Pope Francis

Dialogika Resources

Remembering the Bombing of the Buenos Aires Jewish Community Center

On July 18, 1994, a massive bomb exploded at the building of the Asociación Mutual Israelita Argentina (AMIA), the Argentine Israelite Mutual Association in Buenos Aires. The building collapsed. Eighty-five people were killed and hundreds injured. The perpetrators have never been brought to justice and in 2006 the prosecutor investigating the case, Alberto Nisman, was murdered. To mark the 25th anniversary of this attack, Pope Francis sent the following letter to the president of the Delegación de Asociaciones Israelitas Argentinas (Representatives of Israelite Associations of Argentina). 

It has been 25 years since the tragedy at the AMIA. Beginning on that first day, every 18th of July my heart accompanies the families of the victims, whether they are Jews or Christians. And from that first day, I ask God for eternal rest for those who lost their lives in that act of madness. I also pray for those who survived the explosion, who have borne since then wounds in their bodies and in their souls.

That madness, however, was not limited to Argentina. Too many times in these 25 years we have seen lives and hopes cut short in the name of religion. This "piecemeal third world war" knows no borders, and has displayed its tally of cruelty from East to West. It has turned wives into widows, sons and daughters into orphans; and all in the name of God, blaspheming the name of God.

We well know that it is not religion that incites and leads to war, but a darkness in the hearts of those who commit irrational acts. God has called us to live together as brothers, and this fraternity embraces us and unites us beyond any geographical or ideological limit. Together we are the great human family; we must transmit to the coming generations this awareness of being brothers, together with the values ​​of respect and tolerance.

It is true that God has created us with equal rights, but he has also done so with regard to duties and to dignity. Therefore, peace should not be only our right, its construction should be our obligation.

In this commemoration of the 25th Anniversary I am with you and I pray with you. May the God of our Fathers bless you and take care of you. And, please, do not forget to pray for me.



The Vatican, 3 July 2019 


On the 20th anniversary of the bombing in 2014, the pope recorded a spontaneous video whose text follows below: 

On the occasion of the 20th anniversary of the tragedy at the AMIA, I would like to express my solidarity with the Jewish community of Argentina and with all the family members of the victims, be they Jews or Christians.

It is now twenty years since this tragedy, since this lunacy happened. Terrorism is lunacy. Terrorism’s only purpose is to kill. It does not build anything, it only destroys. For this reason, I stand side by side with all those who have seen lives cut short, hopes destroyed — and ruin.

I have said that Buenos Aires is a city that needs to cry, that still hasn’t cried enough. Even if it is commonplace, I repeat: We need to cry.

We tend to archive things in order not to burden ourselves with history, with suffering, with things that could have been beautiful but weren’t. And therefore it costs us much to find ways to reach justice, to face the damage this tragedy has inflicted upon society.

Today, together with my solidarity and my prayers for all the victims, comes my desire for justice. May justice be done!

God bless you all, the institutions and the families. And may God give peace to all those who died in this act of lunacy.