BUENOS AIRES, Argentina (JTA) — Jewish soldiers will be recognized for their service during the Falklands War and the anti-Semitism they suffered will be acknowledged.
DAIA, the Jewish political umbrella in Argentina, will host the ceremony on Thursday for the soldiers who fought in the war 30 years ago. The archbishop of Buenos Aires, Cardinal Jorge Bergoglio, confirmed his presence at the event. Representatives of various religions, foreign diplomats, legislators and leaders of political parties also are participating.
“I was insulted as a Jew," Silvio Katz, an Argentina army veteran, told JTA. "Our superiors told the other soldiers that the Jewish soldiers would betray them in the combat. I was tortured. I was forced to put my hands, legs and sometimes head in cold water in the cold climate of the islands. They told me that this punishment was because I was a Jew.”
Victor Garelik, DAIA’s executive director in charge of media relations, told JTA that this is the first event to repudiate anti-Semitic acts suffered by Jewish soldiers during the war, and "we are going to give each of them a diploma in which we express our gratitude for their effort."
The war began on April 2, 1982 when Argentinian forces invaded the Falkland/Malvinas Islands, controlled by Great Britain. Some 649 Argentinian military personnel, 255 British military personnel and three Falkland Islanders died during the 74 days of the conflict. Argentina surrendered on June 14, 1982.
Argentina was ruled by a military dictatorship from 1976 to 1983.
In April, the AMIA Jewish Community Center in Buenos Aires held an event to recognize the Jewish veterans of the Falklands/Malvinas War.