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Obj. ID: 53961
Memorials
  Holocaust Memorial in the Metropolitan Cathedral in Buenos Aires, Argentina, 1997

© Samuel D. Gruber, Photographer: Gruber, Samuel D., 2024

Name of Monument

Commemorative Mural to the Holocaust victims and of those murdered in the terrorist attacks to the Israel Embassy and the AMIA

What/Who is commemorated?

Victims of the Holocaust and of the terrorist attacks to the Israel Embassy and the AMIA in Buenos Aires  

Description

The memorial is affixed to the left side wall of the Chapel of the Virgin of Luján, off the left aisle of the Buenos Aires Metropolitan Cathedral. The chapel is the final resting place of memorial’s sponsor, Cardinal Antonio Quarracino.

The memorial itself is composed of framed glass panels between which are placed sheets of prayer books and other items rescued from the ruins, purportedly from Treblinka, Auschwitz, and the Warsaw ghetto. Among the artifacts are also pages from a Haggadah rescued from a concentration camp in the Toulouse area (France) in 1942, donated by Miriam Kesler, daughter of one of the bombing victims.

Other items displayed include a Kaddish score and covers of Yiddish books found among the rubble of the AMIA, and a fragment from the Book of Samuel, found in the ruins of the Israeli Embassy in Buenos Aires. The piece is complemented by a copy of the Passover Haggada rescued from a concentration camp in 1942,

The glass panels are enclosed by a silver wrought frame, in the corners of which are engraved Jewish symbols: Magen David, menorah, Tablets of the Law, and a palm tree, described as a “tree of life.”

Several memorial plaques are set within or outside of the framed items. These include a plaque commemorating the victims of the Israeli Embassy and AMIA building bombings, and a framed letter from Cardinal Quarracino, the sponsor of the memorial to Baruch Tenembaum, who suggested the idea and helped in the creation.

Inscriptions 

Plaque inside memorial frame, in Spanish:

“YO CREO EN EL SOL, AUN CUANDO NO ALUMBRA;
YO CREO EN EL AMOR, AUN CUANDO NO LO SIENTO;
YO CREO EN DIOS AUN, CUANDO PERMANECE CALLADO" 

Zvi Kolitz
Buenos Aires, April 14, 1997

Translation: “I believe in the Sun even when it does not shine. I believe in love even when I do not feel it. I believe in God even when he remains silent.” Zvi Kolitz  [Lithuanian-born Jewish film and theatrical producer and a writer whose short story Yosl Rakover Talks to God became a classic of Holocaust literature].

Plaque outside of base of frame, in Spanish and Hebrew:

EN MEMORIA
לזכר עולם

DE NUESTROS HERMANOS JUDÍOS MASACRADOS E INMOLADOS DURANTE LA SHOAH (HOLOCAUSTO) Y DE LOS MÁRTIRES DE LOS ATENTADOS A

LA EMBAJADA DE ISRAEL EN BUENOS AIRES Y A LA ASOCIACIÓN MUTUAL ISRAELITA ARGENTINA (AMIA)

HOMENAJE DEL ARZOBISPO DE BUENOS AIRES, PRIMADO DE LA ARGENTINA, CARDENAL ANTONIO QUARRACINO, ASOCIACIÓN CASA ARGENTINA EN ISRAEL TIERRA SANTA,

FUNDACIÓN INTERNACIONAL RAOUL WALLENBERG, BARUJ TENEMBAUM Y EDUARDO EURNEKIAN.

TRIBUTADO EL 14 DE ABRIL DE 1997 EN BUENOS AIRES ARGENTINA

Obra: CARLOS DANIEL PALLAROLS

Translation: In memory of our Jewish brothers massacred and immolated during the Shoah (Holocaust) and of the martyrs of the attacks on the / Embassy of Israel in Buenos Aires and the Argentine Israelite Mutual Association (AMIA) / Tribute by the Archbishop of Buenos Aires, Primate of Argentina, Cardinal Antonio Quarracino, Argentina House Association in the Holy Land of Israel / Raoul Wallenberg International Foundation, Baruj Tenembaum and Eduardo Eurnekian. / Dedicated on April 14, 1997 in Buenos Aires Argentina / Work: Carlos Daniel Pallarols/

