After Argentinian President Juan Perón died, the students from the left of the Peronist political party organized with fervor within the country's universities and with workers, were persecuted and imprisoned. There was a military coup in 1976 and people began to disappear. Partnoy was one of those who suffered through the ordeals of becoming a political prisoner. She became an activist of the Peronist Youth Movement while attending Southern National University.
She was taken from her home, leaving behind her 18-month-old daughter, on January 12, 1977, by the Army and imprisoned at a concentration camp named The Little School (La Escuelita). For three and a half months, Partnoy was blindfolded. She was brutally beaten, starved, molested, and forced to live in inhuman conditions. She was moved from the concentration camp to the prison of Villa Floresta in Bahía Blanca where she stayed for six months only to be transferred to another jail. She spent a total of two and a half years as a prisoner of conscience, with no charges.
In 1979, she was forced to leave the country and moved to the U.S. where she was reunited with her daughter and her husband. In 1985, she told her story of what had happened to her at The Little School, in an eponymous book. The world began to open its eyes to the treatment of women in reference to the disappearances of Latin Americans.
Alicia Partnoy has testified before the United Nations, the Organization of American States, Amnesty International, and the Argentine Human Rights Commission. Her testimony is recorded in a compilation of testimonials by the National Commission for the Investigation of the Disappeared. She currently lives in Los Angeles, California, CA and teaches at Loyola Marymount University.
In June 2007, a collection of her poems appeared in the second issue of the avantgarde Hebrew poetry and criticism magazine Daka rendered by Eran Tzelgov.
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