An aide to Austrian presidential candidate Kurt Waldheim charged Friday that documents linking the former U.N. secretary general to Nazi war crimes were altered before they were leaked to news organizations.
Michael Graff, secretary general of the Austrian Peoples Party, released two documents allegedly doctored to indicate that Waldheim knew Greek Jews were being deported to death camps and about Nazi retaliation against Yugoslav partisans.
“There is no doubt that documents used in the entire Waldheim campaign were manipulated,” Graff told a news conference.
Deletions and Additions
Among the alleged alterations were deletions and additions of names and information and the use of a different typewriter to alter an original report, he said.
Copies of the documents were flown to Vienna late Thursday and were studied by President Rudolf Kirchschlaeger, who reportedly plans to release them next week.
The allegations about Waldheim, an independent presidential candidate in Austria’s May 4 election who is backed by Graff’s party, first surfaced a month ago in the weekly Austrian magazine Profil and the New York Times and in documents publicized by the World Jewish Congress.
Waldheim has denied the allegations and charged they were politically motivated.
A Profil representative attended the news conference and said his magazine did not know the documents had been altered and promised a correction in the next issue.
One document used by Profil was a report, marked “secret” and dated July 15, 1944, that listed “enemy” actions in Nikaria, Greece.
A second section of the report stated: “End of July 1944. The deportation of Jews who have no Turkish citizenship has started on order of the Supreme Command of Army Group E, IC-AO.” Waldheim was a member of that unit.
Graff said different typewriters must have been used to type the two sections because the letter “R” key was not printing correctly on the first page but was functioning on the other page.
He also noted reference in the past tense to deportations at the end of July, although the document was dated July 15, and said the separate subject of deportations would not normally be mentioned in a document dealing with a completely different subject: enemy actions in Nikaria during April 1944.
Graff said the name of the chief writer of a daily report on army activities along the Eastern Front was deleted at the bottom and only the name “Waldheim” was left.
This was an attempt to portray Waldheim as the author of the intelligence report when his duty was actually to confirm that it was correctly typed, Graff said.
Meanwhile, in New York, the United States also obtained copies of the U.N. War Crimes Commission file on Waldheim, a U.S. spokesman said Friday.
Ambassador Herbert S. Okun, the deputy permanent U.S. representative, collected the documents from the U.N. archives.
Israel has also obtained copies of the same file.