There are documentarywho are dedicated to the past and alone
Act of the present.
is such a movie. He shows the case
the Austrian lawyer Kurt Waldheim, who was UN secretary general from 1972 to 1981 and
afterwards wanted to become Federal President. His choice was not in the way, but then came out:
The career diplomat with the bright white vest was SA member and had his
Curriculum vitae beautified. The Jewish World Congress mobilized the public, there were
worldwide protests ("Waldheim No!"). Among the demonstrators was Ruth Beckermann, herself
later as a documentary filmmaker should make a name. The Viennese filmed the
Clashes, but the cassette was lost. Some time ago the material appeared again
on, and from it arose
It is a film of the Veitstanz by one
Truth that no one was allowed to know.
"Waldheim was not a Nazi," says Beckermann
and it was a mistake that the Jewish World Congress called him that. What was he then? He was an opportunist. Waldheim came from that Catholic milieu that was notorious for making a pact with the devil in God's name. Beckermann shows the portrait of a war criminal executed in 1945; The honorable memory hung for years in the Vienna Collegiate Church. That's exactly what she was – Waldheim's cold-blooded world, the hotbed of hypocrites and gentlemen. With piety in his heart, the Catholic fights the Antichrist, the Reds and the Jews. Then Hitler came and fought the Reds and the Jews. Waldheim was there. "I only did my duty."
How skilfully he adapts after the end of the war, how he polishes his biography, looks as shiny as riding boots – that's amazing. The man without a shadow becomes UN Secretary General and immediately has his nose in the wind. Waldheim again fights against evil, this time against the enemies of humanity, against the partisans of the family of nations. How easily the word moral comes to his lips, how it pearls and shines, and also the Christian must not be missing.
Impeccably polite Waldheim enters the U.N. which were founded in the spirit of the Never-Again. The former SA man praises the world value community, and when he speaks he spreads his hands as if to bless humanity. Once he speaks a message to a golden record; she is shot into the universe with Voyager, high to the aliens who still do not know how devilely humane it is on Earth. When he refuses to cover his head with a kippah when visiting the memorial site of Jad Vashem, it causes a scandal; Waldheim justifies himself, an imperious defiance snarls in his voice. Apparently incidentally Beckermann had previously shown how Elisabeth Waldheim leads a camera team through the New York apartment. Everything is very different and yet as it used to be. Even a wooden Madonna comes into the picture. The Blue Danube – that's the East River.
Beckermann, the daughter of two Holocaust survivors, makes no judgment about Waldheim, she leaves him the dark and unapproachable. Even the audience should not make themselves comfortable in the free morality of the later generations, there is room for questions: How would one have acted at that time – trained in an arch-catholic society, possibly in a bourgeois cold, which never leaves one again? Waldheim's children say he was a warm-hearted father, bravely standing by his side. It is true that Waldheim loved horses over everything, maybe they were the better people, because they do not kill each other. "We note," says Chancellor Sinowatz (SPÖ) that was not Waldheim in the SA, "but only his horse."
Why did Waldheim find it so difficult? Why did he invent half-truths that were little more than grinning lies? From mass deportations and Partisanenerschießungen he had heard nothing, he had been on home leave. Waldheim knows exactly one thing: "We too have suffered," and Austria was Hitler's first victim. But why could not he talk about the war? What had he seen? A word only – and Waldheim's shell would have burst, and with that he would have loosened the tongue out of all the stubborn, it would have been Austria's historical catharsis. Certainly, Waldheim would not have become president then, but an important man.
No, the "Austrian who trusts the world" could not tell the truth, he could not do it, and his party did not want it. After his election, the US put him on the watchlist, no Western state invited him, only the Vatican. God is merciful to the sinners, and the ORF reported live for five hours.
Not only Waldheim, but also the concerned citizen remains a mystery in Beckermann's (at the Berlinale Awarded the Documentary Film Award) work. The patriots who tear the placards from the demonstrators speak as if they have never heard of Auschwitz, the Jews have become "too rude" for them. Today they would perhaps vote for the FPÖ, while their German sensory relatives at Pegida stretched a black-red-golden cross into the night sky, all nice neighbors who like to mow the lawn on Saturdays.
As the emotions boil up in 1986, the ÖVP politician Alois Mock calls on the World Jewish Congress to "stop the campaign so as not to awaken feelings that we all do not want." That's the key phrase. What are the feelings that "we all do not want"? It is the deep hatred of the Jewish religion that tells man to be better than he is. The Jews are to blame, otherwise Austria would be with itself in the pure, in eternity, amen. At the end Waldheim is sitting in the studio to give his first speech as Federal President. A cleaning lady comes into the picture and makes clean. As clean as ever.