Argentine Authorities Turn over Eichmann File to Jewish Community

Argentine authorities have presented the Jewish community here with its files on Adolf Eichmann, who lived in this country under an alias for a decade before being kidnapped, tried and executed in Israel for his role in masterminding the Nazi genocide.

Ramon Ortega, governor of Argentina’s Tucuman province, where Eichmann lived from 1952 to 1960, handed over the 20-page file to a representative of the Delegation of Jewish Associations of Argentina, known as the DAIA, and the World Jewish Congress, in a public and widely publicized ceremony.

“It is a symbolic act, and the opening signifies a starting point that will permit us to continue our investigation in the framework of the Testimony Project sponsored by the DAIA and the World Jewish Congress,” said Jose Kestelman, the DAIA’s national secretary, who received the file from Ortega.

Bernardo Litvak, a DAIA leader in Tucuman, was also present. Ortega said, “I can’t say I am satisfied with this gesture. After all, it wasn’t Gandhi or Martin Luther King who used to live among us.”

While the documents contain no new information on Eichmann, the act of opening up the archive was seen as an important step in digging up the past of Nazi officials who found refuge Argentina from war crimes persecution.

The move was a result of an order last year, decreed by President Carlos Menem, to open to the public all official documents on former Nazi officials who have lived in Argentina.

Gen. Juan Peron, who led Argentina during the late 1940s and early 1950s, was known as an admirer of fascism and Nazism. During his reign, many Nazis found refuge in this country. Eichmann was among the more notable of these Nazis.

Eichmann’s file, as showed by the local chief of police to the press, is a battered folder with 20 unnumbered pages, making it impossible to tell if anything is missing.

The file has a sketchy outline of Eichmann’s history in Tucuman, where he arrived carrying false documents obtained by Buenos Aires police identifying him as Ricardo Klement.

He had already arrived from Europe with false papers issued by the International Committee of the Red Cross.

WORKED FOR MERCEDES-BENZ

According to the file, he falsified his date and city of birth and said he was unmarried.

The new identity card with the number 389.071 allowed him to obtain work at a hydraulic engineering company. It now appears that the company, CAPRI, was managed by Carlos Fuldner, an Argentine-German citizen.

Fuldner’s name also appears in the dossier of Nazi official Martin Bormann, which was opened to the public in February 1992. Fuldner was said to be an adviser to Juan Peron and an officer of the immigration service.

After a couple of months in Tucuman, Eichmann was reunited with his wife, Vera Liebl, and their three children. He moved three times during that period, probably afraid of being watched.

He left the protection of the regiment and went on to the province of Catamarca for a short stay before settling in Buenos Aires again, where he went to work as a foreman for the Mercedes Benz car manufacturing company.

In 1960, Israeli agents here abducted Eichmann. He was tried in Jerusalem and later convicted, hanged and cremated on May 31, 1962.

Many observers said they thought the Eichmann files released in remote Tucuman posed more questions than it answered: Why did Eichmann travel that far and was there an organized network helping him? Who else went with him and are there more government documents concerning him? Did the military know who he was when he was hired by them?

When Eichmann was captured by the Israelis, his dossier was closed and nobody bothered to investigate anything else in Tucuman.

Scrawled in poor handwriting on the cover of the 20-page file, it is possible to read: “Died a violent death in Israel.”

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