1943 January: Austrian SS commander Eduard Roschmann become commandant of the Riga ghetto.

From The Destruction of the Jews of Latvia by Max Kaufmann: On 20 May 1943 the Commandant of our ghetto, [Eduard] Roschmann, came to Sloka together with his adjutant Gymnich and the SD man Migge. They inspected the entire work camp, and on this occasion they discovered that my son and the Mordchelewitz brothers were hoarding fat. Because all the members of the work crew were working, nobody was present at this inspection. A short time later the three of them were taken away, and the murderers immediately placed my son and the Mordechelewitz brothers off to the side next to their vehicle. They were ordered to take off their shoes, and from this moment on the "guilty ones" knew they were going to be shot. The Mordechelewitz brothers tried to escape. The guards ran after them and shot them. By contrast, my son behaved like a hero. He was much too proud to beg for mercy. He was killed immediately with a shot to the back of the neck. When everyone came back from work in the evening, the mood was very low. My son had been the work crew's favorite, and his death was deeply mourned.

From City of Life, City of Death by Max Michelson: When Krause was replaced by Roschmann in early 1943, we were happy finally to be rid of this madman. Roschmann, a lawyer, was indeed more deliberate, less likely to react by killing his victims on the spur of the moment. Roschmann, however, was a careful and meticulous investigator who would incarcerate and interrogate suspects and implicate and arrest many more people than Krause had. As a result, our situation did not improve, and the number of people killed under Roschmann was even larger than under Krause.

1942 September: Austrian SS-Obersturmfuehrer Franz Stangl assumes the role of Kommandant of the Treblinka extermination camp.

1943 September 2: Austrian SS commander Josef Schwammberger organizes a mass execution in the Przemyśl camp in Poland, in which at least 500 Jewish prisoners are shot by Gestapo soldiers.

1943 September 12: Otto Skorzeny, German-Austrian SS officer, leads the Gran Sasso raid (a.k.a. Operation Oak and Unternehmen Eiche), rescuing disposed dictator Benito Mussolini without firing a single shot. Flying out in a Storch airplane, Skorzeny escorts Mussolini to Rome and later to Berlin. The exploit earns Skorzeny fame, promotion to Major, and the Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross.

From the IMT testimony of Dr. Guido Schmidt: I met von Papen in Turkey--it must have been in the late autumn of 1943. Our conversation turned on the events of 11 March 1938. At the time von Papen expressed himself in a severely critical way about the procedure at that time, about Seyss-Inquart, for the reason, he thought, that he had done nothing for the independence of Austria, and also because the procedure had not served German interests either. He wanted to express his criticism by this, and I had the impression that he was indeed against a violent solution, that is, against a solution by violence such as had occurred. [Von Papen] said that he would--that he would have, it must have been some time after the Anschluss--refused to shake hands with [Seyss-Inquart], and actually he referred to his behavior in 1938.

He spoke in a very vehement way, passing judgment to the effect that Seyss had offered no protection to the Austrians and that he had done nothing to keep order in Austria, that is, to safeguard Austria's individuality and Austria's interests.

That was Papen's basic thought. His second thought was that the German interests had not been served by this either, by which he meant more or less that a quite justified interest of the German Reich had been made to look wrong in the eyes of the world because of the way in which it had been handled and that the foreign political interests of the Reich had been damaged thereby.
That was the principal thought in his conversation, and I think he made similar remarks during conversations with other people.

November 1, 1943: From the "Declaration on Austria", a part of the Moscow Declaration, signed by the United States, the Soviet Union and the United Kingdom:

The governments of the United Kingdom, the Soviet Union and the United States of America are agreed that Austria, the first free country to fall a victim to Hitlerite aggression, shall be liberated from German domination. They regard the annexation imposed on Austria by Germany on 15 March 1938, as null and void. They consider themselves as in no way bound by any charges effected in Austria since that date. They declare that they wish to see re-established a free and independent Austria and thereby to open the way for the Austrian people themselves, as well as those neighbouring States which will be faced with similar problems, to find that political and economic security which is the only basis for lasting peace. Austria is reminded, however, that she has a responsibility, which she cannot evade, for participation in the war at the side of Hitlerite Germany, and that in the final settlement account will inevitably be taken of her own contribution to her liberation.

1943 November 3: Austrian SS concentration camp guard Josias Kumpf takes part in Aktion Erntefest (Harvest festival) in Trawniki concentration camp. He personally participates in the murder of 8,000 Jews. It is his task to stand guard over a pit where prisoners are being gunned down and "finish off" the wounded, although he will later claim to have never discharged his weapon.

1943 November 7: General Alfred Jodl, Chief of the German Staff of the Armed Forces, delivers a lecture in Munich to the Gauleiter. An excerpt:

The Austrian Anschluss, in its turn, brought with it not only the fulfillment of an old national aim but also had the effect both of reinforcing our fighting strength and of materially improving our strategic position. Whereas, until then the territory of Czechoslovakia had projected in a most menacing way right into Germany-a wasp waist in the direction of France and an air base for the Allies, in particular Russia- Czechoslovakia herself was now enclosed by pincers. Her own strategic position had now become so unfavorable that she was bound to fall a victim to any attack pressed home with vigor before effective aid from the west could be expected to arrive. (IMT)

November 15, 1943: From the article AUSTRIA: Resurrection, published this day in TIME Magazine:

A Reason for Awakening. The Moscow Declaration on Austria was as unexpected as an earthquake. At least some of its meaning was as easy to grasp, its causes as hard to define. The Great Powers certainly meant: since Germany was not to keep Austria, her first grab, she need not expect to keep any other loot.

The Great Powers may also have meant that after this war notions of racial geography would command little respect in the postwar settlements. Even more clearly they may have meant that a Danube Federation would remedy the oversight at Versailles. If so, they had discarded the larger concept of an all-European Federation, or at most had decided to postpone it until some sort of federation-of-federations might be attempted.

1943 November 18: A sub-camp of Mauthausen is established at Ebensee, Austria.

1943 Fall: Eduard Roschmann is made the chief of Kommando Stuetzpunkt, a work detail of prisoners which is given the task of digging up and burning the bodies of the tens of thousands of people whom the Nazis had shot and buried in the forests of Latvia. About every two weeks the men on the work detail are shot and replaced with a new set of inmates.

1943 December: Heinrich Himmler begins laying plans for an Alpine Fortress (Alpenfestung), a national redoubt where German forces can be withdrawn for a "last stand" to an area from "southern Bavaria across western Austria to northern Italy".

1944: Obersturmfuehrer Otto Riemer is appointed commandant of the concentration camp at Ebensee, Austria.

1944 May 18: Obersturmfuehrer Otto Riemer, commandant of the Ebensee, Austria, concentration camp, and 12 of his SS guards, shoot 15 prisoners for sport during a drinking spree.

1944 June 6: D-Day.

1944 September 9: SS men guarding quarry workers at the Mauthausen, Austria, camp torture and murder 39 Dirch, seven Britains, and an American secret agent. (THC)

1944 September 28: Josef Buerckel, Reich commissar of Austria, and his wife committ suicide. (THC)

1944 November 8: Germans initiate a death march of Jews from Budapest to the Austrian border. (THC)

1945 January 27: From the notes of a Fuehrer conference:

Hitler: Do you think the English are enthusiastic about all the Russian developments?

Jodl: No, of course not. They have quite different plans. Perhaps we'll discover the full extent of their plans later.

Goering: They certainly didn't plan that we hold them off while the Russians conquer all of Germany... If this goes on we will get a telegram (from the English) in a few days. They were not counting on us defending ourselves step by step...holding them off like madmen while the Russians drive deeper and deeper into Germany, and practically have all of Germany now...

Jodl: The English have always regarded the Russians with suspicion.

Hitler: I have given orders that we shall play a trick on the English—an information sheet telling them the Russians are organizing 200,000 of our men (German POWs) led by German officers, all of them infected with Communism, and they will be marched into Germany. I have ordered this report to be delivered to the English. I have discussed it with the Foreign Minister (Ribbentrop). That will be like sticking them with a needle.

Goering: They entered the war to prevent us from going East, not to have the East reaching out to the Atlantic.

Hitler: That's quite clear. It is something abnormal. The English newspapers are already saying bitterly: Is there any sense in this war?

Goering: On the other hand I have read a report in Braune Blaetter that they can support the Russians with their air force. They can reach the Russian forces with their heavy bombers, even though it is a long flight. But the information comes from an absurd source.

Hitler: Tactically, the English cannot support them. Since we don't know where the Russians are and where we are, how on earth can the English know?

Hitler then assures the assembled participants that this strategy--instilling the fear of unchecked Russian expansionism in the hearts of the British and Americans--will yet prevail. However, the conference ends with no decision being made as to the defense of the Oder. (Payne, Shirer, Read)

1945 February 9: Hitler's architect, Hermann Giesler, finishes a scale model of a completely redesigned Linz, Hitler's 'home town.' Set up in the cellar of the Reich Chancellery, Hitler will visit the model twice daily accompanied by Giesler, who stays in Berlin. He will spend hours daydreaming of a redesigned city that will never be constructed, as all of Germany falls into ruins around him. Note: He may as well have taken up the lyre. (Kershaw)

1945 February 11 Yalta Conference: The Declaration of Liberated Europe is signed at Yalta. This Declaration is an attempt to foment Austrian resistance to Hitler, but no organized resistance will ever develop. Many Austrians after the war will point to this Declaration as proof that Austria was "the Nazis' first victim." Even though the Nazi party will be banned after the War, Austria's status as a so-called "Liberated" nation (See: 1945 February 11) will allow it to avoid the process of Denazification. Without this cleansing of Nazis from society, Austrian politics will become a constant battle against stll-present Nazi elements to this (2011) day. The myth that the Anschluss was a forced annexation against the will of the Austrians themselves will be greatly assisted by this Declaration.:

The establishment of order in Europe and the rebuilding of national economic life must be achieved by processes which will enable the liberated peoples to destroy the last vestiges of Nazism and fascism and to create democratic institutions of their own choice. This is a principle of the Atlantic Charter--the right of all people to choose the form of government under which they will live--the restoration of sovereign rights and self-government to those peoples who have been forcibly deprived to them by the aggressor nations.

To foster the conditions in which the liberated people may exercise these rights, the three governments will jointly assist the people in any European liberated state or former Axis state in Europe where, in their judgment conditions require, (a) to establish conditions of internal peace; (b) to carry out emergency relief measures for the relief of distressed peoples; (c) to form interim governmental authorities broadly representative of all democratic elements in the population and pledged to the earliest possible establishment through free elections of Governments responsive to the will of the people; and (d) to facilitate where necessary the holding of such elections.

The three Governments will consult the other United Nations and provisional authorities or other Governments in Europe when matters of direct interest to them are under consideration. When, in the opinion of the three Governments, conditions in any European liberated state or former Axis satellite in Europe make such action necessary, they will immediately consult together on the measure necessary to discharge the joint responsibilities set forth in this declaration. By this declaration we reaffirm our faith in the principles of the Atlantic Charter, our pledge in the Declaration by the United Nations and our determination to build in cooperation with other peace-loving nations world order, under law, dedicated to peace, security, freedom and general well-being of all mankind. In issuing this declaration, the three powers express the hope that the Provisional Government of the French Republic may be associated with them in the procedure suggested.

1945 February 11 Allied Official Communique:

It is our inflexible purpose to destroy German militarism and Nazism and to ensure that Germany will never again be able to disturb the peace of the world. We are determined to bring all war criminals to just and swift punishment and exact reparations in kind for the destruction wrought by the Germans.

1945 February: The SS evacuates V-2 rocket scientists from the Peenemünde Army Research Center to the Alpine Fortress.

1945 February 24: OSS chief Allen Dulles receives intelligence that German Ambassador Rahn and Field Marshal Kesselring are prepared to surrender and possibly "fight against Hitler, if the Allies can make it worth their while." (Waller)

1945 March 3: An evacuation train from Gross-Rosen, Germany, arrives at the Ebensee, Austria, camp with more than 2,000 Jews. 49 die in the trains on the way, and more than 180 are killed almost immediately upon arrival. (THC)

1945 March 7-8: The Ludendorff Bridge at Remagen is captured by the US 1st Army. The capture of the Ludendorff Bridge opens the way for Allied troops to drive into the heart of Germany. Hitler is so furious to learn of the Americans' use of the intact Ludendorff Bridge that he fires General Gerd von Rundstedt as commander of western German forces. Supreme Allied Commander General Dwight D. Eisenhower will later state that the discovery of the intact bridge "put victory just around the corner." Over 8,000 men cross the bridge in the first twenty-four hours after its capture.

1945 March 8: SS-Obergruppenfuehrer Karl Friedrich Otto Wolff, makes contact in Switzerland with the headquarters of the US Office of Strategic Services, under Allen W. Dulles, to arrange a local surrender of German forces in northern Italy.

1945 March 15: Operation UNDERTONE, a large assault by the US Seventh and French First Armies, begins. Its main objective is to clear the German defenses and push to the Rhine River in the area of Karlsruhe within ten days.

1945 March 17 Churchill to General Ismay:

I should like the Intelligence Committee to consider the possibility that Hitler, after losing Berlin and Northern Germany, will retire to the mountainous and wooded parts of Southern Germany and endeavor to prolong the fight there. The strange resistance he made at Budapest and is now making at Lake Balaton, and the retention of Kesselring's army in Italy so long, seem in harmony with such an intention. But of course he is so foolishly obstinate about everything that there may be no meaning behind these moves. Nevertheless the possibilities should be examined. (Churchill)

From Eisenhower at War 1943-1945 by David Eisenhower: By the tenth UNDERTONE was in readiness. The 6th Army Group ha completed regrouping. Fourteen divisions of the US Seventh Army were bunched up between the Saarbruecken-Haguenau, posed for an advance through the Palatinate highlands to converge with Patton and trap the German Army Group G. On the assumption that UNDERTONE succeeded, Third Army crossings at Frankfurt would permit Sixth Army crossings into Baden-Wuerttemberg, which would open up a wide range of possibilities, including pursuit into the Black Forest toward Austria on the right flank of a Third Army advance toward the Czech frontier.

