March 31, 2016

Ruben Vardanyan visited the Holocaust memorial in the Cathedral of Buenos Aires

On March 30, 2016, Ruben Vardanyan visited the Buenos Aires Metropolitan Cathedral and stopped by the Memorial Mural to the victims of the Shoah, an unprecedented historical monument which was donated by the International Raoul Wallenberg Foundation.

The Mural is the same one President Barack Obama visited during his stay in Argentina.

Mr. Vardanyan is co-founder of the educational “100 Lives”, an educational initiative supported by George and Amal Clooney, among other personalities from the fields of science, art and business. Its goal is to recognize and thank those who helped save persecuted Armenians during the tragic episodes of 1915, as well as encourage individuals and organizations to pursue the path of solidarity.

“100 Lives” is aligned with the “Report on Turks who reached-out to Armenians in 1915”, an initiative of the Raoul Wallenberg Foundation. This research project aims at identifying Turks and Kurds that reached out to the victims of the Armenian Genocide, and unveil untold stories of rescue and solidarity. The issue of the Muslim rescuers who went out of their way to save Armenians at the beginning of the 20th century was not properly studied yet and, thus, is an unchartered territory waiting to be discovered.

The Mural is a piece of fine silverwork 1.80 long by 1.20 wide, composed of two crystal sheets in which prayer books rescued from the ruins of the concentration camps of Treblinka and Auschwitz are exhibited, as well as the Warsaw ghetto. The work of the goldsmith artist Carlos Pallarols also reminds those killed in the attacks on the Israeli embassy in Buenos Aires (1992) and the AMIA (1994). The Mural was inaugurated in April 1997 by the Nobel Peace Prize, Lech Walesa, with Cardinal Primate Antonio Quarracino, at the request of an idea of ​​the International Raoul Wallenberg Foundation.

In April 1998 the then Primate of Argentina and Archbishop of Buenos Aires, Jorge Bergoglio, now Pope Francis, founder member of the Raoul Wallenberg Foundation, remembered Cardinal Quarracino (August 8, 1923 – 28 February 1998) delivering a moving speech by the Mural. Thus, Cardinal Bergoglio paid tribute to the millions of Jews killed by the Nazis near an unprecedented memorial in the history of Jewish-Christian relations. In a posthumous letter Cardinal Quarracino had expressed his desire that once inside the Metropolitan Cathedral, “to invite the Jews who wished so, to cover their heads “.

Likewise, Vardanyan had the opportunity to appreciate a memorial dedicated to the “victims of the first genocide of the twentieth century, 1915-1923” (Photo). The piece, carved in marble, is a tribute of the Armenian Apostolic Church of Argentina.

The Raoul Wallenberg Foundation is an educational NGO. Its president is Eduardo Eurnekian, and its founder, Baruch Tenembaum.