“Plate Unveiled to Survivor of the Holocaust and the Argentinian Military Dictatorship at the Former ESMA”
November 19, 2014
More than five thousand people disappeared from the Navy School of Mechanics (ESMA) under the civic-military dictatorship that Argentina suffered from 1976 to 1983, one of clandestine centers of detention, torture, and extermination operated in order to extract information from those detained, allowing the dismantle of social and political groups that had formed against the government.
The events that occurred at this place – which have become an emblem of the Argentinian nation, symbolizing the pain and loss of entire families who were considered as opponents of Videla – are similar to the events that occurred in Europe during World War II.
Sara Russ, of Polish origin, was just 12 years old when she was transferred to the Ghetto in Lodz, forced to use the Star of David and live in inhumane conditions. She survived the march of death in Auschwitz-Birkenau and the Mauthausen camps (in Austria). She arrived in Argentina at the age of 18, weighing only 57 lbds, along with her mother and husband whom she met during that period; during those years, her body had suffered hardship and she was without possibility of having children.
Despite her diagnosis, Daniel, one of the two children that Sara gave birth to in the Argentina Republic, was later kidnapped and killed during the Videla dictatorship.
Today the Global Embassy of Activists for Peace unveiled the commemorative plate “Traces to Remember” at the White Scarves Hall – a symbol mothers of those who have disappeared in the massacres have identified with.
The commemorative event counted with the presence of the Ambassador of the Global Embassy of Activists for Peace Dr. William Soto; Attorney before the Court of Bogotá, Colombia, Dr. Camilo Montoya Reyes; Director of the Sarajevo, Bosnia Documentation Research Center, Dr. Mirsad Tokača; Undersecretary for Human Rights of the Government of Great Buenos Aires, Mr. Claudio Avruj; City Government Representative of the public entity “Espacio para la Memoria” [The Space of Remembrance], Dr. Gustavo Peters; and representative of ESMA's human rights, Daniel Tornopolsky.
Following Dr. William Soto’s introductory welcome, the project’s manager, and Dr. Daniel Rafecas accompanied Mrs. Russ to unveil the plate containing engraved palm prints to the authorities and activists from different countries who attended the event. Dr. Soto closed the event with the following words:
“The right to the truth carries within the right to remember, and to remember we must educate. Educate to remember, and thus prevent barbarism. My consideration and admiration to Mrs. Sara Russ, and to all the victims and relatives of the people who were tortured and disappeared in this covert detention center. I emphasize my admiration for Sara Russ’ spirit of self-improvement and love for life. Thank you very much, and may truth and justice always shine.”