As their pause at the Oder continued, the Russians advanced into the eastern portions of Czechoslovakia south of the Carpathians with the 2nd Ukrainian Front moving up from the south toward Bratislava and Vienna, and this raised questions about the military usefulness of Allied operations into Czechoslovakia. On the other hand, there were political reasons for the Allies to consider Czechoslovakia. Unlike Germany, Czechoslovakia was to be a liberated country, as was Austria, and not subject to indefinite Soviet occupation. Allied occupation of the area might affect the course of Czech politics, which was also true of Austria, though there the Allies had a solid military basis for intervention as well as to prempt the threat of the redoubt. As of March 10, the question of full Allied participation in the Austrian Allied Control Commission had been agreed upon "in principle," but the effect of this agreement might be jepordized should the Russians overrun the country. Finally, the Allies would capture the Saar and 10 percent of remaining German tron and steel production and inflict a major defeat on the German army. An unforseen military opportunity was shaping up because of a German decision to reinforce Army Group G defenses opposite Devers with forces drawn from Patton's sector in the belief that Patton, instead of attacking across the Moselle, would cross the Rhine through the Remagen bridgehead. This placed Patton in a position to cross the Moselle and to strike against the rrear of the German First, Ninth and Seventh armies and cut the withdrawal of these forces into Bavaria.

All of these factors pointed to the Saar. The credence Eisenhower and Churchill gave to the prospects of a Bavarian redoubt will always be debatable, but one aspect of the Wolff overture could not be overlooked: Wolff spoke on behalf of Kesselring, who was about to assume command of the western front, which raised the possibility of a general surrender. Kesselring, who had spent twenty months in command of German forces in Italy, was also known as a "defensive specialist." The alternative to a phased surrender, by implication, was a withdrawal of German forces from the western front into an Austrian redoubt to link upo with German forces in Italy, enabling the Germans to hold out indefinitely. Hence, the redoubt contingency, long discounted in Allied thinking, suddenly became more plausably and a foctor in Allied military strategy, as one must assume it did in Russian planning as well. A number of recent German decisions--otherwise illogical--seemed consistent with the possibility that Hitler, after losing Berlin and northern Germany, would relocate his government in the mountains of southern Germany with the idea of prolonging the fight there.

1945 March: SHAEF [Supreme Headquarters Allied Expeditionary Force] receives reports that German military, government and Nazi Party offices and their staffs are leaving Berlin for the area around Berchtesgaden, the site of Hitler's retreat in the Bavarian Alps (Alpine Fortress).

1945 March 20 Molotov to Eden:

In Berne for two weeks, behind the backs of the Soviet Union, which is bearing the brunt of the war against Germany, negotiations have been going on between the representatives of the German military command (Note: Secret talks code-named Crossword, between SS Commander in Italy General Karl Wolff and Allen Dulles) on the one hand and representatives of the English and American commands on the other. (Churchill)

1945 March 23: Operation PLUNDER, the crossing of the River Rhine at Rees, Wesel, and south of the Lippe River by the British Second Army, begins.

1945 March 27 Churchill to FDR:

As you know, if we fail altogether to get a satisfactory solution on Poland and are in fact defrauded by Russia both Eden and I are pledged to report the fact openly to the House of Commons. There I advised critics of the Yalta settlement to trust Stalin. If I have to make a statement of facts to the House the whole world will draw the deduction that such advise was wrong; all the more so that our failure in Poland will result in a set-up there on the new Rumanian model. I other words, Eastern Europe will be shown to be excluded from the terms of the Declaration on Liberated Europe, and you and we shall be excluded from any jot of influence in that area. Surely we must not be maneuvered into becoming parties to imposing on Poland--and on how much more of Eastern Europe --the Russian version of democracy? There seems to be only one possible alternative to confessing our total failure. That alternative is to stand by our interpretation of the Yalta agreement. I believe therefore that if the success of San Francisco is not to be gravely imperiled we must both of us now make the strongest possible appeal top Stalin about Poland, and if necessary about a any other derogations from the harmony of the Crimea. Only so shall we have any real chance of getting the World Organization established on lines which will commend themselves to our respective public opinions. (Churchill)

1945 March 30: Red Army troops cross the border into Austria

1945 March 30 Eisenhower to Churchill:

As soon as the US Ninth and First Armies join hands and enemy encircled in Ruhr area is incapable of further offensive action I propose driving eastward to join hands with Russians or to attain general line of Elbe. Subject to Russian intentions, the axis Kassel-Leipzig is the best for the drive, as it will ensure the overrunning of that important industrial area, into which German Ministries are believed to be moving; it will cut the German forces approximately in half, and it will not involve us in crossing of Elbe. It is designed to divide and destroy the major part of remaining enemy forces in West." (Churchill)

1945 March 31 Churchill to General Ismay:

I hope however we shall realize that we have only a quarter of the forces invading Germany, and that the situation has thus changed remarkably from the days of June 1944. It seems to me that the chief criticism of the new Eisenhower plan is that it shifts the axis of the main advance upon Berlin to the direction through Leipzig to Dresden, and thus raises the question of whether the Twenty-first Army Group will not be so stretched as to lose its offensive power, especially after it has been deprived of the Ninth United States Army. Thus we might be condemned to a static role in the north and virtually prevented from crossing the Elbe until an altogether later stage in the operations has been reached. All prospect also of the British entering Berlin with the Americans is ruled out.

It also seems that General Eisenhower may be wrong in supposing Berlin to be largely devoid of military and political importance. Even though German Government departments have to a great extent moved to the south, the dominating fact on German minds of the fall of Berlin should not be overlooked. The idea of neglecting Berlin and leaving it to the Russians to take at a later stage does not appear to me to be correct. As long as Berlin holds out and withstands a siege in the ruins, as it may easily do, German resistance will be stimulated. The fall of Berlin might cause nearly all Germans to despair. (Churchill)

1945 March 31 Churchill to Eisenhower:

I do not know why it would be an advantage not to cross the Elbe. If the enemies' resistance should weaken, as you evidently expect and which may be fulfilled, why should we not cross the Elbe and advance as far east as possible? This has an important political bearing, as the Russian armies of the South seem certain to enter Vienna and overrun Austria. If we deliberately leave Berlin to them, even if it should be in our grasp, the double event may strengthen their conviction, already apparent, that they have done everything. (Churchill)

From Khrushchev Remembers by Nikita Sergeyevich Khrushchev: I frequently heard Stalin speak about Eisenhower's noble characteristics in conversations with his inner circle. Stalin always stressed Eisenhower's decency, generosity, and chivalry in his dealings with his allies. Stalin said that if iot hadn't been for Eisenhower, we wouldn't have succeeded in capturing Berlin. The Americans could have been there first. The Germans had concentrated their forces against us as they prepared to surrender to the Americans and British. Stalin appealed to Eisenhower in a letter to hold back his armies; Stalin told Eisenhower that according to his agreement with Roosevelt and in view of the amount of blood our people had shed, our troops deserved to enter Berlin before the Western Allies. Eisenhower then held his troops back and halted their offensive, thus allowing our troops to take Berlin. If he hadn't done this, Berlin would have been occupied by the Americans before we reached it, in which case, as Stalin said, the question of Germany might have been decided differently and our own position might have turned out quite a bit worse. This is the kind of chivalrous generosity Eisenhower demonstrated. He was true to Roosevelt's word . . . .

The Germans were hard pressed by our troops and couldn't resist any longer. They were supposed to throw down their arms and surrender to us. However, they refused to do this and moved west instead to surrender to the Americans. Once again, Stalin addressed himself to Eisenhower, saying that Soviet troops had shed their blood to crush the Germans and now the Germans whom they encountered were surrendering to the Americans. Stalin complained that this wasn't fair. This was on the Austrian front, where Malinovsky was directing our advance. Eisenhower ordered the commander of the German army to surrender to the Russians who had defeated his army.

From The Unseen War in Europe by John H. Waller: [Ausrian SD official Wilhelm] Hoettl claimed to have support from German Generals Alexander Loehr, who had just retreated from Greece, and Colonel General Lothar Rendulic, commander in chief of the army group on the Austro-Hungarian frontier. Kesselring, commander in chief of Army Group South, and Field Marshal von Rundstedt on the Western Front were described as generally supporting the plan to surrender, provided that negotiations were conducted with the Western Allies, not the Soviets.

In March Hoettl visited Switzerland with the Polish Count Potocki, through whom he made contact with Dulles's assistant Gaevernitz. Hoettl had gained the impression that the Americans, in their desire to keep Soviet influence in Austria to a minimum, were interested in setting up an Austrian government in competition to the Soviet sponsered one about to be established in Vienna. The Austrian Kaltenbrunner, who had full authority in southern Europe, was discussed as a likely player in an Allied-sponsered Free Austrian movement.

In April Hoettl described to Kaltenbrunner his conversations in Switzerland and urged him to meet with Dulles at some mutually agreed-upon place, perhaps at Feldkirch in Austria. Events moved too rapidly, however, and Kaltenbrunner abandoned his political aspirations, eventually fleeing to an Alpine retreat at Altausse rather than risk capture by either advancing American or Russian troops.

1945 April: A new sub-camp of the Mauthausen-Gusen concentration camp is opened in Gunskirchen, a town in Upper Austria, Austria. Thousands of prisoners soon begin arriving on death marches from Mauthausen. Most of the prisoners are Jews from Hungary whom the Germans have forced to march on foot from their homeland to Austria, where they are to be used for forced labor. Some 17,000 Hungarian Jews will pass through the Gunskirchen camp.

1945 April 1 Eisenhower to Churchill:

I had never lost sight of the great importance of the drive to the northernmost coast, although your telegram did introduce a new idea respecting the political importance of the early attainment of particular objectives. I clearly see your point in this matter. The only difference between your suggestions and my plan is timing. In order to assure the success of each of my planned efforts, I concentrate first in the Center to gain the position I need.

As it looks to me now, the next move thereafter should be to have Montgomery cross the Elbe, reinforced as necessary by American troops, and reach at least a line including Luebeck, on the coast. If German resistance from now on should progressively and definitely crumble you can see that there would be little if any difference in time between gaining central position and crossing the Elbe.

On the other hand, if resistance tends to stiffen at all I can see that it is vitally necessary that I concentrate for each effort, and do not allow myself to be dispersed by attempting to do all these projects at once. Quite naturally, if at any moment collapse should suddenly come about everywhere along the front we would push forward, and Luebeck and Berlin would be included in our important targets. (Churchill)

1945 April 2 Churchill to Eisenhower:

I am however all the more impressed with the importance of entering Berlin, which may well be open to us, by the reply from Moscow to you, which in paragraph 3 says, "Berlin has lost its former strategic importance." This should be read in the light of what I mentioned of the political aspects. I deem it highly important that we should shake hands with the Russians as far to the east as possible. (Churchill)

1945 April 3 Stalin to FDR:

I have received your message on the question of negotiations in Berne. You are absolutely right that, in connection with the affair regarding negotiations of the Anglo-American command with the German command somewhere in Berne or some other place, there has developed an atmosphere of fear and distrust deserving regrets. You insist there have been no negotiations yet. It may be assumed that you have not yet been fully informed. As regards my military colleagues, they, on the basis of data which they have on hand, do not have any doubts that the negotiations have taken place, and that they have ended with an agreement with the Germans, on the basis of which the German commander on the Western Front, Marshal Kesselring, has agreed to open the front and permit the Anglo-American troops to advance to the east, and the Anglo-Americans have promised in return to ease for the Germans the peace terms. I think that my colleagues are close to the truth. Otherwise one could not have understood the fact that the Anglo-Americans have refused to admit to Berne representatives of the Soviet command for participation in the negotiations with the Germans.

I also cannot understand the silence of the British, who have allowed you to correspond with me on this unpleasant matter, and they themselves remain silent, although it is known that the initiative in this whole affair with the negotiations in Berne belongs to the British. I understand that there are certain advantages for the Anglo-American troops as a result of these separate negotiations in Berne or some other place, since the Anglo-American troops get the possibility to advance into the heart of Germany almost without resistance on the part of the Germans, but why was it necessary to conceal this from the Russians, and why were your Allies, the Russians, not notified? As a result of this at the present moment the Germans on the Western Front in fact have ceased the war against England and the United States. At the same time the Germans continue the war with Russia, the Ally of England and the United States. It is understandable that such a situation can in no way serve the cause of preservation of the strengthening of trust between our countries. I personally and my colleagues would never have made such a risky step, being aware that a momentary advantage, no matter what it would be, is fading before the principal advantage of the preservation and strengthening of the trust among the Allies. (Churchill)

1945 April 5 FDR to Stalin:

I have received with astonishment your message of April 3 containing an allegation that arrangements which were made between Field-Marshal Alexander and Kesselring at Berne permitted the Anglo-American troops to advance to the east, and the Anglo-Americans promised in return to ease for the Germans the peace terms.

In my previous messages to you in regard to the attempts made in Berne to arrange a conference to discuss surrender of the German Army in Italy I have told you that (i) no negotiations were held in Berne; (ii) that the meeting had no political implications whatever; (iii) that in any surrender of the enemy Army in Italy there could be no violation of our agreed policy of unconditional surrender; (iv) that Soviet officers would be welcomed at any meeting that might be arranged to discuss surrender. For the advantage of our common war effort against Germany, which today gives the promise of an early success in a disintegration of the German armies, I must continue to assume that you have the same high confidence in my truthfulness and reliability that I have always had in yours. I have also a full appreciation of the effect your gallant Army has had in making possible a crossing of the Rhine by the forces under General Eisenhower, and the effect that your forces will have hereafter on the eventual collapse of the German resistance to our combined attacks.

