English Chronology

Jacobo Timerman: A Chronology*


Compiled by William and Mary students: Katherine Aument, David Culver, Steven Kirsch, Erin Maskell, Michaela Moshier, Flavia Polo, Robert Ressler, Julie Riggs, Kendall Simmons, Lydia Sinkus, Walker Somerville, and Catherine Wilmarth

in collaboration with Carlos Osorio and Marianna Enamoneta (National Security Archive); Laura Lenci and Josefina Mackenzie (Archivo de la DIPBA de la Comisión Provincial por la Memoria); and Prof. Silvia Tandeciarz (College of William and Mary)

and in gratitude to the Honorable Argentine Ambassador, Héctor Timerman, whose support made this investigation possible.

January 6, 1923- Jacobo Timerman is born in Bar, Ukraine. [Timerman, vii]

1928- Timerman and his family immigrate to Argentina. [Krebs]

June 16, 1944- Timerman is detained by police at Cine Arte, a film festival that serves as a benefit for the “Liga Argentina por los Derechos del Hombre,” and is held for 24 hours. [18.365 page 28] [Camps 209]

1959- The SIE (The Military’s Intelligence Service) denotes Jacobo Timerman as a “very dangerous Jew.” [18.365 page 29]

March 28, 1964- Timerman is reviewed by the “Comisión Asesora para la Calificación Ideológica Extremista” (Advisory Commission for the Classification of Ideological Extremism). [18.365 page 50]

July 16, 1964- The SIDE (State Intelligence Office) denotes Timerman as “Comunista.” [18.365 page 30]

April 5, 1967- SIDE ratifies before a Capital Federal Judge Timerman’s 1964 categorization as a communist for “activities against the principles of liberty and democracy in accordance with the regimen established by the National Constitution.” [18.365 page 51]

July 31, 1967- The Advisory Commission for the Classification of Ideological Extremism determines that Timerman’s past record is not sufficient to classify him within the specifications of its mandate. [18.365 page 51]

1973- La Opinión, Timerman’s daily, first starts to receive threats from the Triple A (Argentine Anticommunist Alliance, a far-right para-police force organized in 1973). [18.365 page 52]

March 24, 1976- After a three year period of civilian rule characterized by political violence and chaos, the Argentine Military overthrow Isabel Perón.

September 1, 1976- Timerman writes to US Congressman Donald Fraser, who presides over the Sub-Commmittee on International Affairs in the U.S. House of Representatives, offering to testify on the human rights situation in Argentina. [18.365 page 62; A181]

November 9, 1976La Opinión publishes the response of US Congressman Fraser to Timerman, inviting Timerman to testify in congressional hearings on Argentine human rights early next year. [A181]

January 1977- Chief of Buenos Aires Police Ramón Camps notes that Timerman dedicates space in La Opinión to publish Habeas Corpus of the disappeared. [Camps 105]

January 30, 1977- The Argentine government recalls the issue of La Opinión published 1/29 and the weekly paper released the 30th because of an article considered to be “offensive to the Argentine government and military.” [18.365 page 53]

March 31, 1977- Timerman and his son Héctor meet with US Assistant Secretary of State for Human Rights Patrician Derian. He believes the government will denounce him as a communist and take drastic action against him within a few months because of his work dealing with human rights and Habeas Corpus. [A0E2]

April 1, 1977- Technical manager of La Opinión, Edgardo Sajón, disappears. [A0F6, A135]

April 1, 1977– The National Executive Power (Poder Ejecutivo Nacional or PEN) establishes the intervention of Timerman’s publishing company and printing press by decree 115/77 and designates General D José Teófilo Boyret as government interventor. [18.365, page 53]

April 15, 1977- Security forces arrest Jacobo Timerman and take him to the Jefatura de la Policía de la Provincia de Buenos Aires, in la Plata, along with assistant manager of La Opinión, Enrique Jara. [A13B; Camps 30]

April 15, 1977- Timerman’s wife files a Habeas Corpus petition for Timerman. [Habeas Corpus 11]

April 15, 1977- According to a U.S. Embassy cable, the Argentine government publicly announces arrest of Timerman “in connection with the Graiver case” but makes no mention of Jara. [A12B]

April 15, 1977- Military interrogate Timerman in the Jefatura de Policía in La Plata. [Camps 60]

April 15/16, 1977- Timerman held at Argentine Army detention center Campo de Mayo for 24 hours before transferred back to the Jefatura de la Policía de la Provincia de Buenos Aires, by order of General Etchecolatz. [Camps 31]

