Wiesenthal Centre to Paraguayan Foreign Minister on Nazis and Hizbollah

January 15, 2021

Buenos Aires and Paris – In a letter to Paraguayan Foreign Minister Federico González Franco, the Simon Wiesenthal Centre’s Latin America Director, Dr. Ariel Gelblung, recalled “his support – as Ambassador to Argentina – in the display of the Centre’s exhibition ‘People, Book, Land’ in Buenos Aires.”... Dr.Gelblung is well respected in Asuncion for his denunciation of discrimination against Paraguayan citizens in Argentina.

Gelblung is now requesting the Minister to investigate into the Nazi objects exhibited at the German Community Fair in San Bernardino, 50 kilometers away from the capital Asunción.

The Centre’s Director for International Relations, Dr. Shimon Samuels, noted the cooperation received on his three working visits to Paraguay:

- In 1993, following claims that Alois Brunner –who directed the deportation the Jews of Austria, France, Greece and Slovakia – had left Damascus for Paraguay;

- In 1997, with the German Embassy in Asunción, to stop the transfer of “war pensions” to SS veterans;

- In 2003, following claims that Hizbollah terrorists implicated in the 1994 Buenos Aires AMIA Jewish centre bombing, were in hiding in Ciudad del Este, on the Paraguayan side of the Triple Frontier with Argentina and Brazil. This led to the 2004 Summit of the Americas consultation on the Wiesenthal Centre’s “Suicide Terrorism Convention.”

Gelblung added: “Mr. Foreign Minister, the San Bernardino Fair represents a choice, to follow the democratic Germany of today or the remnants of the war criminals, such as the Auschwitz “angel of death,” Josef Mengele, who had evaded judgement by escaping to Paraguay.

As we approach the January 27 Holocaust Memorial Day, we urge Paraguay to follow Argentina, Uruguay and, indeed, the Organization of American States, to adopt the IHRA (International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance) Definition of Antisemitism.

There is no place to glorify Nazi memorabilia in Paraguay. The best tribute to the victims is to combat today’s antisemitism,” concluded the Centre’s officials.

For further information, please contact Dr. Shimon Samuels at +336 09770158 or Dr. Ariel Gelblung at +54 9 11 49695365.

The Simon Wiesenthal Center is an international Jewish human rights organization numbering over 400.000 members. It holds consultative status at the United Nations, UNESCO, the OSCE, the Council of Europe, the OAS and the Latin American Parliament (PARLATINO)

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