheim's election as president.

Many Austrians apparently viewed Waldheim's life as a parable of their own. They identified with his attempts to deny complicity with the Nazis and to view himself as a citizen of a nation occupied by German invaders and forced into their military service.

In the years between the discovery of his scandalous past and his death, Waldheim steadfastly portrayed himself as an ordinary, unheroic citizen caught up in a maelstrom, a point Herzstein reflected upon.

"Waldheim was clearly not a psychopath like Dr. Josef Mengele nor a hate-filled racist like Adolf Hitler," Herzstein wrote. "His very ordinariness, in fact, may be the most important thing about him. For if history teaches us anything, it is that the Hitlers and the Mengeles could never have accomplished their atrocious deeds by themselves. It took hundreds of thousands of ordinary men - well-meaning but ambitious men like Kurt Waldheim - to make the Third Reich possible."


3. Major Contributions

Waldheim undertook several peace missions as UN Secretary-General. He calmed tensions between Greeks and Turks in Cyprus in 1972 and led peaceful negotiations and reconciliation between 1973 and 1974. Waldheim made significant contributions in Vietnam, Yemen, India, and Pakistan, and organized the UN Emergency forces that acted as a buffer between Israel and Egyptian forces in 1973 in the long-standing Israel-Arab conflicts. Waldheim established a new international economic order at the UN by enacting policies that would reduce the gap between the rich and the poor. He negotiated the release of American Hostages from Tehran although he later became persona non grata in the US. Waldheim made several contributions for his country as president and diplomat.


Kurt Waldheim, Former U.N. Chief, Is Dead at 88

Kurt Waldheim, the former United Nations Secretary General and President of Austria whose hidden ties to Nazi organizations and war crimes was exposed late in his career, died today at his home in Vienna. He was 88.

His death was announced by the office of the Austrian president, Heinz Fischer, and by Mr. Waldheim’s wife, Elisabeth. The cause was heart failure, the state broadcaster ORF reported. Although it was never proved that Mr. Waldheim himself committed atrocities during World War II, he was a lieutenant in army intelligence attached to German military units that executed thousands of Yugoslav partisans and civilians and deported thousands of Greek Jews to death camps between 1942 and 1944.

Mr. Waldheim concealed his wartime service in the Balkans, saying his military career ended in 1942, after he was wounded on the Russian front.

But more than four decades later, his assertions were controverted by eyewitnesses, photographs, medals and commendations given to Mr. Waldheim, and by his own signature on documents linked to massacres and deportations.

“Kurt Waldheim did not, in fact, order, incite, or personally commit what is commonly called a war crime,” wrote Prof. Robert Edwin Herzstein of the University of South Carolina, a historian whose archival research was crucial in uncovering Mr. Waldheim’s Nazi past. “But this non-guilt must not be confused with innocence. The fact that Waldheim played a significant role in military units that unquestionably committed war crimes makes him at the very least morally complicit in those crimes.”

By early 1948, the United Nations War Crimes Commission listed him as a suspected war criminal subject to trial. Yet no government pressed to bring Mr. Waldheim to account or even to reveal his history.

A former Yugoslav intelligence official, Anton Kolendic, said he informed his Soviet counterparts “in late 1947 or 1948” that his government was seeking Mr. Waldheim on suspicion of involvement in war crimes. But the Russians did nothing. And according to a bipartisan letter from Congress sent to President Bill Clinton, the Central Intelligence Agency was aware of Mr. Waldheim’s wartime record years before he stood for election as secretary general but chose to conceal it.

Mr. Waldheim, who had reached the pinnacle of the Austrian foreign ministry, went on to serve two terms as secretary general from 1972 to 1982.

It was not until he ran for president of Austria in 1986 that his wartime past became widely known. During his campaign, political opponents, investigative journalists, historians and the World Jewish Congress uncovered archival evidence of Mr. Waldheim’s involvement with the Nazi movement as a student and his wartime role in the Balkans.

But the revelations were met by a nationalist, anti-Semitic backlash in Austria that aided Mr. Waldheim’s election. Many Austrians apparently viewed Mr. Waldheim’s life as a parable of their own. They identified with his attempts to deny complicity with the Nazis and to view himself as a citizen of a nation occupied by German invaders and forced into their military service. He became a soldier in Hitler’s army, Mr. Waldheim insisted, “just as hundreds of thousands of other Austrians did their duty.”

