May 3, 2000

Argentine president apologizes for country's reputation as Nazi haven

                  BUENOS AIRES, Argentina (AP) -- President Fernando de la Rua has said
                  Argentina must seek forgiveness for sheltering Nazis following World War

                  De la Rua said the time had come for Argentina to come to grips with its past,
                  as he attended an event late Tuesday to mark the 57th anniversary of the
                  Warsaw Uprising by Jews living in a ghetto in the Polish capital.

                  "We have to seek forgiveness because Nazi criminals fleeing justice entered our
                  country and hid among us for a long time," he said. "Some were discovered,
                  others perhaps not."

                  Researchers working in Argentina have said presidential papers from former
                  President Juan Peron indicate he may have encouraged Nazi war criminals to
                  seek asylum here.

                  Over the years, several former prominent Nazi officials sought refuge in
                  Argentina, including Adolf Eichmann, one of the chief architects of the
                  Holocaust; Josef Mengele, a concentration camp doctor; and Erich Priebke, a
                  former Nazi captain.

                  In 1998, Argentine authorities arrested Dinko Sakic, a former commander at the
                  notorious Jasenova concentration camp, who had been found living peacefully
                  here. He was later extradited to Croatia, where last year he was sentenced to 20
                  years in prison for war crimes.

                  Jewish groups said on Wednesday they welcomed de la Rua's comments.

                  "But beyond asking for forgiveness, we should make sure that these things can't
                  repeat themselves," said Samuel Kaplan, president of B'nai B'rith Latin America.

                  Since taking office last December, de la Rua has publicly condemned
                  discrimination against Argentina's Jewish community, the second-largest in the