Argentina Jews honor female submarine officer lost at sea

Community pays tribute to Eliana María Krawczyk, one of 44 crew on ARA San Juan, missing in Atlantic since November

Eliana María Krawczyk (Facebook via JTA)
Eliana María Krawczyk (Facebook via JTA)

BUENOS AIRES — The first female submarine officer in Argentina, who remains missing in the Atlantic Ocean, was honored by the country’s Jewish community on International Women’s Day.

Eliana María Krawczyk, 35, who is Jewish, is one of 44 crew members of the Argentinean submarine ARA San Juan, which remains missing in the Atlantic four months after it fell off the radar with a one week supply of oxygen on board.

The Argentinean Jewish political umbrella organization, DAIA, paid tribute to Krawczyk on Friday in an event for International Women’s Day.

Some 500 guests attended the event at the Alvear Hotel in Buenos Aires to hear the stories of struggle and success by Argentine women in politics and business.

“Any woman’s value is far more valuable than the best pearls. Eliana Krawczyk is our pearl from the sea,” Rabbi Alejandro Avruj told the crowd as a friend of Krawczyk accepted the tribute from DAIA President Ariel Cohen Sabban.

Krawczyk was born in the northeastern province of Misiones and joined the navy in 2004 after responding to an advertisement online, becoming Argentina’s first female submarine officer. In 2012 she graduated from dive and submarine school as the first female submarine officer not only in Argentina but, at that time, also in South America.

This undated photo provided by the Argentina Navy shows an ARA San Juan, a German-built diesel-electric vessel, near Buenos Aires, Argentina. Argentina’s Navy said Friday, Nov. 17, 2017, it has lost contact with its ARA San Juan submarine off the country’s southern coast. (Argentina Navy via AP )

With a grade of lieutenant, she was the third in command of the lost submarine. Argentina’s Navy lost contact with the ARA San Juan submarine on November 15, shortly after the captain of the submarine reported a failure in the electric system.

The search began November 16, following the last contact. The vessel was on a mission to combat illegal fishing near Patagonia, in the southern part of the country. Governments from around the world and from NATO sent ships, airplanes and submarines to provide logistic support and information exchange during the search for the missing submarine.

One week after the Navy reported it lost, Jewish institutions held a prayer service for the return of the missing submarine and its crew.

Also speaking at the Friday event were the country’s Minister of Social Development Carolina Stanley, Minister of Security Patricia Bullrich, lawyer Maria Fernandez Lorenzo de Roncaglia, president of Make a Wish Foundation Monica Parisier, teacher Ester Sutton de Sacca, artist Mirta Kupferminc and Spanish journalist and writer Pilar Rahola.

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