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The news site of Santa Barbara City College.

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The news site of Santa Barbara City College.

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SBCC Reads hosts author and concentration camp survivor

Diana Aguilar
Alicia Partnoy speaks at the Fe Bland Business Communication Forum on Friday, April 13 at Santa Barbara City College. Partnoy is an author and a survivor of an Argentinian concentration camp. The lecture was put on by The School of Modern Languages, the Student Equity Committee and the Luria Library.

Alicia Partnoy, author of “The Little School,” shared her personal story of being abducted from her home in Argentina Friday at the Business-Communication Forum.

“I know I’m the only one that can talk without risking my life. I feel close to the mothers that are fighting for justice in other countries,” Partnoy said.

She was tortured, and seperated from her one year old daughter back in 1970’s. When Partnoy was abducted her daughter was sent to her neighbors house and did not return to until her family members found out where she was and picked her up the next day.

Partnoy was fortunate to reunite with her daughter, but her best friends from high school who had also disappeared weren’t so lucky. She is still in contact with some mothers she met in the little school but most of them were never reunited with their children.

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Maria Elena, the family member of two victims, lost her mother and her aunt after they both disappeared at the little school.  

According to Partnoy, after the major incident many locals from her hometown claimed lawsuits and held a various trials.

“We had a trial that lasted from June to December that took place in an auditorium in a school 400 people testified,” Partnoy said.

Parnoy showed pictures of women in the trials fighting for justice for the innocent women who were abducted.

In her book she said she wanted to encourage mothers to continue fighting for  justice and having their voices be heard. She said she wanted each one of them to find peace at last.

After being in the concentration camp, she was in a prison for women and began to write poems and short stories. Partnoy shared her favorite quotes from her book reading them both in Spanish and English to the audience.

Partnoy met a woman by the name of Evangelina in Ciudad Juarez  also wrote poetry similar to Partnoy’s. She said she tried to look for justice through writing poetry in her Mexican hometown but was beaten up and almost killed after trying to speak out.

“In many countries there hasn’t been justice, in Argentina there was only restorative justice,” Partnoy said.  

Parnoy has gone back to Argentina and revisited the school and part of the building where she and the other women were held. She took a class of students and showed them the places where they tied up the victims and had the dogs attack them.

The separation of her daughter and only being able to talk through a glass window is what Partnoy said has inspired her to write and share her story to all those mothers who are looking to find their own justice.  Her oldest daughter, Eva, followed in her mother’s footsteps and now works for immigrant defenders and goes to shelters for children who come to the U.S. undocumented.

City College Spanish Professor, Jose Castillo spoke of Partnoy’s book: “her experience she relates with writing, which brings justice and equity to the stories of abduction survivors and victims.”

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