In 2010, Olga Weisfeiler and her son Lev arrived in Chile to resubmit Boris Weisfeiler’s case to the recently opened human rights commission, Comisión Asesora par la calificatión de Detenidos Desaparacidos, Ejecutados Politicos y Victimas de Prisión Politica y Tortura, in short La Comisión, for evaluation. The Commission’s work was presented to the President of Chile on August 18, 2011. No date is set yet by the President to make the Commission’s report public.
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More information regarding Boris’ Weisfeiler disappearance in Chile is available at boris.weisfeiler.com
Boris Weisfeiler, who was a Professor of Mathematics at Penn State University, disappeared in Chile during his hiking trip in January 5, 1985. Ten days later his backpack was found on the riverbank of the Nuble River. In the Chilean press of those years there had been some speculation that Boris Weisfeiler was still alive and was being kept captive in the Colonia Dignidad, a German speaking religious colony with rumored nazi connections.
During the next fifteen years Boris’ family and friends unsuccessfully tried to find out what really happened with Boris but no any additional information was ever available.
According to the Chile Declassification Project, on June 30, 2000 the U.S. Department of State declassified more then 250 official documents related to the disappearance of Boris Weisfeiler. According to the released documents, the first information that Boris was alive was received by the U.S. Embassy two or three weeks after his disappearance. Someone came to the Embassy and told them that the disappeared American is alive. After that, according to the embassy’s communications: “the embassy received numerous official and unofficial reports about Weisfeiler is being held in the Colonia Dignidad”. The informant, who participated in the Boris’ arrest, personally saw him inside the Colonia Dignidad on a couple occasions and some other known by informant person saw Boris there in May-June of 1987. In 1987 the informant provided the information that Boris was brutally tortured there and was kept in animal-like condition.
All this information received by the U.S. Embassy in Chile was classified and kept sealed in the embassy’s files and the files of the U.S. Department of State. This made it impossible for the family to reopen the investigation and to find Boris.
Nevertheless, the Chilean lawyer Hernan Fernandez, who has been working on the case on the behalf of the Weisfeiler’ family for two and a half years, was able to reopen the case in the Chilean courts in January of 2000. Since October of 2000 the Chilean Supreme Court and judge Juan Guzman are handling for the case. In view of the current political climate in Chile this investigation may become lengthy and additional legal help will be needed to finally uncover what happened to Boris Weisfeiler.
Despite an anonymous letter received by U.S. Embassy in 1997, which claimed that Boris was shot and killed, there remains some possibility that Boris Weisfeiler is still alive and is living as the prisoner inside the Colonia Dignidad.
How you can help
The Committee of Concerned Scientists, whose member Boris used to be, set up The Boris Weisfeiler Legal Fund to provide a financial support for ongoing investigation.
The tax-deductible contributions can be made by writing checks to the Committee of Concerned Scientists, with an indication on the check that it is for the Weisfeiler Fund. They should be mailed to:
Committee of Concerned Scientists
c/o Sophie Cook
400 East 85th Street, Apt. 10K
New York, NY 10028
Thank you for your support.