Espacio Memoria y Derechos Humanos ex Esma

Espacio Memoria y Derechos Humanos ex Esma

Espacio Memoria y Derechos Humanos ex Esma
4.5
Wednesday
12:00 PM - 5:00 PM
Thursday
12:00 PM - 5:00 PM
Friday
12:00 PM - 5:00 PM
Saturday
12:00 PM - 5:00 PM
Sunday
12:00 PM - 5:00 PM
About
Duration: More than 3 hours
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4.5
4.5 of 5 bubbles273 reviews
Excellent
167
Very good
72
Average
18
Poor
6
Terrible
10

latestfilly
West Yorkshire177 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Feb 2020
This museum is quite out of the way in Buenos Aires, i got a taxi (radio taxi - as this firm will not rip you off), it took 30 minutes from our hotel in Suipacha and it cost 300 pesos (~£3.50) and I easily flagged the same taxi company by the side of the road on the way back.

I went on a Saturday at 3pm for the English speaking guided tour (there is also one on a Sunday) - aim to arrive at least 2.50pm because there is a little walk from the main building to this museum and when you arrive you will be given maps etc. The entrance to the museum and guided tour are all free.

The guided tour was excellent, the man that gave it spoke excellent English and gave a very interesting a moving tour around the building where people were held captive. The building is still being used today as evidence as trials are still ongoing so you are not allowed to touch any walls and special walkways have been put down to stop people walking on the original floors.

You can go around the museum by yourself but you need a phone with internet to download the app and your own headphones but i found the guide to be excellent (free WiFi is also available on site).

This museum demonstrates a very sad part of Argentina's history and is something that visitors must see so that what was in the past is not forgotten, nor repeated.

An excellent museum and one I highly recommend. There is also a museum on the Falkland Islands also in the complex but it is all in Spanish, no English translations.
Written February 12, 2020
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Angie T
Umhlanga, South Africa37 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Feb 2020 • Friends
Why is so little written about the atrocities that the military and navy carried out between 1976 and 1983? I myself knew very little but was aware of the kidnapping/ disappearance of thousands of young people during the junta rule Please go and visit this museum and tell at least one person about it . The torture is similar to that suffered in other countries - South Africa / The holocaust etc
We had a wonderful 2 hour guide in English today ( 2/2/20) and it was a real eye opener of the torture and suffering of so many young people. Fir example, Young pregnant women were slowed to give birth in captivity , but their children removed on the pretence of being sent to relatives , instead given up fir adoption to fellow Childress officers or the rich
The visit around the building is well described, mostly I. Spanish but there are guided tours and audio in English
Written February 1, 2020
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

doc_rck
New York City, NY138 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Dec 2013 • Couples
We had heard about the ESMA memorial before arriving in BA but had to email them to ask about a visit when we arrived as there was little available in any of our guide books. They responded immediately and we joined about 25 others for a Spanish language tour at the site. Many on our tour were families who left Argentina in exile around the time of the ESMA atrocities or were local Argentinians coming to learn more about this time in Argentinian history for the first time. We were so glad we went! The free tour lasted about 3 hours and was conducted by a young facilitator who began by giving us all an orientation to the political and historical context of the time when the these horrible events occurred. He described the events, what was known, how the "disappeareds" or "desaparicidos" were treated and what happened to them, the regular gathering of mothers who stood in anguish for their children who disappeared and the process of tribunals now ongoing in Argentina. We then visited the main building and rooms where those captured were held and tortured. Many other buildings on the campus are closed currently and the main building itself is being converted into a museum in the near future. We were struck by the tour guide's clarity of presentation and ability to help everyone understand the events. Even more moving was the presence of so many Argentinian's who came to learn more and were moved to tears learning about this horrible past. We really recommend this experience for visitors to BA. Not only does the site allow for introspection and reflection on the memories of those who lost their lives but it allows us to bear witness to what happened there not so long ago.
Written December 31, 2013
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Queen J
California2,433 contributions
4.0 of 5 bubbles
Jan 2020
The history of the site . . .

The ESMA center is the site where the military dictatorship, La Junta, silenced all opposition to the regime. In March of 1976, the Argentine President Isabel Perón was overthrown by a military coup d'etat, and replaced with a three-man military junta. The new regime called itself the “Process of National Reorganization,” or “Proceso,” and summarily closed the National Congress, imposed censorship, banned trade unions, and brought state and municipal government under military control.

