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Waldheim link to war crimes reported

HAMBURG, West Germany -- Official Yugoslav documents prove that Austrian President Kurt Waldheim's German army unit committed war crimes in the Balkans during World War II, a West German magazine said Thursday.

Der Stern, a weekly magazine, said documents its reporters uncovered in the Yugoslav Military Archive in Belgrade show that Waldheim, a former U.N. secretary general, was an accessory to war crimes committed in Yugoslavia.

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'The documents Der Stern has access to not only prove that Kurt Waldheim was an accessory to war crimes within the meaning of the Nuremberg Tribunal of the victorious Allied powers, but also that his unit from June to August 1942 directly took part in them,' Stern said in its current issue. 'When at long last will he resign?'

Asked to respond to the magazine's claims, Waldheim's spokesman said the Austrian president's job during that period of 1942 had involved 'office tasks and dealing with supply matters.'

In New York, U.N. spokesman Francois Giuliani reported the completion of an official investigation into the reported disappearance of more than 400 U.N. War Crimes Commission files. Francois Giuliani would not confirm or deny news reports that most of the files had been found.

Israeli journalist Uri Dan, the first reporter permitted to examine the war crimes archives since the United Nations opened them to non-governmental study last month, said Monday that 411 of the 8,100 files on Nazi and Japanese World War II atrocities were missing.

Stern, in its four-page article on Waldheim, published photos of sections from German documents marked 'secret.' The magazine said the photos proved the complicity of the German army unit in which the Austrian president served as a staff officer.

Stern said the incriminating documents it uncovered previously were unknown and had not been available to the international commission of historians investigating the wartime activities of Waldheim at the request of the Austrian government.

The magazine said the documents show that Waldheim's unit, Operations Staff 1B of the German army's West Bosnian Battle Group, was responsible in Yugoslavia for the installation of prison camps, the selection of inmates for forced labor, and indirectly for the execution of prisoners.

The battle group had orders to execute all partisans and their supporters and to arrest and send to the camps all males over 14 in areas where partisans were suspected of operating, the magazine said.

Stern said the operation resulted in the death of 4,000 partisans and the capture of 68,500 people, including 23,000 children.

The international historical commission, which has members from the United States, Israel, West Germany, Britain, Belgium and Switzerland, is scheduled to issue its report next month.

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