Saturday, 27 August 2011

Kurt Josef Waldheim

UNICEF Milestones

1946-1956 1957-1966 1967-1976
1977-1986 1987-1996 1997-2004

see also Thematic Overview

Year Notes
1967 Executive Board reviews strategies, criteria and priorities to be followed for the best use of UNICEF aid, reaffirming and refining policies approved in 1961: UNICEF can help governments to establish
priorities for children and will support whatever is mutually agreed to be the best possible action to achieve them.

“Country approach” is emphasized. The goal is to move away from individual projects, as separate entities, to more comprehensive services for children forming an integral part of national development efforts. Emphasis is placed on need for innovative approaches to solving problems, new ways of training, and greater attention to eliciting local support.

The Board approves aid for family planning within the context of maternal and child health services.
1968 Executive Board reviews aid for education; agrees that UNICEF should continue to support strategic aspects of education programmes - teacher training, modernization of school curricula, emphasis on practical subjects such as science, vocationally-oriented studies, health, nutrition.

Aid is provided to mothers and children on both sides of the conflict in Nigeria and is approved for both sides in the Viet Nam conflict - as part of UNICEF’s philosophy of aiding all children in need, regardless of politics, creed, national origin, etc.

UNICEF and WHO introduce oral rehydration therapy (ORT) in 1968, a simple solution of sugar, salt and water to treat diarrhoeal dehydration. By 2000 one million children in developing countries are being saved each year by ORT.
1969 For the first time Executive Board meets in Latin America - in Santiago - and holds a special meeting on the situation of Latin American children. Decides to seek contributions from governments for specific purposes in addition to contributions to general resources.
1970 UNICEF’s annual income is now $59.4 million - exceeding the $50 million target set in 1966. Target of $100 million is set for 1975, Guidelines are established for allocation of UNICEF aid; the purpose is to give more to projects in the neediest countries.

Assessment is made of projects for education and training of women and girls for family and community life.
1971 Executive Board decides that increased efforts must be made to encourage deployment of financial support from multilateral and bilateral sources to benefit children.

Special forma of aid for services benefiting children in urban slums and shanty towns are approved.
1972 Kurt Waldheim (Austria) takes office as Secretary- General of UN, serving until December 1981.

Training of national auxiliary and para-professional personnel continues to be a major element in UNICEF aid with some 220,000 persons receiving training stipends. In addition, many thousands more benefit from material aid provided by UNICEF to training centres and institutions.

Increased emphasis is now given to responsible parenthood and family planning as a component of various health and social services.

Board adopts new policy guidelines for aid to education, with concentration on educationally deprived children of primacy school age, young adolescents who have missed schooling, education of girls, use of schools for health and nutrition education, education of parents in child rearing.
1973 UNICEF decides to expand aid for non-formal education (outside regular school programmes), particularly for rural children and youth with emphasis on the basics of literacy and numeracy as well as skills and knowledge.

UNICEF is now assisting some 70 countries with village water supplies; the purpose is to reduce child illness and death, and to lessen drudgery of mothers, improve quality of life in villages, encourage self-help community efforts.

UNICEF begins help for prevention of blindness in young children, through large doses of vitamin A.

Participation by UNICEF in UNDP country programming exercises provides new opportunities to promote systematic action in national development efforts to meet needs of children.
1974 Executive Board, concerned with serious threat to millions of children adversely affected by world economic crisis, inflation, natural disasters and scarcity of food, issues a “Declaration of Emergency" . Special efforts are authorized for children’s services in least developed countries and in countries “most severely affected”.

Board reviews efforts to give special attention to the young child (up to approximately six years of age) and agrees that emphasis should be on reaching the child by extending existing channels, including indirect services through mothers, families and communities.

First annual UNICEF pledging conference at which governments announce contributions for following year, is held in November.
1975 Executive Board appeals to special session of the United Nations General Assembly to encourage action to meet deteriorating situation of children in many countries.

UNICEF joins with WHO in approving a new strategy of assistance to primary health services to bring care to now largely unserved mothers and children and decides to strengthen action for more effective work to improve child nutrition.

Board approves an “advocacy-oriented” information policy designed to make public opinion, in both industrialized and developing countries, more responsive to action to meet children’s needs.

