Sitio de Memoria ESMA

Belgrano, Nuñez & the Costanera Norte

The former naval campus known as the ESMA is the most notorious of some 600 secret detention centers in Argentina, where during the military dictatorship of 1976 to 1983 tens of thousands of 'disappeared' people were taken to be tortured and killed. The actual building where the secret detention center was located, the Casino de Oficiales (officers' club), is now an excellent – though harrowing – museum. Due to the disturbing subject matter, children under 12 are not permitted.

The loft space where more than 5000 detainees were kept hooded and chained has been preserved, as has the 'nursery' where dozens of pregnant women gave birth to babies that were then taken and secretly given to families (often with military links) to raise as their own. Also part of the museum is the basement where detainees selected for a 'transfer' were taken before being put onto a plane and thrown alive into the Río de la Plata. Audio guides in English are available.

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