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A New Life


By Eric M. Breindel

AT A DEMONSTRATION against the Chilean junta lasts week at Boston University two protesters attracted a large and amused crowd of onlookers by donning masks of Secretary of State Henry A. Kissinger '50 and Chile's dictator General Augusto Pinochet. The two staged a mock dialogue in which Pinochet thanked Kissinger for bringing him to power, and Kissinger in turn commended Pincohet for ruling Chile with a firm hand. At one point "Kissinger" congratulated "Pinochet" for appointing a Nazi war criminial to a prominent position in the new regime. The students watching laughed at the ludicrous display, but it is likely that few of them realized that this bit of information was not simply an unfounded barb at the Chilean dictatorship.

Although it is not know whether Kissinger condones it, former Nazi S.S. Colonel Walter Rauff has, since the coup that overthrew Salvador Allende, been made chief advisor to Colonel Hector Sepulveda. Sepulveda heads an organization called DINA (Directorate of Anti-Communist Investigation) which was recently established as an all-powerful state security network by the Pinochet government.

Rauff's qualifications for such a position are solid. As former administrator of the technical division of the S.S., he reputedly authorized and dispatched moving gas vans in which nearly one hundred thousand Eastern European Jews were murdered. He also served in Tunisia, where his major function was rounding up 81,000 Jews for forced labor under inhuman conditions. During the war, Rauff proved himself able in economic matters as well. He managed to extort, for the German government, a "fine" of 20 million francs from the French Jewish community.

After the fall of the Nazi regime Rauff fled Germany and went to Chile. He lived in Porvenir, Chile's southernmost town, on the island of Tierra del Fuego. He managed to remain in comparative anonymity and still accumulate substantial wealth, through his ownership of a medium-sized factory. Rauff made no effort to conceal his identity, relying instead on the good graces of the Chilean government, which refused to honor a West German request for his extradition in 1963. (Chile has a fifteen year statute of limitations on prosecution of crimes, and the pre-Allende governments saw no reason not to apply this law to Rauff, non-Chilean though he is.)

RAUFF FELT SO secure in Chile that in 1966 he told a journalist who asked him how he viewed his actions during the war, "I would have to say I would do the same thing again. There was nothing else to do." His peaceful existence was, however, ended in 1970 by the election of Allende and the Popular Unity government. Astute enough, after 25 years avoiding trial, to realize that even if Allende did not deport him, his ownership of the factory would be threatened, Rauff fled Chile. He apparently lived in exile in another South American country.

After the overthrow of Allende by CIA-supported Chilean militarists, Rauff returned to Chile, and was welcomed with his appointment as chief advisor to the head of DINA.

At sixty-seven, it is conceivable that Rauff might find the pace of work at DINA a little torrid, even by his previous standards. Under a policy of systematic repression and intimidation mass arrests have taken place in villages throughout Chile during recent months. According to a report of the International Commission of Jurists, the number of people arrested in these actions may be anywhere from 10,000 to 20,000. This is the second stage of organized terror by the junta and DINA. In the first stage, mass executions were the mode of repression. Perhaps as many as 30,000 people--political leaders, intellectuals, students, and artists--were massacred during the first few months after Allende was murdered.

Walter Rauff must now feel more comfortable in Chile than ever before. Conditions there are very much like the good old days. No warrants are required for arrests, there is no quibbling over habeas corpus rights, the military has largely taken over the educational system and labor unions have been virtually eliminated. And conveniently enough there has been an up-surge of anti-semitism. Even in the days preceding the coup the right was beginning to attempt to awaken anti-semitism, as indicated in an editorial published in La Prensa, the official daily of the Christian Democratic party on August 25, 1973:

There is a cell of Jewish and Communist extraction which has come to lord it over Chile in the infamous alliance of the misnamed Popular Unity government.

In addition, this Jewish-communist cell-and this sect alone--has hypocritically waged an underhand racial war against another colony of proven worth, of enterprising, tireless workers who have contributed to the welfare of Chile: The Arabs.

SINCE THE COUP, the junta has apparently begun to act in accordance with concepts expressed in this editorial. Anti-semitism, encouraged and practiced by the state, is widespread, and Jews have become key targets of DINA oppression. Such times are heaven-sent for former Obersturmbannfuhrer Rauff. We can only hope that his happiness in the new Chile will be short lived, and that that country will again soon be a symbol of social justice. Salvador Allende said that he had one primary cause: the children of Chile. These children must not reach adulthood under a regime dominated by men like Walter Rauff.

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