Monday, April 26, 2010

Argentina: Anti-Semitic Attack during Pesach

On 1/4/10, anti-Semitic graffiti was found in Santa Teresita, in the province of Buenos Aires. The graffiti consisted of swastikas and inscriptions in German, such as "Morten Juden" (Death to Jews). The incident was immediately reported to the police and security was tightened in the hotel where a group of about 200 Jews, including community leaders, were celebrating Pesach. That same night, individuals in motorcycles passed by the hotel shouting similar offensive expressions. As of today, the culprits have not been found. Many Jewish Argentineans from the Orthodox community travel yearly to coastal cities (including Santa Teresita) to celebrate Pesach.

The Jewish community requested mediation and immediate action from Ministry of Justice to find and inculpate the people responsible for the hate crime. (1/4/10, Prensa Judía) Meanwhile, Eduardo Camaño, Minister of Government for the Province of Buenos Aires, issued a release that stated: "Rechazamos cualquier acto que agravie y atente contra la comunidad judía, por cuyos miembros sentimos el más profundo respeto”. ("We reject any action that aggravates and attacks the Jewish community, for whose members we feel the deepest respect.") The provincial authorities allegedly started an investigation immediately after the attack. (1/4/10, La Crónica)

Investigators are attempting to determine whether this was an isolated case, given that Santa Teresita once housed a Nazi criminal. Dino Šakić was a Croatian who directed the Jasenovac concentration camp from 1942 to 1944. After an investigation in 1998, the 76-year old Šakić was extradited to Croatia, where he was convicted and sent to prison for 20 years. He died incarcerated ten years later. (21/7/08, CBC)

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