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Photo courtesy of Argentinean Manitoban Association (AMA) - 2013

Joyce Bateman
Photo courtesy of Argentinean Manitoban Association (AMA) - 2013

Christine Melnick
Photo courtesy of Argentinean Manitoban Association (AMA) - 2013

Zane Tessler
Photo courtesy of Argentinean Manitoban Association (AMA) - 2013



by Rhonda J. Prepes, July 22, 2013

About 200 people including many children attended the 19th Annual AMIA Community Commemoration on Thursday, July 18 at 7:00 PM at Shaarey Zedek Synagogue.

The commemorative service honoured the 85 innocent people who were killed and more than 300 who were wounded in the terrorist bombing of the Jewish Community Centre in Buenos Aires on July 18, 1994. The master of ceremonies was Sergio Glogowski, President Jewish Heritage Centre.

It began with a passionate speech by Rabbi Alan Green of Shaarey Zedek.

“Nineteen years is a very long time for there to have been no justice for these victims. There was just a joint truth commission formed by the governments of Argentinian and Iran to investigate the bombing. However… the idea of establishing a truth commission that involves the Iranian regime would be like asking Nazi Germany to help to establish the facts of Kristallnacht. It’s offensive. Not only to the families of the 85 murdered and hundreds of wounded, but to the entire Argentine nation.”

“What can we do about it here tonight? We can mourn. We can remember the victims and we can resolve never to forget this tragedy and never ever to forget the fact that the perpetrators continue to walk as free men and women in the world today.”

“We will never rest until all those involved in this crime in Argentina and in Iran have been brought to justice.”

An excerpt from the film “18-J” was screened. It was about an elderly Jewish couple living in Buenos Aires worried about their daughter living in Israel. They did not realize that on that day of July 18, 1994 that they were in more danger than her.

Joyce Bateman MP for Winnipeg South brought greetings from the government of Canada.

Bateman said, “We must all pay tribute to the dead, remember the injured, perhaps most importantly, seek justice for all. By such reflection we are then able to ensure that this regrettable chapter in history is a closed chapter.”

“Prime Minister Stephen Harper said, ‘One of the best ways to honour the memory of the victims is to put measures in place to help reduce the likelihood of such heinous acts from happening again.’ “

“I stand with you today to convey our deepest condolences and to know that we are acting together to prevent such occurrences again.”

The Honourable Christine Melnick, Minister of Immigration and Multiculturalism, brought greetings from the provincial government.

Melnick said, “I am stunned about what I learnt this evening – about the Argentinean government partnering with the government of Iran in an enquiry. That is more than insulting.”

Councillor Brian Mayes, St. Vital ward City of Winnipeg, the newest city councillor spoke on behalf of the mayor and the other members of council

Representative for Winnipeg Argentinian community were invited up to light 19 candles to symbolize that 19 years that have passed since the tragedy. They included: Leslie Alvaro, Melanie Rubin, Patricia Garcia, Ari Glikman, Seby Szpajzer, Danny Soifer, Lucia Mohadeb, Axel Lekman, Joana Reimberg, Marin Glikman, Flavia Fernandez Fabio, Hannah Waingarten, Deby Figoguy, Tomy Feldman, Eleonora Capporalini, Ana Josebachvilli, German Glusgold, Frederico Biderman, Isaias and Beba Schor, Natacha and Mario Cogan, Romina and Enrique Levy, Mabel Fridson, Julieta Aprosoff, Lucas and Guillermo Szpigiel, Toby Szkop, Diego Fridson, Nicol and Nathan Lanchuske, Cynthia Gurfinkel, Lena Steimberg, Carolina Fridman, Carolina Hofman, Joaquina and Davo Brunstein.

Cantor Mass regaled the audience with two beautiful and touching musical interludes singing Shirat Hamalachim and Tefillah Laderach.

Kevin Szkop brought a message from the Argentinean Manitoban Association (AMA).

“I now address the large number of youth that are present today. …Our parents retell the events of what happened on July 18th, 1994. They lost close friends and family members, but now it is our time to seek truths and find answers… It is our responsibility. Our search for justice must and will withstand the test of time. Years may pass… but it is imperative that the next generation does not leave this unattended,” Szkop said

Cynthia Szkop read a message from AMIA in Argentina in Spanish.

Zane Tessler Chair of the Community relations Committee of the Jewish Federation of Winnipeg and representative for the Centre of Israel and Jewish Affairs (CIJA) gave the concluding remarks.

Tessler said, “Justice has been denied since July 18, 1994. The AMIA bombing investigation ran into problems from the start and neither the perpetrators inside the country or the masterminds abroad have been apprehended… This was a despicable and cowardly act of brutal violence that continues to go unpunished.”

“Resolving the AMIA case remains an urgent task.”

The commemorative ceremony ended with Cantor Mass singing the mourning prayer and saying the mourner’s Kaddish. He then blew the shofar.

We cannot forget the terrorist bombing of the AMIA which was the centre for culture and Jewish life in Buenos Aires. On July 18, 1994, a white Renault was driven into the Jewish Community Centre in Buenos Aires (AMIA) and detonated. The building was destroyed, 85 innocent people were killed and more than 300 were wounded. The dead and injured included Jews, non-Jews and passers-by. The AMIA bombing is considered the deadliest terrorist attack in Argentina’s history. It devastated the sense of comfort and security of the Jewish community in Argentina and around the world.

Nineteen years later, no one has been brought to justice. Nonetheless, all of the investigations lead to Hezbollah operatives.

This commemorative event was presented by the Argentinean Manitoban Association, Congregation Shaarey Zedek, the Centre for Israel and Jewish Affairs and the Jewish Federation of Winnipeg.


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