April 21, 2005

Moved abroad, indifferent at home


The Argentine media have reported that President Néstor Kirchner and his wife Cristina Fernández de Kirchner were moved to tears during a recent visit to Dachau concentration camp in Germany.

”In 1933, the world remained silent,” said the Argentine president in reference to Hitler’s rise to power and to the atrocities commited by the Nazis.

We are sorry to say that this silence resembles the silence of Kirchner’s own administration regarding a plaque that pays tribute to 12 Argentine diplomats who are alleged to ”have shown solidarity with the victims of the Nazis”, erected inside the Argentine Foreign Ministry in 2001.

There would be no reason to object this homage paid to members of Argentina’s diplomatic corps – there are plenty of reasons why many men and women of the Argentine foreign service should receive recognition- were it not for the fact that none of the diplomats on the plaque showed any real solidarity with the victims of the Nazis. They simply carried out their duty to assist Argentine citizens in Europe during the War.

Moreover, one of the diplomats honored is Luis H. Irigoyen, Secretary of the Argentine Embassy in Berlin during the war, responsible for the death of 100 Argentine Jews in the gas chambers, in spite of the fact that the Nazi authorities wanted to hand these citizens over to the Argentine Embassy for repatriation to Argentina.

This fact is well documented in books written by two experts on the subject, Professor Haim Avni, of Hebrew University in Jerusalem, and Argentine writer Uki Goñi.

Despite all attempts by the International Raoul Wallenberg Foundation to have this plaque removed, including appeals made to Foreign Minister Rafael Bielsa and other authorities of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, and letters to President Kirchner and to Senator Cristina Fernández de Kichner, which were never answered, the plaque remains in place, a shameful example of a two-faced nation, which is moved abroad by the same behaviour it feels indifferent to at home.
José Ignacio García Hamilton
Raúl Otero
Nicholas Tozer
International Raoul Wallenberg Foundation

Translation: Nora Bellettieri