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Tuesday, November 17, 1998 Published at 07:45 GMT

World: Americas

Argentina delves into Nazi past

Argentina extradited Dinko Sakic for Nazi activities

By BBC South America Correspondent James Reynolds

An official investigation in Argentina has been opened into the collaboration between the government and Nazi officials during and after the World War II.

The Commission for the Clarification of Nazi Activities in Argentina is expected to reveal how many former Nazis arrived in Argentina at the end of the war.

[ image: Guido di Tella: Collaboration a
Guido di Tella: Collaboration a "shameful period"
Opening the commission, Argentina's foreign minister, Guido di Tella, said that the collaboration between his country and Nazi Germany is a painful and shameful episode in Argentina's history.

He asked for investigators to have access to all the information they might need to complete their work.

The commission, which is made up of historians and non-governmental organisations, is expected to spend up to a year carrying out its investigation.

It will then present a final report.

Recent studies have argued that Argentina offered widespread support to Nazi Germany during World War II, disregarding its official position of neutrality.

After the war ended, the government of Juan Peron is thought to have helped hundreds of suspected Nazi sympathisers to enter Argentina and escape trial in Europe.

For many years, human rights groups criticised Argentina for not wanting to bring these suspected criminals to trial.

But in 1996, the Argentine government extradited the former SS captain, Erik Priebke and this year, it extradited the Croatian couple, Dinko and Nada Sakic, accused of running a concentration camp during the war.

The government will hope that this commission further proves its desire to amend for the past.

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