The ESMA Memory Site Museum is a historical monument, evidence of State terrorism, and judicial proof of the crimes against humanity committed in Argentina.
Located on one of the principle avenues in the city of Buenos Aires, the building of the Casino de Oficiales, or the Officer’s Quarters, was the nucleus of repression by the clandestine center for detention, torture and extermination. In between 1976 and 1983, this building had two functions: a space of enjoyment and rest for higher-ranking Navy officers and, at the same time, a place for the confinement of the detained-disappeared.
The conservation of the Officers´Quarters is a result of the hard work of many human rights organizations, who fought for its preservation for more than 40 years. The same organizations that were the first to denounce the ESMA’s operation as a clandestine center now promote all sorts of actions to preserve it.
On May 19th of 2015, after years of debates and votes, the ESMA Memory Site Museum was inaugurated as a permanent museum and historical landmark. Given its status as judicial evidence, the museum has not altered the building from the state in which it was received. The museum’s content is created primarily through testimonies of survivors from the 1985 Trials of the Juntas and in the human rights trials restarted in 2004.
Today, the ESMA is a space that denounces State terrorism and helps foster cultural memory. Its mission is to contribute to the knowledge, experience, and understanding of human rights violations committed by the Argentine State by promoting intra and intergenerational dialogue between the past, present and future.
The Museum is on UNESCO’s list of candidates to potentially receive status as a World Heritage Site.