Argentine Writer & Human Rights Activist

Jacobo Timerman

Writer and activist Jacobo Timerman born in Bar, Podolia Province, Ukraine on January 6, 1923. Raised in the Once neighborhood of Buenos Aires, Timerman was active in the leftist Zionist youth movement haShomer haTzair.

He rose to prominence as a journalist and founder of the Buenos Aires, La Opinión. He defied the military junta by calling attention to the government’s campaign of terror against civilians in Argentina during the Guerra Sucia, or Dirty War, beginning in 1975.

In 1977, Timerman was arrested by the military on the order of General Ramón Camps and was tortured, beaten and kept in solitary confinement. After outcry from the international human rights community, Timerman was released in 1980 and went into exile in Israel. He documented his torture and imprisonment in his book, Preso sin nombre, celda sin número [Prisoner Without a Name, Cell Without a Number], published in Israel in 1982.

Although a passionate Zionist, he was outraged by the invasion Lebanon going on while he was in exile and what he saw as the unjust treatment of the Palestinians. After speaking out and writing The Longest War: Israel In Lebanon, Timerman found himself persona non grata in Israel and moved to Spain and the U.S. before returning to Argentina in 1984. Later that year, Timerman testified before the CONADEP (National Commission on the Disappeared) in Buenos Aires.

Timerman died of a heart attack in Buenos Aires November 11, 1999. Here’s his obituary as published in The Guardian.