Family of Former Chilean Jewish Official Seeking His Where Abouts

The family of David Silberman, who disappeared in Chile after his arrest by the military junta in 1974, has vowed to continue their world-wide campaign for information as to the whereabouts of their son or to obtain confirmation that he is alive or dead. According to information reaching here from sources close to the family, who immigrated to Israel in Jan. 1974, Silberman’s father and sister are unfazed by rebuffs from the Chilean government. His wife and three children remained in Chile.

Silberman’s father and sister have sought help from the International Red Cross, the Chilean prelate, Cardinal Silva Henriquez and Chilean Chief Rabbi Angel Kreiman. They have now renewed their appeal to world personages, American legislators and the Red Cross.

David Silberman, 35, was deputy minister for mines and general manager of the Chilean copper mines that were nationalized during the regime of the late President Salvador Allende. When the right-wing military junta seized the government, he was among thousands of Chileans arrested for their associations with the Allende administration. In October 1974, he was sentenced to 13 years’ imprisonment for treason. Since then, his family has heard nothing from him.

NO HINT OF HIS FATE

Israeli Chief Ashkenazi Rabbi Shlomo Goren was reportedly informed by President Augusto Pinochet of Chile last May that Silberman was taken away by a commando unit while serving his sentence. There was no explanation and no hint of his fate and his parents continued to press for information, travelling to Chile themselves to no avail. When Rabbi Kreiman continued to seek information on their behalf, he was reportedly ordered by Pinochet to stop asking questions about Silberman, sources close to the family in Israel reported.

Members of the family noted that many Chilean political prisoners held without trial have disappeared but none have been missing after trial and sentencing. His parents and sister say that any information, even confirmation that he is dead, would be better than the state of suspense the family has been living under for the past 15 months. According to unconfirmed reports, political prisoners in Chile claimed they saw Silberman at various interrogation centers since his sentencing. There has been no further information.

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