junio 10, 2005

Speech delivered by Dr. Natalio Wengrower

Ceremony to mark the annulment of Secret Norm Nr. 11

Speech delivered by Dr. Natalio Wengrower
Vice-President of the International Raoul Wallenberg Foundation
Government House
Argentine Republic
Wednesday, June 9th 2005

Mr President, Dr. Néstor Kirchner.
Mr. Chancellor, Dr. Rafael Bielsa.
Mr Minister for the Interior, Dr. Aníbal Fernández
Mrs Beatriz Gurevich
Mr Uki Goñi
Ladies and gentlemen:

We are all here today to mark a new chapter of Argentine history.

Despite the opposition or the indifference of almost all sectors involved, not to say all of them, the International Raoul Wallenberg Foundation has endeavoured for over three years to achieve two ends: the withdrawal of an unjustifiable commemorative plaque and the annulment of Circular Number 11, a secret norm issued in the year 1938 on account of which -either directly or indirectly- an undisclosed number of people met their death.

Finally, after 66 years, justice has been done.

The plaque has been removed and Circular Number 11 is being derogated today. Neither of these two things could have been possible without the firm decision of the President of the Nation, Dr. Néstor Kirchner, who could understand what the country has to gain if we face our past without fear.

We thank the Minister of the Interior, Dr. Aníbal Fernández, who has placed his particular sensitivity at the service of the country and its image both in national as well as in international spheres.

As we have mentioned on several occasions, the welfare of the nations is not the result of a mere accumulation of capital. It is in fact the ability of a country to look unhindered into its past, no matter how atrocious it may have been.

The unprecedented decisions adopted by the Government are most significant since the specific history of the Argentine Republic in this field is both intense and contradictory. Many war criminals have found refuge in Argentina under the protection of their public and private sympathizers. But it is also true that thousands of survivors of bloodthirsty persecutions have enjoyed here peace and prosperity.

In life we find things that are more important than life itself. One of these things is truth. When we give it up, the fall is unavoidable and limitless. There is no other way to look into the eyes of our countrymen if it is not by assuming what we have been and what we are, without reticence and without shame of any kind.

Please allow me to express my special gratitude to the founder of the Wallenberg Foundation, Mr. Baruch Tenembaum, a source of inspiration and determination, who is today in New York. Thanks also to Father Horacio Moreno, our President, spiritual guide and source of wisdom.

Our gratitude also to Mrs. Beatriz Gurevich and Mr. Uki Goñi, who with unusual intellectual honesty and academic discipline dived into the turbulent waters of the Argentine past insofar as its relations with Nazism are concerned. Their contributions, their efforts and advice were of the utmost importance to attain this objective.

The Wallenberg Foundation cannot but thank also the Education Minister, Daniel Filmus, for his

assistance to help our organization carry out our educational programme, ”Wallenberg at School”, since the future of Argentine, more than anything else, depends on the education of our children and our youth.

Thank you.

Translation: Josefina Prytyka