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Rabbi, Nun Begin Anti-Waldheim Vigil

July 06, 1986|From Reuters

VIENNA — An American rabbi and Catholic nun Saturday held a "vigil of conscience" in Vienna's Jewish quarter to demand that Austrian President-elect Kurt Waldheim face an inquiry.

Sitting outside at a Sabbath table across from a synagogue, Rabbi Avi Weiss and Sister Rose Thering set up a life-size photo of Waldheim in the German army uniform and a blow-up of a U.N. War Crimes Commission file showing that he was wanted for murder by Yugoslavia.

Weiss, who is planning to begin a three-day hunger strike today, told bystanders that Waldheim should not be sworn in as president on Tuesday. The former U.N. secretary general, who denies allegations of a Nazi criminal past, easily won the June 8 runoff election.

Weiss is calling on Waldheim to face a commission of inquiry composed of Holocaust survivors and of Greek and Yugoslav partisans from areas where Waldheim's unit served.

"We are trying to keep the heat up. This is going to be an ongoing campaign," Weiss told a reporter. "Wherever Waldheim goes, the voice of moral conscience will follow him.

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