May 10, 2005

Homage to a ”hero” who left 100 Jews to their own devices


Luis H. Irigoyen is one name among several on a plaque commemorating Holocaust heroes despite the fact that he gave a hundred Argentines over to Nazism. Government authorities may have his name removed.

Luis. H. Irigoyen was Secretary to the Argentine Embassy in Berlin during the Nazi period. In 1943, Third Reich officials approached the embassy and offered to hand 100 Argentine Jews over to Argentine authorities. Irigoyen never got back to the Germans, thus allowing the killer Nazi machine to decide their fate: the gas chamber.

His name is among a group of alleged Nazi genocide ”saviors” on a plaque that is burnished by Foreign Affairs maintenance staff everyday.

Despite repeated substantiated claims from different institutions and individuals aggravated by the plaque—which was unveiled in July 2001, when Adalberto Rodríguez Giavarini was Minister of Foreign Affairs—his name has not been removed yet and sits among the original twelve on the plaque on display on the first floor of the building at 1212 Esmeralda Street.

The Commission of Enquiry into the Activities of Nazism in Argentina (CEANA) created by Guido Di Tella in 1997 hailed twelve former Foreign Office officials as Holocaust ”heroes” for their alleged ”solidarity towards victims of Nazism.”

Generalized indignation at the inclusion of Irigoyen reflects the ”horrors” inflicted by the Ministry when it extolled the ”solidarity” and ”heroism” of people who, at best, did their minimal duty as government functionaries, according to the IRWF.

However, what was even more aggravating was the inclusion of Irigoyen on the plaque without an explanation of the grounds on which CEANA determined his heroic status.

Irigoyen’s documented actions have brought about public indignation from various personalities—among them Uki Goñi—perplexed by the historical contradiction of Irigoyen’s public recognition for ”heroism.” This has led them to add their names in support of the IRWF’s official claim.

The petitions have been submitted to current Minister of the Interior Aníbal Fernández, who after consulting with Foreign Affairs Minister Rafael Bielsa expressed his indignation at the historical error and has promised a prompt removal of the ”homage.”

Translation: Ana Traversa