Family of missing Jew demands answers from Chile

WASHINGTON (JTA) — The family of an American Jew who disappeared in Chile has joined a prominent open secrets group in demanding that Chile declassify documents in the case.

Boris Weisfeiler, a Russian-born mathematics professor at Pennsylvania State University, disappeared while hiking in a remote corner of Chile in January 1985. Chile has since admitted that he was detained by Chilean authorities.

Declassified U.S. documents show that embassy officials believed he was taken to the nearby Colonia Dignidad, a village founded by a former Nazi that is believed to have harbored other Nazis. Weisfeiler was suspected by his captors of being a spy for the Soviet Union, the United States or the Jews, according to the reports.

In an announcement Tuesday, the National Security Archive, a research group affiliated with George Washington University, said it would join the Weisfeiler family in preparing requests under Chile’s new freedom of information law to declassify Chilean documents concerning the fate of Weisfeiler.

The National Security Archive is one of the leading declassifiers of U.S. documents, and its revelations over the years have broken many news stories, including information about past CIA torture practices.

Also participating is Archivos Chile, a new Santiago-based project of the Washington-based Center for Investigation and Information.

"The Weisfeiler family is continuing the fight for truth and for justice for Boris — and to force the Chilean Government to formally accept its responsibility for the tragic fate of Prof. Weisfeiler," read a statement on the Weisfeilers’ Web site dedicated to the search for Boris Weisfeiler.

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