Wednesday, February 22, 2023

History: Kurt Waldheim, From the Nazi Student Federation to UN Secretary General and President of Austria


Kurt Waldheim Nazi war crimes UN Secretary General Austria politics ratlines atrocities history cover-up holocaust genocide

In 1987 the US Justice Department declared Kurt Waldheim a dangerous agent; forever forbidding his re-entry onto US soil.

The aristocratic poseur, Waldheim, was the grandson of a Czech blacksmith surnamed Vaclavik. Kurt’s father, Walter, migrated to Austria where Christian-Social Party (CSP) activism landed him the plum-gig of school inspector. CSP-founder and Vienna Mayor, Karl Lueger, pioneered electoral anti-Semitism; blaming “Jewish financiers” for every problem.

Hitler “learned anti-Semitism from Lueger.” After Walter’s CSP superior explained the limitations of “Vaclavik,” Walter choose the uber-German: Waldheim (“woods-home”). When Kurt turned 18, Walter planted him in the 1st Dragoons of Stockerau – a regiment stocked with scions of ancient noble houses.

In 1933 Chancellor Dollfuss transformed CSP into the Fatherland Front. Militias swarmed Austria. In 1934 a Corporate State, blessed by Archbishop Innitzer, suspended parliament and banned opposition parties. Among the banned were pan-German Austro-Nazis who retained support, especially on campuses where they distributed German-printed magazines. Austrian clerico-fascists opposed pan-Germanism out of hostility toward Protestantism. Nazis assassinated Dollfuss, July 1934.

In 1938 Hitler demanded Austria lift employment bans on Nazis. Fatherland Front responded with a huge rally. Nazis counter-demoed and held larger rallies days later celebrating the release of imprisoned compatriots.

Meanwhile, Waldheim attended Boltzmangasse Consular Academy and University of Vienna’s Law College. He met his bride on campus. Like her father, she forsook Catholicism in obedience to Hitler.

In March 1938 Hitler annexed Austria. 250,000 packed Heldenplatz to hear him. 500,000 lined Ringstrasse to catch a glimpse. Innitzer promised support. By mid-July, 30,000 Austrians were political prisoners.

Walter was detained for CSP activities, then forced to retire. Gestapo visited Waldheim’s home; as did Storm Troopers (SA) who painted “priest-lover” on its walls. Kurt joined the Nazi Student Federation, and the Vienna SA with whom he trashed 43 of Vienna’s 44 synagogues on Kristallnacht.

In 1938 the Army drafted Waldheim straight into commando training before dispatching him to Sudetenland. In November he returned to Vienna; resuming SA activism. In 1939 he joined the 45th Infantry with whom he occupied France.

In late-1941 the 45th aided an assault on Moscow. Waldheim witnessed civilian clearances. Bravery at Brest-Litovsk yielded promotions, three medals (including an Iron Cross), and praise from (later-hanged) General von Pannwitz. A thigh-wound returned Waldheim to Austria in December.

In March 1942 Waldheim signed-up with the 12th Army in Yugoslavia. On March 19, the 12th decreed:

“The most minor case of rebellion, resistance or concealment of arms must be treated immediately by the strongest deterrent methods… It is better to liquidate 50 suspects than have one soldier killed.”

During one operation, wherein Staff Officer Waldheim won citations, ratios were:

“100 Serbs to be executed for every German killed, 50 Serbs for every German wounded.”

In May, Waldheim entered Kozara – a contested railway and mining area – with Battle Group West. By September, amidst rape and robbery, 4,735 suspected insurgents had been executed and 70,000 civilians shipped to camps. Waldheim managed casualty stats and detainee transport. His name appears on a “list of honour” parchment commemorating distinguished service in Kozara.

In November 1942 Waldheim received leave to complete his doctorate. His thesis, The Concept of Reich according to Konstantin Frantz, re-purposes Catholicism’s purple prose about “the body of Christ” by replacing that phrase with “the Third Reich.”

Returning to Yugoslavia, March 1943, Waldheim served as Senior Staff Officer for General Loehr’s village-erasing Operation Schwarz, which killed 16,000 in May, mostly in blind reprisals.

The Army then made Waldheim liaison to General Vecchiarelli, head of Italy’s army in Greece; entrusting Waldheim with all intel on Greek operations. German Generals wanted all men in turbulent eastern Greece detained. Vecchiarelli wouldn’t sign-off. On August 7, Waldheim recommended deporting male civilians to slave-camps. On August 20, he received orders approving his recommendation and expeditiously forwarded them.

After Italy’s September 1943 surrender Waldheim proposed enslaving Vecchiarelli’s 158,000 troops; specifying the number of trains needed. He claimed Italians aided the resistance – based on personal “interrogations.”

Operation Case Axis conned Vecchiarelli into handing over his heavy weapons on the promise his troops could keep their rifles and go home. Germans surreptitiously snatched rifles as they herded Italians onto trains. When trains left stations, Italians were fully disarmed. After one rebellion 4,000 Italians were machine-gunned.

In December 1943 Waldheim became Oberleutnant-3 (O3) for the 300,000-troop Army Group E. The Wehrmacht’s best-informed men, O3s were in charge of office staff, maps and files. O3s updated higher and adjacent formations through daily reports and special briefings. O3s initialed each report. A December 19, 1943 report bearing Waldheim’s “W” recounts:

  • burning a monastery, shooting 13 monks;
  • leveling a village, shooting 82 inhabitants (half under the age of 15);
  • placing 128 people from Sparta, including all school-teachers, before a firing squad.

In August 11, 1944, Waldheim reported on an area of Crete where 2 days later 2 villages were razed and 20 suspects shot. On August 15 he reported “mopping-up” nearby areas where no resistance had been met. Twelve officers were convicted of war crimes related to these operations.

With Germans withdrawing from Yugoslavia, October 1944, Waldheim feared partisans along the escape route. On October 13, he conducted aerial surveillance over 3 villages. On October 14, German soldiers torched these villages; executing 114 inhabitants. The later-hanged Captain in charge testified that he was following orders recommended and elaborated by Oberleutnant-3 Waldheim. The overall operation resulted in 739 suspects shot, 13 rifles recovered.

Waldheim watched General Loehr surrender to Yugoslav partisans in May 1945. Loehr broke his word; bolting to the British to re-surrender. They returned him, to be executed. Waldheim surfaced in an American P.O.W. camp where:

“…the deal was struck which allowed the young Oberleutnant to begin a new life. In exchange for information (and he had plenty to offer!), he was authorized to return to Vienna and act as though nothing had happened since 1942.”  (more...)

History: Kurt Waldheim, From the Nazi Student Federation to UN Secretary General and President of Austria

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