Vienna: Pro-Nazi university official to be fired

Austria's education minister said Tuesday she planned to dismiss a supervisory board member at Vienna's Medical University for a speech honoring a Nazi air force officer. On Sunday, University Council Member Gerhard Pendl gave a eulogy for Nazi flying-ace Walter Nowotny, a day roughly corresponding to his death. Nowotny, who shot down more than 250 planes in World War II, was killed by American pilots on November 8, 1944. In response, the university's supervisory board said Monday it wanted to expel Pendl. In his speech, Pendl said that it is "our duty to point out the mental scars (inflicted by) the do-gooders, who will also not leave the dead alone ... so that our innocent soldiers and their horrible deaths are not forgotten or even vilified," Austria Press Agency reported. Elisabeth Gehrer, noting she "clearly rejected" comments that downplayed Nazi crimes, said she intended to dismiss Pendl because his comments damaged the reputation of the university, the APA reported.