Kurt Waldheim was born on Dec. 21, 1918, in St. Andrä-Wördern, a village near Vienna. His father, Walter, the son of an impoverished blacksmith, became the local school superintendent and married a daughter of the mayor. Thanks to his parents’ middle-class standing, Kurt and his brother and sister endured few of the economic deprivations that most Austrians did during the 1920’s, when Austria was a “defeated, ruined, truncated remnant of the former Austro-Hungarian Habsburg Empire,” Mr. Waldheim wrote in his 1985 memoir, “In the Eye of the Storm.”

In March 1938, Adolf Hitler ordered his army into Austria and annexed the country in what became known as the Anschluss. Because of his anti-Nazi sympathies, Walter Waldheim was twice arrested by the Gestapo and lost his job. “Our family was under constant surveillance,” Kurt Waldheim wrote. “We lived in daily apprehension.”

Mr. Waldheim asserted that he had never belonged to a Nazi-affiliated group. But in fact, at 19, he had joined the National Socialist German Students League, a Nazi youth organization, a month after the Anschluss. Then, in November 1938, he enrolled in the Sturm-Abteilung, or SA, the paramilitary Nazi organization of storm troopers known as the Brownshirts.

Told in 1986 that documents existed that proved he had joined these Nazi groups, Mr. Waldheim dismissed their significance, arguing that they were meant to protect him and his family. He said in his memoir that he had enlisted in the German army to ward off suspicion of his anti-Nazi opinions.

“A civilian whose politics and activities were under scrutiny was better off as a soldier,” Mr. Waldheim wrote. “In the army, there was much less harassment of those known to disapprove of Nazism, and I had no further trouble.”

In the war, Mr. Waldheim was assigned to the Russian front as a first lieutenant. He suffered a severe ankle wound from a grenade fragment in December 1941 and was sent back to Austria to recover. By his account, his wound ended his military service in 1942, allowing him to complete his law studies.

In fact, as soon as his ankle recovered sufficiently, he was sent back into active service, this time as an intelligence officer in the Balkans. He was assigned to the 714th Infantry Division under the command of the notorious Gen. Friedrich Stahl, who led the Germans and their Croatian allies in an operation that slaughtered more than 60,000 suspected Yugoslav partisans and their family members at Kozara, in West Bosnia, in 1942.

Lieutenant Waldheim had a significant enough role in the massacre to have had his name inscribed on a divisional roll of honor. The Croatians awarded him the Silver Medal of the Crown of King Zvonimir “for courage in the battle against rebels in West Bosnia.”

When hiswartime service in the Balkans was revealed in 1986, Mr. Waldheim insisted at first that he had never been near Kozara. When documents proved the contrary, he played down any involvement in the massacre and told The Associated Press that the Zvonimir medal was handed out “like chocolates” to all German officers.

Other documents disclosed that Mr. Waldheim had served as a staff officer with a large military unit that executed thousands of partisans and noncombatants in Montenegro and eastern Macedonia and killed Allied commandos who had been taken prisoner.

Its commander, Gen. Alexander Löhr, was an Austrian who in 1947 was put to death in Yugoslavia for war crimes.

Mr. Waldheim was also stationed in Greece just outside Salonika, where more than 60,000 Jews were shipped off to Auschwitz. Only 10,000 survived.

“I never heard or learned anything of this while I was there,” Mr. Waldheim said in an interview with The New York Times in 1986. But according to Mr. Herzstein, the historian, Mr. Waldheim prepared numerous reports on the deportations for his army superiors, including General Löhr.

“It is hard to believe,” Mr. Herzstein wrote in “Waldheim: The Missing Years,” a 1988 book on his investigations into the former Secretary General’s past, that “this ambitious young staff officer, whose success had been based in large part on his ability to keep abreast of what was going on, could have failed to notice that most of the Jewish community of Salonika — nearly a third of the city’s population — had been shipped off to Auschwitz.” He added, “As that officer, Kurt Waldheim served as an efficient and effective cog in the machinery of genocide.”

On leave between his Balkan assignments, Mr. Waldheim managed to marry Elisabeth Ritschel and complete his law degree thesis at the University of Vienna in 1944. His wife, also a law student, was an ardent Nazi who before the war had renounced her Roman Catholic faith and joined the League of German Maidens, the female equivalent of the Hitler Youth. She applied for Nazi party membership as soon as she was old enough and was accepted in 1941.

The Waldheims had two daughters, Liselotte and Christa, and a son, Gerhard, who became an active defender of his father when revelations of his Nazi past surfaced in 1986.With the end of World War II, the Allies designated Austria as a nation invaded by the Nazis rather than Germany’s willing partner. The country’s new status helped assuage the fears of thousands of Austrian combatants like Mr. Waldheim. Moreover, Austria was named a neutral nation in the growing Cold War between East and West.

