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Wiener Library

Waldheim, Kurt: material for Thames Television documentary


Reference code(s): GB 1556 WL 646

Held at: Wiener Library

Title: Waldheim, Kurt: material for Thames Television documentary

Date(s): [1939]-1980s

Level of description: collection

Extent: 12 bundles

Name of creator(s): Thames Television


Administrative/Biographical history:

Kurt Josef Waldheim was born 1918; served in the Wehrmacht, 1941-1945; squad leader, Eastern Front, 1941; interpreter and liaison officer with the Italian 5th division (Pusteria), Apr-May 1942; O2 officer (communications) with the Kampfgruppe West Bosnia, Jun-Aug 1942; interpreter with the liaison staff attached to the 9th Italian Army in Tirana, early summer 1942; O1 officer in the German liaison staff with the 11th Italian Army and in the staff of the Army Group South Greece in Jul-Oct 1943; O3 officer on the staff of Army Group E in Arksali, Mitrovica and Sarajevo, Oct 1943-Feb 1945; Austrian diplomatic service, 1945-1972; Secretary-General of the United Nations, 1972-1981; President of Austria, 1986-1992; died 2007.

In early 1986 when Waldheim's candidacy for the office of Federal President of Austria was made known his service as a Wehrmacht intelligence officer during World War Two caused an international controversy. A Thames Television documentary was made on Kurt Waldheim's role during the War. The programme takes the form of a commission of enquiry presided over by 5 distinguished European judges in which evidence of Waldheim's wartime duties and activities is subjected to scrutiny by lawyers. The object of the exercise is to ascertain whether or not Waldheim should be answerable to charges of certain war crimes. Testimony is taken from a number of historians and lawyers and eyewitnesses. The unanimous conclusion of the commission is that Waldheim should not have to answer charges for war crimes.


Scope and content/abstract:

Papers gathered during the course of research for a Thames Television documentary on Kurt Waldheim's role during the Second World War, comprising photocopies of documents with their translations recording Waldheim's activities in connection with the following war crimes which occurred in the Balkans and Greece between 1942 and 1944: the murder and deportation of civilians in Bosnia to Jasenovac, Spring and Summer, 1942; the murder of Greek civilians and the deportation of Italian POWs to slave labour camps after the Italian capitulation, Summer 1943; the deportation of Jews to Auschwitz from Crete, Corfu and Rhodes, Summer 1944; the torture and murder of captured allied commandos, Summer 1944 and other war crimes committed by the Nazis in the Balkans and Greece.


Language/scripts of material: Mostly German

System of arrangement:

The papers are arranged chronologically into bundles covering the periods Mar-Dec 1942; Apr-Dec 1943 and Jan-Dec 1944. Many of the documents within the bundles have a translation attached and often a covering note explaining certain words or omissions.

Conditions governing access:


Conditions governing reproduction:

Copies can be made for personal use. Permission must be sought for publication.

Finding aids:

Description exists to this archive on the Wiener Library's online catalogue



Archival history:

Immediate source of acquisition:

Jewish Central Information Office



Archivist's note: Compiled by Sarah Drewery.

Rules or conventions: Compiled in compliance with General International Standard Archival Description, ISAD(G), second edition, 2000; National Council on Archives Rules for the Construction of Personal, Place and Corporate Names, 1997.

Date(s) of descriptions: Mar 2008

Concentration camps | War crimes | Humanitarian law
Nazism | Totalitarianism | Political doctrines
Occupied territories | Humanitarian law
War prisoners | War victims | International conflicts
World War Two (1939-1945) | World wars (events) | Wars (events)

Personal names
Waldheim | Kurt Josef | 1918-2007 | President of Austria

Corporate names
Jasenovac concentration camp

Balkans | Eastern Europe
Greece | Western Europe | Europe
Yugoslavia | Eastern Europe