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Enrique Kirberg, Prominent Chilean Jewish Educator Jailed for 2 Years, Allowed to Come to the United

October 10, 1975
See Original Daily Bulletin From This Date

Worldwide protest has led Chilean authorities to free Prof. Enrique Kirberg, a prominent educator jailed for more than two years, and allow him to come to the United States to take on a teaching post at Columbia University, the Anti-Defamation League of B’nai B’rith reported today.

According to Rabbi Morton M. Rosenthal, director of ADL’s Latin American affairs department, Kirberg, who was arrested on the morning of the overthrow of President Salvadore Allende’s administration in September, 1973, is due to arrive in the U.S. this week. He is the former Rector of the State Technical University in Chile.

Kirberg’s continued detention was the subject of worldwide protest by the presidents and faculty of numerous universities, including Brandeis, Harvard and M.I.T. and Columbia. Appeals for his release by Amnesty International, the United Nations Commission on Human Rights, and interventions by a number of individuals and other organizations, were also believed to have been a factor leading the Chilean government to permit Kirberg’s emigration.

Previously the government had contended that the 60-year-old educator was serving a sentence for tax evasion, rather than for a political crime. The political charges against him had been dropped after he spent nearly two years without trial on Dawson Island, but at the same time he was fined $4000 and sentenced to 500 days in the Santiago penitentiary for reportedly evading $2800 in income taxes.


ADL also reported that another educator who is Jewish, Juan Rivano, is still in custody after his arrest by Chilean authorities last summer. The philosophy instructor was among 44 persons arrested at the University of Chile in Santiago in connection with a protest against faculty outbacks and in support of political prisoners Rivano remains in custody although some of those arrested with him have since been released.


Meanwhile, according to ADL, the state owned Banco Israelita may be reestablished as that country’s foremost Jewish financial institution if members of the Jewish community succeed in purchasing its stock. Shares in the bank, founded in 1943 by members of the Jewish community, are being offered for sale by CORFO, a government corporation which has owned 96 percent of its stock since Banco Israelita became the first Chilean bank to be nationalized during the Allende years.

Until its nationalization, the bank was the prime financial supporter of countless Jewish communal projects. Restoration of the institution to its former stature was the expressed goal of the leaders of Jewish organizations of Santiago who convened a recent meeting on the subject.

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