President of Austria, United Nations Secretary General. Waldheim studied law at Vienna University and attended the Consular Academy. He joined the Army during World War II and was wounded in Russia in 1941. His official resume used to indicate that he then returned to Austria, but in the 1980s Waldheim was forced to admit that he was transferred to the Balkans in 1942, and in 1943 had joined the staff of General Alexander Loehr, who was later executed in Yugoslavia for war crimes. After the war, Waldheim entered Austria's diplomatic service. He was Ambassador to Canada from 1958 to 1960. From 1964 to 1968 Waldheim was Austria's UN Representative, then served as Foreign Minister for two years. He ran unsuccessfully for President in 1971. In 1972 he became United Nations Secretary General, serving until 1981. He served as President of Austria from 1986 to 1992. While he was President, the World Jewish Congress published documents showing that Waldheim's Army unit killed Yugoslav civilians during World War II. He insisted that his job was to process documents, but a 1947 report showed Waldheim's name on a list of Army officers who took part in the Mount Kozara operation that killed between 60,000 and 70,000 civilians. In 1988 an international commission said it found no proof that Waldheim had committed war crimes, but that he was in "direct proximity to criminal actions." The report stated that Waldheim knew about Nazi atrocities in the Balkans and never tried to prevent them.
Bio by: Bill McKern
Elisabeth Ritschel Waldheim