April 16, 1977- Timerman interrogated in Campo de Mayo. [Camps 74]

April 17, 1977- Timerman interrogated in La Plata. [Camps 84]

April 18, 1977- First Corps Commander General Suarez Mason accuses Timerman in publicly released statement of “subversive actions.” [A537]

April 18, 1977- Timerman interrogated in La Plata. [Camps 106]

April 19, 1977- According to secret reporting by DGIPBA [Dirección General de Inteligencia de la Provincia de Buenos Aires], General Suárez Mason informs Judge Marquardt that Jacobo Timerman is being held under military authority under Law 21.640, pertaining to “National Security and Subversive Crimes”. Simultaneously, a secret report by SIDE coincides with DGIPBA’s but differs by saying that Timerman is detained because of the Graiver case and “Economic Crimes.” They allege that there are no charges of subversion linked to Timerman. [18.365 pages 28 and 62; A153]

April 21,1977- Timerman is placed under PEN (Poder Ejecutivo Nacional/National Executive Power), thus formalizing and acknowledging his arrest, which usually prevents prisoners from disappearing. [18.365 page 31]

April 21, 1977- In response to the Timerman family’s Habeas Corpus, Minister of Interior Albano Harguindeguy confirms his detention. [Habeas Corpus 18]

April 21, 1977- Timerman is interrogated along with others in La Plata. [Camps 117]

April 23, 1977- A Ministry of Interior communiqué charges Timerman with economic crimes. [A537]

April 25, 1977- Argentine military intelligence sources inform the U.S. Embassy that they have uncovered no evidence of ties between Graiver and subversives, therefore invalidating the allegations of Timerman as a subversive. [A167]

April 25, 1977- U.S. Embassy in Buenos Aires asks the Department of State to refrain from public comment on the Timerman detention until the facts of his case are known; they suggest instead that they express the hope that La Opinión will continue to be published as evidence of their support for Timerman. [A16B]

April 26, 1977- Timerman interrogated in La Plata. [Camps172]

April 26, 1977- Timerman is interrogated along with others in La Plata. [Camps 179]

April 26, 1977- Part of what appears to be Timerman’s sworn testimony to the police appears in La Prensa. [A17D]

April 27, 1977- Timerman is interrogated in La Plata. [Camps 203]

April 27, 1977- Embassy briefing concludes that accusations about Jacobo Timerman’s illicit ties with Graiver and with terrorists are false. [A17C]

April 28, 1977- A PEN decree is issued by Minister of Interior Harguindeguy stating that Jacobo Timerman is incompatible with public safety. [A537]

April 30, 1977- Timerman is interrogated in La Plata. [Camps 204]

May 4, 1977- Enrique Jara is released without charges and discusses Timerman case with US embassy. [A18F]

May 6, 1977- The rightwing monthly Cabildo publishes an article charging that the Graiver scandal uncovered a Jewish-Marxist-Montonero conspiracy seeking to take over Argentina, and accuses Timerman of promoting terrorists groups. [30943 118949 8]

May 6, 1977- According to the Buenos Aires Provincial Police, Timerman is no longer held under their responsibility and has been passed to the control of Brigadier General Oscar Bartolomé Gallino. [770416; Camps 32]

May 24, 1977- Military takes control of La Opinión. [A1FE]

May 25, 1977- Although detained, Timerman receives a visit from his family. [A1FE]

May 26, 1977- General Teófilo Goyret takes over La Opinión newspaper and print shop as Argentine government interventor. [A1FE]

Late Spring 1977- The Army announces that Timerman is being investigated by the Second Special Military Court for subversion and links to the Graiver group. [A537; A153]

July 5, 1977- A source in the U.S. embassy informs that Timerman once again has been transferred away from the Jefatura de la Policía de la Provincia de Buenos Aires and is incommunicado, while human rights organizations assume he has disappeared. [A27E]

July 19, 1977- Timerman’s family visits him at a police station in Avellaneda outside of Buenos Aires. [A2E2]

August 7, 1977- Mrs. Timerman along with Jacobo Timerman’s son, Héctor, and his brother, José, meet with American Human Rights Coordinator Patricia Derian during her visit. [A83C]

August 10, 1977- Ms. Derian speaks with Minister of Interior General Harguindeguy about human rights issues including the Timerman case. Her influence is demonstrated when the Minister summons Timerman to his office immediately and questions him about treatment during his imprisonment [A880; A35F]

