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Austrian Leaders Seek Reconciliation For Waldheim's Nazi Past


Former Austrian president and U.N. secretary-general Kurt Waldheim was buried Saturday, in the presence of local political and religious leaders who said attention to his Nazi past has been unfair.

Austrian President Heinz Fischer told mourners in Vienna that Mr. Waldheim's actions during his life should be judged "as a whole."

Revelations that Mr. Waldheim was aware of atrocities committed by his German army unit during World War II came to light more than 20 years ago, at the beginning of his presidency in Austria.

Few foreign dignitaries attended the funeral - Mr. Waldheim had asked that none be invited.

Mr. Waldheim's funeral procession passed by offices of the Austrian president and the U.N.'s Vienna headquarters, on its way to the Central Cemetery's Presidential Vault, where Mr. Waldheim's predecessors also lie.

Mr. Waldheim died Thursday with his name still on a watch list barring him from entering the U.S. because of his Nazi past.

In a posthumous message published Friday, Mr. Waldheim expressed regret that it was "much too late" before he took "a broad and unmistakable position on Nazi crimes."

Some information for this report was provided by AFP and AP.

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