Argentine Police Fire on Jews Guarding Synagogue; Situation Tense
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Argentine Police Fire on Jews Guarding Synagogue; Situation Tense

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Tension continued to prevail today among Jews in Argentina, following a clash between police and Jewish youths guarding a suburban synagogue from possible attacks by anti-Semitic hooligans. A police inspector and one Jewish youth were wounded in the exchange of fire.

The police were watching the Jewish youths from a German-made Volkswagen car which is not usually used by police authorities. The car provoked suspicion on the part of the Jewish guard and was therefore stopped by the Jewish youths. The youths asked the occupants-who later turned out to be policemen in civilian clothes-to identify themselves. As the Jewish youths demanded that the occupants show their identification documents, the latter opened fire, wounding one of the Jews. The Jewish youths returned the fire, seriously wounding a police inspector.

Meanwhile, two Argentine young men were arrested, both admitting membership in ultra right-wing organizations, both armed. One, found carrying a revolver, was caught by medical students during a demonstration against anti-Semitism. This man, 21-year-old Jorge Steffens Soler, admitted he was a member of the anti-Semitic Tecuara movement. The other, 17-year-old Juan Daniel Zverko, was captured after several youths had broken a window and tossed a Molotov cocktail into a Jewish store. Zverko was found carrying a package containing another Molotov cocktail. He admitted membership in the extremist Guardia Restauradora Nacionalista.

Jewish anxiety has grown since a 19-year-old Jewish girl, Craciela Sirota, was abducted by hooligans and subjected to disfigurement by a swastika cut into her body. While the central Argentine Jewish organization, DAIA, conducted a full business stoppage protesting that attack, a second atrocity came to light. Heraldo d’Alessandor, 18, whose Jewish mother’s maiden name was Brodsky, reported that five hoodlums knocked on his door one morning, attacked him, out five swastikas on his forehead and both cheeks, and escaped.


Dr. Carlos Adroguq, Minister of the Interior, declared at a press conference yesterday that the Government will respond to the series of anti-Semitic attacks “in the most serious and most effective manner possible.” He made that statement following a talk with Argentine President Guido. The latter had received a report on the occurrences from the police chief, Captain Horacio Enriques Green, who had been accused

Since Miss Sirota is a student at Buenos Aires University, Dr. Adrogue said, “I have asked the rectors of Buenos Aires University, and the faculties, to contact the police chief for guarantees of security and order, requesting the police to repress any attack with maximum energy.”

“The Government, ” continued Dr. Adrogue, “is ready to take concrete, effective and efficient measures. In my opinion, the events are the product of the passionate attitude of small sectors of our population which are not systematically organized. But repetition of events, and impunity, have given a character of gravity to the events. The man in the street thinks that there is too much passivity in repressing such actions. I give you the most absolute assurance that the Government has an irrevocable decision to act in the most serious, most effective manner possible with all means at its disposal.

“Naturally, technical difficulties may have at times made difficult that application of concrete measures. But the Federal police and other Government organs have received strict orders and I hope that, if there has been some laxness, this will be modified in the most effective way.”


Police Chief Green was reported reliably to have offered his resignation as a result of the charges that he has been lax in following up on DAIA’s protests against anti-Semitism The latest of these protests were filed with him at least a week prior to the attack on Miss Sirota, and Capt. Green reportedly failed even to reply to the Jewish organization’s notification that trouble was mounting.

Green’s resignation was rejected by the Government. But it was made clear here today that the Minister of the Interior, to whom Captain Green is directly responsible, has taken over personal jurisdiction of the entire series of anti-Semitic developments. Dr. Adrogue’s assurances were, thus, seen as confirmation of the report that Capt, Green’s jurisdiction over the anti-Semitic attacks has been taken over by Dr. Adrogue personally.

The DAIA is particularly incensed over Capt. Green’s statement in which the police chief accused the Jewish organization of “taking the law into its own hands” through last week’s protest business stoppage. The stoppage was widely supported by many non-Jewish businesses which also closed their doors.

In an open letter to Capt. Green, published in all major Buenos Aires newspapers, DAIA stated its officers “had read with profound surprise your expressions attributing to DAIA and to other Jewish institutions an allegation that they are a ‘menace’ and ‘taking the law into their own hands.’ Respectful as always of legal norms, DAIA rejects categorically such imputations, stressing again that the DAIA only asks for punishment of the culprits who have lately disturbed Argentine public opinion, particularly that of the Jewish community. In regard to the gravity of the latest event, and in order to stress this orientation, the DAIA asked on June 21 for an urgent interview with the Police chief-which still has not been granted.”

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