Our advances on the Western Front are due to military action. Their speed has been attributable mainly to the terrific impact of air-power, resulting in destruction of German communications, and to the fact that Eisenhower was able to cripple the bulk of the German forces on the Western Front while they were still west of the Rhine. I am certain that there were no negotiations in Berne at any time, and I feel that your information to that effect must have come from German sources, which have made persistent efforts to create dissention between us in order to escape in some measure responsibility for their war crimes. Frankly, I cannot avoid a feeling of bitter resentment toward your informers, whoever they are, for such vile misrepresentations of my actions or those of my trusted subordinates. (Churchill)

1945 April 5: The Soviet 3rd Ukrainian Front reaches the outskirts of Vienna

1945 April 5 Churchill to FDR:

I am astounded that Stalin should have addressed to you a message so insulting to the honor of the United States and also of Great Britain. His Majesty's Government cordially associate themselves with your reply. There is little doubt in my mind that the Soviet leaders, whoever they may be, are surprised and disconcerted at the rapid advance of the Allied armies in the West and the almost total defeat of the enemy on our front, especially as they say they are themselves in no position to deliver a decisive attack before the middle of May. All this makes it the more important that we should join hands with the Russian armies as far to the east as possible, and, if circumstances allow, enter Berlin. I deem it of the highest importance that a firm and blunt stand should be made at this juncture by our two countries in order that the air may be cleared and they realize that there is a point beyond which we will not tolerate insult. I believe this is the best chance of saving the future. If they are ever convinced that we are afraid of them and can be bullied into submission, then indeed I should despair of our future relations with them and much else. (Churchill)

1945 April 6 Churchill to Stalin:

There is however the possibility that the whole of this request to parley by the German General Wolff was one of those attempts which are made by the enemy with the object of sowing distrust between Allies; it has certainly for the moment been successful. In the interests of Anglo-Russian relations His Majesty's Government decided not to make any reply to this most wounding and unfounded charge, but to ignore it. This is the reason for what you call in your message to the President 'the silence of the British.' We thought it better to keep silent than to respond to such a message. I associate myself and my colleagues with the last sentence of the Presidents reply." (Churchill)

1945 April 7 Stalin to FDR:

1. In the course of our correspondence it has become evident that our views differ on the point as to what is admissible and what is inadmissible as between one ally and another. We Russians think that in the present situation on the fronts, when the enemy is faced with inevitable surrender, if the representatives of any one ally ever meet the Germans to discuss surrender the representatives of another ally should be afforded an opportunity of participating in such a meeting. I still think the Russian point of view to be the only correct one, as it precludes all possibility of mutual suspicions and makes it impossible for the enemy to sow distrust between us.

2. It is difficult to admit that the lack of resistance by the Germans on the Western Front is due solely to the fact that they have been defeated. The Germans have 147 divisions on the Eastern Front. They could without prejudicing their own position detach fifteen or twenty divisions from the Eastern Front and transfer them to reinforce their troops on the Western Front. Yet the Germans have not done and are not doing this. They are continuing to wage a crazy struggle with the Russians for an insignificant railway station like Zemlyanitsa in Czechoslovakia, which is as much use to them as hot poultices to a corpse, and yet they yield without resistance such important towns in the center of Germany as Osnabruck, Mannheim, and Kassel. You will agree that such behavior on the part of the Germans is more than curious and unintelligible. 3. As regards my informants, I can assure you that they are extremely honest and modest people who discharge their duties conscientiously and have no intention of offending anyone. (Churchill)

1945 April 7 Stalin to Churchill:

My messages are personal and strictly confidential. This makes it possible to speak one's mind clearly and frankly. This is the advantage of confidential communications. If however you are going to regard every frank statement of mine as offensive it will make this kind of communication very difficult. I can assure you that I had no intention of offending anyone. You wonder why the Polish theatre of military operations must be wrapped in mystery. In fact there is no mystery here. You ignore the fact that if British observers or other foreign observers were sent into Poland the Poles would regard this as an insult to their national dignity, bearing in mind the fact moreover that the present attitude of the British Government to the Provisional Polish Government is regarded as unfriendly by the latter.

So far as the Soviet Government is concerned, it cannot but take into account the negative attitude of the Provisional Government to the question of sending foreign observers into Poland. Further, you are aware that the Polish Provisional Government puts no obstacles in the way of entrance into Poland by representatives of other States which take up a different attitude towards it, and does not in any way obstruct them. This is the case, for instance, in regard to representatives of the Czechoslovak Government, the Yugoslav Government, and others. I had an agreeable conversation with Mrs. Churchill, who made a great impression on me. She gave me a present from you. Allow me to express my heartfelt thanks for this present. (Churchill)

1945 April 11: Alfried Krupp, Nazi Germany's most powerful industrialist, is arrested by Allied forces. As Hitler's Minister of the War Economy, Krupp had employed 45,000 Russian civilians as forced labor in his steel factories, as well as 120,000 prisoners of war in his coal mines.

From The Arms of Krupp by William Manchester: At dawn on April 11, the day Alfried [Krupp] fell into American hands, Colonel Otto Skorzeny had zig-zagged widly across Vienna's Floridsdorfer Bridge under heavy sniper fire to radio Hitler from the nearest Gestapo headquarters that the city was lost. Austria had unexpectedly become a main theater of war. The NKVD was setting up a puppet regime in its capityal, and although the Americans (unlike Winston Churchill) were undismayed by Stalin's territorial ambitions, they were obsessed with the myth of the Alpenfestung [Alpine Fortress], the National Redoubt in the south to which the Fuehrer would withdraw for a last stand. No one knew exactly where the fortress was supposed to be, but SHAEF [Supreme Headquarters Allied Expeditionary Force] had tentatively circled Berghof, Hitler's celibrated retreat at Berchtesgaden. Berchtesgaden was within a few miles of Salzburg. So was Bluehnbach.

The origins of the Alpenfestung legend are obscure. In 1944 rumors of a formidible defense system in the Austrian Alps reached Allen Dulles, who sent Washington a warning from Switzerland. Somebody on Massachusetts Avenue talked out of turn at a cocktail party in a neutral embassy, a coded dispatch was relayed to Berlin, and Goebbels elatedly exploited the fable. By Christmas every American commander, including General George Marshall, believed it. "After the Ruhr was taken," Eisenhower's chief of staff General Walter Bedell Smith wrote the year after the war, "we were convinced that there would be no surrender at all so long as Hitler lived. Our feeling then was that we should be forced to destroy the remnants of the German army piece by piece, with the final possibility of a prolonged campaign in the rugged Alpine area of Western Austria and southern Bavaria known as the National Redoubt.

1945 April 12 Death: Franklin Delano Roosevelt, the longest serving president in American history, of a cerebral hemorrhage (3:45 PM) in Warm Springs, Georgia, three months into his fourth term and less than one month before the surrender of Germany.

1945 April 13: Vienna is liberated by the Red Army under Fedor Tolbukhin.

1945 April 14 Churchill to Stalin:

I have received your message of April 7. I thank you for its reassuring tone, and trust that the 'Crossword' misunderstanding may now be considered at an end. I have been greatly distressed by the death of President Roosevelt, with whom I had in the last five and a half years established close personal ties of friendship. This sad event makes it all the more valuable that you and I are linked together by many pleasant courtesies and memories, even in the midst of all the perils and difficulties that we have surmounted. In the friendship of the masses of our peoples, in the comprehension of their Governments, and in the mutual respect of their armies the future of the world resides. (Churchill)

1945 April 14 Churchill to Ismay:

I should advise the following line: We consider that before the Anglo-American armies retire from any ground they have gained from the enemy, over and beyond the zones of occupation agreed upon, the political issues operative at that time should be discussed between the heads of Governments, and in particular that the situation should be viewed as a whole and in regard to the relations between the Soviet, American, and British Governments. These Governments will have to make sure that there is in fact a friendly and fair execution of the occupation zones as already agreed between Governments. For these reasons we consider the matter is above the sphere of purely military decision by a commander in the field. (Churchill)

1945 April 15: A deportration train from Vienna organized by Eichmann arrives at the Theresienstadt, Czechoslovakia camp/ghetto with 109 Jews. (THC)

1945 April 18 Churchill to Truman:

Your armies soon, and presently ours, may come into contact with the Soviet forces. But the moment V.E. Day has occurred we should try to set up the Allied Control Commission in Berlin and should insist upon a fair distribution of the food produced in Germany between all parts of Germany. As it stands at present the Russian occupational zone has the smallest proportion of people and grows by far the largest proportion of food, the Americans have a not very satisfactory proportion of food to conquered population, and we poor British are to take over all the ruined Ruhr and large manufacturing districts, which are, like ourselves, in normal times large importers of food.

I suggest that this tiresome question should be settled in Berlin by the Allied Control Commission before we move from the tactical positions we have at present achieved. The Russian idea of taking these immense food supplies out of the producing areas of Germany to feed themselves is very natural, but I contend that the feeding of the German population must be treated as a whole and that the supplies must be divided pro rata between the occupational zones. I should be most grateful if you would let me have your views on these points, which, from the information I receive from many sources, are of the highest consequence and urgency." (Churchill)

1945 April 19 Churchill to Eden:

This is for your eyes only. It would seem that the Western Allies are not immediately in a position to force their way into Berlin. The Russians have two and a half million troops on the section of the front opposite that city. The Americans have only their spearheads, say twenty-five divisions, which are covering an immense front and are at many points engaged with the Germans. There is no reason why the Russians should occupy Denmark, which is a country to be liberated and to have its sovereignty restored. Our position at Luebeck, if we get it, would be decisive in this matter. Thereafter, but partly concurrent, it is thought well to push on to Linz to meet the Russians there, and also by an American encircling movement to gain the region south of Stuttgart. In this region are the main German installations connected with their atomic research, and we had better get hold of these in the interest of the special secrecy attaching to this topic. (Churchill)

1945 April 22: SS Generalleutnant Gottlob Berger later claims that Hitler signs an order on this day to evacuate 35,000 prisoners to the Alpine Fortress (a planned national redoubt) as hostages, but Berger does not carry out the order.

1945 April 24 Churchill to Truman:

I thank you for your answer to my telegram. I agree with the preamble, but later paragraphs simply allow the Russians to order us back to the occupational zones at any point they might decide, and not necessarily with regard to the position of the fronts as a whole. It is your troops who would suffer most by this, being pushed back about a hundred and twenty miles in the center and yielding up to the unchecked Russian advance an enormous territory. And this while all questions of our spheres in Vienna or arrangements for triple occupation of Berlin remain unsettled. (Churchill)

1945 April 25: At 10:00 AM, two waves of American heavy bombers appear over the crest of Hohe Goell and shatter Hitler's Berghof.

1945 April 25 Elbe Day: US and Soviet forces link up at Torgau, Germany, on the Elbe River, a meeting that dramatizes the collapse of Nazi Germany's defenses. Arrangements are made for the formal 'Handshake of Torgau' between Robertson and Silvashko in front of photographers the following day. Statements are released simultaneously in London, Moscow, and Washington in the evening reaffirming the determination of the three Allied powers to complete the destruction of the Third Reich.

1945 April 28: Allied occupation forces set up a provisional occupation government in Austria as the first step towards re-establishing the Austrian republic.

From The Blast of War, 1939-1945 by Harold Macmillian: With Austria ... the news came to us of the difficulties of arranging an agreement on the zones of occupation. Srangely enough, this was the one country--in addition to Germany--in which Russia agreed to a division of authority, although they were not ill-placed to impose their will. At the time, I watched what was happening in the last days of April with detached interest. More than ten years later I was to sign a treaty by which Austria was finally freed from Allied occupation--Russian, French, British and American.

1945 April 28: The Allies reject peace offers made by Reichsfuehrer-SS Himmler, insisting on nothing less than unconditional surrender on all fronts.

1945 April 29: Hitler dictates his last Political Testament, naming Seyss-Inquart Foreign Minister.

1945 April 29: Hitler dictates his Last Will and personal Testament:

My pictures, in the collections which I have bought in the course of years, have never been collected for private purposes, but only for the extension of a gallery in my home town of Linz on Donau. It is my most sincere wish that this bequest may be duly executed.

1945 April 29 Churchill to Stalin:

I have just received a telegram from Field-Marshal Alexander that after a meeting at which your officers were present the Germans accepted the terms of unconditional surrender presented to them and are sending the material clauses of the instrument of surrender to General von Vietinghoff, with the request to name the date and hour at which conclusion of hostilities can be made effective. It looks therefore as if the entire German forces south of the Alps will almost immediately surrender. (Churchill)

1945 April 29: An unconditional surrender of the German armies in Italy is signed at Caserta; Venice and Mestre are captured by the Allies.

1945 April 30: At 3:30 PM, Adolf Hitler and his new wife, Eva Braun, commit suicide in their private quarters under the Chancellery bunker in Berlin.

1945 April 30 Churchill to Truman:

There can be little doubt that the liberation of Prague and as much as possible of the territory of Western Czechoslovakia by your forces might make the whole difference to the post-war situation in Czechoslovakia, and might well influence that in near-by countries. On the other hand, if the Western Allies play no significant part in Czechoslovakian liberation that country will go the way of Yugoslavia. Of course, such a move by Eisenhower must not interfere with his main operations against the Germans, but I think the highly-important political consideration mentioned above should be brought to his attention. (Churchill)

1945 April 30: Allied troops capture Munich and French forces cross the border into Austria.

1945 May 2 Stalin to Truman:

The Soviet Supreme Command has given instructions that whenever Soviet troops contact Allied troops the Soviet Command is immediately to get in touch with the Command of the US or British troops, so that they, by agreement between themselves, (1) establish a temporary tactical demarcation line and (2) take steps to crush within the bounds of their temporary demarcation line all resistance by German troops. (Churchill)

1945 May 3: Franz Ziereis, commandant of the Mauthausen-Gusen concentration camp, and his wife go into hiding at their hunting lodge on the Phyrn mountain in Upper Austria.

1945 May 4 Churchill to Eden (San Francisco):

I fear terrible things have happened during the Russian advance through Germany to the Elbe. The proposed withdrawal of the United States Army to the occupational lines which were arranged with the Russians and Americans in Quebec, and which were marked in yellow on the maps we studied there, would mean the tide of Russian Domination sweeping forward 120 miles on a front of 300 or 400 miles. This would be an event which, if it occurred, would be one of the most melancholy in history. After it was over and the territory occupied by the Russians, Poland would be completely engulfed and buried deep in Russian occupied lands. What would in fact be the Russian frontier would run from the North Cape of Norway, along the Finnish-Swedish frontier, across the Baltic to a point east of Luebeck, along the at present agreed line of occupation and along the frontier between Bavaria to Czechoslovakia to the frontiers of Austria, which is nominally to be in quadruple occupation, and half-way across that country to the Isonzo river, behind which Tito and Russia will claim everything to the east. This constitutes an event in the history of Europe to which there has been no parallel, and which has not been face by the Allies in their long and hazardous struggle. The Russian demands on Germany for reparations alone will be such as to enable her to prolong the occupation almost indefinitely.