International Women’s Year accelerates UNICEF’s emphasis on programmes benefiting women and girls.
Following administrative survey, Board endorses Executive Director’s plans to strengthen the organization’s management.

UNICEF annual revenue now reaches a record level of $141 million; (but this is only a 7 per cent increase over 1974 revenues in real terms).
1976 Worst aspects of depression and its effect on children appear to be receding, but poorest countries continue to suffer from major economic changes. They need augmented assistance to help meet the
“quiet emergency” daily facing millions of children.

Board approves a goal of $200 million annual revenue. Economic and Social Council endorses this and recommends that United Nations General Assembly urge both developing and developed countries and
the international community to support basic services for children.

Emphasis is on extending the network of core services already developed in most countries to benefit the large number of their children now unserved.

Economic and Social Council recommends that the General Assembly proclaims 1979 as the “International Year of the Child”.

More than 100 non-governmental organizations now have consultative status with UNICEF. The Executive Board reviews ways in which UNICEF and the 30 National Committees for UNICEF can co-operate more effectively to serve children of developing countries.
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Kurt Josef Waldheim (German pronunciation: [ˈkʊɐ̯t ˈvaldhaɪm]; 21 December 1918 – 14 June 2007) was an Austrian diplomat and politician. Waldheim was the fourth Secretary-General of the United Nations from 1972 to 1981, and the ninth President of Austria, from 1986 to 1992. While running for President in Austria in 1985, his service as an intelligence officer in the Wehrmacht during World War II raised international controversy.

Contents [hide]
1 Early life
2 Military service in World War II
2.1 Overview
2.2 Service in Yugoslavia and Greece
2.3 Surrender
3 Diplomatic career
3.1 United Nations Secretary-General
4 Presidency of Austria
4.1 Election and Waldheim Affair
4.2 The International Committee of historians and allegations of Nazi War Crimes
4.3 Term of presidency 1986–1992
5 Later years and death
6 Media references
7 Further reading
8 References
9 External links

[edit] Early lifeWaldheim was born in Sankt Andrä-Wördern, a village near Vienna, on 21 December 1918.[1] His father was a Roman Catholic school inspector of Czech origin named Watzlawick[2] (original Czech spelling Václavík) who changed his name that year as the Habsburg monarchy collapsed. Waldheim served in the Austrian Army (1936–37) and attended the Vienna Consular Academy, where he graduated in 1939. Waldheim's father was active in the Christian Social Party. Waldheim himself was politically unaffiliated during these years at the Academy. Shortly after the German annexation of Austria in 1938, a 20-year old Waldheim applied for membership in the National Socialist German Students' League (NSDStB), a division of the Nazi Party.[3] Shortly thereafter he became a registered member of the mounted corps of the SA.

On August 19, 1944, he married Elisabeth Ritschel in Vienna; their first daughter Lieselotte was born the following year. Son Gerhard and daughter Christa followed.

[edit] Military service in World War II[edit] OverviewIn early 1941 Waldheim was drafted into the Wehrmacht and sent to the Eastern Front where he served as a squad leader. In December 1941 he was wounded but later returned to service. His further service in the Wehrmacht from 1942 to 1945 was subject of the international dispute in 1985 and 1986. In 1985, in his autobiography, he stated that he was discharged from further service at the front and for the rest of the war years finished his law degree at the University of Vienna in addition to marrying in 1944.[4] Documents and witnesses which have since come to light reveal that Waldheim’s military service continued until 1945, and that he rose to the rank of Oberleutnant, and confirmed that he married in 1944 and graduated with a law degree from the University of Vienna in 1945.

