Kurt Waldheim is dead

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As an expatriate/immigrant, I barely know Mr. Kurt Waldheim except for the political history/current events I learned from school. And the small fuss in the ’80s: the Waldheim controversy. Consequently, the government of United States barred him from entering the country. (Small, as it doesn’t strike as a big deal when you live in Asia by that time.)

Truth is my personal opinion concerning the Nazi and the German-speaking people has changed throughout the years. It was from being a negative-bigoted to positive-understanding. Not veering towards a favourable view on the fascists but the people who participated in it.

Maybe having an Austrian connection aside from being interested in your history helped my full understanding of the subject by having heard both sides of the story/coin.

So what is the connection of all these statements to Mr. Waldheim? Simple. The reason the US government put him on the watchlist is because of his Nazi past.

Mr. Waldheim, the former Austrian president, an ex-diplomat and former UN secretary general, was a former Nazi officer who joined the Nazi machinery to kill Jews and millions of others during the World War II. It was a controversy in the ’80s in and outside of Austria, the country, which according to BBC, is too small to matter in international terms.

I have known old people who were soldiers that time, even their children. There’s this one person who told us that he was not forced by the Nazis but he himself volunteered. He was young, only 17. He wanted to be part of it and he believed in the ideology and that they would succeed. Though like the others it was all too late before he realised that everything they, he and his comrades and the Nazi hangers on, had done was wrong. So wrong they even lost their loved ones because of that. Because of his deep disappointment and depression he has refused to be part of any political party/creed.

It would be stupid and lame to hear Mr. Waldheim say, “I was just doing my job,” in the eyes of the victims. But the name of the game was self-preservation. He was only human after all. Like the others he might have gone to believe that they were doing the right thing. He was told to do it like the US soldiers or the Muslim extremists today who are ordered to maim or exterminate their enemies.

So should Mr. Waldheim, after all these years, be forgiven after all these years? The answer is yes, we can forgive but we shouldn’t forget.

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2 Comments so far

  1. georg cracked (unregistered) on June 15th, 2007 @ 1:03 pm

    I still own a 12″ of disco-music mixed with samples from Waldheim saying “Ich habe meine Pflicht erf├╝llt.” (I did my duties.) Probably should try if I can find it somewhere.

    Aside from that one of my grandfathers (and most other Austrian’s probably as well) was worse during WWII than Waldheim, I assume. On the other hand my grandfather died 30 years ago and never was president of any state.

    But you are 100 % right: we should forgive but never forget.


  2. melancolia (unregistered) on June 17th, 2007 @ 2:22 pm

    a disco remix?
    that’s hilarious.



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