SEARCHING FOR BORIS WEISFEILER

MEMORIAL

Memorial service dedicated to seventeen human rights victims of Pinochet's dictatorship, including Boris, was held on December 8 2013 in Santiago's Jewish Cemetery. Engraved in the black granite monument are the words “That your souls remain linked to the bonds of life.” Also written on the stone is excerpt from the Torah, “Even unto them will I give in My house and within My walls a monument and a memorial better than sons and daughters; I will give them an everlasting memorial, that shall not be cut off.”

A memorial plaque , dedicated to all those Jewish victims was installed on the wall of Villa Grimaldi, the notorious Pinochet's former prison.

 

THE WEISFEILER CASE: INDICTMENTS

On August 21, 2012 a Chilean judge ordered the arrest of eight retired police and military officers in connection with the kidnapping and disappearance of Boris Weisfeiler. According to the court filings, the suspects will be prosecuted for "aggravated kidnapping" and "complicity" in the disappearance of a U.S. citizen's between January 3-5, 1985.

The indicted agents, the ruling said, apart from taking away Boris' liberty, have persisted in hiding the facts of the illegal detention and the whereabouts of Boris Weisfeiler.

The ruling makes no mention of where Boris might have been taken after his detention or what happened to him afterwards.

In his 16 pages indictment, Judge Jorge Zepeda said that most of the evidence gathered thus far has come from declassified in 2000 U.S. documentation.

 

HUMAN RIGHTS COMMISSION'S RESOLUTION

On August 26, 2011 the final Human Rights Valech Commission's report made public and posted on-line. Case of Boris Weisfeiler disappearance in Chile is not accepted as a Human Rights violation . Therefore, Boris was deprived by the Chilean State not only of his life but also of being recognized as its victim.

My brother is a victim of the political repression of the Pinochet regime, even if the Commission did not formally accept his case as a human rights atrocity. Declassified U.S. documents leave no doubt that Boris Weisfeiler is the one U.S. citizen among 1100+ Chileans disappeared at the hands of agents of state repression.

 

WEISFEILER CASE SUBMITTED TO HUMAN RIGHTS COMMISSION  

Olga Weisfeiler and her son Lev arrived in Chile on February 26, 2010 to resubmit Boris Weisfeiler's case to the recently opened human rights commission, Comisión Asesora para la calificación de Detenidos Desaparecidos, Ejecutados Políticos y Víctimas de Prisión Política y Tortura, in short La Comisión  for evaluation.

A written   statement in English and in Spanish gives a comprehensive account of the facts and events that occurred on the night of Boris' disappearance and subsequent actions by Pinochet’s military to conceal the crime.

 

WEISFEILER CASE AND HUMAN RIGHTS ISSUE  

On September 11, 2009, the 36th anniversary of the Sept. 11, 1973 military coup, the Chilean Congress approved the bill that would reopen two former Human Rights Commissions: Rettig and Valech. According to Chilean law, the only way to classify a case as being a human rights violation, officially, was through the Commission, which could not be restarted after it finished its work in 1991.

In its 1991 report, the National Commission on Truth and Reconciliation, commonly known as Rettig Commission, did not include the Weisfeiler disappearance case into human right violation category because, as it said, there was not enough evidence to support such; all of the information gathered by the U.S. Embassy during 5 years of the investigation was regarded as "classified," and therefore not available to the Chilean investigators for evaluation.

In 2000, the U.S. has declassified over 500 documents related to the Weisfeiler’s case. Since then, an ongoing criminal investigation in Chile has been treated the case as a 'de facto' human rights case – but not always, and never officially.

 

MEETING WITH PRESIDENT OF CHILE

In June 2006, Chilean President Michelle Bachelet met in Washington D.C. with sister of Boris Weisfeiler, Dr. Olga Weisfeiler. In an online posting "Meeting with Olga Weisfeiler", the Chilean government web site acknowledged that Boris Weisfeiler "desaparecido en Chile en enero de 1985, tras su detención por una patrulla militar" (disappeared in Chile in January 1985 after he was arrested by military patrol.)

Yet, 24 years after it happened, the Chilean Government is refusing to accept its responsibility , in Prof. Weisfeiler disappearance, referring to the 1990-93 Truth and Reconciliation Commission (Rettig) report which did not classify the Weisfeiler case as a human rights violation.

 

January 2005. It has been twenty years since my brother, Boris Weisfeiler, vanished while on a hiking trip in Southern Chile.

To learn more about Boris and my efforts to find him take a look at the photo album “Searching for Boris”. The album includes pictures of Boris from 1970’s and early 1980's, pictures from my November 2004 trip to Chile when I first visited Colonia Dignidad. Also included are photos taken in 1985 and in 2002 of the location where Boris was last seen.

 

November 2001. There are more than 1,100 desaparecidos (disappeared persons) in Chile and one of them is a U.S. citizen - Boris Weisfeiler. A Russian-born mathematics professor at Pennsylvania State University, Weisfeiler vanished while on a hiking trip near the border between Chile and Argentina in the early part of January 1985. After a quick and cursory investigation, Chilean authorities concluded that Weisfeiler had drowned in the Los Sauces River during his trip.

Declassified U.S. documents tell a different story. According to an informant, Weisfeiler was detained by Augusto Pinochet's soldiers, presumed to be a CIA, or a Russian or a Jewish spy, and taken to the mysterious German settlement Colonia Dignidad. The declassified U.S. documents show that the U.S. Embassy personnel did not do enough to ascertain the fate of Weisfeiler, the only missing U.S. citizen in Chile. As consul Jayne Kobliska stated more than a year after Weisfeiler's disappearance in a memo from April 1986, "the real danger in this case is that we will delay action until it is too late to either save Weisfeiler's life or to determine the true circumstances of his death."

 

TIMELINE: THE WEISFEILER CASE

“Timeline: The Weisfeiler Case” - a guide to key events, legal and political issues related to the January 1985 disappearance in Chile of a U.S. citizen, Boris Weisfeiler. This timeline draws on declassified U.S. government records, official correspondence, court rulings, and Chilean and U.S. newspaper publications.