August 19, 1977- U.S. Congressman Benjamin Gilman has a confidential interview with Timerman in the presence of foreign ministry officials, in which Timerman emphasizes the Argentine government’s need to take extraordinary actions against terrorist subversion and asks for understanding and support for President Videla from the U.S. Congress. In later statements, Timerman claims he was told the meeting would be taped and he feared for his family’s safety. [Timerman 154]

September 1977- Military court clears Timerman of claims of “subversive activities.” [A537]

September 9, 1977- President Carter meets with President Videla in Washington, and President carter requests the release of Timerman. [A619]

October 11 1977- Timerman is detained in the Federal Police Station on Calle Moreno in Buenos Aires. [A499]

October 11, 1977- During a visit at the federal police station on Calle Moreno with Rabbi Marshall Meyer, a U.S. citizen living in Buenos Aires and Timerman’s personal rabbi, Timerman recounts his torture in the Armed Forces prison in Magdalena. He describes his torture as including 15 hours of mistreatment with an electric prod while being questioned about his Jewish and zionist connections. [A499]

October 17, 1977- Timerman’s name is not amongst those being held for trial by the Military Tribunal for association with the Graiver case [A490; Habeas Corpus 23]

Late October 1977- An appeals court asks the Ministry of Interior for reasons for Timerman’s continued detention. [A537]

November 1, 1977- A press release issued by the Ministry of Interior says that Timerman is being investigated under the Act of Institutional Responsibility. [A537]

November 10, 1977- Timerman is charged under the “Act of Institutional Responsibility,” overriding the military court’s ruling, and thus loses his Argentine civil rights and use of property and assets “until legitimate ownership is established.” [A537; A514; 18.365 page 62]

November 12, 1977- Patricia Derian expresses deep US concern over the government’s decision to suspend Timerman’s civil rights and assume control of his assets. [107441 22920 15]

December 22, 1977- A tribunal decides in favor of Timerman and orders his release. [Habeas Corpus 38]

January 5, 1978- U.S. Congressman Silvio O. Conte interviews Timerman’s wife and brother about his treatment. Mrs. Timerman confirms that her husband is in satisfactory physical condition, but his mental state is worrisome. [A39A]

January 6, 1978- Congressman Conte interviews Timerman at the detention quarters in Alcaldia federal police headquarters. During this meeting, Timerman describes the process of his torture and interrogation, where he was tied to a bed, wetted down, and an electric prod was applied to his body while he endured questioning tainted with anti-Semitic sentiment. [A39A]

April 17, 1978- Argentine authorities transfer Timerman to house arrest [A6D7]

June 26, 1978- A government attorney privately informs Timerman’s lawyer that the “Consejo Nacional de la Comisión Nacional de Responsabilidad Patrimonial” investigation has turned up nothing negative on Timerman. [A796]

July 20, 1978- In a 3-1 ruling, the Argentine Supreme Court decides favorably on Timerman’s appeal and finds that there were no grounds for his detention under PEN. [A94E; B002]

September 5, 1978- U.S. Vice President Walter Mondale and Junta President Videla meet in Rome, and Mondale emphasizes that progress regarding the Timerman case would aid greatly in the reestablishment of good relations between the US and Argentina. [32846 126797 3]

March/April 1979- Timerman is included by the Consejo Nacional de la Comisión Nacional de Responsabilidad Patrimonial under the category of “Interdictos” [18.365 pages 9 and 60]

April 12, 1979- U.S. Ambassador Castro receives permission from Viola to meet with Timerman for the first time. During this meeting, Timerman asks Castro to relay his appreciation to the U.S. government for their interest in his case, and states that American supports keeps him alive. He asks Castro for any information regarding his release, though Castro has nothing to tell him. He then relays instances of the torture he has undergone while arrested and torture he has witnessed being applied to other prisoners, though he now appears to be in good spirits and health. [B039]

April 16, 1979- Press reports that federal appeals court of Buenos Aires rejected Timerman’s habeas corpus petition [A970]

April 27, 1979- A ruling by the National Commission of Patrimonial Recuperation (Comisión de Recuperacion Patrimonial) says that Timerman’s second apartment, along with his stockholdings and assets in Olta Editorial (which publishes La Opinión) and Gustavo Graphics Establishment (a printing firm), were obtained illegally and will be transferred to the state. [A944]

