(Never Again) - Report of Conadep
statements made to the press in October 1981, the then Minister
for the Interior Albano Jorge Harguindeguy denied that the
government of the Military junta was involved in anti-Semitism,
although he did admit that it was ’impossible to control all
personnel [referring to the forces of repression] amongst whom
there might be - as anywhere in the world - some sadistic or
mentally ill Person’. (Crónica,
1.10. 8 1.)
to the testimony of R. Peregrino Fernández, a Federal Police
officer and one of Minister Harguindeguy’s advisers, it is
(Alberto, later Chief of Federal Police) and Veyra (Jorge
Mario, Commander of the Federal Police) played the role of
ideologues: they would recommend literature and comment on the
works of Adolf Hitler and other Nazi and Fascist authors.
ideology led to a particular brutality in the treatment of
prisoners of Jewish origin. In La Perla SDC, Lillana Callizo
(file No. 4413) could hear the screams of Levin when they hit
and insulted him for being a Jew… Alejandra
Ungaro (file No.2213)
describes how after being beaten, especially on the back and
head, ’They painted my body with swastikas using strong
marker-pens.’ In El Atlético SDC, ’one of the military
personnel who called himself ”the Great Führer” made the
prisoners shout ”Heil Hitler!”, and at night they could
frequently hear recordings of his speeches.’ (D.
Barrera y Ferrando, file No. 6904.)
the survey of Olimpo secret centre carried out by this
Commission on 25 May 1984, witness Mario Villami (file No. 6821)
pointed out the place where the operations room had been and
saw a swastika made of wallpaper on one wall.’
of and identification with Nazism also emerges from. other
they were beating us up they would say, ”We’re the
Gestapo!”’ (Jorge Reyes, 1st Regiment, Patricios SDC, file
admiration could be a reason for increasing punishment, as in
the case of Elena Alfaro (file No.3048), held in El Vesubio,
secret detention centre:
life in the camp for any prisoner was a nightmare, the
situation was even worse for Jews. They were the victims of
constant beatings and other acts of aggression, to such an
extent that many preferred to hide their origin, saying, for
instance, that they were Polish Catholics.
this admiration could also be a motive for alleviation of the
victims’ suffering, as occurred with Rubén Schell (file No.
2825), who was held prisoner in the Pozo de Quilmes secret
detention centre and who, because of his obvious German descent,
received better treatment. After a long session of torture,
’Coco’ or ’the Colonel’ said to him while questioning
him: ’Listen, Flaco, what are you doing amongst this common
scum? With looks like your’s you should be an SS. He showed
him a swastika he had tattooed on his arm, giving orders that
from then on Schell was to be well fed. ’From that day on I
was no longer tortured,’ adds Schell.
was presented as a component of a deformed version of
what’being Christian’ or’religious’ signified. This was
nothing other than a cover for political and ideological
defence of God and of Christian values was a simple ideological
motivation which could be understood by the agents of
repression, even at their lowest organizational and cultural
levels, This necessary identification was made to instill a
’fighting spirit’ in all personnel involved in repression
and to give them an objective which would relieve their
consciences, removing the obligation to examine the causes and
real ends for which they were persecuting and punishing not only
a minority of terrorists but also people of different political,
social, religious, economic and cultural backgrounds.
the raid on the home of Eduardo Alberto Cora (file No.1955),
abducted together with his wife, ’after destroying everything
they found, the raiders wrote on the wall the words ”Long live
Christ the King” and ”Christ saves”.’ Some raids and
operations were carried out with the battle-cry ’For God and
agents of repression thought of themselves as having the power
of life and death over each prisoner: ’When the victims
besought God, the guards would reply with an irrational
Messianism: ”Here, we are God. ” ’ (Jorge Reyes, file No.
Nora Iadarola (file No. 1471) was made to repeat
live Videla, Massera and Agosti; God, Home and Country!’
Anti-Semitism came to be yet another manifestation of the
repressive groups. within the totalitarian vision of society
held by the ruling regime. Nora Stejilevich (file No. 2535) was
just finishing packing for a trip to Israel, when a group of
people entered her home looking for her brother Gerardo. She was
travelling with some professional people to work on a project.