We have several powerful bargaining counters on our side, the use of which might make for a peaceful agreement. First, the Allies ought not to retreat from their present positions to the occupational line until we are satisfied about Poland, and also about the temporary character if the Russian occupation of Germany, and the conditions to be established in the Russianized or Russian-controlled countries in the Danube valley, particularly Austria and Czechoslovakia, and the Balkans. Secondly, we may be able to please them about the exits from the Black Sea and the Baltic as part of a general settlement. All these matters can only be settled before the United States armies in Europe are weakened. If they are not settled before the United States armies withdraw from Europe and the Western World folds up its war machines there are no prospects of a satisfactory solution and very little of preventing a third World War. It is to this early and speedy showdown with Russia that we must now turn our hopes. Meanwhile I am against weakening our claim against Russia on behalf of Poland in any way. I think it should stand where it was put in the telegrams from the President and me. (Churchill)

1945 May 4: Salzburg, Austria, is occupied by Allied forces. (THC)

1945 May 5: The 761st Tank Battalion, an all black unit under General Patton, links with their Russian allies near Steyr, Austria. Note: Adolf Hitler had attended Steyr Realschule in 1905.

1945 May 5: The Mauthausen Concentration camp in Austria is liberated by US troops. They find over ten thousand bodies laying in one huge communal grave. There are 110,000 survivors, 28,000 of them are Jewish. French politicians Reynaud and Daladier and former Austrian Chancellor Schuschnigg, imprisoned there by the Nazis, are released.

1945 May 5: The two sub-camps of Mauthausen at Gusen, Austria, are liberated by the US Army. More than 37,000 inmates had died at Gusen; more than 1/3 of all the victims of all the other camps located in Austria. 2,000 inmates remain alive. (THC)

1945 May 5: The US 71st Infantry Division liberates the camp at Gunskirchen, Austria, where 18,000 inmates remain alive. Hungarian author and journalist Geza Havas, forse-marched to the camp from Mauthausen, dies a few hours before the Americans arrive. (THC)

Capt. J. D. Pletcher of the 71st Infantry:

As we entered the camp, the living skeletons still able to walk crowded around us and, though we wanted to drive farther into the place, the milling, pressing crowd wouldn't let us. It is not an exaggeration to say that almost every inmate was insane with hunger. Just the sight of an American brought cheers, groans and shrieks. People crowded around to touch an American, to touch the jeep, to kiss our arms—perhaps just to make sure that it was true. The people who couldn't walk crawled out toward our jeep. Those who couldn't even crawl propped themselves up on an elbow, and somehow, through all their pain and suffering, revealed through their eyes the gratitude, the joy they felt at the arrival of Americans...

1945 May 5: At the Ebansee, Austria, concentration camp, a brutal German Kapo (foreman) pleads with inmates not to turn him over to the approaching Americans as a war criminal. He is attacked by three Jewish boys and killed. Other Germans at Ebansee meet a similar fate. Later in the day, a white flag is raised above the Ebansee guard tower. (THC)

1945 May 6: The Ebansee, Austria, concentration camp is liberated by the US 11th Armored Division. More than 10,000 bodies are discovered in an enormous communinal grave. 3,500 inmates remain alive; however, many of these survivors subsequently die from overindulging on food innocently offered to them by the horrified Americans. (THC)

1945 May 6: The US Third Army (Patton) occupies Pilsen in Bohemia. The American armies penetrating Bavaria and western Austria meet little serious resistance; the National Redoubt (Alpine Fortress) is thus shown to have been a myth.

1945 May 6: An Allied CIC team working with the US 80th Division's 319th Regiment arrest Ernst Kaltenbrunner's wife on an estate in the Austrian town of Strobl. Under interrogation, she informs them that her husband had been with her as recently as May 3. Note: Kaltenbrunner will be captured on May 12.

1945 May 7: Hungarian novelist Andor Endre Gelleri, age 39, dies at the Mauthausen Concentration camp in Austria, two days after liberation. (THC)

1945 May 7-8 VE Day: The Allies formally accept the unconditional surrender of Nazi Germany.

1945 May 7: Eight days after Hitler's death, Rainer W. Friedrich transfers his official functions to an executive board and flees to the area around the Weissensee in Carinthia. After being given leads by the local population, British officials arrest Friedrich and transfer him to Nuremberg, where he will be compelled to testify before the IMT.

1945 May 14: Forces of Soviet Marshal Fedor Tolbukhin and US General George S. Patton meet in Linz.

From Special Envoy to Churchill and Stalin 1941 - 1946 by W. Averell Harriman and Elie Abel: While in Rumania, Harriman encountered Marshal F. I. Tolbukhin at an official reception and fell into a long conversation with him about the junction of American and Russian armies at Linz, Austria, at the end of the war. Tolbukhin had met General George S. Patton on that memorable occasion, and as he relived the moment, spoke proudly of their respective military achievements. The Soviet marshal had carefully worked out in kilometers the distance that he and Patton had traversed. He had fought the Germans all the way from Stalingrad to Linz, commanding Soviet army groups in their westward sweep across Bulgaria, Yugoslavia, Hungary and Austria, while Patton, after the campaigns in North Africa and Sicily, had fought his way across Europe from the Normandy beaches through France and Germany into Austria.

"Tolbukhin said he had a photograph of himself with Patton, who had just been killed in an automobile accident," Harriman recalled. "He asked if I would deliver it to Mrs. Patton. I said that I would be glad to do so, that I was sure it would be a great comfort to her, and suggested that he ought to inscribe it. He promised to do this and send the photograph to me. Unfortunately, that was the last I heard of the matter, although Tolbukhin had spoken of Patton with such intensity of emotion that I felt he fully intended to send it. Perhaps the NKVD intervened. It was profoundly depressing to me that a man of Tolbukhin's importance should have been debarred, presumably for political reasons, from doing this simple, human thing."

1945 May 23: Mauthausen-Gusen commandant Franz Ziereis, is discovered in his Austrian hideout and arrested by an American army unit. He is shot while trying to escape and brought to a US military hospital set up in Gusen I where he will eventually die. His corpse will be hung on the fence of Gusen I by former prisoners of Gusen.

1945 June: A report of the Institute on Re-education of the Axis Countries recommends that: "Only an inflexible longterm occupation authority will be able to lead the Germans to a fundamental revision of their recent political philosophy."

1945 June 5: The Allies divide up Germany and Berlin and take over the government.

1945 July 31: French collaborationist politician Pierre Laval is arrested in Austria. He wioll be executed on October 8, 1945. (THC)

1945: Franz Stangl, after being detained by the American Army, is briefly imprisoned in Austria for his complicity in the Euthanasia program but escapes to Italy with his colleague from Sobibor, SS officer Gustav Wagner. The Roman Catholic Bishop Alois Hudal, a Nazi sympathizer, will help him to escape to Syria using a Red Cross passport. Stangl is joined by his wife and family and lives in Syria for three years before moving to Brazil in 1951. After years of other jobs, Stangl will find work at the Volkswagen plant in São Bernardo do Campo (SP) with the help of friends, still using his own name. See: October 22, 1970.

1945 September 2: Victory over Japan Day.

1945 September 6 From the letters of Thomas Dodd:

Today, I questioned again Dr Arthur Seyss-Inquart, the Austrian, and he told me in considerable detail the story of his deeds in Austria. He persists in saying that he was no party to a deeply laid plan to have the Nazis take over Austria. On the contrary, he gives me this account of his meeting of February 17, 1938 with Hitler in Berlin. He meets Hitler by giving the Nazi salute, and says to Hitler, "You may think it strange that I do it because I recognize you as the leader of all Germans."

Then, Seyss-Inquart and Hitler talk for two hours, and the Austrian tells Hitler, "I am for Anschluss, but by a slow evolutionary process, and I will be no Trojan Horse." To all of this Hitler said nothing--merely changing the subject of the conversation according to S-I (Seyss-Inquart). Well, it goes through the last days and the last hours--S-I claiming he was as surprised as anyone else. But of course I have my very grave doubts of all this, and when we talk to Schuschnigg we will get much information . . . .

He (Seyss-Inquart) is a stubborn and taciturn individual. Wears heavy glasses, is rather fair of complexion, walks with a limp. He is a Roman Catholic, a lawyer and of a good family in Austria. He told me of events leading to the murder of Dollfuss and was careful to insert that on the day of the murder he--Seyss-Inquart--was many miles away in his native town. He said he saw Hitler, Himmler and Goering in February of 1938 and insited that no arrangements were made for the march in to Austria a few weeks later . . . . He admits that on the fateful days in March he was in constant touch with Berlin and that the day before the Nazis came, a telegram, over his signature, was sent to Hitler stating that because of internal conditions--riots, etc.--he requested Hitler to send in German troops.

1945 September 19 From the letters of Thomas Dodd:

Yesterday was devoted to Herr Franz von Papen. He is a wily one and a very difficult man to question. He speaks English, of course, very well. He admitted great responsibility for Hitler's rise to power and said he believed Hitler to be "the greatest crook in history"--so! But he was ever so vague as to when he first concluded that Herr Hitler was a knave.

1945 October 9 From the letters of Thomas Dodd:

I was busy with Seyss-Inquart--all day--but Rudolf Hess arrived yesterday from England, so he was called up for an interview. He is completely balmy--and was when he flew to England. He has no memory at all. We had Goering, von Papen, Haushofer and Bohle--all old friends--confront him. He didn't know one of them--and it was no fake. I watched him. He has suffered a complete mental collapse. Goering said to him, "Don't you recall me, your old companion and friend?" Then he mentioned many personal experiances with no sign of recollection from Hess, who said, "I am really very sorry--I realize you must be an old friend. But I cannot remember you." It is genuine--believe that when I tell you so. And so we mark off in tragic terms another of these Nazis. Seyss-Inquart was quite cooperative today and made some interesting admissions about his part in the Anschluss of 1938 and about his activities in Poland and Holland.

1945 October 17: From the first joint pastoral letter of the Archbishops and Bishops of Austria after liberation:

A war which has raged terribly and horribly, like none other in past epochs of the history of humanity is at an end . . . . At an end also is an intellectual battle, the goal of which was the destruction of Christianity and' Church among our people; a campaign of lies and treachery against truth and love, against divine and human rights, and against international law . . . .

Direct hostility to the Church was revealed in regulations against orders and monasteries, Catholic schools and institutions, against religious foundations and activities, against the ecclesiastical recreation centers and institutions; without the least rights to defend themselves they were declared enemies of both people and state and their existence destroyed. Religious instruction and education of children and adolescents were purposely limited, frequently entirely prevented. They encouraged in every manner all efforts hostile to religion and the Church and thus sought to rob the children and youth of our people of the most valuable treasure of holy faith and of true morality born of the Spirit of God. Unfortunately the attempt succeeded in innumerable cases to the permanent detriment of young people. Spiritual care of souls in churches and ecclesiastical houses, in hospitals and other institutions was seriously obstructed. It was made ineffectual in the Armed Forces and in the Labor Service, in the transfer of youth to the country and, beyond that, even in individual families and among numerous persons, to say nothing of the prohibition of spiritual ministration to people of another nationality and of other races. How often was the divine service as such, also sermons, missions, Communion days, retreats, processions, pilgrimages, restricted for the most impossible reasons and made entirely impossible! Catholic literature, newspapers, periodicals, church papers, religious writings were stopped, books and libraries destroyed.

What an injustice occurred in the dissolution of many Catholic societies, in the destruction of numerous church activities! Individual Catholic and Christian believers, whose religious confession was allegedly free, were spied upon, criticized on account of their belief, scorned on account of their Christian activity. How many religious officials, teachers, public and private employees, laborers, businessmen, and artisans, indeed, even peasants were put under pressure and terror! Many lost their jobs, some were pensioned off, others dismissed without pension, demoted, deprived of their real professional activity. Often enough such people who remained loyal to their convictions were discriminated against, condemned to hunger or tortured in concentration camps. Christianity and the Church were continually scorned and exposed to hatred. The apostasy movement found every assistance. Every opportunity was used to induce many to withdraw from the Church.

1945 October 19: British Major Airey Neave presents each defendant in turn with a copy of the indictment. Gilbert, the Nuremberg psychologist, asks the accused to write a few words on the documents margin indicating their attitude toward the development.
Papen: The accusation amazed me, for these reasons: (1) The irresponsibility with which Germany was cast into this war and a world-wide catastrophe, (2) the vast number of crimes which some of my countrymen have committed. The last point is psychologically inexplicable. I believe that paganism and the years of totalitarian regime are chiefly to blame. Both turned Hitler into a pathological liar in the course of time. (Heydecker)

1945 October 19 From the letters of Thomas Dodd:

Later in the morning I had a session with Keitel--the last one before the indictment was served on him. Shortly after noon the document had been served on all the defendants and about 4 PM I saw von Papen, Keitel and Seyss-Inquart--in that order. Von Papen was shaken and expressed surprise. Keitel was greatly distressed--nervous and highly excited. Seyss-Inquart was obviously upset but appeared despondent and dejected. Old Keitel bothers me--I feel badly about him. We have become rather good friends--so to speak."

1945 October 24 From the letters of Thomas Dodd:

I also saw Seyss-Inquart and bade him adieu--he was thankful, etc.

1945 October 27: Only seven of the defendants have obtained counsel by this date. Papens' first choice, Dr Rudolf Dix, was also requested by Schacht and another defendant. When Schacht tires of waitiing for Dix to decide whom to defend, he hires Professor Kraus, an international lawyer. When Dix finally does consent to defend him, Schacht keeps both lawyers, thus denying Papen his first choice. Papen eventually hires Dr Egon Kubuschok, whom he considers has a 'keen intelligence.' While Papen is satisfied with his choice of counsel, there are many who will regret his choice, including the British Alternate Judge, Mr. Justice Norman Birkett, who will jott down in his trial notes that 'he is not exactly to be described as a wndbag, because that implies some powers of rhetoric and possible elequence. Of these qualities this man is strikingly bereft.' Note: Kubuschok will be assisted in his defense of Papen by the defendant's son, Friedrich. (Tusa, Taylor)

1945 November 19: After a last inspection by Andrus, the defendants are escorted handcuffed into the empty courtroom and given their assigned seats.

