A million post cards urging the Reagan Administration to bar Austrian presidential candidate Kurt Waldheim from the United States are being distributed nationwide, the Simon Wiesenthal Center said Tuesday.
The Los Angeles-based center, which focuses on studies of the Holocaust, said it was handing its post cards out to its national membership as well as through synagogues and public organizations. They bear a 1943 photograph of Waldheim in a German army uniform and a 1979 picture of him as then-secretary general of the United Nations.
The post cards are addressed to President Reagan and assert that, in 1947, Waldheim was "charged with murder and slaughter by Yugoslavia." Those charges, say the card, were accepted by the U.N. Crimes Commission, "of which the United States was a member."
As an "alien," the cards contend, Waldheim "does not have the right to be allowed entry into the United States unless he can exonerate himself of the war crimes charge."
For the Record
Los Angeles Times Thursday May 29, 1986 Home Edition Part 1 Page 2 Column 1 Metro Desk 2 inches; 39 words Type of Material: Correction
A story in Wednesday's Times about the Simon Wiesenthal Center's post card campaign to bar Austrian presidential candidate Kurt Waldheim from the United States incorrectly referred to the American Jewish Congress. The reference should have been to the World Jewish Congress.
Waldheim, 67, who is backed by the conservative People's Party and faces a June 8 runoff election for president, has been accused by the World Jewish Congress of concealing a Nazi past and of being involved in atrocities against Yugoslav partisans and Greek Jews while serving in the German Wehrmacht during World War II.
Waldheim has denied the charges as "completely unfounded and unsubstantiated."
Although famed Nazi hunter Simon Wiesenthal himself has objected to American Jewish Congress efforts to turn Austrian voters against Waldheim, the center's statement made it clear that its "America Says No to Waldheim" campaign was directed strictly at the Reagan Administration.
Rabbi Marvin Hier, dean of the center, said it is up to the Austrian people to decide whether they wish to have Waldheim represent them as president, "but it is for the people of the United States to decide whether we want Waldheim on our shores."
Hier was in Paris, where he met with Jean Pierre Lafon, special adviser to French Prime Minister Jacques Chirac, in an effort to verify reports that France has a file that may shed light on Waldheim's wartime activities.