US reveals Waldheim Nazi role

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WASHINGTON (Reuter) - Kurt Waldheim served as an officer in German army units that committed atrocities during the Second World War, and the former Austrian president later tried to conceal his service and duties, according to a US Justice Department report.

The 204-page report provided the basis for the 1987 US decision to bar Dr Waldheim, the former UN secretary-general, from entering the country because of his Nazi activities as a lieutenant in the Balkans from 1942 to 1945.

The Justice Department found that Dr Waldheim directly participated in or assisted in a wide range of Nazi persecutions against Jews, civilians and Allied soldiers. But the report stopped short of formally accusing Dr Waldheim, who served as an interpreter and as a staff intelligence, operations and quartermaster officer, of committing war crimes.

Over the years Dr Waldheim has admitted that he served with the German army, but has denied any involvement in war crimes.

'Lieutenant Waldheim would have drafted orders on reprisals, made recommendations based on the interrogation of prisoners, provided intelligence data to military units arresting civilians and co- operated with the (Nazi intelligence arm) in its tasks of deporting and killing prisoners,' the report said.

The report is to be officially released soon.