1945 November 19: Sess-Inquart writes to his wife:

. . . it's strange to imagine a Reichsmarschall--usually with good humor--Field Marshal, Reichsminister, etc. single handedly cleaning their cells, but who otherwise would do it? . . . . I have sorted myself out an old dishrag and every day I wash the floor. This beastly task always reminds me of that time after the war in 1919-20, when I had to do chores in the confined space of my wife's household and these memories make me happy. A blanket over the table as a cover, the night clothes folded...the rest of my things in a large box that I begged. Isn't it cosy, this cell 14?

1945 November 20 Nuremberg Tribunal: On day 1 of the historic trial, the prosecutors take turns reading the indictment in court. Unfortunately, no one had given any thought to the prisoners lunch break, so, for the first and only time during 218 days of court, the defendants eat their midday meal in the courtroom itself. This is the first opportunity for the entire group to mingle, and though some know each other quite well, there are many who've never met.

1945 November 21 Nuremberg Tribunal: On day 2, the defendants enter their pleas. They all plead Not Guilty.

1945 November 21 Nuremberg Tribunal: Immediately following the pleas of the defendants, Justice Jackson delivers his opening statement:

Justice Jackson: Despite repeated assurances that Germany had no designs on Austria, invasion was perfected. Threat of attack forced Schuschnigg to resign as Chancellor of Austria and put the Nazi Defendant Seyss-Inquart in his place. The latter immediately opened the frontier and invited Hitler to invade Austria "to preserve order...

1945 November 28 Nuremberg Tribunal: On the 7th day of the trial, the Prosecution begins its presentation concerning the Anschluss:

Mr. Sidney Alderman, Associate Trial Counsel for the United States: ... First, we have the events leading up to the autumn of 1937, and the strategic position of the National Socialists in Austria. I suggest at this point, if the Tribunal please, that in this phase we see the first full flowering of what has come to be known as Fifth Column infiltration techniques in another country, and first under that, the National Socialist aim of absorption of Austria.

In order to understand more clearly how the Nazi conspirators proceeded, after the meeting of 5 November 1937, covered by the Hossbach minutes, it is advisable to review the steps which had already been taken in Austria by the Nazi Socialists of both Germany and Austria. The position which the Nazis had reached by the fall of 1937 made it possible for them to complete their absorption of Austria much sooner and with much less cost than had been contemplated at the time of the meeting covered by the Hossbach minutes.

The acquisition of Austria had long been a central aim of the German National Socialists. On the first page of Mein Kampf Hitler said: "German Austria must return to the Great German Motherland." He continued by stating that this purpose of having common blood in a common Reich could not be satisfied by a mere economic union. Moreover, this aim of absorption of Austria was an aim from 1933 on and was regarded as a serious program which the Nazis were determined to carry out...

1945 November 29 Nuremberg Tribunal: On the 8th day of the trial, the Prosecution completes its case concerning the Anschluss:

Mr. Sidney Alderman: ... I have practically come to the end of the material relating to the aggression against Austria. In a moment I shall take up quite briefly the effects of the Anschluss, some of the developments which took place after the German troops marched across the border. What is to come after that is an epilogue, but before developing the epilogue, it may be appropriate to pause briefly for just a moment. I think that the facts which I have related to the Tribunal today show plainly certain things about the defendants involved in the conspiracy, and among the conspirators who particularly took action in the Austrian matter were von Papen, Seyss-Inquart, Ribbentrop, von Neurath, and Goering.

First, I think it is plain that these men were dangerous men. They used their power without a bridle. They used their power to override the independence and freedom of others. And they were more than bullies squeezing a smaller foe. They were very sly bullies. They compounded their force with fraud. They coupled threats with legal technicalities and devious maneuvers, wearing a sanctimonious mask to cover their duplicity. I think they are dangerous men...

1945 December 22: The American Displaced Persons Act makes it easier for Nazi war criminals to immigrate to the United States. The act discriminates against Jewish refuges. When the bill is debated, many congressmen and members of the Departments of State, Justice, and Interior express their anti-Jewish feelings indirectly and in private. (THC)

1946 January 15: Denazification efforts in Germany begin through a series of directives issued by the Allied Control Council in Berlin. A report of the Military Government states: "The present procedure fails in practice to reach a substantial number of persons who supported or assisted the Nazis." A special law (See: 1946 April 1) will soon be passed transfering the responsibility for the Denazification process to the German administration, which will establish 545 civilian courts (Spruchkammern) to oversee over 900,000 Denazification cases. Austria, due to its status as a so-called "Liberated" nation, is relatively unaffected.

1946 March 18 Nuremberg Tribunal: On day 84, Hermann Goering is cross-examined by Justice Jackson, the chief US prosecutor:

Goering: ... never had any misgivings about Austria leading to a war, as I had with the Rhineland occupation, for in the case of the Rhineland occupation I could well imagine that there might be repercussions. But how there could be any repercussions from abroad over the union of two brother nations of purely German blood was not clear to me, especially since Italy, who always pretended that she had a vital interest in a separate Austria, had somewhat changed her ideas. It could not have mattered in the least to England and France, nor could they have had the slightest interest in this union. Therefore I did not see the danger of its leading to a war.

Mr. Justice Jackson: I ask you just a few questions about Austria. You said that you and Hitler had felt deep regret about the death of Dollfuss, and I ask you if it is not a fact that Hitler put up a plaque in Vienna in honor of the men who murdered Dollfuss, and went and put a wreath on their graves when he was there. Is that a fact? Can you not answer that question with "yes" or "no"?

Goering: No, I cannot answer it with either "yes" or "no," if I am to speak the truth according to my oath. I cannot say, "Yes, he did it," because I do not know; I cannot say, "No, he did not do it," because I do not know that either. I want to say that I heard about this event here for the first time.

Mr. Justice Jackson: Now, in June of 1937, Seyss-Inquart came to you and State Secretary Keppler, and you had some negotiations.

Goering: Yes.

Mr. Justice Jackson: And it was Seyss-Inquart's desire to have an independent Austria, was it not?

Goering: As far as I remember, yes...

1946 April 1: The Law for Liberation from National Socialism and Militarism (Befreiungsgesetz) goes into effect. Germans are required to fill out a Meldebogen form, detailing the level of their involvement in Nazism. More than 900,000 Germans will eventually have to appear before a Denazification Court (Spruchkammer). The Spruchkammer will place defendants in one of the following five categories:

5. Exonerated, or non-incriminated persons (Entlastete)

4. Followers, or Fellow Travelers (Mitlaeufer)

3. Less incriminated (Minderbelastete)

2. Activists, Militants, and Profiteers, or Incriminated Persons (Belastete)

1. Major Offenders (Hauptschuldige)

Unfortunately, as the Cold War gathers momentum, the Denazification proceedings will diminish in frequency and the sentences will become much more lenient until the entire process virtually ceases altogether.

1946 May 13: 58 camp guards of Mauthausen concentration camp are sentenced to death.

1946 June 10-12 Nuremberg Tribunal: Seyss-Inquart testifies on his own behalf.

From The Nuremberg Trial by Ann and John Tusa: His [Seyss-Inquart's] testimony did not leave a good impression. Schacht called it clumsy, and it is surprising that an intelligent man and a trained lawyer to boot could not make a better job of it. His insistance that he had never pressed to be made Chancellor of Austria could hardly cotradict the fact that he had accepted the appointment, nor what he had done once in office. His claim that no force was used to precipitate the final government crises which led to the crises sounded weak after prosecution evidence on the bullying of Schuschnigg and Goering's telephone calls, and weaker still when he himself pointed out that he kept forty SS men armed with pistols in his office and "s few thousand" Nazis outside the building . . . .

Seyss-Inquart's defence was not helped by his counsel, Steinbauer, whose style was as sticky as the most glutinous of Austrian cakes and mit schlag. Steinbauer had been incapable of making formal application for documents without prefacing his requests with "Your Lordship, High Tribunal, I know you value my small country Austria not only because of its ancient culture and irs scenic beauty but also because it was the firwst country to lose its freedom through Hitler." Style apart, one might wonder whether their Lordships asked themselves if Seyss-Inquart had not contributed to that loss. Steinbauer opened his case with Schuschnigg's words "God protect Austria." Tactless again, since Seyss-Inquart was one of the people from whom the prosecution alleged that Schuschnigg had needed protection. He then encouraged his client to retail a lengthy history of the events leading to the Anschluss. Fritsche had a better instinct: he had begged Seyss-Inquart to skip over this part of his career ("It seemed to us too delicate a subject for the prosecution to grasp"). But Seyss-Inquart blundered ahead--and made it a subject all too easy to grasp and all too damning for him.

1946 June 12 Nuremberg Tribunal: Seyss-Inquart's defense calls Edmund Glaise-Horstenau to the stand.

1946 June 12 Nuremberg Tribunal: Seyss-Inquart's defense calls Friedrich Rainer to the stand.

1946 June 13 Nuremberg Tribunal: On day 154, Friedrich Rainer continues his testimony for Seyss-Inquart's defense.

1946 June 13 Nuremberg Tribunal: Seyss-Inquart's defense calls Dr. Guido Schmidt to the stand.

1946 June 13 Nuremberg Tribunal: Seyss-Inquart's defense calls Michael Skubl to the stand.

1946 July 20: Just 5 weeks after testifying before the IMT, Edmund Glaise-Horstenau commits suicide at Langwasser military camp near Nuremberg, Germany.

1946 September 30 Nuremberg Tribunal: On the penultimate day of this historic trial, the Final Judgements are read in open court:

From the Final Judgement of Wilhelm Keitel: Keitel attended the Schuschnigg conference in February 1938 with two other generals. Their presence, he admitted, was a "military demonstration," but since he had been appointed OKW chief just one week before, he had not known why he had been summoned. Hitler and Keitel then continued to put pressure on Austria with false rumors, broadcasts, and troop maneuvers. Keitel made the military and other arrangements and Jodl's diary noted "the effect is quick and strong." When Schuschnigg called his plebiscite, Keitel that night briefed Hitler and his generals, and Hitler issued "Case Otto" which Keitel initialed.

From the Final Judgement of Ernst Kaltenbrunner: As leader of the SS in Austria Kaltenbrunner was active in the Nazi intrigue against the Schuschnigg Government. On the night of 11 March 1938, after Goering had ordered Austrian National Socialists to seize control of the Austrian Government, 500 Austrian SS men under Kaltenbrunner's command surrounded the Federal Chancellery and a special detachment under the command of his adjutant entered the Federal Chancellery while Seyss-Inquart was negotiating with President Miklas. But there is no evidence connecting Kaltenbrunner with plans to wage aggressive war on any other front. The Anschluss, although it was an aggressive act, is not charged as an aggressive war, and the evidence against Kaltenbrunner under Count One does not, in the opinion of the Tribunal, show his direct participation in any plan to wage such a war.

From the Final Judgement of Hjalmar Schacht: Moreover, Schacht continued to participate in German economic life and even, in a minor way, in some of the early Nazi aggressions. Prior to the occupation of Austria, he set a rate of exchange between the mark and the schilling. After the occupation of Austria, he arranged for the incorporation of the Austrian National Bank into the Reichsbank, and made a violently pro-Nazi speech, in which he stated that the Reichsbank would always be Nazi as long as he was connected with it; praised Hitler; defended the occupation of Austria; scoffed at objections to the way it was carried out; and ended with "to our Fuehrer, a triple ’Sieg Heil’." He has not contended ’ that this speech did not represent his state of mind at the time.

From the Final Judgement of Alfred Jodl: Entries in Jodl's diary of 13 and 14 February 1938 show Hitler instructed both him and Keitel to keep up military pressure against Austria, begun at the Schuschnigg conference, by simulating military measures, and that these achieved their purpose. When Hitler decided "not to tolerate" Schuschnigg's plebiscite, Jodl brought to the conference the "old draft," the existing staff plan. His diary for 10 March shows Hitler then ordered the preparation of "Case Otto," and the directive was initialed by Jodl. Jodl issued supplementary instructions on 11 March, and initialed Hitler's order for the invasion on the same date.

From the Final Judgement of Franz von Papen: Notwithstanding, the murder of his associates, von Papen accepted the position of Minister to Austria on 26 July 1934, the day after Dollfuss had been assassinated. His appointment was announced in a letter from Hitler which instructed him to direct relations between the two countries "into normal and friendly channels" and assured him of Hitler's "complete and unlimited confidence."

As Minister to Austria, von Papen was active in trying to strengthen the position of the Nazi Party in Austria for the purpose of bringing about the Anschluss. In early 1935 he attended a meeting in Berlin at which the policy was laid down to avoid everything which would give the appearance of German intervention in the internal affairs of Austria. Yet he arranged for 200,000 marks a month to be transmitted to "the persecuted National Socialist sufferers in Austria." On 17 May 1935, he reported to Hitler the results of a conference with Captain Leopold, the leader of the Austrian Nazis, and urged Hitler to make a statement recognizing the national independence of Austria, and predicting that the result might be to help the formation of a coalition between Schuschnigg's Christian Socialists and the Austrian Nazis against Starhemberg.

On 27 July 1935, von Papen reported to Hitler that the union of Austria and Germany could not be brought about by external pressure but only by the strength of the National Socialist movement. He urged that the Austrian Nazi Party change its character as a centralized Reich German Party and become a rallying point for all national Germans. Von Papen was involved in occasional Nazi political demonstrations, supported Nazi propaganda activities, and submitted detailed reports on the activities of the Nazi Party, and routine reports relating to Austrian military defenses. His Austrian policy resulted in the agreement of 11 July 1936, which nominally restored relations between Germany and Austria to "normal and friendly form," but which had a secret supplement providing for an amnesty for Austrian Nazis, the lifting of censorship on Nazi papers, the resumption of political activities by Nazis, and the appointment of men friendly to the Nazis in the Schuschnigg Cabinet. After the signing of this agreement von Papen offered to resign but his resignation was not accepted. Thereafter he proceeded to bring continued pressure on the Austrian Government to bring Nazis into the Schuschnigg Cabinet and to get them important positions in the Fatherland Front, Austria's single legal party.