That day, 16 July 1977, after searching the whole house,
removing books and papers and seeing that the person they wanted
was not there, they took Nora.
threatened me for having uttered Jewish words in the street
(my surname) and for being a bloody Yid, whom they would make
soap out of me.
took me straight away to the torture room where I was
subjected to the electric prod ...
kept asking me for the names of the people travelling with me
to Israel ... they centred the interrogation around Jewish
matters. One of them could speak Hebrew, or at least a few
words which he could place in the correct order in a sentence.
He tried to find out if there was any military training in the
kibbutzim. They asked for a physical description of the
organizers of the study tours, like the one I was on (Sherut
Laam), a description of the building of the Jewish Agency
(which I knew very well), etc. They assured me that they were
primarily concerned with ’the problem of subversion’ but
the ’Jewish problem’ was second in importance and they
were gathering information for their files ...
the interrogation session I could hear the screams of my
brother and his girlfriend, Graciela Barroca, whose voices I
could make out perfectly. In addition the torturers referred
to a scar which both of us - my brother and I - have on our
backs, which confirmed his presence there. I never heard of
later, they told me my arrest had been a mistake, but not to
forget that I had been there.
Ramón Nazar (file No. 1557), ex-editor of the newspaper La
Opinión of Trenque Lauquén, states with regard to one of
the interrogation sessions to which he was subjected:
attitude of these people was strongly anti-Semitic. They asked
me if I was familiar with the ’Plan Andina’, whereby
Israel was to take over part of Patagonia.
Lewin de Garcfa (file No. 2365), secretly held in air force
premises, said that:
general attitude was of deep-rooted anti-Semitism. On one
occasion they asked me if I understood Yiddish. I replied that
I did not, that I only knew a few words. They nevertheless
made me listen to a cassette they had obtained by tapping
telephones. The speakers were apparently Argentine businessmen
of Jewish origin, talking in Yiddish. My captors were most
interested in finding out what the conversation was about ...
collected the information obtained in files, including in them
the names and addresses of people of Jewish origin, plans of
synagogues, sports clubs, businesses, etc....
only good Jew is a dead Jew, the guards would say.
Eduardo Ferndndez (file No. 1131) was a nineteenyear-old youth
in August 1977 and has the unwelcome
privilege of having survived the Club Atlético
SDC. From this unforgettable experience he recalls that
during the interrogation sessions:
continually went on at me as to whether I knew any Jewish
people, friends, shopkeepers, anybody, as long as they were of
was a torturer there they called ’Kung-Fu’, who would
practise martial arts on three or four people at a time - they
would always be prisoners of Jewish origin - who were kicked
were punished simply because they were Jewish. They would be
told that the DAIA (an Argentine Jewish organization) and
international Zionism subsidized subversion, and that the
organization of the pozos
was financed by ODESSA (an international group which
supports Nazism) ...
kinds of torture would be applied to Jews, especially one
which was extremely sadistic and cruel: ’the rectoscope’,
which consisted of inserting a tube into the victim’s
anus, or into a woman’s vagina, then letting a rat
into the tube. The rodent would try to get out by gnawing at
the victim’s internal organs.
the same centre of torture and extermination, Pedro Miguel
Vanrell (file No. 1132) confirms that Jews were made to raise
their hand and shout, ’I love Hitlerl’
torturers would laugh, take the prisoners, clothes off and
paint swastikas on their backs with spray paint. Afterwards
the rest of the prisoners would see them in the showers,
occasions on which the guards - pointing them out - would
again beat them up and abuse them.
remembers the case of a Jew nicknamed ’Chango’, whom the
guard would take out of his cell and force into the yard.
would make him wag his tail, bark like a dog, lick his boots.
It was impressive how well he dit it, he imitated a dog as if
he really were one, because if he didn’t satisfy the guard,
he would carry on beating him ...
he would change and make him be a cat ...
’Julián the Turk’ always carried a key-ring with a
swastika and wore a crucifix round his neck. This character
would take money from the relatives of Jewish prisoners.