A "Dirty War" of terrorism was launched against the Argentinian people, abducting thousands of suspected dissidents: left-wing socialists, social justice crusaders, students, outspoken intellectuals, journalists, labor organizers, and any opposition - real or perceived - and sending them to detention and interrogation centers (now the ESMA museum), where the victims were tortured, killed, and never seen again. All records and evidence of the identities of the victims were destroyed, and the bodies were dumped in mass graves or dropped from airplanes over the sea.

It is estimated that up to 30,000 victims "disappeared" during the Junta's reign of terror from 1976-1983. These people came to be known as “the disappeared,” or "desaparecidos.” But rumors about torture centers and "death flights" began circulating among the people and soon distraught mothers, searching for answers, began to gather in protest.

The Madres de la Plaza (Mothers of May Square) began marching around the Plaza de Mayo, wearing handkerchiefs with their children’s names embroidered on them, chanting statements about the immorality of torture without trial, and demanding answers about where their missing children were.

The peaceful demonstrations of the mothers were the first examples of voices being raised against the violent injustices of the regime, and the growing number of mothers and handkerchiefs were a powerful testament to the government's illegal and brutal actions. The mothers were the only proof that the disappeared victims had existed, and they would not let the desaparecidos be forgotten.

The marches began in 1977 and continued weekly despite government threats and the subsequent abduction and murder of many of the protest's leaders. Eventually, the movement began to draw international attention and support from human rights groups. The demonstrations have continued every Thursday afternoon to the present day in an effort to remember the "disappeared", and to continue to fight for the truth about what happened to their loved ones.

Our visit to ESMA . . .

My friend and I were running behind schedule and arrived at the complex about 4:30pm, which was not enough time because visitors first check in at the main building in front, which is just an information booth where they give you a map, explain the grounds, and explain how to get to the actual museum building. Then it takes about 10 minutes to walk across the grounds to the museum closer to the back of the complex. They were getting ready to lock up the museum as we arrived, so we only got to ask questions about the museum procedures. We didn't get to tour it.

Entrance to the museum is free, and it's open from 10am to 5pm, but the English guided tour is given at 3pm. Visitors can self-tour it with an audioguide app, but you have to download it to your phone and use your own earbuds. There are also QR codes next to the displays if you want to pick and choose which parts of the presentation to listen to. Most tours and displays are in Spanish.

**Although we didn't get to tour the ESMA museum in Buenos Aires, we did later visit
Palacio Fuentes, a palace-turned modern museum in Rosario with an extensive
section on "The Dirty War" including letters, timelines, video clips, explanations,
and videos of citizen opinion, reflections, and testimonials.

Even though the museum building closed, we were told we could still self-tour the grounds which stay open until 9 or 10pm. Outside, the narrow dirt roads were lined with several display signs, each with the picture and biography of one of the "disappeared" victims. These displays were both informative and moving because they put a face on the tragedy, bringing it into sharper focus, and driving home the reality of these unbelievably grisly acts of violence.


The ambience of the outdoor complex . . .

Of the several hundred torture centers, ESMA was the most notorious – the Auschwitz of the Argentine death camps. I felt the dark, steely eyes of a lookout tower follow me grimly as I walked the grounds. Abandoned buildings slumped dolefully behind their hastily boarded up windows. Buzzing faintly, an old metal street lamp flickered over a narrow, empty road, reminiscent of an Auschwitz street lamp looming over a corridor lined with barbed wire.

Unsettled by disturbing images that kept springing to mind, I glanced around, and realized no one else was on site. The presence of evil was surreal, almost perceptible. The echoes of gruesome acts of brutality lingered in the shadows, and an eerie chill seeped through my skin. Soggy leaves drifted across the road, carried by the whispers of dark secrets and unspeakable deeds. The stain of tortured screams, ruthless savagery, and cries for mercy hovered oppressively in the air.


My reflection . . .

Despite the somber emotional toll of a visit to ESMA, I highly recommend you go and walk the grounds where thousands of people suffered at the hands of an unchecked terrorist regime. We should never forget the atrocities of history lest they repeat.

Walking around this disturbing torture complex was a profound experience and a powerful reminder of how a collective voice CAN be heard above the static of fear.

I pity the grieving families who persist in the search for truth and the hope of closure.

Getting there . . .

This site is a bit far from central Buenos Aires (13km from Recoleta / Palermo).

20 - 30 min by taxi / Uber (depending on traffic)

55 minutes by Subte / walking:
20min ride on Subte (metro) Green Line D to the last stop, Congreso de Tucman.
+ 35 minute walk to ESMA (2.5km)

30minutes by Subte / taxi:
20min ride on Subte (metro) Green Line D to the last stop, Congreso de Tucman.
+ 8 minute taxi to ESMA. (2.5km)

In sum, this site is worth the time it takes to stray a little further from the beaten path. Immerse yourself in history and reflection.