On 1 September 1936, von Papen wrote Hitler advising him that anti-Nazis in the Austrian Ministry of Security were holding up the infiltration of the Nazis into the Austrian Government-and recommended bringing "slowly intensified pressure directed at changing the regime." On 4 February 1938, von Papen was notified of his recall as Minister to Austria, at the same time that von Fritsch, von Blomberg, and von Neurath were removed from their positions. He informed Hitler that he regretted his recall because he had been, trying since November 1937 to induce Schuschnigg to hold a conference with Hitler, and Schuschnigg had indicated his willingness to do so. Acting under Hitler's instructions, von Papen then returned to Austria and arranged the conference which was held at Berchtesgaden on 12 February 1938. Von Papen accompanied Schuschnigg to that conference, and at its conclusion advised Schuschnigg to comply with Hitler's demands. On 10 March 1938, Hitler ordered von Papen to return to Berlin. Von Papen was in the Chancellery on 11 March when the occupation of Austria was ordered. No evidence has been offered showing that von Papen was in favor of the decision to occupy Austria by force, and he has testified that he urged Hitler not to take this step. After the annexation of Austria von Papen retired into private life and there is no evidence that he took any part in politics.

From the Final Judgement of Arthur Seyss-Inquart: Seyss-Inquart participated in the last stages of the Nazi intrigue which preceded the German occupation of Austria and was made Chancellor of Austria as a result of German threats of invasion. On 12 March 1938, Seyss-Inquart met Hitler at Linz and made a speech welcoming the German forces and advocating the reunion of Germany and Austria. On 13 March, he obtained the passage of a law providing that Austria should become a province of Germany and succeeded Miklas as President of Austria when Miklas resigned rather than sign the law. Seyss-Inquart's title was changed to Reich Governor of Austria on 15 March 1938, and on the same day he was given the title of a general in the SS. He was made a Reich Minister without Portfolio on 1 May 1939. On 11 March 1939, he visited the Slovakian Cabinet in Bratislava and induced them to declare their independence in a way which fitted in closely with Hitler's offensive against the independence of Czechoslovakia. As Reich Governor of Austria, Seyss-Inquart instituted a program of confiscating Jewish property. Under his regime Jews were forced to emigrate, were sent to concentration camps, and were subject to pogroms. At the end of his regime he co-operated with the Security Police and SD in the deportation of Jews from Austria to the East. While he was Governor of Austria, political opponents of the Nazis were sent to concentration camps by the Gestapo, mistreated, and often killed.

1946 October 1 Nuremberg Tribunal: On the 218th and last day of the trial, among the sentences handed down:

Wilhelm Keitel - death by hanging, Ernst Kaltenbrunner - death by hanging, Alfred Jodl - death by hanging, Arthur Seyss-Inquart - death by hanging, Konstantin von Neurath - fifteen years imprisonment.

1946: In a public opinion poll, 6% of Germans opine that the Nuremberg trials had been unfair. 37% in the US occupation zone declare that "the extermination of the Jews and Poles and other non-Aryans [the Holocaust] was necessary for the security of Germans," and 1 in 3 opine that Jews should not have the same rights as those belonging to the Aryan race. (Jundt)

1947: Eduard Roschmann is arrested by the British military police and sent to Dachau concentration camp, which had been converted to an imprisonment camp for accused war criminals.

1947 March 13: Rainer W. Friedrich is extradited to Yugoslavia to stand trial.

1947 July 19: Rainer W. Friedrich is found guilty of crimes against the people of Yugoslavia and sentenced to death. The actual date of his execution is not in the record.

1948 February 10: Alois Hudal, a strongly pro-Nazi bishop of the Catholic church, gives Eduard Roschmann a pass supplied by the International Red Cross allowing him to board a ship to Argentina. In 1955 Roschmann will marry, although he will not be divorced from his first wife. In 1968, under the name "Frederico Wagner" (sometimes seen as "Federico") he will become a citizen of Argentina.

1949 October 9: Elections in Austria bring about losses to both the People’s Party and the Socialists.

1950: In a public opinion poll in Germany, 1 in 3 said the Nuremberg trials had been unfair. (Jundt)

1950 January 26: Joerg Haider, Austrian politician, twice-Governor of Carinthia, long-time leader of the right-wing Austrian Freedom Party (FPÖ) and later Chairman of the Alliance for the Future of Austria (Bündnis Zukunft Österreich, BZÖ), is born in Bad Goisern, Austria. Haider's parents had been early members of the Nazi Party (NSDAP) in Austria. Haider will be controversial within Austria and abroad for comments that will be widely condemned as praising Nazi policies, or as xenophobic or anti-Semitic. Several countries will impose mild diplomatic sanctions against his party's government.

1950 April 12: Gustav Wagner, after escaping Germany in company with Franz Stangl, is admitted as a permanent resident of Brazil. Wagner, who had been sentenced to death in absentia by the Nuremberg Trials, will live there under the pseudonym Guenther Mendel

1952: In a public opinion poll in Germany, 37% said Germany was better off without the Jews. 25% had a good opinion of Hitler. (Jundt)

April 11, 1953 Spandau: The Secret Diaries:

Through a clandestine note from his son-in-law, Doenitz has heard the results of a (July 1952) survey . . . . He himself stands at the head of the list of formerly prominent personages (former Nazis) whom the Germans still have a good opinion of. Doenitz has 46 percent; he is closely followed by Schacht with 42, Goering with 37, myself with 30, Hitler with 24 percent. Schirach and Hess lag behind with 22 percent. Seven percent have a bad opinion of Doenitz, 9 percent of me, 10 of Schacht, 29 of Schirach and Hess, 36 of Goering and 47 percent of Hitler. "Because the German people cherish me in their hearts, I shall soon be getting out," Doenitz observed complacently as he stood beside me today washing his hands. Nevertheless, the letter gave Doenitz no pleasure, for his son-in-law unforgivably passed on the information that he is now as popular as Rommel. In a tone of sharp repugnance, Doenitz commented that Rommel had been nothing but a propaganda hero because he participated in the July 20 conspiracy. Then Doenitz stalked off. (Speer II)

1955 May 5: A treaty is signed in Vienna by the representatives of the four powers and Austria. It formally reestablishes the Austrian republic in its pre-1938 frontiers as a "sovereign, independent and democratic state."

1955: The Freedom Party of Austria (FPÖ) is founded. The party initially is a mixture of various political currents opposed both to the political Catholicism of the Austrian People's Party and the socialist views of the Social Democratic Party of Austria. With its roots in the Pan-German movement, it includes both German-nationalist and liberal political views.

1955 October 26: The Austrian Federal Assembly passes a constitutional article in which "Austria declares of her own free will her perpetual neutrality". The second section of this law states that "in all future times Austria will not join any military alliances and will not permit the establishment of any foreign military bases on her territory".

1955 September 21: The last allied occupation troops leave Austria.

1959: A warrant is issued in Germany for the arrest of Eduard Roschmann on a charge of bigamy. In 1960, the criminal court in Graz will issue a warrant for the arrest of Roschmann on charges of murder and severe violations of human rights in connection with the killing of at least 3,000 Jews between 1938 and 1945, overseeing forced laborers at Auschwitz, and the murder of at least 800 children under the age of 10. However, the post-war Austrian legal system is ineffective in securing the return for trial of Austrians who had fled Europe, and no action will ever be taken against Roschman based on this charge.

1959 November 20: Seven European nations--Austria, Britain, Denmark, Norway, Portugal, Sweden, Switzerland--sign the Stockholm Convention to form the European Free Trade Association (EFTA).

1960 May 3: The European Free Trade Association (EFTA) officially comes into existance.

1961 June 3: JFK and Khrushchev meet in Vienna.

1962: Aribert Heim is charged by German authorities with killing hundreds of concentration inmates in Germany and Austria with lethal injections. He is thought to have evaded capture in Germany, Argentina, Denmark, Brazil and Spain. Heim had earned the nickname of "Dr. Death" for experimenting on inmates at the Buchenwald and Mauthausen camps.

1963: The district court in Hamburg, West Germany issues a warrant for the arrest of Eduard Roschmann.

1963: The Vienna Convention produces a treaty that protects the right of individuals jailed in a foreign land to contact their national consulate.

1963: The Winter Olympics is held in Innsbruck, Austria.

1965: Taras Borodajkewycz, an Austrian professor of economic history, makes widely reported anti-Semitic remarks following the death of Ernst Kirchweger, a concentration camp survivor killed by a right-wing protester during riots.

1970 March 1: Bruno Kreisky's social-democrats win the Austrian parliamentary election.

1970 April 21: Bruno Kreisky becomes the first socialist chancellor of Austria.

1970 October 22: After extradition to West Germany by Brazil, Franz Stangl, the Austrian commandant of Sobibor and Treblinka, is tried for the deaths of around 900,000 people. He admits to these killings but argues: "My conscience is clear. I was simply doing my duty." The philosopher John Kekes discusses Stangl and the degree of his responsibility for war crimes in chapter 4 of his book, The Roots of Evil. Found guilty, Stangl is sentenced to life imprisonment.

1971 June 28: Franz Stangl dies of heart failure in Duesseldorf prison.

1971 December 22: The UN General Assembly votes to ratify the election of Kurt Waldheim of Austria to succeed U Thant as the 4th Secretary-General.

1972 January 1 - 1982 January 1: Kurt Waldheim of Austria serves as the UN Secretary-General.

1972 September 5: A group of eight Palestinian terrorists belonging to the Black September organization break into the Olympic Village and take eleven Israeli athletes, coaches and officials hostage in their apartments. Two of the hostages who resist are killed in the first moments of the break-in. Altogether, 11 Israeli athletes and coaches, and 1 West German police officer, will be killed, and five of the eight members of Black September are killed by police officers during a failed rescue attempt.

1972 September 11: Ugandan dictator Idi Amin sends a telegram to UN Secretary-General Waldheim, copies of which are sent to Yasser Arafat and Golda Meir. In the telegram, Amin "applauds the massacre of the Israeli Olympic athletes in Munich and says that Germany is the most appropriate locale for this because it was where Hitler burned more than six million Jews." Amin also asks Waldheim "to expel Israel from the United Nations and to send all the Israelis to Britain, which bore the guilt for creating the Jewish state."

Among international protest "the UN spokesman said [in his daily press conference] it iss not the secretary-general's practice to comment on telegrams sent him by heads of government. He adds that the secretary-general condemns any form of racial discrimination and genocide."

1976 October: The embassy of West Germany in Argentina initiates a request for the extradition of Eduard Roschmann to Germany to face charges of multiple murders of Jews during WW2. Based on the 1963 request of the West German prosecutor's office in Hamburg, it will be repeated in May 1977.

1975 July 6: Otto Skorzeny, German-Austrian SS officer, dies.

1976 July 4: A week after an Air France plane with 248 passengers was hijacked by Palestinian terrorists and supporters and flown to Uganda, Israel Defense Forces (IDF) launch Operation Entebbe, a hostage-rescue mission. Israeli transport planes carry 100 elite commandos over 2,500 miles (4,000 km) to Uganda for the rescue operation at Entebbe Airport in Uganda. The operation, which took a week of planning, lasts 90 minutes and 103 hostages are rescued. Five Israeli commandos are wounded and one, the commander, Lt Col Yonatan Netanyahu, is killed. All the hijackers, three hostages and 45 Ugandan soldiers are killed, and 11 Soviet-built MiG-17's of Uganda's air force are destroyed. A fourth hostage is murdered by Ugandan army officers at a nearby hospital.

1976: UN Secretary-General Waldheim describes the Israeli rescue of hijacked airline passengers at Entebbe, Uganda, as "a serious violation of the national sovereignty of a United Nations member state" (meaning Uganda).

1977 July 5: The office of the President of Argentina issues a communiqué, which is published in the Argentine press, that the government of Argentina will consider the repeated request for the extradition of Eduard Roschmann even though there is no extradition treaty with West Germany.

The US Embassy in Argentina sends a cable to the State Department which reports the situation and contains the following comment:

The public and undiplomatic handling of the Argentine announcement concerning Roschmann raised speculation that it was a political move designed to placate the West Germans of human rights complaints and throw off charges of anti-Semitic attitudes within the government . . . . [T]he timing of the announcement on the extradition case appears to be an effort to appease an irate West German government. It has also been noted that the publicity surrounding the announcement will give Roschmann adequate time to prepare for avoiding arrest.

1977 August 8: Eduard Roschmann dies in Asuncion, Paraguay. His body is unclaimed at first as there is some question as to whether it is truly that of Roschmann. Simon Wiesenthal, who had been trying to have Roschmann brought to justice for a long time, is skeptical that the body is truly that of Roschmann, saying "I wonder who died for him?"

1978 May 30: Requests from Israel, Austria, and Poland for the extradition of Gustav Franz Wagner are rejected by Brazil's Attorney General.

1979 June 18: US President Carter and Soviet President Leonid I. Brezhnev sign the SALT II strategic arms limitation treaty in Vienna.

1979 June 22: The Brazilian Supreme Court rejects a West German extradition request for Gustav Franz Wagner. Wagner, in a BBC interview, shows no remorse for his activities in running Sobibor extermination camp, remarking: "I had no feelings . . . . It just became another job. In the evening we never discussed our work, but just drank and played cards."

1979: Promoted by Chancellor Bruno Kreisky, the UN opens a major branch in Vienna, Austria, as a third world center.

1979: Aribert Heim is indicted in Germany in absentia on hundreds of counts of murder.

1985 February: When Austrian Defense Minister and Freedom Party member Friedhelm Frischenschlager meets with Walter Reder, a former SS officer returning from imprisonment in Italy for war crimes, he is defended by Joerg Haider: "He did not receive a criminal but a soldier who did his duty for his fatherland during the war . . . . If you are going to speak about war crimes, you should admit such crimes were committed by all sides and not pick on a few German soldiers."

1985 April 11: Reagan press secretary Larry Speakes informs the media of a planned Reagan visit to the Kolmeshoehe Cemetery near Bitburg, Germany, to observe the 40th anniversary of V-E Day. When asked about Kolmeshoehe, Speakes claims that both American and German soldiers are buried there. However, it is soon discovered that no American servicemen are in the cemetery, and, worse yet, a number of Waffen-SS graves are located close by.

Bitburg Mayor Theo Hallet later points out that all German military cemeteries are likely to contain at least a few SS graves. This did not go over well with Elie Wiesel, concentration camp survivor and author, who told Reagan: "I . . . implore you to do something else, to find another way, another site. That place, Mr. President, is not your place."

