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    Argentine gov’t under fire for glorifying Nazi admirer

    Ramón Carrillo, the pro-Nazi doctor, was the advisor who accompanied former president Juan Domingo Perón as Secretary of Health during his first two terms. Now, his face is on a peso.

    Nazi artifacts seized from a house in Buenos Aires, Argentina, in June 2017. (photo credit: REUTERS)

    Nazi artifacts seized from a house in Buenos Aires, Argentina, in June 2017.

    (photo credit: REUTERS)

    The Argentinian government honored a doctor who glorified the Nazi movement on a new peso note in May, prompting sharp criticism from Israel’s ambassador as well as human rights campaigners.

    Ramón Carrillo, the pro-Nazi doctor, was the advisor who accompanied former president Juan Domingo Perón as Secretary of Health during his first two terms.

    Carillo provided refuge to the Danish fugitive and Buchenwald camp doctor Carl Peter Vaernet, permitting him to continue experiments on homosexuals to “heal” them.

    Israel’s ambassador in Argentina, Galit Ronen, criticized the decision on Twitter, writing that, “When we say ‘nunca más‘ (“never again”) in reference to the Holocaust, there is no point in commemorating someone who sympathizes with this [Nazi] ideology.”

    Dr. Shimon Samuels and Ariel Gelblung, directors of International Relations for Latin America at the Wiesenthal Center, said: “We emphatically reject the choice of such a character, which will sully Argentina with his image on its highest denomination banknote.”

    Vaernet was a war criminal who was wanted for the medical experiments he performed on gay prisoners in Nazi concentration camps. He served the head of the Gestapo, Heinrich Himmler, to find ways to eliminate homosexuality. 

    Peter Tatchell, the LGBTQ activist and human-rights campaigner, told The Jerusalem Post: “Argentina is supposed to be a democracy. Why is it honoring a man who sympathized with Nazi ideas of eugenics and who sheltered and aided a Nazi war criminal?

    “Vaernet conducted experiments on gay prisoners in Buchenwald concentration camp, in a bid to develop medical procedures to erase homosexuality,” he continued. “He acted with the personal approval of the head of the Gestapo, Heinrich Himmler, who was committed to the total elimination of what he denounced as ‘abnormal existence.’”

    Tatchell said that “Carrillo personally employed Vaernet, according to the contract they signed in 1947 to fund his ‘scientific specialism,’ which was treatments and cures to stamp out homosexuality.

    “Carrillo must have been aware of the war crime evidence against Vaernet because it was reported in the media at the time, and there were calls for him to be extradited to Europe to face prosecution,” he said.

    In the late 1900s, Tatchell waged a long fight to expose Vaernet’s war crimes and his escape from justice.

    Argentina’s current health minister, Ginés González García, praised Carrillo. 

    The Jewish community in Argentina has been cautious, however, to speak out on the issue with Jorge Knoblovits, the head of the umbrella Jewish community organization DAIA, telling the AJN news site that the seriousness of the allegations must be verified first before a judgement on the issue can be made.

    Vaernet’s grandson, Cristian Vaernet, who has expressed regret about his grandfather’s actions, said that, “I hope that all the mistakes made will help our generation and those of the future to prevent crimes against humanity and the discrimination or persecution of people based on their religion, skin color or sexuality.”

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