An Argentinean Story: Marianela Galli testifies in the ESMA-Trial

On 28 June last year, Marianela Galli, an activist from the human rights organization H.I.J.O.S. and a plaintiff in the Esma-trial, testified before the Tribunal Oral en lo Criminal Federal N.5 of Buenos Aires about her and her family's kidnapping in 1977. Marianela, who is of German descent, was the sole member of the family to survive the abduction.

Interview with Marianela Galli (english Version) from PARKAFILM.CC on Vimeo.

On 12 June 1977, Marianela, then 18 months old, was abducted along with her parents, Mario Galli Wagner (25) and Patricia Teresa Flynn (22), and her grandmother, Felisa Violeta Wagner (54). The family were taken from the grandmother's home in Aranguren 548 in Buenos Aires. All four were brought to the Escuela de Mecánica de la Armada (ESMA), the well-known torture camp, and subjected to intense torture.

At the end of her statement in the ESMA-trial Marianela addressed the audience with a strong message: "We must respect the democratic rules, that period must never be repeated... My parents were wonderful, as was my grandmother... My father was a patriot, not a traitor. The repressors tortured him severely... I say to them that they are the real traitors..."

Mario Galli Wagner, was a former marine officer. In 1974 he was expelled from the Navy for defending a democratic cause, and was considered a traitor. After his expulsion he participated in political organizations such as "Juventudes Peronistas" or "Montoneros". Patricia Teresa Flynn was a teacher also involved in political and social movements prior to Marianela's birth. At the time of the abduction, Patricia Teresa Flynn was pregnant. Felisa Violeta Wagner, of German descent, was the Secretary Executive of the company Ferrostaal.

Inside the ESMA the three women remained in a room called "Capuchita", while Mario Galli was regularly transferred to different places to be tortured, such as "Edificio Libertad" and "Villa Adelina". Three days after the abduction, Marianela was returned to her aunt's house, while the adults remained in captivity. On 10 August 1977, all three were transferred from the ESMA and it were most likely taken on-board an aircraft belonging to the so-called "Vuelos de la muerte" (death flights). Today, they are still missing.


  • abduction
  • Argentina
  • ESMA
  • torture

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