Linda Young – AHN News Writer

Vienna, Austria (AHN) – Austrian Kurt Waldheim, 88, who served as U.N. Secretary General from 1972-82, died of heart failure at home on Thursday. He was recovering from a fever-causing infection that landed him in the hospital last month. Following his tenure as U.N. chief Waldheim was [as ] [SIC] Austrian president despite his secretive World War II military service that surfaced during to cause an international scandal.

At the time of his death Waldheim was both the oldest living former Austrian president as well as the oldest living former U.N. chief.

During his 1986 election as president, it was revealed that he had belonged to a German army unit that committed atrocities in the Balkans during World War II. He had initially denied that he belonged to the unit, which caused suspicion of him despite the fact that he was not involved in any of the wrongdoing.

The Nazis took Germany [THIS IS THE WAY THIS NEWSPAPER REPORTED THIS STORY AND PUT IN GERMANY INSTEAD OF AUSTRIA, THE AMERICAN GATHERING IS NOT RESPONSIBLE FOR THIS] over in 1938 and Waldheim was drafted into its military. After the war ended, Austria was treated by other governments as a victim of the Nazis rather than a willing collaborator. However, Waldheim’s silence over his wartime years led to accusations during his election that he was unable to shake, despite those investigations proving he had not been involved in any war atrocities. Therefore, he did not seek a second term as Austria’s president.

Despite the fact that Waldheim was never implicated in any wrongdoing, Washington put him on its “watch list” of people who could not enter the country and he was never allowed to visit the United States after that.

Waldheim was born at Sankt Andra-Wordern, near Vienna, Austria, on Dec. 21 1918 and graduated from the University of Vienna as a Doctor of Jurisprudence in 1944. He entered diplomatic service 1945. He was a political conservative.