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AUSTRIA. WJC charges Waldheim worked with Nazis

The World Jewish Congress charged on March 25 that former United Nations Secretary-General Kurt Waldheim was an intelligence officer in the German army in World War II and had been involved in brutal operations against Yugoslav par-tisans. It also said he was responsible, while serving as a first lieutenant in the Balkans, for the interrogation of Allied prisoners, including Americans, Britons, Greeks, and Yugoslavs; for unspecified ``special tasks;'' and for ensuring that the officers in his intelligence branch were loyal to the Nazi regime.

There was no immediate comment on the charges from Wald-heim, now a candidate for the presidency of Austria. He has repeatedly denied belonging to or symphathizing with Nazi groups. While admitting he served in the Balkans, he has denied any knowledge of atrocities committed there.

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The World Jewish Congress based its charges on documents obtained from the United States National Archives, some signed by Waldheim himself.

It said the documents, captured at the end of the war, proved the former UN chief was more than just an interpreter. Waldheim made that claim earlier in March after the WJC said he had served in the Balkans and had been a member of two Nazi groups after the German takeover of Austria.

Previously, Waldheim's wartime military career was widely thought to have ended after he was wounded on the Russian front in 1941.

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