Kurt Waldheim

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Kurt Waldheim
9th President of Austria
In office
8 July 1986 – 8 July 1992
Chancellor Franz Vranitzky
Preceded by Rudolf Kirchschläger
Succeeded by Thomas Klestil
4th Secretary-General of the United Nations
In office
January 1, 1972 – January 1, 1982
Preceded by U Thant
Succeeded by Javier Pérez de Cuéllar
Personal details
Born December 21, 1918(1918-12-21)
Sankt Andrä-Wördern near Vienna, German Austria
Died June 14, 2007(2007-06-14) (aged 88)
Vienna, Austria
Nationality Austrian
Political party Austrian People's Party
Spouse(s) Elisabeth Waldheim
Alma mater University of Vienna
Religion Roman Catholic

Kurt Josef Waldheim (21 December 1918 – 14 June 2007) was an Austrian diplomat and conservative politician. He was Secretary-General of the United Nations from 1972 to 1981, and President of Austria from 1986 to 1992.

Political career[change | edit source]

Shortly before 1986, Waldheim published an autobiography. During his campaign to become president in 1986, it became public that some statements in that biography were not true. These were about his past. Waldheim was an officer for Germany in the Second World War. There was a commission of several historians who looked at the issue. They did find that Waldheim had behved as he should have done. He did not commit any War crimes. However, in his role of an officer, he must have known about the deportation of about 40.000 Jews into concentration camps. These transports, as well as the shooting of soldiers were a clear breach of law.

Because of this, he was not allowed to travel to the United States any more.

In 1990, he had a success: Saddam Hussein held several foreigners as hostages at the start of the Second Gulf War. When Waldheim heard this, he personally went to Baghdad. Through talks he could get Saddam to release the Austrian and the Swiss hostages. (both countries are neutral)

Death[change | edit source]

On June 14, 2007, Waldheim died of heart failure.[1] At the time of his death he was the oldest living former Secretary-General of the United Nations and the oldest living former President of Austria.

References[change | edit source]

  1. Reports: Ex-UN Chief Waldheim Dead at 88