NEW YORK (Nov. 19)
The president of Argentina has promised to provide Jewish researchers with access to all files on Nazi leaders who found refuge in Argentina.
He denied charges that his country is hiding secret files on Martin Bormann, Adolf Hitler’s deputy, whose postwar fate is a matter among dispute among Holocaust scholars.
Meeting on Monday with Jewish organizational leaders, President Carlos Saul Menem also said he will continue raising the plight of Syrian Jewry in discussions with Syrian President Hafez Assad. Menem, who is of Syrian descent, said he raised the matter in meetings with the leaders of Egypt and Tunisia.
Menem was praised by the Jewish leaders for passing anti-discrimination legislation, banning neo-Nazi marches, intervening for Israeli servicemen missing in action and becoming the first Argentinean head of state to visit Israel.
The issue of Argentine files on escaped Nazi war criminals was raised by Gerald Posner, author of “Hitler’s Children,” in an op-ed published in The New York Times on Nov. 13. Posner charged that he had seen a bulging file on Bormann in the secret archives of the Argentine Federal Police.
Bormann, who directed the German operation that shipped gold, diamonds and other booty from Nazi death camps to safe harbor in sympathetic Peronist Argentina, was never certified dead, though many experts, including Simon Wiesenthal, believe he did not escape Europe.
Menem said he had asked his Interior Ministry for its files on Bormann, but was told none existed.