Plaque attached to wall, in Spanish:

“Los justos darán gracias a su monbre.
Los rectos morarán en tu presencia” (Sal 139)
1994-2014
A 20 años del atentado a la sede de AMIA nos juntamos
a orar, Unidos por el dolor, hermanados por la memoria
de la massacre y animados por la esperanza.
Conmemoración Interreligiosa en memoria de las víctimas
Catedral Metropolitana de Buenos Aires, 14 de Julio de 2014

Translation: "The righteous will give thanks to his name. / The upright will dwell in your presence" (Ps 139) / 1994-2014 / 20 years after the attack on the AMIA headquarters, we came together / to pray, united by pain, united by the memory / of the massacre and encouraged by hope. / Interfaith Commemoration in memory of the victims / Metropolitan Cathedral of Buenos Aires, July 14, 2014.

Framed paper document below memorial, in Spanish and Hebrew:

La voluntad del Cardenal Antonio Quarracino
Arzobispado de Buenos Aires
Buenos Aires, 26 diciembre de 1997
Sr. Barich Tenembaum
New York
Mi-querido Baruj

Gracias por tus cálido saludos con motivo de las fiestas. Los retribuyo para vos, Perla y tus seres querides.

No civido aquellas veladas en Jerusalem, en 1992, cuando cercados por la nieve te preguntá qué se puede hacer para cicatrizar las heridas de nuestros hermanas judios. Passaron ya seis años y recuerdo que me sugeriste "crear hechos": un MURAL RECORDATORIO que, gracias a tus amigos en Casa Argentina, se plasmó en el magnifico homenaje a las victims del Holocaust, de la Embajada de Israel y de la AMIA.

Pronto se cumplirá el Primer Aniversario desde el discubrimiento de este digno "Monumento" ante el que he pedido se invite a judíos que asi lo deseen a cubrirse la cabeza. Te agradezco los elogios al arquitecto Norberto Silva por su diseño y creativity, comparto cuanto dices al respecto.

El lugar definitivo del mural estará ligado al descanso que aquardo dentro de la Catedral para continuar pregonando la fraternidad como lo he hecho toda mi vida.

No dudo que mi actual arzobispo coadjutor Mons. Jorge Bergoglio, Ilagado el momento de sucederme, will recorrerá el mismo camino de reconciliación y fraternidad con nuestros hermanos mayores. Contando con la ayuda y collaboración del querido y fiel Roberto Toledo, insistiremos en avanzar por esta ruta, sin duda, querida y benedecida por Dios.

Nos encontraremos para celebrar el logro del Mural: ojalá haya muchos que emulen y superen nuestra iniciativa en todo el mundo!

Reitero mi gratitud por tu afecto y amistad: sabes que son sentimientos reciprocos. Y espero que pronto nos reúna la misa fraternal.

Hasta entonces, va el abrazo de tu amigo,

SHALOM!

Translation: The will of Cardinal Antonio Quarracino / Archbishop of Buenos Aires / Buenos Aires, December 26, 1997 / My-dear Baruj: / Thank you for your warm greetings on the occasion of the holidays. I repay them for you, Pearl and your loved ones. / I remember those evenings in Jerusalem, in 1992, when, surrounded by snow, I asked you what could be done to heal the wounds of our Jewish sisters. Six years have passed and I remember that you suggested that I "create facts": a REMINDER MURAL that, thanks to your friends at Casa Argentina, was reflected in the magnificent tribute to the victims of the Holocaust, the Embassy of Israel and the AMIA. / The First Anniversary will soon be celebrated since the unveiling of this worthy "Monument" in front of which I have asked that Jews who wish to do so be invited to cover their heads. I thank you for your praise of the architect Norberto Silva for his design and creativity, I agree with what you say about it. / The final place of the mural will be linked to the rest that I await inside the Cathedral to continue proclaiming brotherhood as I have done all my life. / I do not doubt that my current coadjutor archbishop, Mons. Jorge Bergoglio, soon to succeed me, will follow the same path of reconciliation and fraternity with our older brothers. Counting on the help and collaboration of the dear and faithful Roberto Toledo, we will insist on advance along this route, without a doubt, loved and blessed by God. / We will meet to celebrate the achievement of the Mural: I hope there are many who emulate and surpass our initiative around the world! / I reiterate my gratitude for your affection and friendship: you know that they are reciprocal feelings. And I hope that soon the fraternal mass will bring us together. / Until then, hug your friend, / 

