CENTRO CULTURAL DE LA MEMORIA HAROLDO CONTI
Petit Futé's opinion on CENTRO CULTURAL DE LA MEMORIA HAROLDO CONTI
ESMA (Escuela de Mecánica de la Armada): an emblematic torture centre that has become a "museum of memory". This immense park planted with trees houses the former Higher Training School for NCOs of the Navy (ESMA), some thirty buildings used as a detention and extermination centre under the dictatorship (1976-1983). It was the most important clandestine torture centre at the time. The Haroldo Conti Cultural Centre, named after the famous Argentinean writer, who "disappeared" in 1976, has occupied one of the ESMA buildings since 2009. In 2004, President Nestor Kirchner responded to the extraordinary mobilisation of the mothers and grandmothers of the 'disappeared' since 1977 and launched the project for this centre. But it took more than three years before the Argentinean Navy agreed to leave the premises. Human rights organizations worked to rehabilitate the premises, which had been transformed into a place of remembrance. The disappeared were clandestinely abducted and taken to the cellar under the golden lounge, where the abductions were planned: a poorly lit room subdivided into cells, equipped for torture sessions. A moving pilgrimage to these places of death, through which some 5,000 "desaparecidos" passed from March 1976 to November 1983. The places, empty, are no longer exactly the same as they were yesterday. But everywhere, discreet panels give the visitor precise explanations and extracts from the testimonies of survivors. An admirable work of memory.
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Open Tuesday to Friday from 12pm to 9pm, Saturday and Sunday from 11am to 9pm. Free admission.
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