Pagina/12 today carries an interview with Mauricio Rosenhof, a former political prisoner, writer, playwright, poet and ex-minister of culture for Uruguay. He is an invited speaker at the commemorations of the AMIA attack on Tuesday. I was interested by what he says because he draws explicit parallels between the persecution of Jews during the Holocaust, the Southern Cone military dictatorships, and the memory of the terrorist attacks. This is often implicit in memory discussions but here it it spelled out.
"I think we owe a lot to the old Left, which had a very important presence in the Jewish collective. There were a thousand young people disappeared during our dictatorships who were of Jewish origin. In the international brigades which fought fascism [in Spain], 25% were Jewish. I grew up among tailors, shoemakers, carpenters who spoke in Yiddish. Workers with a clear conscience. In their honour, I'm going to talk at the event organised by Memoria Activa in memory of the victims of the AMIA."
"My presence at the event for the victims of the AMIA is emotional for me. It's remembering and putting things in their place. The voices of the Jews of the Left do not have the presence which they had and which they have to have."
"As a moral reference and example of resistence, I have Mordechai Anielewicz in the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising, and Primo Levi, who struggled against the Nazis together with his students and then gave that example of resistence in Auschwitz. Rosa, my father's sister, was the only survivor in her family. They all died in the concentration camps. Raúl Sendic, my friend and the leader of the Tupamaros, said that he took the Kibbutzim in Palastine as a model. Shimon Peres was secretary-general of the Socialist International*. This is why it is necessary to remember the Jewish militants, those who were disappeared and the victims of the two attacks in Buenos Aires. This is what made me accept the invitation. I'm Uruguayan to my toes, Gardel-ian, tango-lover. And I'm Jewish."
*Actually, vice-president, according to my research.
The whole thing is here:“La memoria es una barricada” (Pagina/12)