Friday, June 15, 2007

Ex-Nazi Kurt Waldheim dies

Former UN Chief, former president of Austria and former Nazi SA man Kurt Waldheim died yesterday. He was 88.

Waldheim served as head of the UN from 1972-1981. He then successfully ran for president of his native Austria in 1986..which is when some disturbing things about Waldheim's past surfaced.

In his official biographies, Waldheim initially lied, saying that his wartime service for the Nazis consisted of a stint at the Russian front back in the good old days of 1941, where he claimed to have been wounded and then returned to Austria to continue his studies.

Later, after some disturbing reports and documents surfaced in the media, Waldheim gradually `revised' his story to say that he was transferred to the Balkans in April 1942; went to Arsakli, Greece, as an interpreter that summer; and, in April 1943, became an assistant adjutant with Army Group E, Department I-C.

Waldheim was stationed in Bosnia (the mostly Muslim part of Yugoslavia that allied itself with the Nazis) as part of the Bosnien-Kampfgruppen of Wehrmacht Army Group E under General Löhr.

He was based at a town called Banja Luka, a town where Serbs and Jews and other undesirables were openly shot,hung from public gallows or murdered and at the neighborhood concentration camp at Jasenovac.

Kind of hard to miss that...

Waldheim, of course claimed that he was only doing his duty, just following orders, and that he knew absolutely nothing about this. He was just an intelligence officer...who's commanding officer, General Löhr just happened to have been executed in Yugoslavia for war crimes.

Unfortunately, there are a number of orders and reports on what happened in Banja Luka with the telltale `W' initial that still exist, including accounts of `interviews' by Waldheim's junior officers of partisans and allied commandos (mostly British) who ended up vanishing or `shot while trying to escape'. Some of them were published by the World Jewish Congress.

Hey, Waldheim probably never got his hands dirty by torturing or shooting anybody directly. He was an `administrator', who merely pushed the paper, signed off on the process, helped keep the wheels greased for those that did..

As things began to come out about Waldheim's past, Yugoslav newspapers published a facsimile of a 1947 document showing Waldheim's name on a list of German officers who took part in the infamous Mount Kozara `operation'.

In 1942, a force of Nazi troops augmented with troops from the Nazi puppet state of Croatia began a campaign to pacify the Mount Kozara area. That 'campaign' ended up costing the lives of an estimated 60,000 Yugoslav civilians,including 23,000 children . An officer of the fascist Croatian Ustasi allied with the Nazis sent a telegram calling for the removal of civilians to nearby concentration camps. Named in the telegram as the source of the order: Lieutenenat Kurt Waldheim.

The telegram was authenticated by the German newspaper Der Spiegal, and it reads:"Very urgent. Lieutenant Kurt Waldheim of General Stahl's staff requests that 4,224 prisoners from Kozara, consisting mainly of women and children and about 15% of old men, be sent on the way: 3,514 to Grubisino Polje and 730 to Zemun." Both were transit camps, channeling people to forced labor or concentration camps.

Of course, Lieutenant Waldheim probably thought the Nazis were sending these people to summer camp.

Waldheim originally declared he had been behind the lines near Kozara. Later, he said he had confused the geography.

All this was enough to keep Kurt Waldheim on a watch list barring him from entering the United States right up until the day he died.

If there is a hell, I'm sure Kurt Waldheim's administrative expertise is appreciated, and that he's busy not committing atrocities against civilians there...he's just supervising.

Waldheim is survived by his wife, Elisabeth, a Nazi party member since the 1930's that he married in 1944, and their three children. The official cause of death was listed as heart failure, but I doubt it.

You have to have a heart in the first place for that to happen.


Anonymous said...

A piece of a shit of a human being. Pity he lived so long.

Anonymous said...

they always seem to live long lives, don't they?