[edit] Service in Yugoslavia and GreeceHis functions within the staff of German Army Group E from 1942 until 1945, as determined by the International Commission of Historians,[5] were:

1.interpreter and liaison officer with the 5th Alpine Division (Italy) in April/May 1942, then,
2.O2 officer (communications) with Kampfgruppe West Bosnia June/August 1942,
3.interpreter with the liaison staff attached to the Italian 9th Army in Tirana in early summer 1942,
4.O1 officer in the German liaison staff with the Italian 11th Army and in the staff of the Army Group South in Greece in July/October 1943 and
5.O3 officer on the staff of Army Group E in Arksali, Kosovska Mitrovica and Sarajevo from October 1943 to January/February 1945.
By 1943 he was serving in the capacity of an ordnance officer in Army Group E which was headed by General Alexander Löhr.[6] In 1986, Waldheim said that he had served only as an interpreter and a clerk and had no knowledge either of reprisals against civilians locally or of massacres in neighboring provinces of Yugoslavia. He said that he had known about some of the things that had happened, and had been horrified, but could not see what else he could have done.[4]

Much historical interest has centered on Waldheim's role in Operation Kozara in 1942.[7] According to one post-war investigator, prisoners were routinely shot within only a few hundred yards of Waldheim's office,[8] and just 35 km away at the Jasenovac concentration camp. Waldheim later stated "that he did not know about the murder of civilians there."[8]

Waldheim's name appears on the Wehrmacht's "honor list" of those responsible for the militarily successful operation. The Independent State of Croatia awarded Waldheim the Medal of the Crown of King Zvonimir in silver with an oak branches cluster.[9] Later, during the lobbying for his election as U.N. Secretary General, Yugoslav leader Josip Broz Tito awarded Waldheim one of the highest Yugoslav orders.[10]

Waldheim denied that he knew war crimes were taking place in Bosnia at the height of the battles between the Nazis and Tito's partisans in 1943.[11] According to Eli Rosenbaum, in 1944, Waldheim reviewed and approved a packet of anti-Semitic propaganda leaflets to be dropped behind Soviet lines, one of which ended, "enough of the Jewish war, kill the Jews, come over."[12]

[edit] SurrenderIn 1945, Waldheim surrendered to British forces in Carinthia, at which point he said he had fled his command post within Army Group E, where he was serving with General Löhr, who was seeking a special deal with the British.

[edit] Diplomatic careerWaldheim joined the Austrian diplomatic service in 1945, after finishing his studies in law at the University of Vienna. He served as First Secretary of the Legation in Paris from 1948, and in the Ministry for Foreign Affairs in Vienna from 1951 to 1956. In 1956 he was made Ambassador to Canada, returning to the Ministry in 1960, after which he became the Permanent Representative of Austria to the United Nations in 1964. For two years beginning in 1968, he was the Federal Minister for Foreign Affairs in Austria serving for the Austrian People's Party, before going back as Permanent Representative to the U.N. in 1970. Shortly afterwards, he ran and was defeated in the 1971 Austrian presidential elections.

[edit] United Nations Secretary-GeneralAfter being defeated in his home country's presidential election, he was elected to succeed U Thant as United Nations Secretary-General the same year. As Secretary-General, Waldheim opened and addressed a number of major international conferences convened under United Nations auspices. These included the third session of the U.N. Conference on Trade and Development (Santiago, April 1972), the U.N. Conference on the Human Environment (Stockholm, June 1972), the third UN Conference on the Law of the Sea (Caracas, June 1974), the World Population Conference (Bucharest, August 1974) and the World Food Conference (Rome, November 1974). However, his diplomatic efforts particularly in the Middle East were overshadowed by the diplomacy of then US Secretary of State, Henry Kissinger.[13]

On September 11, 1972, Ugandan dictator Idi Amin sent a telegram to Waldheim, copies of which went to Yasser Arafat and Golda Meir. In the telegram, Amin "applauded the massacre of the Israeli Olympic athletes in Munich and said Germany was the most appropriate locale for this because it was where Hitler burned more than six million Jews."[14] Amin also called "to expel Israel from the United Nations and to send all the Israelis to Britain, which bore the guilt for creating the Jewish state."[15] Among international protest "the UN spokesman said [in his daily press conference] it was not the secretary-general's practice to comment on telegrams sent him by heads of government. He added that the secretary-general condemned any form of racial discrimination and genocide."[15]

Waldheim was re-elected in 1976 despite some opposition. Waldheim and then-U.S. President Jimmy Carter both prepared written statements for inclusion on the Voyager Golden Records, now in deep space.[16] He was the first Secretary-General to visit North Korea, in 1979.[17] In 1980 Waldheim flew to Iran in an attempt to negotiate the release of the American hostages held in Tehran, but Ayatollah Khomeini refused to see him.[13] While in Tehran, it was announced that an attempt on Waldheim's life had been foiled. Near the end of his tenure as Secretary-General, Waldheim and Paul McCartney also organized a series of concerts for the People of Kampuchea to help Cambodia recover from the damage done by Pol Pot.[18] The People's Republic of China vetoed Waldheim's candidature for a third term, and he was succeeded by Javier Pérez de Cuéllar of Peru.