Commissioned by

Cardinal Antonio Quarracino
(inspired by Baruch Tenembaum, founder of the International Raoul Wallenberg Foundation)

Summary and Remarks
Remarks

29 image(s)

sub-set tree:

Name/Title
Holocaust Memorial in the Metropolitan Cathedral in Buenos Aires | Unknown
Object Detail
Monument Setting
Date
1997
Synagogue active dates
Reconstruction dates
1998 (moved to the present location)
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Unknown
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Unknown |
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glass
silver
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1.80 meters long x 1.20 meters wide.
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Name of the goldsmith is included on dedication plaque

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History/Provenance

The memorial was inaugurated by Cardinal Antonio Quarracino on April 14, 1997. The idea for the project, originated a few years earlier with Baruch Tenembaum, a friend of the Cardinal and founder of the International Raoul Wallenberg Foundation. The memorial, which at the time of its dedication was believed to be the first such memorial in a church, was dedicated to the victims of the Holocaust and also those killed in the terrorist attacks in the 1990s against the Israel Embassy and the AMIA community center in Buenos Aires.

After the AMIA attack, Cardinal Quarracino had visited the ruins of the AMIA building and, while standing amidst the debris, said "How naïve are the criminals who perpetrated this heinous act. They think they could defeat Judaism”. Soon after, Tenembaum asked the Cardinal to consider erecting a memorial mural at the Buenos Aires cathedral, to pay tribute to the Jewish victims of the Holocaust and to those who lost killed or injured in the terrorist attacks. Tenembaum reportedly told his friend: “Antonio, the terrorists should know that Catholics and Jews are a family and support each other against all kinds of fanaticism.” Quarracino’s response was enthusiastic, I and then shortly after the dedication of the memorial, in a last will and personal letter to Tenembaum (shown at the memorial) he wrote that he wished to be buried “next to the mural, together with the ashes of his parents,” He wrote to invite the Jews to visit the mural and “cover their heads if they wish,” a significant gesture, as church visitors are always asked to uncover their heads.

The memorial was first installed in the chapel of Saint Theresa of Jesus and later moved to the chapel of the Virgin of Luján, the resting place of Cardinal Quarracino. A few months before his death on February 28, 1998, Cardinal Quarracino had written to Baruch Tenembaum: ”It will be soon a year since the unveiling of this worthy monument inside the Cathedral, to which I have invited all Jews to cover their heads if they wish so. The definite place of the Mural will be close to the resting place that I am longing for inside the Cathedral, to keep pleading for brotherhood as I have done all my life.”

After Quarracino’s death, his successor, Jorge Mario Bergoglio (subsequently Pope Francis), continued preservation and promotion the memorial. In September 2004, the Raoul Wallenberg Foundation placed a replica of the mural in the Protestant Evangelical Vaterunser Church in Berlin.

The memorial has been visited by prominent individuals from Argentina and the world, including Argentine president Raúl Alfonsín; U.S. president Barack Obama; Cardinals John O’Connor and Angelo Sodano; the archbishops of New York; the secretary of state of the Vatican; and Nobel Peace Prize winner Lech Walesa; in addition to the thousands of people who visit the Cathedral every day.

Main Surveys & Excavations
Sources

Eunerkian, Eduardo, “A unique monument pays tribute to the victims of the AMIA bombing,” MercoPress, July 18, 2019., https://en.mercopress.com/2019/07/18/a-unique-monument-pays-tribute-to-the-victims-of-the-amia-bombing (accessed May 19, 2024)

“Unique memorial in the world brings together Christians and Jews in Argentina,” International Raoul Wallenberg Foundation., https://www.raoulwallenberg.net/holocaust/tributes-24/mural/unique-memorial-world-brings/ (accessed May 19, 2024)
Type
Documenter
Samuel D. Gruber | 2024
Author of description
Samuel D. Gruber | 2024
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The following information on this monument will be completed: