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Most Austrians spurn 1945 as liberation-Wiesenthal
    VIENNA, April 26 (Reuter) - Veteran Nazi-hunter Simon
 Wiesenthal said on Wednesday most Austrian people were still
 unable to accept the end of World War Two as a liberation.
    Wiesenthal, 86, who was freed by U.S. troops from the
 Austrian concentration camp at Mauthausen on May 5, 1945, said
 the only people who used the word ``liberation' were those who
 were persecuted in Adolf Hitler's Third Reich.
    ``I have been waiting for 50 years for the word
 ``liberation' to be used in public,'' Wiesenthal told Austrian
 news agency APA in an interview.
    ``''Liberation' is a word that is only spoken by those who
 were persecuted or those who were made to suffer in
 concentration camps,'' he said. ``The majority (of Austrians)
 even today prefer to talk about ``an upheaval' or ``a lost
 war'.''
    Wiesenthal, who has run dozens of fugitive Nazi war
 criminals to ground, made his comments as Austria prepared to
 open celebrations to mark the 50th anniversary of the end of the
 war and the setting up of the Second Austrian Republic.
    He said one of the reasons for a distorted view of the past
 was that Austrian political parties ``competed for the favours
 of members of the former National Socialist Party'' when the new
 republic was set up.
    He said some Austrians, such as former president Kurt
 Waldheim, maintained they were only doing their duty by fighting
 in Hitler's army.
    It should be spelt out that ``the duty of Austrian citizens
 was to be involved in the resistance after the Anschluss,''
 Wiesenthal said, referring to March 1938 when Hitler absorbed
 Austria into the Third Reich. Hundreds were executed for taking
 part in a clandestine Austrian resistance movement.
    Waldheim, a former U.N. secretary-general, has been accused
 of concealing his wartime service with a German unit in the
 Balkans that is alleged to have committed war crimes. The U.S.
 Justice Department has put his name on a list of people to be
 refused entry into the United States because of their
 association with the Hitler regime.
    Wiesenthal has often criticised Austria for failing to bring
 Nazi suspects to justice.
    It is a crime in Austria to deny that six million Jews and
 others considered ethnically ``subhuman'' by the Third Reich
 were systematically gassed in Nazi death camps during World War
 Two.

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