[edit] Presidency of Austria[edit] Election and Waldheim AffairWaldheim had unsuccessfully sought election as President of Austria in 1971, but his second attempt on 8 June 1986 proved successful. During his campaign for the presidency in 1985, the events started that marked the beginning of what became known internationally as the "Waldheim Affair". Before the presidential elections, Alfred Worm revealed in the Austrian weekly news magazine Profil that there had been several omissions about Waldheim's life between 1938 and 1945 in his recently-published autobiography. A short time later, the World Jewish Congress alleged that Waldheim had lied about his service as an officer in the mounted corps of the SA, and his time as an ordnance officer for Army Group E in Saloniki, Greece, from 1942 to 1943 based in files from the United Nations War Crimes Commission.[19][20] Waldheim called the allegations "pure lies and malicious acts".[21] Nevertheless he admitted that he had known about German reprisals against partisans: "Yes, I knew. I was horrified. But what could I do? I had either to continue to serve or be executed."[21] He said that he had never fired a shot or even seen a partisan.[21] His former immediate superior at the time stated that Waldheim had "remained confined to a desk".[21] Former Austrian chancellor Bruno Kreisky denounced the actions of the World Jewish Congress as an "extraordinary infamy"[21] adding that Austrians wouldn't "allow the Jews abroad to ... tell us who should be our President."

Part of the reason for the controversy was Austria's refusal to address its national role in the Holocaust (many including Adolf Hitler were Austrians and Austria became part of the Third Reich). Austria refused to pay compensation to Nazi victims and from 1970 onwards refused to investigate Austrian citizens who were senior Nazis.[22] Stolen Jewish art remained public property until well after the Waldheim affair.[23]

Because the revelations leading to the Waldheim affair came shortly before the presidential election, there has been speculation about the background of the affair.

Declassified CIA documents show that the CIA had been aware of his war-time past since 1945.[24] Some sources report information about Waldheim's wartime past was also previously published by a right wing Austrian newspaper during the 1971 presidential election campaign - including the claim of an SS membership - but the matter was supposedly regarded as unimportant or even advantageous for the candidate at that time.[25]

It has been asserted that his war-time past and the discrepancies in his biography must have been well known to both superpowers before he was elected UN secretary and there were rumors that the KGB had blackmailed him during his UN time.[26]

In 1994, self-proclaimed former Mossad officer Victor Ostrovsky claimed in his book The Other Side of Deception that Mossad doctored the file of the then UN Secretary General to implicate him in Nazi crimes. These allegedly false documents were subsequently "discovered" by Benjamin Netanyahu in the UN file, and triggered the "Waldheim Affair". Ostrovsky says it was motivated by Waldheim's criticism of Israeli action in Lebanon.[27] Controversy surrounds Ostrovsky and his writings and some of his claims are disputed. Many of them have not been verified from other sources, and critics such as Benny Morris and author David Wise have charged that the book is essentially a novel.[28][29]

[edit] The International Committee of historians and allegations of Nazi War CrimesIn view of the ongoing international controversy, the Austrian government decided to appoint an international committee of historians to examine Waldheim's life between 1938 and 1945. Their report found no evidence of any personal involvement in those crimes. Although Waldheim had stated that he was unaware of any crimes taking place, the historians cited evidence that Waldheim must have known about war crimes.[30]

In an account of the controversy, Simon Wiesenthal stated that Waldheim was stationed 5 miles from Salonika while, over the course of several weeks, the Jewish community which formed one third of the population there, was sent to Auschwitz. Waldheim denied any knowledge of this. Wiesenthal states:

I could only reply what the committee of historians likewise made clear in its report: "I cannot believe you."[31]

