On March 1977, Rodolfo Walsh finished writing his latest short story: Juan Went through the River. It was the story of a soldier in the 19th century civilian struggles in the River Plate region. The short story never got to be published. The original manuscript disappeared here, at ESMA.
His partner Lilia Ferreyra had typed the manuscript. Martín Gras read the story during his captivity in this clandestine center. Lilia and Martín met in 1982 in Madrid. There they learned the two had read the same short story and started to reconstruct it until they managed to bring it back to life.
This exhibition displays Lilia Ferreyra’s original notes on the short story. And an audiovisual piece that retrieves the text from the testimonies they both gave in 2010 at the hearings of the ESMA Trial.
“There was a lot of tension in the air. I started to walk up the stairs, and I hear voices, I bump into a very excited group that was coming down. They push me away, and I move my head and get to see something. I see a gurney passing by in front of me, carried by four or five people. I recognize Rodolfo, naked above the waist. I think I see a couple of bullet hits in his chest area, and he is carried hastily towards the infirmary amidst orders, shouts and a general state of excitement. The infirmary door closes and, well, I keep walking towards Capucha.”
Testimony of Martín Gras
Kidnapped in ESMA between January 1977 and mid 1978. ESMA Trial. Case 1270. 8/18/2010
“In 1982 I get acquainted and meet Martín Gras in Madrid, he tells me that he had seen the body of Rodolfo riddled with bullets (…). During the same conversation, I ask him about Rodolfo’s papers, his documents. I tell him about the short story Juan Went through the River, and with great surprise Martín Gras tells me he had read the short story at ESMA, which I confirm because he remembers scenes from the story, and some how we manage to reconstruct it”.
Testimony of Lilia Ferreyra
“In a sort of tiny kitchen, almost a storage room, in the Basement, I found a ton of piled-up material. I start to browse it and I found a collection of the magazine CGT de los Argentinos, several gray folders with news clippings, a typical journalist archive, and a couple of typed manuscripts: Rodolfo Walsh’s letter to the Military Junta and a short story, apparently his latest unpublished short story, which makes me part of a very small and exclusive club, one of the few people who had access, at least on this side, to Rodolfo’s last short story, a tremendous short story: Juan Went through the River”.
Testimony of Martín Gras
Kidnapped in ESMA between January 1977 and mid-1978. ESMA Trial. Case 1270. 8/18/2010