NEW YORK (May. 16)
Argentine authorities have arrested two Nazi sympathizers and charged them with the desecration last month of a Jewish cemetery on the outskirts of Buenos Aires, according to reports from the country.
Horacio Carrondi, 34, an unemployed resident of Berazategui, where the vandalism took place, was arrested at his home Tuesday. A self-professed neo-Nazi, he had worked in the Argentine army’s intelligence service until 1986.
Judge Orfeo Maggio, who has been investigating the cemetery desecration, told reporters in Buenos Aires after the arrest that Carrondi probably acted with others. The judge and police base this assumption on the extent of damage at the cemetery, at which 110 graves were smashed.
On Thursday, a second suspect, Luis Kesseller, was arrested and, like Carrondi, charged with violating the country’s anti-discrimination law, as well as robbery and damage to private property.
The police searched Carrondi’s home, where they found Nazi paraphernalia, an army rifle, and a metal plaque which the judge said had been taken from a grave. Nazi literature was found at Kesseller’s home as well.
Police also found the judge’s name and telephone number in a notebook in Carrondi’s apartment. The judge had been receiving anonymous threatening phone calls warning him not to proceed with the investigation.
The judge has been placed under special protection.
Carrondi identified himself to television reporters as a “nationalist and a Nazi.”
Legislation providing severe penalties for attempts to discriminate on the basis of race, religion, sex, ideology or social status was passed in Argentina in 1988. B’nai B’rith had lobbied hard, in Argentina and internationally, for the landmark legislation.
The Anti-Defamation League of B’nai B’rith, while hailing that legislation, had reported at the time that anti-Semitic and right-wing extremists threatened both Jews and the government.
There has been an outpouring of sympathy for the Jewish community since the desecration, the worst attack on Jewish property in years.