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US Will Try to Block East German’s Appointment as Human Rights Chief With AM-East-West

May 26, 1986

BERN, Switzerland (AP) _ The United States will try to block any attempt to give a top U.N. human rights post to an East German official Israel says was a Nazi, a leading Jewish spokesman said Monday.

Rabbi Marvin Hier, dean of the Simon Wiesenthal Center in Los Angeles, said he received a letter to that effect from Alan L. Keyes, U.S. undersecretary of state for international organization affairs. The rabbi, in Bern for a meeting on East-West human contacts, provided a copy of the letter, dated May 16, to The Associated Press.

Hermann Klenner of East Germany is one of three vice chairmen chosen by the U.N. Human Rights Commission at the commission’s annual six-week meeting that began in February. Israeli delegates and Jewish groups have complained about his alleged membership in Adolf Hitler’s Nazi party.

Hier said the United States wants ″to make doubly sure a former Nazi doesn’t get the post.″

Klenner has not been mentioned as a candidate for chairman of the commission, said Kurt Herndl, the Austrian who heads the U.N. Human Rights Center in Geneva.

″This is a rumor based on the fact that he was vice chairman″ and that a Soviet bloc delegate is to head the commission next year under its system of a geographically rotating chairmanship, Herndl said.

The last session’s chairman, Hector Charry Samper of Colombia, was a vice chairman the year before, but Herndl said his case was uncommon.

Hier said he discussed Klenner’s case with Samuel Zivs, chairman of the Soviet Anti-Zionist Committee, who also was in Bern for the human rights meeting held as a follow-up to the 1975 Helsinki accords on European security and cooperation.

Zivs said he knew Klenner as a ″liberal-minded individual″ and was unaware of any Nazi affiliation, the American rabbi said.

Keyes’ letter said, ″I share your anger″ at Klenner’s appointment as vice chairman. It went on: ″We must do whatever we can to ensure that such situations do not occur again. Please be assured of the great moral repugnance I feel toward the Klenner appointment and the commitment of our government to opposing such travesties.″

The State Department has begun ″diplomatic efforts to prevent Mr. Klenner’s nomination as the East European candidate for chairmanship of the commission in 1987,″ Keyes’ letter said.

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