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Hundreds of books were burned in Chile and Argentina because they were considered banned. Photo: Pixabay
Hundreds of books were burned in Chile and Argentina because they were considered banned. Photo: Pixabay

How banned books were saved from the dictatorship

In Chile and Argentina, citizens went through various situations to save many writings from censorship persecution.

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The military coups in Chile (1973) and Argentina (1976) shook Latin America. They involved the persecution of authors and works that were considered indoctrinating tools of communism.

A BBC Mundo special told some stories of the strategies of men and women to preserve books full of knowledge in this difficult time.

Salomón Guerchunoff is the character in the first story, who tells the BBC that his father was a well-known Communist Party militant in Córdoba, Argentina, so he had an extensive library in line with his ideals.

"In previous years my father had distributed his most incriminating books among several friends to circumvent the raids that were already occurring regularly. But when the coup occurred he realized the seriousness of what was happening and said 'enough, I'm going to gather my books to avoid problems for them,'" Salomón recounted.

Guerchunoff tells of the fear he felt at that time in his country, as the coups were very strong. 

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Years later, in 2002, Salomón passed away and his sisters took it upon themselves to carry on the story of their father, who had hidden his most precious books within the walls of the house. 

Thirty years later they took the books out of the walls of their home, with the memory of their father's ideals intact. 

"We were stunned, not only because of the state of the books, but because of all the emotional weight they carried, because books are part of you. They preserved part of the smell that the house had when we lived there, so more than thinking about the books, we began to recall everything we lived through those years," Luis, Salomón's brother, told the BBC. 

Like the story of this Argentine family, it also tells the adventure that Luis Costa lived in Chile, who had to eat 30 pages of a book where the situation of the General Secretariat of the MIR was described. This in order to be shot by army soldiers. 

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