In December 1945, Mr. Waldheim became a personal assistant to Karl Gruber, who was soon appointed Austria’s foreign minister. Mr. Waldheim worked closely with Mr. Gruber on a bitter border dispute with Yugoslavia, by then a Communist country under the leadership of Marshal Josip Broz Tito, the partisans’ wartime commander.

Mr. Waldheim’s prominent role in the dispute almost proved his undoing. In September 1947, the Yugoslav interior ministry discovered that the young diplomat had been an intelligence officer in a German army unit involved in atrocities against Yugoslav partisans. The next year, the Yugoslavs had Mr. Waldheim’s name added to the United Nations War Crimes Commission list of suspected war criminals, a procedure that often led to extradition and trial.

But Cold War events apparently conspired to save Mr. Waldheim. Yugoslavia broke with the Soviet Union and claimed a neutral position between East and West. As part of their realignment, the Yugoslavs agreed to drop their claims on Austrian territory and thus may have no longer had any interest in extraditing Mr. Waldheim or even exposing his past.

Both the Americans and the Russians were aware of Mr. Waldheim’s wartime record. Mr. Kolendic, the former Yugoslav intelligence official, told The Times in 1986 that he had handed over to a senior Soviet intelligence officer a list of “about 25 or 27” Austrians sought for war crimes, including Mr. Waldheim.

It is unclear why American intelligence officials decided not to expose Mr. Waldheim’s wartime record early in his diplomatic career. But the C.I.A.’s failure to do so aroused Congressional resentment. “We now know that our government had in its possession information and documents on Kurt Waldheim,” a bipartisan group of 59 congressmen and women wrote to President Clinton in 1998. “There is no more onerous example of the harm these hidden files can cause than the fact that Kurt Waldheim was elected Secretary-General of the United Nations while the Central Intelligence Agency concealed his wartime past.”

Mr. Waldheim became first secretary in Austria’s embassy in Paris. By 1951, he was chief of the personnel division of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. Foreign Minister Gruber lost his post in 1954, but Mr. Waldheim was already cultivating another mentor and rising star in the Austrian government, Bruno Kreisky, a socialist and a Jew who had survived the war in Sweden.

In 1955, Mr. Waldheim was named Austria’s first permanent representative to the United Nations. In 1968, with Mr. Kreisky installed as Chancellor of Austria, Mr. Waldheim became his foreign minister. Soon he traveled to Belgrade, where Marshal Tito bestowed on him the Order of the Grand Cross of the Yugoslav Flag, to acknowledge his efforts to improve relations between the two countries. Mr. Waldheim was now in the singular position of having been decorated by both the Fascist wartime authorities and the postwar Communist regime in Yugoslavia.

Three years later, when U Thant stepped down as Secretary General, the United States, France, Britain and the Soviet Union backed Mr. Waldheim for the post. He became Secretary General in 1972 and won another five-year term in 1977.

Mr. Waldheim was criticized as being ineffective and too willing to cave in to pressure. Western countries complained that he had failed to pressure Vietnam to abandon its military occupation of Cambodia. The United States and Israel said he was not being even-handed in the Middle East. He endorsed Palestinian statehood without mentioning Israel’s right to exist, and when an Israeli commando unit staged its dramatic rescue of hostages at Entebbe airport in Uganda in 1976, Mr. Waldheim called the action ”a serious violation of the national sovereignty of a United Nations member state.”

Mr. Waldheim retired from the U.N. after it became clear that he had no support for his bid for a third term as Secretary General. He returned to Austria and retired from the foreign ministry in 1984.

If Mr. Waldheim had stayed away from public office at this point, it is likely that his Nazi past would have never been revealed. But in 1985, he embarked on a campaign for the largely ceremonial post of President of Austria, running as the candidate of the rightwing People’s Party.

Rival Socialist politicians began to circulate stories about Mr. Waldheim’s Nazi past, and some archival material made its way into a leading magazine, Profil. Its interest aroused, the World Jewish Congress asked Mr. Herzstein, the scholar of Nazi history, to comb the National Archives in Washington for evidence of Mr. Waldheim’s possible involvement in war crimes.

On March 4, 1986, a Times reporter, John Tagliabue, wrote an article from Vienna on documentary evidence about Mr. Waldheim’s wartime service in the Balkans and his pre-war Nazi associations. And on March 25, the congress announced Mr. Herzstein’s findings at a press conference in New York.

