Samuel Leonardo Slutzky
My father, Doctor Samuel Leonardo Slutzky, was taken from our home in La Plata on the night of 22 June 1977.
The kidnappers presented themselves as the "allied forces" (fuerzas conjuntas). They searched and looted our house while violently destroying whatever was in their way.
Only recently, while visiting Argentina almost 20 years later, I found out that my father was detained at the La Cacha detention center, nearby La Plata.
During my visit, I managed to track down five survivors of the La Cacha detention center, two of which -Silvia Bucci, and Hector Javier Quinterno- remembered my father.
Silvia was only sixteen when she disappeared, she was a high-school student. She remembered having talking with my father in a small room. My father tried to comfort her as she was worried about the fact she didn't menstruate. Hector who wrote a diary after being released could rememeber more details. According to Hector, my father suspected that he was kidnapped because of an article about a peronist guerilla training event in Taco Ralo, Tucuman, back in 1968 (nine years earlier) where he served as a doctor. The article was published just a few weeks before the kidnapping took place, in the magazine "Somos", published by editorial Abríl. My father's full name was mentioned in it. Still, my father hoped he was not under any threat as he was not involved in politics since he was released from prison in 1973.
It seems that my father was not seen as a "big fish" by the officers because he was not questioned for the first three or four days since his kidnap, He told Quinterno that he was very afraid to be tortured again - he was severely mistreated during his first imprisonment between 1968 and 1973, and at that age (he was in his early forties) his body wasn't very strong anymore.
Quinterno told me that my father didn't survive the torture. There were several extreme sadistic torturers in La Cacha. Their nicknames were Palito (el correccional), Serpico (el barbaro), three "Carlitos", Pituto, Pelado (el torturador) and el Oso (English: the Bear). El Oso was at the time a member of the servicio penitenciario (jail guards) and probably knew my father from the jail Unidad 9, in La Plata where my father was incarcerated before. He was the main torturer in La Cacha and one of the worst. Another survivor of La Cacha -Patricia Bolli- revealed that the real name of El Oso was Acuña.
Just a few hours before leaving Buenos Aires from my visit, Alejandro Inchaurregui of the equipo argentino de antropologia forense (Argentine team of forensic antropology) told me he knew that el oso was a bodygard of the former prime minister Bauza until his resignation about three months ago.
[Mariano Slutzky, email communication, 19 Aug 1996]Editor notes:
The origin of the name La Cacha is from La Bruja Cachavacha (Cachavacha the witch), a macabre character from an Argentine children cartoon who was notorious for making people disappear. Over 300 people are known to have been detained in this secret detention center, including six pregnant women and two children. The center was located in a former radio station (Radio Provincia) that was seized by the armed forces, in the neighborhood of Lisandro Olmos, City of La Plata, Province of Buenos Aires. A testimony, 35 pages long including floor-plan sketches of the place, lists of survivors, lists of torturers (all except Acuña, only by their nicknames) was sent to me by Mariano from his place of exile.
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