Hope that helps! Enjoy Buenos Aires!
Written April 5, 2020
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

RaktimRay
Singapore, Singapore1,468 contributions
4.0 of 5 bubbles
Dec 2018
It is essential to visit this place if you really want to get into the thick of Argentine modern history but be warned, this is not for the faint of heart. Logistics first,
This museum complex is closed on Mondays. It opens at 10 am and closes at 5 pm.
Entrance is free. There are guided tours for free too of building one which is where most of the things are. But they need a minimum of five people and one of the tours begin at 3 PM. If that number is not met they will just explain to you all there is to see and you can pretty much complete the tour on your own. They have wifi in the complex.
Getting here may be a stretch since its not really near the heart of tourist central but you can just get up on one of the abundant cabs in the city and get here with no issues.
You can pick up a map of the whole complex from the entrance and a map of the museum from the museum front desk and pretty much guide yourself. This is a modern museum and very little exists in terms of artefacts. It can do with a bit of curation. Its just mainly an exhibition of how the missing dead were tortured and kept before they disappeared. There is a QR code beside all the artifacts which you can scan and audioguides will pop up on sound cloud. These are available in multiple languages. Big backpacks are not allowed and needs to be kept in the locker. audioguides for the whole complex can also be obtained with the wifi. The complex is in itself an exhibition since the whole area was used to confine the prisoners. Its good to have a walk around it. But most of the other buildings do not have much in the way of exhibits unless its something temporary like an exhibition. Walking around the complex can get quite hot luckily there are a lot of trees. People come in here for picnics too.
If you are looking for something real about BA this place is not to be missed.
Written October 11, 2019
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

KYV911
Melbourne, Australia20 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Sep 2014 • Solo
If you have the time and you are interested in this part of Argentina's history I recommend going here. Call in advance to book a guided tour. There are no tours on Monday. Bus line 29 drops you off at the front. It's free. My guide was a young woman who spent almost 3 hours with the group telling about what happened in a conversational style, asking what we wanted to know. There is not much to see but being in the spaces where the atrocities happened and having someone sharing so many insights is very gripping, moving and impressive. It is a totally different experience from anything else as there are no visuals, media, noise, etc.
Written September 28, 2014
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Peter E
Bern, Switzerland76 contributions
2.0 of 5 bubbles
Jan 2019 • Couples
Visited today, and as a non-spanish speaker was very disappointed. The memorial is presumably a work in process, but there is a long way to go before it does justice to the victims.There is quite a lot of good Spanish information to form the basis of a suitable memorial to the victims of this time. From an English-speakers point of view, there is some information, but the information sheets available are in dark areas and therefore difficult to read.
The first impressions were:
they need to replace all the staff with people who are interested in their jobs, interested in the visitors and most of all interested in the memorial to the victims. The ones on duty when I visited definitely seemed to regard visitors as an inconvenience.
Secondly, the wifi needs to be vastly improved if the audio system is to be based on it.
Thirdly, the wifi-based audio system, which uses the App IZI, really should be made foolproof, and visitors should be pro-actively assisted in using it.
Fourthly, the entrance kiosk is at the furthest point from the main building of the memorial. No-one explains that, and it makes absolutely no sense.
Fifthly, a thread for the whole memorial is missing. There is lots of information, but it is not threaded together to give a coherent understanding of events leading to a profound feeling for the victims and for the events.
My suggestions for improvements beyond the mundane ones mentioned above, deal with the completion and threading of the information. I would recommend the following as a step by step for visitors:
1. The national political historical scene leading to the events of 1976
- the failure of Peronism Mark 2
- the incompetence of the Isabel Peron Administration
- the status of liberalism, communism, right wing interests and the military leading up to 1976
- the international context, cold war, support of dictators etc.
2. The coup itself and what it meant for the different political groupings in Argentina
3. The logic for the decision to exterminate a political class in Argentina. Who made the decision, who stood to gain from it, why was there nothing standing against it.
4. The history of the terror. There is already good material on this, but the environment of the terror needs to be recreated. The basement and the attic are pretty much open spaces, and words alone are not enough to instils a sense of the horror.
5. The mechanics of torture and extermination in graphic detail, by all means shock the visitor with this, so that the chances of preventing a repeat are enhanced.
6. The victim themselves. Currently only presented as a photo and a date of abduction. The victims need to be humanised, their lives made visible and poignant. Their extinction represented by explaining what humankind lost.
7. The appalling and disgraceful amnesty and cover up. How was this justified at the time and how can this in the historical sense be justified. Obviously it cannot.The fact that it took until the 2010s for many of the perpetrators to be brought to justice is simply shameful, and should be displayed.
8. The perpetrators themselves. How on earth can such people torture and murder 20 year old women, especially pregnant ones. The other victims too. How did the perpetrators justify the too themselves. Hw did they divorce themselves from all shreds of humanity? Why did the prospect of damnation to the eternal fires of hell hold no fear for them. How can human beings become such animals. It is important to know, to try and prevent this from happening again.
9. The decline of the military power culminating in the desperate attempt to divert attention through the Malvinas war. Here also, brave soldiers, sailors and airmen were sacrificed by the powers that were. How did this happen, who were the victims. The current Malvinas exhibition is awful. It has children's geography books and a bit of other story, but nothing really in the context of the military dictatorship.
10. Here two tracks would split out. First the magnificent effort and bravery of the grandmothers and the success in identifying so many of the grandchildren. Secondly the absolutely appalling and disgraceful amnesty, investigations and all the rest of the political coverup until the final, and probably still incomplete justice of the 2010s. Much information is already available, But it needs to be presented in such a way as to discourage it from ever happening again.
11. The lessons learned from the whole period, how how to avoid it ever happening again.