The revelations set off a fierce debate in Austria. Socialists tried to persuade voters that a Waldheim victory would stain Austria’s reputation abroad. But conservatives convinced much of the electorate that the accusations against Mr. Waldheim were an intolerable interference by foreigners in Austrian internal affairs. Campaign posters reflected the backlash, asserting under images of Waldheim, “Now More Than Ever.” Hate mail threatened violence against Austrian Jews if Mr. Waldheim lost.

On June 8, 1986, in a two-round election, Mr. Waldheim won the runoff for Austria’s presidency with 53.9 percent of the 4.7 million votes cast. But the controversy over his past did not subside. On April 28, 1987 the Justice Department barred Mr. Waldheim from entering the United States after determining that he had “assisted or participated in” the deportation, mistreatment and execution of civilians and Allied soldiers in World War II.

At Mr. Waldheim’s request, the Austrian government appointed a commission of historians from seven countries to investigate the accusations. On Feb. 8, 1988, the panel said it had no evidence that Mr. Waldheim was guilty of war crimes. But itconcluded that he had to have been aware of the atrocities committed around him and had done nothing about them, thereby facilitating them.

Mr. Waldheim maintained that he was guiltless. He never expressed remorse or regret for his Balkan service or for his efforts to hide it.

Mr. Waldheim did not seek a second six-year term when his presidency ended in 1992. In a 1996 autobiography, “The Answer,” he contended that his banishment from the United States had resulted from a conspiracy by American Jews, who he said had pressured the Republican administration of President Ronald Reagan to send a “useful signal” to Jewish voters in the 1988 presidential campaign.

Mr. Waldheim steadfastly portrayed himself as an ordinary citizen who had been caught up in a maelstrom.

“Waldheim was clearly not a psycopath like Dr. Josef Mengele nor a hate-filled racist like Adolf Hitler,” Mr. Herzstein wrote. ”His very ordinariness, in fact, may be the most important thing about him. For if history teaches us anything, it is that the Hitlers and the Mengeles could never have accomplished their atrocious deeds by themselves. It took hundreds of thousands of ordinary men — well-meaning but ambitious men like Kurt Waldheim — to make the Third Reich possible.”


The Skeletons of Kurt Waldheim

Kurt Waldheim, the former UN secretary general and president of Austria whose reputation was tarnished by revelations over his Nazi past, died June 14, 2007 at the age of 88.

When I met Kurt Waldheim in Vienna in 1994, the Balkans were doubly at issue, a generation apart. Though I lived in the Austrian capital, I was spending most of my time covering the brutal fighting and ethnic displacements then racking a disintegrating Yugoslavia. Waldheim had served a painful term as Austrian President, marked from beginning to end by controversy over what he had done, seen or known as a young Wehrmacht first lieutenant in Nazi-occupied Yugoslavia in 1942. When his activities there first came under scrutiny during his 1986 campaign, Waldheim, who had served two terms as U.N. Secretary-General from 1972 to 1982, had battened down the hatches, saying, "I did my duty like hundreds of thousands of Austrians" during the war. The Austrians responded by resoundingly electing him under the defiant slogan "now more than ever." But the defiance faded after early 1987, when he was barred entry to the United States and became an international pariah. After six years as a lonely captive of the Hofburg, valiantly protesting his innocence but rarely invited anywhere, he had declined to run for a second term in 1992. He would live a wealthy but constrained existence for another 15 years, until his death on Thursday.

When I went to visit Waldheim in 1994, he was ensconced in his opulent offices at the Austrian League for the United Nations — but he was still under siege. Freedom of Information Act requests had pried open the 1987 Washington report that put Waldheim on the Justice Department's "watch list." The document placed him in Banja Luka in the summer of 1942, when the Nazis had rounded up the city's Jews and the Wehrmacht was fighting an anti-partisan offensive in the Kozara Mountains to the north. Reprisal killings against civilians were part of the Germans' brutal efforts to quell armed dissent in the region. The report didn't prove any direct personal responsibility of Waldheim, who was serving as a quartermaster's deputy, but its author, Neal Sher, argued that "one doesn't have to pull the trigger to be implemented in crimes." Waldheim was having none of that: "unfounded allegations and accusations, with no proof given," he told me.

The question of guilt in a command structure is no less complex now than it was then Waldheim was no card-carrying Nazi, but he had been an officer in a unit that had a very dirty war in the Balkans. His clean-vest spiel particularly rankled me because I'd been spending a fair amount of time in Banja Luka myself. Less than a year before my interview with Waldheim, the city's principal mosque had been totally razed by Serbs, and most of the Muslim population driven out of the city. In the summer of 1992, Serbs in Banja Luka had taken me on a bizarre tour of the camps further west where they held Muslim prisoners. The cruelty of the conflict, the suffering of thousands languishing in refugee camps, had already left a permanent mark on me. Could the conflict have been any less gutting in 1942?

