May 11, 2005

On nazis and bronze plaques


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

”In 1933, the world remained silent,” said the President in reference to Hitler’s rise to power and to the atrocities committed 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”, placed inside the Argentine Foreign Ministry in 2001.

There would be no reason to object this homage paid to members of Argentina’s diplomatic corps, were it not for the fact that not only none of the diplomats on the plaque showed any real solidarity with the victims of the Nazis but because, additionally, 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, despite the fact that the Nazi authorities wanted to hand these citizens over to the Argentine Embassy, as demonstrated by the investigations of Professor Haim Avni, of Hebrew University in Jerusalem, and Argentine writer Uki Goñi.

Despite all attempts by the Wallenberg Foundation to have this plaque removed, including appeals made to Foreign Minister Rafael Bielsa 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 behavior towards which it feels indifferent at home.

José Ignacio García Hamilton
Raúl Otero
Nicholas Tozer
International Raoul Wallenberg Foundation

Translation: Nora Bellettieri