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The Waldheim Waltz

In 1986 former UN general secretary Kurt Waldheim ran for president in Austria. When it came out that Waldheim had lied about his past, a big controversy began that laid the lifelong lies of the post-war generation out in the open.


In 1986 former UN general secretary Kurt Waldheim ran for president in Austria. The election was supposed to take place on May 4th. Waldheim was considered the frontrunner, the “man the world trusts,“ as the ÖVP election posters proclaimed. Then the news magazine “Profil“ published the article “Waldheim and the SA.“ Waldheim‘s service card showed that the candidate was in the SA, the Nazi rider union, and the Nazi student union since 1938. The Jewish World Congress in New York showed evidence that Waldheim had lied about his past between 1941 and 1945. Waldheim had always said that after getting drafted in the Werhmacht in 1941 he was wounded on the eastern Front and continued his law degree afterwards. In reality he was a news officer in Yugoslavia in 1943 during the time when there were civilian massacres in the course of the partisan persecutions, and in Saloniki, where a third of the population was deported. Ruth Beckermann (DIE GETRÄUMTEN, 2016) shows the controversy surrounding Waldheim as breaking open the Austrian lies of being “the first victims of National Socialism.“ She was an activist against Waldheim‘s election in 1986 and filmed during demonstrations and discussions with passersby where Waldheim opposers were insulted as “dirty Jews.“ Her film WALDHEIMS WALZER assembles international archival material and puts it in a historical context: Ronald Reagan and Helmut Kohl stood on the graves of SS men a year before, Claude Lanzmann‘s film SHOAH was shown at the Berlinale in February 1986. There was a new consciousness for the moral corruption of the elders in the younger generation, prime minister Kohl accused them of having the “arrogance of the young.“ Courting Nazi votes was and still is part of the politics of the bourgeois camp.

Hannes Stein

Translation: Elinor Lewy


Original title: Waldheims Walzer
Österreich 2018, 93 min
Language: German
Genre: Documentary
Director: Ruth Beckermann
Author: Ruth Beckermann
Montage: Dieter Pichler
Distributor: Edition Salzgeber
FSK: 6
Release: 04.10.2018




  • OV Original version
  • OmU Original with German subtitles
  • OmeU Original with English subtitles

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