Argentina to Release Nazi-era Files
President Nestor Kirchner made the announcement before departing to Washington for a meeting with the US president. His order also includes release of classified documents related to the 1994's terrorist against a Jewish club in Buenos Aires
After a short meeting with Simon Wiesenthal's representatives in Buenos Aires, the Argentine government Monday promised to lift the veil over the arrival of Nazi war criminals after World War II. Also, President Kirchner ordered to unclassified all the documentation regarding the investigations made on the explosion that blew up the building of a Jewish club, killing 83 people nine years ago.
Simon Wiesenthal's Senior Member, Rabbi Abraham Cooper welcomed Kirchner's decision and made the announcement to the press: "We have finished a fantastic meeting with Argentina's new leader and I wonder why he was not in office nine years ago". "Kirchner told us that that he will open all the files related not only to the AMIA affair, but also to the Nazi war criminals", Cooper told reporters.
It also became known that Argentina would study all the extradition requests regarding former Nazi officers who still live within the South American country. Among others, international tribunals, as well as different Human Rights organizations like Simon Wiesenthal Center, are requesting more information be made available on Bruno Caneva and Ivo Rojnica, accused of crimes against the humanity during WW II.
After quoting Kirchner's words about the tragedy that meant for Argentina 1994's terrorist attack, "our September 11", said Argentine President recently, Shimon T. Samuels, President for the Wiesenthal's Center European Committee, said that both discussed "those individuals that have been abusing the country's hospitality for 60 years". "We know that there are two of them alive (Caneva and Rojnica) and Kirchner has allowed us to proceed as we did some years ago on Priebke's case".
Bruno Caneva today lives in Mendoza Province and has been held responsible for the assassination of 81 Italian partisans moths before Third Reich's surrender to the allies. Ivo Rojnica, in turn, is a former agent of the Nazi puppet Croatian regime headed by Ante Pavelic, who lives in Buenos Aires Province and faces charges of crimes against humanity.
According to recent investigations, no less than 50 Third Reich high officials found cover in the desolated lands of the Southern regions of Argentina and Chile after WW II. As the Patagonia holds the largest German community of Latin America, many Nazi and Ustashi criminals lived there after the war. The list includes: the nicknamed "Angel of death", Josef Menguele; the SS Lieutenant, Adolf Eichmann, the NSDAP General Secretary, Martin Bornmann; the "Butcher of the Balkans", Ante Pavelic and Gestapo officer, Erich Priebke.
Despite international demands, successive Argentine governments kept Nazi-era files as state secret until now. It is not yet certain that the documents contain crucial elements to shed light over the fate of dozens of German war criminals that spent their last days in South America.
The Simon Wiesenthal Center (SWC) is an international Jewish human rights organization dedicated to preserving the memory of the Holocaust. With a membership of over 400,000 families, the Center is headquartered in Los Angeles and maintains offices in New York, Toronto, Miami, Jerusalem, Paris and Buenos Aires.