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Couple Told Daughter Died Under Torture in Argentina

June 23, 1980
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Luis and Helena Haimovitz, an elderly Jewish couple, were told here last week that their daughter, Alexandra, died after being tortured in a prison in Argentina. The Haimovitz’s, who immigrated to Israel from Argentina several years ago and now live in Rehovot, came to Geneva to seek information about their daughter from officials of the United Nations Human Rights Commission which has a special committee that investigates cases of missing persons.

Their daughter, a high school student, was arrested in Cordoba, Argentina in 1976 and has not been heard from since. She was a member of the “Youth for Guevara” movement which supported the late Latin American radical leader, Che Guevara, According to her parents, she and a girlfriend were picked up by police several days before she was to leave for Israel to join two older brothers who settled there.


The Haimovitz’s received a letter from Amnesty, International stating that a young Argentinean woman, Gratziela Chauna, had been in prison with Alexandra and reported that she died after being tortured. Ms. Chauna escaped and is now in Geneva.

She told the Haimovitz’s that Alexandra was given worse treatment than the others in prison because she was Jewish and that in Argentine prison camps it was much worse to be Jewish than to be a terrorist. While in Geneva, the couple met with Gerhard Riegner, Secretary General of the World Jewish Congress. They plan to go to London to see officials of Amnesty International.

Before leaving they told reporters, “Nothing will bring back our daughter but let the Argentinean government at least acknowledge they killed our daughter. We want our daughter’s body back at least to be able to bury her in Israel.”

At least 15,000 persons have disappeared in Argentina since the military junto seized power there in 1976, many of them Jews. Those not heard from after a year are generally presumed to be dead. Numerous bodies have been washed ashore in Argentina during the last four years with heads and limbs severed to prevent identification.

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