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December 18, 1987 - Image 42

Resource type:
Text
Publication:
The Detroit Jewish News, 1987-12-18

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PURELY COMMENTARY

Waldheim Indictment

Continued from Page 2

Waldheim's visit was spoiled by
it. On the next day, he tried to
make honorable amends by
agreeing to put a white skullcap
on his head to visit a synagogue.
That evening, he commited
another faux pas. The Minister
of Foreign Affairs, Abba Eban,
gave a dinner in his honor at his
residence in Jerusalem. "I made
a toast to him. He replied that he
saluted Jerusalem, our magnifi-
cent capital. Did he do so
deliberately? It's still an open
question," Eban says today.
Such an expression could have
enraged the Arabs. The con-
quest of the eastern part of
Jerusalem, and its annexation,
followed by the official pro-
clamation of the eternal capital
of the Jewish state have never
been acknowledged by them, or
indeed by the rest of the interna-
tional community. Tel Aviv is
Israel's capital city.
As usual, Kurt Waldheim
hastened to publish an
elaborate communique which
stated, "that he used this con-
ventional expression in-
advertently as an impromptu
response to a toast. The United
Nations position on the status of
Jerusalem is well known and it
was evidently not my intention
to disassociate myself from it."
Kurt Waldheim returned to
Jerusalem four years later. The
Director of the Israeli Ministry
of Foreign Affairs, Shlomo
Avinery, gave a lecture at the
Hebrew University on Mount
Scopus on February 10, 1977, on
relations between Austria and
Isral, in Waldheim's presence.
"As you know, Mr. Waldheim,
the Austrian Emperor once held
the title of King of Jerusalem,"
said Avinery, with flattery
which he now regrets. Kurt
Waldheim replied that he was
deeply moved to find himself
there once again. "And I must
also thank you for your wonder-
ful apple strudel which seems to
me to taste even better than in
Vienna:'

Perhaps this would be insufficient
in court procedure for a criminal indict-
ment. After all, it only portrays
episodes in activities of an ugly
character. The Waldheim volume that
includes these episodes provides the ac-
cumulating facts about a collaborator
who shared in brutalities that led to
wholesale extermination of Jewish
communities.
The indisputable massive evidence
is compiled in this volume and
Waldheim is exposed as the active par-
ticipant in the crimes that made him
one of the associate leaders in the
deportation to their death of tens of
thousands, from Yugoslavia and Greece.
Inauguration of the campaign to ex-
pose Waldheim and his Nazi collabora-
tion is given proper coverage in this
volume's analyses. The authors give
equal coverage to the over-caution in
tackling the issue by the frightened
who at the outset panicked over the
possibility of negative results in level-

42

FRIDAY, DECEMBER 18, 1987

Kurt Waldheim
ing accusations against the former
Secretary General of the United Na-
tions. It did not take long, as evidence
was mounting, to create the near-
unanimous sense of outrage that the
crimes of an international official could
have been condoned.
The most recent triumph is the de-
mand that United Nations files contain-
ing records of Nazi crimes and
criminals should be made available to
students of the Nazi era and historians
searching for the records. This led to ex-
posure of Waldheim's enforced policies
of preventing access to these records
while he was in the UN leadership. The
truth about him might otherwise have
been revealed earlier.
The authors of this revealing book
also deal with the outrage that was
aroused by Pope John Paul II having
given credibility to Waldheim by gran-
ting him recognition with an official au-
dience. The rebuke to the Pope becomes
a timely one with the announced an-
ticipation of another audience by the
Pope to Waldheim. Therefore the rebuke
adds importance to this book.
Then there is the query that arose
whether the anti-Semitism in Austria
is overwhelmingly widespread, and
whether there was a measure of protest
against Waldheim by Austrians.
Rosenzweig and Cohen indicate where
there actually were protests.
On both scores, the Pope's widely-
assailed favoritism to Waldheim and
the antagonism to Waldheim by
Austrians is provided by the two
authors in the following:

