As a Holocaust survivor, I am aghast at the efforts of the Austrian charge' d'affaires, Christian Prosl, to whitewash Kurt Waldheim's Nazi past by a blatant misrepresentation of the findings of the Department of Justice {letters, June 10}.

Perhaps even more shocking was the unacceptable manner in which this foreign representative sought to criticize American domestic legislation.

To set the record straight, the Department of Justice on April 27 placed Mr. Waldheim's name on the "Watchlist," thereby barring his entry into the United States. Its decision, the department stated, dealt "with Mr. Waldheim as an individual for past activities."

Mr. Prosl falsely states in his letter: "no personal involvement or active participation in the persecution activities of the military unit is necessary" for placement on the "Watchlist."

The findings of the Department of Justice declared just the opposite: "The evidence collected satisfies the applicable statutory standards, in that it establishes a prima facie case that Kurt Waldheim assisted or otherwise participated in the persecution of persons because of race, religion, national origin, or political opinion."

Beyond the shameful efforts by Mr. Prosl to defend Kurt Waldheim's sorry record, his direct criticism of American domestic legislation raises serious questions of propriety.

In fact, for the representative of Waldheim's Austria to criticize the Holtzman Amendment -- the centerpiece of American legislation for the prosecution of Nazis still hiding in this country -- borders on the obscene. It might be noted that this legislation was in fact adopted in 1978 by overwhelming majorities in both houses of Congress.

It might have been more appropriate for Mr. Prosl to have paid heed to the observation of Holocaust survivor Elie Wiesel, the Nobel Peace Prize winner, that Mr. Waldheim's "election by the Austrian people is a stain on Austria and all of mankind."


Vice President, World Jewish Congress

New York