West German Chancellor Helmut Kohl later tells The New York Times: "I will not give up the idea. If we don't go to Bitburg, if we don't do what we jointly planned, we will deeply offend the feelings of [my] people."

Reagan defended his proposed trip by saying: "These [SS troops] were the villains, as we know, that conducted the persecutions and all. But there are 2,000 graves there, and most of those, the average age is about 18. I think that there's nothing wrong with visiting that cemetery where those young men are victims of Nazism also, even though they were fighting in the German uniform, drafted into service to carry out the hateful wishes of the Nazis. They were victims, just as surely as the victims in the concentration camps"

1985 May 5: US President Ronald Reagan and West German Chancellor Helmut Kohl visit the Bergen-Belsen concentration camp. Reagan, in his prepared remarks, declares:

All these children of God, under bleak and lifeless mounds, the plainness of which does not even hint at the unspeakable acts that created them. Here they lie, never to hope, never to pray, never to live, never to heal, never to laugh, never to cry . . . . And then, rising above all this cruelty, out of this tragic and nightmarish time, beyond the anguish, the pain and suffering, and for all time, we can and must pledge: never again.

Following his speech at Bergen-Belsen, Reagan makes an eight minute stop at the Kolmeshoehe Cemetery. As Reagan prepared to depart at the NATO airbase at Kolmeshoehe, Kohl thanked him for going through with the visit despite the controversy:

This walk . . . over the graves of soldiers was not an easy walk. I thank you personally as a friend that you undertook this walk with me.

Reagan responds:

This visit has stirred many emotions in the American and German people too. Some old wounds have been reopened, and this I regret very much, because this should be a time of healing.

1985 December 27: Palestinian guerrillas open fire inside the Rome and Vienna airports; a total of twenty people are killed, including five of the attackers, who are slain by police and security personnel.

1985: Kurt Waldheim, former Secretary General of the UN, releases his autobiography: "In the Eye of the Storm," as he prepares to run for the presidency of Austria.

1986: Joerg Haider ascends to the party Freedom Party (FPÖ) chairmanship, and the liberal elements soon become increasingly marginalized. Haider begins to openly use nationalist and anti-immigrant rhetoric, including a völkisch (ethnic) definition of national interest ("Austria for Austrians"), and rehtorical florishes such as calling members of the Waffen-SS "men of honor".

1986 June 8: Kurt Waldheim is elected president of Austria.

1986 July 8: Kurt Waldheim is inaugurated as president of Austria despite controversy over his alleged ties to Nazi war crimes.

1987 March 28: Maria Augusta von Trapp, one of the Trapp Family Singers, dies in Morrisville, Vt. Her 1949 book "The Story of the Trapp Family Singers" was fictionalized in the Rodgers and Hammerstein musical The Sound of Music (1965).

1987: Austrian SS commander Josef Schwammberger, who has been in hiding in Argentina since 1948, is extradited to Germany.

1987 April 27: Austrian President Kurt Waldheim is barred from entering the US due to his services as an officer in a German army unit implicated in war crimes in the Balkans.

1987: Wanted Nazi war criminal Alois Brunner, hiding in Syria, gives a telephone interview to the Chicago Sun Times, in which he declares: "The Jews deserved to die. They were garbage, I have no regrets. If I had the chance I would do it again."

1987 June 25: Pope John Paul II receives Austrian President Kurt Waldheim at the Vatican, a meeting fraught with controversy because of allegations that Waldheim had hidden a Nazi past.

1988 February 15: Austrian President Kurt Waldheim vowed in a televised address not to "retreat in the face of slanders" concerning his service for the German Army during World War II.

1988 February: An International Committee of historians appointed by the Austrian government releases a report concerning Kurt Waldheim's wartime record. While the committee finds that there is no evidence that Waldheim took part in any war crimes, it is determined that he is guilty of lying about his military record. From the committee's final report:

In favor of Waldheim is, that he only had very minor possibilities to act against the injustices happening [in Yugoslavia and Greece]. Actions against these, depending on which level the resistance occurred, were of very different importance. For a young member of the staff, who did not have any military authority on the army group level, the practical possibilities for resistance were very limited and with a high probability would not have led to any actual results. Resistance would have been limited to a formal protest or on the refusal to serve any longer in the army, which would have seemed to be a courageous act, however would have not led to any practical achievement.

In an account of the controversy, Simon Wiesenthal wrote that Waldheim was stationed 5 miles from Salonika while, over the course of several weeks, the Jewish community which formed one third of the population there, was sent to Auschwitz. Waldheim denied any knowledge of this. Wiesenthal states: "I could only reply what the committee of historians likewise made clear in its report: "I cannot believe you."

1988 August: FPÖ leader Joerg Haider, in a live debate on Austrian TV: "You know as well as I do that the Austrian nation was a miscarriage, an ideological miscarriage."

1989 February 29: A Nazi document is discovered that implicates Austrian president Kurt Waldheim of participation in WW2 deportations.

1988 March 10: Just prior to the 50th anniversary of the Anschluss, Austrian President Kurt Waldheim apologizes on his country's behalf for atrocities committed by Austrian Nazis.

1988 March 12: Marking the fiftieth anniversary of the Anschluss, the award-winning (CBE) Austrian-born British biographer, historian and journalist, Gitta Sereny (who was 17-years-old at the time of the Anschluss), publishes a poignant reminiscence in The Times (London):

At 7:50 PM on Friday, March 11, 1938, Austria ceased to exist. At 9:30 PM Elfie, my best friend . . . phoned me. Could I meet her at the Johann Strauss statue in the park, she whispered. "Why are you whispering?" I asked her--idiotically, as I would find out. "Come," she said and hung up.

While I waited for Elfie in the deserted Stadtpark, I heard . . . that sound for the first time: that rhythmic shout of many voices, and then those words I never heard before and couldn't quite make out from that distance: "Deutschland erwache! Juda verrecke!" ("Germany Awake! Jewry Perish!")

When Elfie arrived, we found ourselves standing stiffly in the dark, listening. Then she said, "My father--" and stopped.

"What's the matter with your father?" I asked.

"He is a Nazi," she said, her voice tight. "They told me tonight. He's been an 'illegal' for years." She cried. "He said I was never to speak to anybody at school who was a Jew, and that anyway," her voice sounded dead, "the whole place will be 'disinfected' from top to bottom. What shall I do?" she sobbed.

Two days later, Elfie and I walked around Vienna all day. On the Graben, one of Vienna's loveliest streets, near my home, we came upon a scene of fear. Guarded by men in brown uniform with swastika armbands--with a large group of Viennese citizens watching, many of them laughing--a dozen middle-aged people, men and women, were on their knees scrubbing the pavement with toothbrushes. In horror, I recognized one of the cleaners as Dr. Berggruen, our pediatrician who had saved my life when I had diphtheria as a four-year-old. He saw ne start toward one of the men in brown; he shook his head and mouthed, "No," while continuing to work his toothbrush. I asked the soldier what they were doing; were they mad?

"How dare you," he shouted. "Are you a Jew?"

"No, and how dare you?" I said, and told him that one of the men they were humiliating was a great doctor, a saver of lives.

"Is this what you call our liberation?" Elfie called out to all of them. She was a stunningly beautiful child, but her voice was already trained for singing, as clear as a bell. Within two minutes the crowd had dispersed, that guards had gone, the "street cleaners" had got up and gone away.

"Never do that again," Dr. Berggruen said to us, sternly. "It is very dangerous for you." They gassed him in Sorbibor in 1943.

1988 June 23: Pope John Paul II begins his second papal visit to Austria, where he again meets with President Kurt Waldheim.

1988 June 24: Pope John Paul II, on a visit to Austria, condemns Nazism during a stopover at the Mauthausen death camp.

1989 January 15: NATO, the Warsaw Pact and 12 other European countries adopt a human rights and security agreement in Vienna, Austria.

1989 August 19: Hungary effectively disables its physical border defenses with Austria. Begining in September, more than 13,000 East German tourists will escape through Hungary to Austria.

1989 November 9: The Berlin Wall is officially considered fallen on this day, but the Wall in its entirety will not be torn down immediately. In the days and weeks that follow, people will attack the wall with sledgehammers and chisels to chip off souvenirs, demolishing lengthy parts of it in the process and creating several unofficial border crossings. These people are nicknamed "Mauerspechte" (wall woodpeckers).

From The Last Nazi by Aaron Freiwald and Martin Mendelsohn: Opinion polls suggesting that large segments of the population would rather have the Holocaust simply forgiven and forgotten have underscored the significance of those Holocaust survivors ... who were determined to remember. A 1986 Harris poll found that 42 percent of Americans thought Jews should "stop complaining about what happened to them in Nazi Germany." A Roper poll from around the same time found that 40 percent of Americans believed that Jews "should stop focusing on the Holocaust."

Similar results have been found in Europe. In a poll of German attitudes toward Jews taken less than one year after the fall of the Berlin Wall in 1938, 39 percent said they believed "Jews exploit the National-Socialist Holocaust for their own purposes." Nearly 40 percent of those polled said Jews today, as in the past, exerted too much influence over world events. And perhaps most disturbing, 58 percent said they believed it was time to put the memory of the Holocaust behind them. In a similar study of Austrian attitudes, 53 percent said they thought "it is time to put the memory of the Holocaust behind us."

1990 July 29: Bruno Kreisky, Austria’s longest-serving chancellor and an architect of its policy of neutrality, dies at age 79.

1991: Chancellor Franz Vranitzky admitted Austrian complicity in the Holocaust.

1991 June: Joerg Haider resigns as governor of Carinthia after a vote of no confidence against him. In a debate in the regional parliament, a Socialist leader had attacked Haider's plan of reducing unemployment payments for people seen as "freeloaders", calling it forced work placement reminiscent of Nazi policies. Haider had replied, "No, they didn't have that in the Third Reich, because in the Third Reich they had a proper employment policy, which not even your government in Vienna can manage to bring about."

1992 March 27: German Chancellor Helmut Kohl meets with Austrian President Kurt Waldheim in Munich, a meeting denounced by Jewish groups.

1992 May 18: Austrian SS commander Josef Schwammberger is condemned by the Stuttgart regional court (Landgericht) to life imprisonment, which he is to serve in Mannheim. He is found guilty of seven counts of murder and 32 counts of accessory to murder. The Simon Wiesenthal Center is instrumental in bringing him to justice.

In what may be the last verdict ever against an important Nazi officer, a German judge sentenced an 80-year-old former labor-camp commandant today to life imprisonment.

The defendant, Josef Schwammberger, was convicted of killing 25 people in seven incidents between 1942 and 1944 and of taking part in the murders of hundreds of slave laborers.

"With this decision, the court has shown that Nazi criminals can be prosecuted even today," said Judge Herbert Luippold as he pronounced the sentence. Hundreds of former Nazis are still being pursued in countries from Lithuania to Australia. But none are believed to have held so high a rank or taken part in so many murders as Mr. Schwammberger.

1992 May: Amid the furor created by the Carinthian government's decision to honor a gathering of Waffen SS veterans, Joerg Haider accuses Interior Minister Franz Loeschnak of making "primitive attacks" on "respectable" war veterans, while letting crime by immigrants go unchecked.

1992 August 10: Aribert "Dr. Death" Heim, who is alleged to have lived for many years in Cairo, Egypt, under the alias of Tarek Farid Hussein, reportedly dies of intestinal cancer. His grave and body have never been found. Heim is said to have settled in Cairo in 1962 where he converted to Islam. According to his neighbour, "His life was very ordered: exercise in the morning, then prayers at the main Al-Azhar mosque, and long sessions spent reading and writing while he sat on a rocking chair."

1993: A new Jewish Museum opens in Vienna.

1993 December: Vienna Mayor Helmut Zilk losses part of his hand to a letter bomb. Authorities later convict right-wing extremist Franz Fuchs of sending pipe and letter bombs targeting refugees and minorities, and officials like Zilk who support them.

1994: Pope John Paul II awards Kurt Waldheim a knighthood in the Order of Pius IX and his wife a papal honor.

1994 October 9: In the Austrian parliamentary election 22.6% vote extreme-right. The ruling coalition of the Social Democratic Party and the People’s Party retain a legislative majority but lose 23 seats.

1995 January 1: Austria, Finland and Sweden joined the European Union (EU).

1995 February: In a debate in the Austrian parliament on bomb attacks on Romanies, Joerg Haider refers to Nazi concentration camps as "prison camps," though he will later claim that he had meant "concentration camps."

1995 September: Joerg Haider, in a speech to a gathering of war veterans: "A people that does not honor earlier generations is a people condemned to ruin. We shall prove that we are not to be wiped out . . . . We are morally superior to other people." After amateur video footage of the speech was broadcast on television in December, Haider says that "the Waffen SS was part of the Wehrmacht [army] and because of that it deserves every honor and recognition."

1995: Austria establishes a fund to compensate Holocaust victims with payments limited to $7,000.

1996 September 24: Chancellor Franz Vranitzky becomes acting head of state.

1996 October 2: The Bajuvarian Liberation Army targets 8 prominent people including Chancellor Frank Vranitzky.

1996 October 13: The far-right Freedom party (FPÖ) of Joerg Haider receives 27.6% of the vote. The Conservative People’s Party led by Foreign Minister Wolfgang Schuessel wins with 29.6%, while the Social Democrats get 29.1%.

1996 July 27: A campaign is started in Austriq to rename all public places named after poet Ottokar Kernstock, the man who wrote the words of the "Swastika Song," the election theme of Hitler’s Nazis.

1999 March 7: In Austrian state elections the anti-immigration Freedom Party of Joerg Haider win 42.1% of the vote in Carinthia.

1999 April 8: In Carinthia far-right leader Joerg Haider is elected governor.

1999: The FPÖ enters a coalition with the Austrian People's Party (ÖVP), led by Wolfgang Schüssel.

1999 October 3: The far-right Freedom Party of Austria led by Joerg Haider wins second place behind the Social Democrats, who win with 33% of the vote. The conservative People's Party falls to third place with 27%.

1999 October 29: In Upper Austria police arrest 8 unidentified ringleaders of a neo-Nazi group that planned a political coup.

2000 January 6: Two Austrian banks, Bank Austria and Creditanstalt, agree to a $40 million settlement with an estimated 1,000 Holocaust victims or their heirs for having confiscated their assets.

