Purpose of the Memorial
This web site has been developed as an International Memorial of
the massacre of five members of the Pallottine religious community at St. Patrick's church
in Buenos Aires, Argentina, on July 4, 1976. The purpose of this permanent homage is to remember five consecrated men
who gave their lives in sacrifice for their beliefs and to save many others.
The five victims were -- from left to right, above -- Father
Alfredo Leaden, Father Alfredo Kelly, Father Pedro Dufau, Salvador Barbeito, and Emilio
Who Killed Them?
On July 4, 1976, they were tortured between 1:00 a.m. and 3:00
a.m., and ultimately gunned down with over 65 bullets. Their killers were members of a death squad composed by six men,
all members of the Argentine Armed Forces. According to the declaration of one of the members of the squad
before the International Human Rights Commission in Geneva, Switzerland, Navy Captain Antonio Pernias
was their commander.
The local police had knowledge of the killers' plans. A patrol car from Police Station #37
approached the killers while they were waiting to invade the Pallottines' home. The
police interrogated the cars' occupants. The killers, pulling higher rank and protection
from their superiors, ordered the police to stay away from the area.
The collaboration of some of St. Patrick's parishoners is
suspected. Several of the
neighbors who lived around St. Patrick's were members of the Armed Forces, and one in
particular had known ties to right-wing extremists. Father Pedro Dufau, the most
conservative of the five martyrs, had been approached by this particular neighbor and his
friends. They insinuated that it would be better if he would take a vacation during
the week of July 4. They wanted him to get away so they could "put things in
order around the parish."
St. Patrick's massacre is the biggest tragedy in the 400-year history of the
Argentine Catholic Church. It was silenced by the military
dictatorship, the judicial system and part of the Catholic Church's hierarchy.
For this reason, the world has not learned more about if for over two decades.
Only the killing of 6 Jesuit priests in El Salvador on November 16, 1985
surpasses the brutality of this crime against Humanity and the Catholic Church in Latin
The Five Martyrs