As part of Argentina’s Dirty War, hundreds of children were taken from their parents and adopted into military families. The Grandmothers of the Plaza de Mayo are trying to get them back.
The Dirty War was a dark period in Argentina’s history. Between 1976 and 1983, as part of the United States’ Operation Condor, South American countries were encouraged to form anti-communist death squads. It is thought that 60,000 people died, and half of those were in Argentina.
One part of the Dirty War involved removing children from people who were ‘disappeared’ or who had given birth in concentration camps. They were adopted out to members of the state military, and often grew up not knowing anything about their adoption or birth parents.
Many of the birth parents are gone… but the birth grandparents are another matter. In 1977, thirteen grandmothers formed an organisation now known as the Grandmothers of the Plaza de Mayo. They began tracking down the lost children.
So far, they’ve found 130 and have become a significant human rights organisation in their own right. Their work is complicated by the fact that the kids are grown up now, and not always too pleased to learn about their origins, but the grandmothers keep trying anyway.