Nora Strejilevich

* 1951

  • “At the period of amnesty I participated at a pieta act together with other survivors at a certain place of a former illegal capture location of the Club Atlético. Organisers asked us to present at the event and I read the first page of my book capturing my kidnapping. The book was already awarded, but not published yet and the meeting left me with a huge impression so I changed the rest of the book. I felt that the story actually only ended with that moment. I realised that I am no longer a victim, but due to formulation and presentation at this place I became a witness and a survivor and won over the fate, which they tried to enforce on me and so many others.”

  • “When I was young I used to join demonstrations, which is now an activist expression, but if in my youth a man didn’t actually participate in any political organisation, he or she was not considered any activist at all. A terroristic state saw an enemy in anyone with a critical thinking, and selection of victims didn’t quite go according to an exact key. My brother and his girlfriend and even my disappeared cousins were engaged much more than I was. They also could not emigrate so easily as it was perceive as a betrayal or escape amongst activists.”

  • “I only started writing in Canada, when I attended a course devoted to autobiography. A teacher gave us a choice to write an essay or an autobiography. I chose the latter option and got encouraged to keep writing. So I finished a short autobiography documenting scenes from various moments of my life and also my own genealogy, which I later included into the Single numerous death; but mainly the knowledge that my story creates a part of a much larger process, which goes beyond me encouraged my writing, and the fact it had an impact on all my generation. I consider that essential as I believe, that our society is a society of survivors, as the dictatorship had an impact of each and every one of us.”

  • Full recordings
  • 1

    Buenos Aires, 27.09.2015

    duration: 01:22:44
    media recorded in project Stories of 20th Century
Full recordings are available only for logged users.

Writing protects me

retrato2.jpg (historic)
Nora Strejilevich

A writer and a high-school pedagogue of a Jewish origin, Nora Strejilevich, was born in 1951 in Buenos Aires. Regarding expert and literary aspects, she deals mainly with the issue of heritage of the last Argentinian dictatorship, during which she was suspected by security forces in 1977 and was shortly kept in a concentration camp nicknamed the Club Atlético. After release she left for Canada; there she later obtained a doctorate in the field of Hispanic-American literature. In 1991 - 2011 she lectured at the Northern American universities, mainly at the San Diego university and also worked at academic posts in Santiago de Chile, Buenos Aires and Constance. In her subjects she focuses on artistic genre of witness. She is an author of short stories, poems and essays; her experimental novel Una sola muerte numerosa (1997, A single numerous death) was translated to English and German, was adapted as a theatre play and today is a part of a part of the curriculum at universities in Argentina, Columbia, Chile, Mexico, Brazil, Germany, Austria, Italy and Francie.