Apparently so, for in his memoirs — the English translation of which bears the weirdly exculpatory title In the Eye of the Storm — Waldheim had simply skipped over his three years of military service in the Balkans. I couldn't fathom how anyone's experiences in a time and place like that could fail to figure in any honest account of a life. When Waldheim made a point of showing me that he was reading Thomas Keneally's Schindler's List — the movie had been released there just a week or so before our interview — I developed a strong sense that we'd talked long enough.

The true depth of Waldheim's involvement in Banja Luka and elsewhere in the Balkans may never be known for certain. By the end of his life he'd regretted having referred to his military service there as a duty done, and he acknowledged that it was a mistake to have excised the Balkans from his memoirs. More importantly, and largely as a result of what will always be known as the Waldheim Affair, Austria finally got beyond its mythic self-image as the first victim of National Socialism and faced up to its own share of responsibility in Hitler's assault on human values. Waldheim was an ambiguous marker on that road to a broader truth.


Conclusión

The efforts of the IWG and the CIA have produced significant additions to the historical record. These declassified documents will be used for many years by scholars and others interested in the issue of war crimes and in the treatment of suspected war criminals, as well as by those interested in post-World War II intelligence activities in Europe.

The IWG's historical researchers did not find major revelations in the CIA files of the six most prominent individuals: Hitler, Barbie, Eichmann, Mengele, Mueller, and Waldheim. All of them have been the subjects of many books and articles drawn from a vast array of sources. CIA files are not fundamentally inconsistent with what responsible authors have already made known through years of intensive research and careful analysis.

At the same time, the opening of CIA records on these six men has made it possible to effectively eliminate certain suspicions, speculation, or unsupported claims about these individuals. The notion, for example, that Heinrich Mueller survived the war and became an intelligence resource for the United States government cannot survive careful scrutiny of the CIA's Mueller file. This negative finding is all the more convincing in that CIA analysts, in documents designed solely for internal use, could not themselves determine conclusively whether Mueller had died in Berlin in early May 1945.

The CIA's Counterintelligence Brief entitled "The Hunt for Gestapo Mueller," written in December 1971, includes the following observations:

Most great counterintelligence feats . are the result of dedicated and endless investigation. Such searches cost a great deal. They also tend to generate vested interests and psychological phenomena-even delusions-which can cause an operation to continue long after it should have been terminated. Officers confronted with the decision as to whether and how far to follow a given trail tend to be torn between the fear of missing a big opportunity and the fear they may be pursuing a mirage or wasting time. Others become obsessed with a search. Publicity hounds, amateur sleuths, writers, fabricators, and provocateurs in the employ of interested parties, spread rumours and confuse matters still further. Moreover, as events recede into the background of history what was (or seemed to be) self-evident to contemporaries becomes mysterious and confusing. Records disappear, memories change, and those who study the events tend to evaluate them in the modern instead of contemporary context.

The search for Mueller provides a good illustration of these phenomena, which are still pertinent to the search for Heinrich Mueller in 2001.

There is no simple explanation or single formula to explain what happened to all the individuals in the second tier discussed in this report. Their activities during the war varied greatly. Wilhelm Harster was one of the worst perpetrators of the Holocaust, for example, while Eugen Dollmann may never personally have committed a war crime. It is logical that their postwar fates would vary, and they did vary to some extent.

A substantial number of the second-tier individuals studied here, however, committed serious crimes on behalf of the Nazi regime. In the immediate postwar period most of them received light punishment or no punishment at all. Part of the reason was that American and western intelligence agencies considered them useful assets in the Cold War. The fact that the Soviet Union also used former Nazi officials to spy against the West does not justify the West's protection of actual or suspected war criminals.

Emil Augsburg's case was not an extreme one in this group. Augsburg had substantive information about Soviet intelligence activities and spoke fluent Russian and Polish. After first being hired by CIC, he became an important player in two other postwar Western intelligence organizations in spite of concerns that he had carried out war crimes and that he might be vulnerable to Soviet pressure or recruitment because of Soviet knowledge of his wartime activities. The irony was that in seeking effective intelligence assets against the Soviet Union and settling upon men such as Augsburg, the CIC, the CIA, and the Gehlen organization made the West more vulnerable to Soviet espionage.

All these individuals lacked the kind of moral and political compass that would have helped them recognize the nature of the Nazi regime and prevented them from working for it. Not surprisingly, some of them also made dubious moral and political choices in the postwar period.

This page was last reviewed on August 15, 2016.
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