John Paul II's smile, as he
stood alongside a radiant
Austrian President, was ex-
perienced by Jews all over the
world as a slap in the face.
Was it through a desire for
consistency in an ostpolitik
which sees Vienna as an out-
post for Christianity in confron-
tation with a Marxist, atheistic
world? Or was it simply out of
solidarity with a man who in his
youth merely conformed to the
pro-Nazi stance of the highest
echelons of the Austrian
Catholic clergy?
The Pope has not given any

explanation — it is not part of
the tradition — for his reasons
for breaking the cordon
sanitaire. Yet despite the sym-
bolic importance of this gesture,
world opinion didn't change.
Italy quickly made the ex-
cuse of political crisis to prevent
Waldheim's visit to the Vatican
to be accompanied by
ceremonial visits with leading
Italian statesmen. The more or
less voluntary absence of many
Western ambassadors to the Ho-
ly See during the official
ceremonies held in honor of
Kurt Waldheim were, just like
the demonstrations in St. Peter's
square, a sign of mistrust.
However, it is in Austria itself
that Kurt Waldheim's position
has suffered most noticeably. In
early June, the Viennese Sec-
tion of the Austrian Socialist
Party, the most important sec-
tion in the country, officially
asked the President of the
Republic to resign, despite the
opposition of several party
leaders, such as former Minister
of Foreign Affairs Leopold Gratz
and former Chancellor Fred
Sinowatz. For his part, former
Chancellor Bruno Kreisky ask-
ed Waldheim to make a personal
move to re-establish his coun-
try's reputation.
Even more remarkable was
the success of the com-
memorative vigil outside St.
Stephen's Cathedral in Vienna
organized by members of the
Austrian Resistance against
Nazism. From June 8 through

July 8, the anniversaries of the
election and the assumption of
office of President Kurt
Waldheim, former resistance
fighters, intellectuals, artists
and activists in the New Austria
organization, initiated a
dialogue with the local popula-
tion in the center of Vienna. Pas-
sionate discussions were held in
little groups until late into the
night, during which young
Austrians discovered three dark
corners of Austrian history
which had been concealed by of-
ficial teaching from the very
mouths of those who had lived
through the period.
Elsewhere in the Hofburg,
the official residence which
once belonged to the
Hapsburgs, Kurt Waldheim and
his followers appeared deaf to
the echoes of the slowly awaken-
ing Austrian memory.

There is added importance in this
compartively brief but very effective
work in an appendix. It is a
"Chronology" which does very much
more than cover the villainy of
Waldheim. It covers a vast portion of the
Holocaust horrors. It is therefore a wor-
thy contribution to an aspect of our cur-
rent history.
The Waldheim case is far from
finished. He still is the duly-elected
president of Austria. Every move he
makes will be cause for condemnation.
When he goes to the Vatican again,
both will be condemned. The facts ex-
posing Waldheim will always be a
necessity. Therefore the importance of
this Waldheimvolume.

Arthur Miller

Continued from Page 2

Arthur Miller

through the years this element in his
life lends importance to his
autobiography.
Then there is the frank discussion
of his brief marriage to Marilyn
Monroe. That's a romantic tale all its
own.
Arthur Miller's experiences in Ann
Arbor, his apparent devotion to alma
mater University of Michigan and ex-

periences there provide interest and
respect for the author's attachment to
his university.
It is in relation to the events in the
McCarthy era that his recollections
gain special significance.
Miller acted with dignity in this
matter. He never resorted to the Fifth
Amendment because there was nothing
to hide. The shocking occurrences
receive devastating rebuke.
Recalling that the World Telegram
and the Hearst Journal-American along
with Walter Winchell and Ed Sullivan
in his New York Daily News column
were conducting 'patriotic attacks on
my left-wing background," Miller learn-
ed that an effort was made to condemn
him unfairly as a member of the Com-
munist Party. He was then conducting
a study of juvenile delinquency.
"It was a blacklisting time when
the careers of many of my actor friends
were being destroyed and any effective
resistance to this bloodless American
fascism was hard to detect" Miller
recalls.
Arthur Miller's review of the events
generated by the House Un-American
Activities Committee is an informative
chapter in and becomes extremely
valuable as a commentary on the
political conflicts of the early 1950s. He
describes the feelings he felt over the
spreading venom as "the chaos within."

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