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January 31, 1988

West German historian Manfred Messerschmidt said in Vienna that a newly found document, if authentic, links Austrian President Kurt Waldheim "in the closest way yet" to alleged Nazi war crimes. The document indicates that Waldheim relayed orders for the deportation of over 4,000 Balkan civilians while serving as a lieutenant in the German army in 1942 during World War II. The document, a 46-year-old military telex message relaying the deportation order, was disclosed in the latest edition of the West German news magazine Der Spiegel, which called it the first piece of solid evidence linking the embattled Waldheim to war crimes. But Waldheim spokesman Gerold Christian described the telex message as an "apparent forgery."

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