Haunted by his World War II German army service to the end, former UN secretary-general Kurt Waldheim died yesterday at 88. Reports that he served in a German army unit that committed atrocities during the war emerged in 1985, during his successful campaign for the Austrian presidency; at his death, he was still barred from entering the US.
Waldheim only reluctantly acknowledged his wartime service in the Balkans and maintained that he was not involved in the tens of thousands of killings in which his unit was implicated. Although some considered the accusations a smear, they crippled Waldheim's administration and tarnished Austria's reputation around the world. He retired from politics after his 6-year term ended in 1992.