Archive/File: holocaust/austria waldheim.001 Last-Modified: 1994/11/06 ================================================================ VIENNA, July 6 (Reuter) - Former Austrian president Kurt Waldheim received on Wednesday a high Papal honour conferred on him by Pope John Paul earlier this year. The decoration, the Pius Order, was awarded to Waldheim for his efforts for peace during his two terms in office as U.N. secretary-general from 1972 to 1980. It was awarded to him by the papal nuncio to Austria, Monsignor Donata Squicciarini. Waldheim was shunned by the Western world after revelations that he covered up his service as an officer in Hitler's army in the Balkans during World War Two. He was elected Austrian president in 1986 after an election campaign during which he was accused of war crimes and evidence emerged he was put on an allied list of Nazi war criminals after the war. Waldheim denied the charges. An international historians' commission appointed by the Austrian government concluded in 1988 that, as an intelligence officer in the German army in the Balkans, he eased the way for Nazi atrocities. In 1987 Washington barred Waldheim from visiting the United States as a private citizen, a ban that still holds. The Pope was the only Western head of state to receive Waldheim officially while he was Austrian president. He stepped down in 1992 after his six-year term of office expired.
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