Wiesenthal stated the committee found no evidence that Waldheim took part in any war crimes, but was guilty of lying about his military record.[32] The International Committee in February 1988 concluded, with regard to Waldheim's ability to do something about the crimes he knew that were going on in Yugoslavia and Greece:

In favour of Waldheim is, that he only had very minor possibilities to act against the injustices happening. Actions against these, depending on which level the resistance occurred, were of very different importance. For a young member of the staff, who did not have any military authority on the army group level, the practical possibilities for resistance were very limited and with a high probability would not have led to any actual results. Resistance would have been limited to a formal protest or on the refusal to serve any longer in the army, which would have seemed to be a courageous act, however would have not led to any practical achievement. [33]

[edit] Term of presidency 1986–1992Throughout his term as president (1986–1992), Waldheim and his wife Elisabeth were officially deemed personae non gratae by the United States.[34] In 1987, they were put on a watch list of persons banned from entering the United States and remained on the list even after the publication of the International Committee of Historians' report on his military past in the Wehrmacht. He also was not invited to, and therefore did not, visit any other Western countries during his term as Austrian president. Waldheim therefore concentrated his state visits on the Middle East, the Vatican and some communist states.

[edit] Later years and deathAfter his term ended in 1992, Waldheim did not seek reelection. The same year, he was made an honorary member of K.H.V. Welfia Klosterneuburg, a Roman Catholic student fraternity that is a part of the Austrian Cartellverband (ÖCV). In 1994, Pope John Paul II awarded Waldheim a knighthood in the Order of Pius IX and his wife a papal honor.[35] He died on June 14, 2007, from heart failure. On June 23, his funeral was held at St. Stephen's Cathedral, Vienna, and he was laid to rest at the Presidential Vault in the Zentralfriedhof (Central Cemetery).[36] In his speech at the Cathedral, Federal President Heinz Fischer called Waldheim "a great Austrian" who had been wrongfully accused of having committed war crimes. Fischer also praised Waldheim for his efforts to solve international crises and for his contributions to world peace.[37] At Waldheim's own request, no foreign heads of states or governments were invited to attend his funeral. Hans-Adam II, the Prince of Liechtenstein, a neighbouring country of Austria, was the only one to be present. Also present was Luis Durnwalder, governor of the Italian province of South Tyrol. Syria and Japan were the only two countries that laid a wreath. In a two-page letter, published posthumously by the Austrian Press Agency the day after he died, Waldheim admitted making "mistakes" ("but these were certainly not those of a follower let alone an accomplice of a criminal regime") and asked his critics for forgiveness.[38]

[edit] Media referencesW. G. Sebald's novel The Rings of Saturn (1995; English trans., 1998) refers to Waldheim, though not by name.[39]
As a much-heralded invited guest on Dame Edna Everage's talk show The Dame Edna Experience, a dignified "Kurt Waldheim" began a grand entrance, except that halfway down the staircase, he abruptly fell through a hidden chute and disappeared: the band's fanfare stopped as Dame Edna explained she had decided at the last minute to "abort" Dr. Waldheim's appearance because it would have been "too political." The episode aired 12 September 1987.
A running segment on The Howard Stern Show is called Guess Who's the Jew and features Fred Norris portraying a Nazi Kurt Waldheim, Jr.[40]
Musician Lou Reed's 1988 "New York" album contains a song called "Good Evening Mr. Waldheim."
Harry Turtledove's 2003 alternate history novel, In the Presence of Mine Enemies, in which Germany won the Second World War, a "Kurt Haldweim" is the third Führer of Germany, and parts of Haldweim's biography closely parallel Waldheim's.
In a 1988 ice hockey film entitled Hockey, The Lighter Side, former New York Rangers goaltender John Davidson is explaining his fictional goaltender school and as hockey highlights play, he exclaims, "You'll have more shots taken at you than Kurt Waldheim".
In episode 3, series 2 of The Million Pound Radio Show, Andy Hamilton announces next week's special guest as Waldheim, "although he'll deny [his appearance on the show] in 40 years time."
In an episode of The New Statesman, aired in 1989, Alan B'Stard (Rik Mayall) attempts to blackmail an aged former Nazi officer, who complains that, "it's not fair; I'm living here in the tripe capital of Europe, while Kurt Waldheim is President of Austria- and he was beneath me!"

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