For a depiction of the victims, there are many examples which could be used. Holocaust museums have good techniques. The US Naval museum in Washington DC has a comprehensive on-line database. This would be perfect to depict the life stories of victims, perpetrators and other involved persons very adequately and without great expense. The families of victims would surely want to perpetuate the memory of the victims by providing information.

Like I say, the memorial/museum in its current form is a god start, but 30,000 victims deserve much much more.
Written January 31, 2019
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

rob v
Sydney, Australia29 contributions
4.0 of 5 bubbles
Sep 2014 • Family
The old naval base was taken from the military and given to the people in the 1990's after a long legal fight. Since then the complex of buildings has been allowed to decay with little or no resources allocated, the memories of what the Argentinian fascists did to there own people in these buildings is kept alive mainly by volunteer guides and an oral history.

In stark contrast at the back of the complex there is a brand new, no expense spared Museum dedicated to Las Malvinas and the war fought in 1982 by Argentina and the UK. The museum is overstaffed with smartly besuited attendants and is complete with an audio visual theatre showing a dramatic and very biased piece of propaganda to busloads of school kids and daily ceremonial trooping of the Argentine flag by actors wearing nineteenth century military uniforms... very bizarre.
Written November 4, 2014
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Roland180
Malmö, Sweden10 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Feb 2019 • Couples
Tourist sites and tours often drag and are quickly forgotten, but I will remember my visit to this site forever and recommend it to all friends and acquaintances. Here’s what I remember -- what I saw and learned in my hour and a half visit about two weeks ago. The building looks like any other on the navy academy campus, where officers trained and lived. But in this building, during the dictatorship of the 1970s-1980s, many thousands of people were tortured in the basement and were confined and slept in the attic in floor indentations shaped like coffins. Children were born there, ripped from their mothers, and given to military families to raise. Most of the prisoners eventually “disappeared,” were murdered. Naval officers and their families lived on two floors of the same building while this was going on two other floors! So far over 70 officers have been convicted by an Argentine court. These facts are all included in this “site of memory” (I forget the Spanish term) which the Argentine people have been brave enough to create and share with visitors. I learned also that the grandmothers and mothers of the disappeared continue to march once a week in central Buenos Aires so that people will remember the past and the thousands of men and women who were “disappeared.”
Written March 4, 2019
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

reynoldsBA
Miamisburg, OH230 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Jun 2015 • Business
I feel so fortunate to have taken a tour of the human rights museum formerly known as “ESMA” Escuela de Mecánica de la Armada (the Navy Officers School for Mechanics). This was the site of some of the worst atrocities of Argentina’s “Dirty War” from the late 1970s to the early 1980s. In 2004 the site was converted by act of congress to a “space for memory and for the promotion and defense of human rights (Espacio para la Memoria y para la Promoción y Defensa de los Derechos Humanos).

The staff member who gave the tour (in English) was excellent. She took time to explain the history and importance of each building in the site. The depth of her knowledge was very impressive - I especially liked how she allowed time for questions at each stop, as well as for additional explanation and clarification. Anyone interested in human rights or this tragic period in Argentina's history should visit ESMA. Highly recommended.
Written June 6, 2015
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

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