The Nizkor Project: Remembering the Holocaust (Shoah)

Shofar FTP Archive File: orgs/austrian/freedom-party/press/haider-vrs-wiesenthal



 Austrian far-right opposes Wiesenthal honour
    By Douglas Hamilton
    VIENNA, June 21 (Reuter) - Austrian far-right leader Joerg
 Haider said on Wednesday he opposed making Nazi-hunter Simon
 Wiesenthal an honorary citizen of Vienna, sparking a political
 row over alleged anti-semitism in Haider's Freedom party.
    The party has published advertisements in the Vienna press
 saying it opposes the honour because the Simon Wiesenthal Centre
 in Los Angeles displays Haider's picture next to those of
 Hitler, Stalin, Idi Amin and Pol Pot.
    At a regular news conference, Haider backed his party's
 campaign, saying ``the institution that bears his (Wiesenthal's)
 name is brutally misleading public opinion.''
    ``Austrian democracy is heavily discriminated against (at
 the Wiesenthal Centre),'' Haider said. His picture was on show
 there ``alongside mass murderers like (former Ugandan dictator)
 Idi Amin and (Iraqi President) Saddam Hussein.''
    A spokeswoman for Simon Wiesenthal, a longtime resident of
 Vienna, said he had no comment and was uncertain whether any
 statement was planned.
    The Wiesenthal centre in Los Angeles, a Nazi-hunting
 organisation that tracks down former war criminals and keeps
 alive the memory of the Jewish holocaust, is named for
 Wiesenthal but not directly linked to him.
    The president of the Austria-Israel Society, Walter
 Schwimmer, demanded an apology from Haider and Rainer Pawkowicz,
 who took out the advertisements, and an immediate end to the
 campaign against Wiesenthal.
    He pointed out that Wiesenthal had no say in what the Los
 Angles centre chose to put in its exhibits. The centre and
 Wiesenthal have been at odds in the past over criticisms of
 Austrians that the veteran Nazi hunter disagreed with.
    Pawkowic's advertisements said: ``This is how our Austrian
 republic is maligned: in the Simon Wiesenthal Centre in Los
 Anglese the portrait of Joerg Haider hangs next to pictures of
 political criminals and mass murderers Hitler, Stalin, Idi Amin
 or Pol Pot.''
    ``In this way politicians including Joerg Haider who were
 democratically elected by one million Austrians are being
 slandered,'' it said. ``We say ``No' to honorary citizenship for
 Simon Wiesenthal.''
    Left-wing Greens party member Friedrun Huemer accused Haider
 and his party of ``playing a dangerous game with anti-Semitic
 undertones.''
    She said the Freedom party was also basing its case on
 erroneous facts. Haider's likeness was not displayed alongside
 Hitler or Amin ``but in a row with right-wing demagogues
 (Frenchman Jean-Marie) Le Pen and (U.S.) Ku Klux Klan leader
 David Duke,'' she said.


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