June 23, 1979- The Sala de la Cámara Nacional de Apelaciones en lo Criminal y Correccional Federal rejects another Habeas Corpus petition filed for Timerman. [18.365 page 55]

July 25, 1979- Ambassador Castro meets with former chief of the Buenos Aires police Ramón Camps, who continues to allege that Timerman is immoral and subversive and “poisoned the minds of young people by his Marxist writings in La Opinión.” Castro calls into question the legality of Timerman’s imprisonment but Camps simply states that it has been agreed he will not be freed. [AAFB]

September 17, 1979- The Supreme Court reverses the Federal Appeal Court’s sentence, declaring Timerman’s detention illegitimate and without judicial substantiation, and orders his immediate release. [AA41; Camps 46; 18.365 page 9]

September 18, 1979- The Supreme Court delivers to the Junta a notification of their decision regarding Timerman’s freedom. [18.365 page 32]

September 25/26 1979- Timerman is stripped of his citizenship and sent into exile on an Aerolineas Argentina airplane to Israel via Rome. [AAE2; 18.365 page 5]

Circa late September 1979- The secret Buenos Aires Police express discontent with the decision of the Junta to release Timerman. [18.365 page 5]

December 2, 1980- La Opinión is sold in auction for $4 million and Timerman receives no monetary compensation. [AFD0]

May 1981- Timerman publishes his book, Prisoner without a Name, Cell without a Number, in English. [Lewis]

Mid 1981- The Comision Asesora de Antecedentes (CAA) brings together representatives of various organizations–including SIDE, SIE, DGIPBA, SIN, Batallion 601, and the federal police–to evaluate Timerman’s antecedents; its conclusion is that his case will be studied. [18.365 page 18]

October 1981- Timerman receives the Letelier-Moffitt Human Rights Award from the Institute for Policy Studies. [Williams page 67]

January 7, 1984- Timerman returns to Argentina and starts legal proceedings against Presidente Videla, Ramón Camps, General Suárez Mason, and General René Ojeda. [ADFE]

1986- Timerman testifies at the trial of some of his chief tormentors, including General Ramón Camps [Krebs]

November 11, 1999- Jacobo Timerman dies of a heart attack in Buenos Aires [Gray]

Key to Archival Documents and Partial Bibliography

Documents numbered 18.365 refers to the folio (Legajo): “Referencia Personal No 18.365” Archivo DIPBA, Comisión Provincial por la Memoria.

Documents beginning with the letter A (A537, A17D) belong to the U.S. Department of State Argentina Collection. US Department of State Freedom of Information Act. 12 August 2009. http://foia.state.gov/SearchColls/CollsSearch.asp.

Documents with the longest numerical series (30943 118949 8, 32846 126797 3) belong to the FOIA Argentina-Southern Cone data base at the National Security Archive.

Documents with shorter exclusively numerical series (770416) belong to the Southern Cone Database at the National Security Archive.

Additional documents cited in the chronology:

Carrió, Genrao R. El Caso Timerman: Materiales para el estudio de un “Habeas Corpus”. Buenos Aires: EUDEBA, 1987.

Camps, Ramon J.A. Caso Timerman: Punto Final. Tribuna Abierta, 1982.

Gray, Kevin. “Author Timerman Dead at 76.” CBS News. 12 November 1999. 12 August 2009 http://www.cbsnews.com/stories/1999/11/12/world/main69988.shtml.

Krebs, Albin. “Jacobo Timerman, 76, the Torture Victim Who Documented Argentina’s Shame, Dies.” The New York Times 12 November 1999: B11.

Lewis, Anthony. “The Final Solution in Argentina.” The New York Times. 10 May 1981. 12 August 2009 http://www.nytimes.com/books/98/12/06/specials/timerman-prisoner.html.

Light Among Shadows: A Celebration of Orlando Letelier, Ronni Karpen Moffitt, and Heroes of the Human Rights Movement. Ed. Scott Williams. Washington DC: Institute for Policy Studies, 2001.

Timerman, Jacobo. Prisoner Without a Name, Cell Without a Number. Trans. Toby Talbot. New York: Alfred A. Knopf Inc., 1981.

* Note to the reader: this chronology was elaborated primarily from official declassified government documents. Discrepancies between this historical account and others may exist and may require further research to resolve. A large number of the documents cited here can be found in the Timerman Briefing Books published on the National Security Archive and Comisión Provincial por la Memoria—Archivo websites.