2000 January 19: In Austria the union-backed Social Democrats and the pro-business Austrian People's Party form a coalition (the Reds and Blacks) to keep the right-wing Freedom Party of Joerg Haider out of the government.

2000 January 31: The European Union warns Austria that its 14 members will diplomatically isolate Austria if the Freedom Party of Joerg Haider enters into a coalition government.

2000 February 1: Wolfgang Schuessel, head of the Austrian People's Party, outlines a plan to President Thomas Klestil to incorporate the Freedom Party.

2000 February 3: Austrian President Thomas Klestil swears in members of the Freedom Party after Joerg Haider signs a declaration accepting Austria's responsibility for Nazi crimes during WW II. The statement asserts that "nationalism, dictatorship and intolerance brought war, xenophobia, bondage, racism and mass murder . . . . [They] are an exhortation to permanent alertness against all forms of dictatorship and totalitarianism." After the signing, however, Haider tells German TV: "It is an affront to the public that such matters of course have to be signed time and again. I have no intention to wander about in the world and apologize for all kinds of things." He later tells Die Zeit: "There is a state of excitement in the European chicken coop although the fox hasn't even got in yet."

2000 February 4: The new governing coalition takes power and triggers diplomatic sanctions and protests.

2000 February 4: Right-wing leader Joerg Haider tells a deeply divided Austria not to worry about international sanctions, saying the new governing coalition that includes his Freedom Party will soon prove its democratic credentials to the world.

2000 February 28: Joerg Haider, governor of Carinthia, resigns as head of the Freedom Party after 14 years as party leader. His official resignation takes place May 1.

2000: The FPÖ-ÖVP coalition prompts the regular Donnerstagsdemonstrationen (Thursday demonstrations) in protest against the government, which take place on the Heldenplatz, where Hitler had greeted the masses during the Anschluss. Haider's tactics and rhetoric, often criticised as sympathetic to Nazism, force Austrians to reconsider their relationship to the past. Haider's coalition partner, former Chancellor Wolfgang Schuessel, in a 2000 interview with the Jerusalem Post, repeats the victim myth, that Austria was the first victim of Hitler's Germany, .

2000 May: The Iranian embassy in Vienna grants refuge to Holocaust denier Wolfgang Frohlich.

2000 July 7: In Austria the parliament approves a $415 million fund to compensate Nazi-era victims of forced labor.

2000 September 12: The EU lifts diplomatic sanctions against Austria.

2000 December 16: Far-right Austrian leader Joerg Haidar visits Pope John Paul II along with a 250 person delegation to present a Christmas tree from Carinthia. This provokes heavy clashes between protesters and police.

Holocaust historian Raul Hilberg: I personally would like to know why the WJC World Jewish Congress has hardly put any pressure on Austria, even as leading Nazis and SS leaders were Austrians, Hitler included . . . . Immediately after the war, the US wanted to make the Russians withdraw from Austria, and the Russians wanted to keep Austria neutral, therefore there was a common interest to grant Austria victim status. And later Austria could cry poor--though its per capita income is as high as Germany's. And, most importantly, the Austrian PR machinery works better. Austria has the opera ball, the imperial castle, Mozartkugeln [a chocolate]. Americans like that. And Austrians invest and export relatively little to the US, therefore they are less vulnerable to blackmail. In the meantime, they set up a commission in Austria to clarify what happened to Jewish property. Victor Klima, the former chancellor, has asked me to join. My father fought for Austria in the First World War and in 1939 he was kicked out of Austria. After the war they offered him ten dollars per month as compensation. For this reason I told Klima, no thank you, this make me sick.

2001: From a report issued by the Simon Wiesenthal Center:

Given the extensive participation of numerous Austrians, including at the highest levels, in the implementation of the Final Solution and other Nazi crimes, Austria should have been a leader in the prosecution of Holocaust perpetrators over the course of the past four decades, as has been the case in Germany. Unfortunately relatively little has been achieved by the Austrian authorities in this regard and in fact, with the exception of the case of Dr. Heinrich Gross which was suspended this year under highly suspicious circumstances (he claimed to be medically unfit, but outside the court proved to be healthy) not a single Nazi war crimes prosecution has been conducted in Austria since the mid-1970s.

2002 July 27: A hand grenade explodes in the X-Large Disco--frequented by young Serbian and Croatian immigrants--in Linz, Austria, wounding 27 teenage revelers.

2003 February 28: A conservative-led coalition assumes governing power in Austria backed by Joerg Haider’s anti-immigrant party.

2003: The Simon Wiesenthal Center launches a worldwide effort named "Operation: Last Chance" in order to collect further information about those Nazis still alive that are potentially subject to prosecution.

2004 April 25: Heinz Fischer, a professional politician who has always avoided controversy and conflict, is elected President of Austria. He will be reelected to a second 6-year term in April 2010.

2004 July 6: President Thomas Klestil, who had helped distance Austria from its Nazi past and strengthen the country's ties with emerging Eastern European democracies, dies two days before he is to leave office.

2004: Croatian Milivoj Asner flees to Austria after Croatia announces that it is opening investigations in the case of war crimes he may have been involved in.

2005: Milivoj Asner is placed on the Simon Wiesenthal Center's top ten list of wanted Nazi war criminals. Austria's federal government has deferred to either extradition requests from Croatia or prosecutorial actions from Klagenfurt, neither of which appears forthcoming. Extradition is not an option since Asner also holds Austrian citizenship, having lived in the country from 1946 to 1991.

2005 September 20: Simon Wiesenthal, the Holocaust survivor who helped track down Nazi war criminals following WW2, then spent the later decades of his life fighting anti-Semitism and prejudice against all people, dies in Austria.

2005 November 17: Austria’s Interior Ministry announces that British historian David Irving has been arrested on a warrant accusing him of denying the Holocaust.

2005 December 5: Austria officially finishes paying out nearly $350 million in restitution to former slave and forced laborers who had been compelled to work as slave laborors for the Nazis.

2005 December 21: Dr. Heinrich Gross, a 90-year-old psychiatrist who had worked at a clinic where the Nazis killed and conducted cruel experiments on thousands of children, dies in Vienna. Gross was a leading doctor in Vienna's infamous Am Spiegelgrund clinic.

2005 December 29: Hannah Lessing, chief fund overseer, announces that about 3,000 people have been cleared to receive the first payments from an Austrian fund to compensate Holocaust survivors, and another 3,000 should be approved shortly.

2006 January 17: Austria announces that it will honor an arbitration court decision and give five precious Gustav Klimt paintings to a California woman who says the Nazis stole them from her Jewish family.

2006 January 30: The University of Vienna announces that it plans to build a new Holocaust research center in honor of the late Nazi hunter Simon Wiesenthal.

2006 February 20: Right-wing British "historian" David Irving pleads guilty in Austria to charges of denying the Holocaust and concedes that he was wrong to say there were no Nazi gas chambers at the Auschwitz concentration camp.

2006 July 10: Fred Wander, writer and Holocaust survivor, dies in Vienna. His 1970 novel, "The Seventh Well," describes his survival.

2006 October 1: Austrians begin voting in national elections that could swing the republic back to the political center after more than six years of influence by the extreme right. Without absentee ballots, the Social Democrats win 35.7%, giving it the largest proportion of parliamentary seats. The People's Party, led by Chancellor Wolfgang Schussel, comes in second with 34.2%, followed by the Freedom Party, which had campaigned on an anti-foreigner platform, with 11.2%. The Greens come in fourth with 10.5%.

2006 October 5: Friedrich Karl Flick, Austrian billionaire industrialist, dies. His father had been convicted at Nuremburg in 1947 of using slave labor in Nazi Germany. In 1981 Flick became embroiled in a major postwar political party financing scandal when it surfaced that some of his managers had given millions of German marks to German political parties. Flick sold his company to Deutsche Bank in 1985.

2006 December 20: An Austrian court orders the release of David Irving, allowing him to serve the rest of his 3 year sentence on probation.

2007 January 8: Austria's two main political parties, the Social Democrats and the People's Party, agree to form a new coalition government.

2007 June 14: Kurt Waldheim, former UN Secretary-General, dies in Austria.

2007 June 23: Kurt Waldheim's funeral is held at St. Stephen's Cathedral, Vienna and he is laid to rest at the Presidential Vault in the Zentralfriedhof (Central Cemetery). In his speech at the Cathedral, Federal President Heinz Fischer calls Waldheim "a great Austrian" who had been wrongfully accused of having committed war crimes.

2007 September 7: On a 3-day pilgrimage to Austria, Pope Benedict XVI pays tribute to Holocaust victims, extending his "sadness, repentance and friendship" to the Jewish people.

2008: Austrian Aribert "Dr. Death" Heim, who is said to have died in 1992 but whose body has never been located, is named as one of the ten most wanted Nazi war criminals by the Simon Wiesenthal Center. Erna Wallisch and Milivoj Asner are both living in Austria, where they are protected by statute of limitations and non-extradition laws.

1. Alois Brunner: Believed to be living in Syria, he was an operative of Adolf Eichmann and responsible for the deportation of Jews from Austria (47,000), Greece (44,000), France (23,500) and Slovakia (14,000) to death Nazi death camps. Brunner was convicted in absentia by France, but Syria has refused to cooperate with the investigation of his whereabouts.

2. Aribert Heim: Investigators don't have many leads of his whereabouts, but there is strong evidence that he is still alive. Heim was a doctor in the Sachsenhausen, Buchenwald and Mauthausen death camps. He is charged with performing horrific experiments on camp inmates, including an experiment at Mauthausen that involved testing the effectiveness of various chemicals and drugs for lethal injections. Heim vanished in 1962.

3. Ivan Demjanjuk: Convicted in 1988 by an Israeli court of being "Ivan the Terrible," the notorious SS guard who operated the gas chambers at the Treblinka death camp, a conviction that later was overturned by Israel's Supreme Court on grounds of reasonable doubt. Demjanjuk and his wife emigrated to the US from Hungary in 1958. His citizenship was revoked in 1981 and he was later deported to Israel for trial. His citizen ship was ordered restored in 1998, but the Justice Department filed an appeal that was upheld. Demjanjuk then was tried and convicted on charges he committed mass murder while serving as a guard in the Sobibor and Majdanek death camps in Poland. He was ordered deported to Ukraine in 2005, but remains in the US on appeals.

4. Milivoj Asner: Living in Austria, Asner served as police chief of Slovonska Ponega, Poland. Prosecutors say Asner played an active role in the persecution, deportation and murder of hundreds of Serbs, Jews and gypsies. Austria has refused to extradite him to Israel or Croatia for trial.

5. Sandor Kepiro: Living in Hungary, Kepiro served as a Hungarian policeman and is accused of the mass murder of 1,200 civilians in Novi Sad, Serbia. Originally convicted in absentia in 1946, he went unpunished and was allowed to live out his life, though Hungarian authorities have recently opened a new investigation into his crimes.

6. Mikhail Gorshkow: Believed living in Estonia after being denaturalized and deported from the U.S., Gorshkow participated in the murder of Jews in Belarus.

7. Erna Wallisch: Living in Austria, Wallisch served as a guard at the Madjanek death camp and has admitted his role in the mass murder of inmates. Austria refuses to prosecute due to its statute of limitations and will not extradite him to Poland for investigation and trial.

8. Soeren Kam: Living in Germany, Kam participated in the murder of anti-Nazi Danish newspaper editor Carl Henrik Clemmensen. Kam also stole the citizen registry of the Danish Jewish community and orchestrated the roundup and deportation of Jews to death camps, where dozens were murdered. Kam was indicted in Denmark for his crimes, but a German court refused to extradite him. At the request of the Wiesenthal Center, Dutch authorities have reopened the case.

9. Karoly (Charles) Zentai: Living in Australia, Zentai participated in manhunts, persecution, deportation and murder of Jews in Budapest. Discovered living in Australia in 2004, Zentai is appealing his extradition to Hungary.

10a. Algimantas Dailide: Living in Germany, Dailide arrested Jews who were then murdered by Nazis and Lithuanian collaborators. He emigrated to the U.S., was deported back to Germany, stood trial and was convicted in absentia by Lithuania, which has refused to implement his sentence.

10b. Harry Mannil: Living in Venezuela, Mannil arrested Jews and Communists who then were executed by Nazis and Estonian collaborators.

2008 September 28: Austrians vote in parliamentary elections that bolster the standing of the country's far-right and give the main ruling parties their worst results in years. The rightist Freedom Party (18%) and the Alliance for the Future of Austria (11%), capitalize on voter discontent and get a combined 29%. The voting age had recently been lowered to 16.

2008 September 29: Due to Joerg Haider's perceived contacts to Holocaust deniers, the Israeli Foreign Ministry declares it is heavily concerned about the 2008 Austrian elections. A spokesman of the ministry says that Israeli officials are "very worried about the rise to power of people who promote hatred, Holocaust denial, and befriend Neo-Nazis. We see it as a disturbing development and are following the matter very closely".

2008 October 11: Austrian politician Joerg Haider dies in a car accident while speeding drunk. His far-right rhetoric at times sounded sympathetic to the Nazis and contemptuous of Jews and led to months of international isolation for the Alpine republic. At the time of his death, Haider was governor of the province of Carinthia and leader of the Alliance for the Future of Austria, a party he formed after breaking away from the far right Freedom Party in 2005.

2009 March 19: Josias Kumpf, a former Nazi concentration-camp guard, is deported from Wisconsin to Austria, despite objections from his lawyer that the guard was simply present at the Trawniki Labor Camp in Poland but committed no acts of persecution. See: November 3, 1943.

2009 June 8: Austria's far-right Freedom Party, which had campaigned on an anti-Islam, anti-immigration platform, more than doubles its share of the vote to 13.1% for parliamentary seats in EU elections.

2009 September 17: After Austria decides that it is unable to prosecute Josias Kumpf because the statute of limitations has expired, Spain requests his extraditition. However, Kumpf will die on October 15 in Wilhelminenspital, in Vienna, before the extradition request can be processed.

2010 March 12: Austrian government officials anounce that they have identified at least two mass graves of some 70 Nazi victims on property used by the army. The victims are concentration camp inmates and others, all killed by the SS to eliminate witnesses to Nazi atrocities shortly before Soviet troops arrived.

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