Elena Angélica Dolores Holmberg Lanusse (24 May 1931 – disappeared 20 December 1978), better known as Elena Holmberg, was an Argentine diplomat who was kidnapped and assassinated in 1978. Distinguished for being the first woman to graduate from the Institute of Foreign Services of the Nation, Holmberg was an important official of the military dictatorship which took power in 1976, and is generally believed to have been detained-disappeared and then killed by the regime to which she belonged.[1][2][3][4]

Elena Holmberg
Elena Angélica Dolores Holmberg Lanusse

(1931-05-24)24 May 1931
Disappeared20 December 1978 (aged 47)
Buenos Aires, Argentina



Elena Holmberg came from a traditional family, the sister of retired Colonel Enrique Holmberg and cousin of General Alejandro Lanusse (former de facto president of the Argentine Republic).[5] She worked as a career functionary at the Argentine Embassy in France.[6][7]

Due to friction with the staff of the "Pilot Information Center" (a group of Argentine Navy intelligence officers headquartered in Paris, where Puma Perrén [es], Alfredo Astiz, and Adolfo Donda [es] were also assigned), the diplomat was summoned to Buenos Aires to report to her superiors.[3] There she was kidnapped by Task Group 3.3.2 [es] on 20 December 1978 when she left the Ministry of Foreign Affairs to meet a group of French journalists.[8]

People released from the Higher School of Mechanics of the Navy (ESMA) declared that at that time certain officers of the detention center alluded to their participation in the disappearance of Elena Holmberg.[2]

On 11 January 1979, her decomposed body was found in the Luján River in Tigre, Buenos Aires Province.[2][3] It was later identified by her cousin Lanusse.

Holmberg's family and journalist Andrea Basconi have asserted they believe that Admiral Emilio Massera was the one who directly ordered her death, believing that she possessed compromising information about his contact with members of the Montoneros.[1][3][9]

See also



  1. ^ a b Basconi, Andrea (1 June 2012). Elena Holmberg. La mujer que sabía demasiado: El crimen que desnuda la interna de la dictadura militar [Elena Holmberg. The Woman Who Knew Too Much: The Crime that Lays Bare the Infighting of the Military Dictatorship] (in Spanish). Penguin Random House Grupo Editorial. ISBN 9789500739238. Retrieved 27 December 2018 – via Google Books.
  2. ^ a b c "La diplomática Elena Holmberg y el publicista Marcelo Dupont". Nunca Más (in Spanish). National Commission on the Disappearance of Persons. Retrieved 27 December 2018.
  3. ^ a b c d "Por qué asesinaron a Elena Holmberg en 1978" [Why Elena Holmberg was Killed in 1978]. La Nación (in Spanish). 22 February 2001. Archived from the original on 5 August 2017. Retrieved 27 December 2018.
  4. ^ "Caso Nº689: Holmberg Elena Angelica Dolores" (in Spanish). Equipo Nizkor. September 2006. Retrieved 27 December 2018.
  5. ^ El Libro de el diario del juicio (in Spanish). Editorial Perfil. 1985. p. 43. ISBN 9789506390068. Retrieved 27 December 2018 – via Google Books.
  6. ^ "Elena Holmberg, la víctima de la interna entre Massera y Videla" [Elena Holmberg, the Victim of Infighting Between Massera and Videla]. Perfil (in Spanish). 16 June 2012. Archived from the original on 28 December 2018. Retrieved 27 December 2018.
  7. ^ Vázquez, Enrique (1 January 1985). PRN, la última: Origen, Apogeo y Caída de la Dictadura Militar [PRN, the End: Origin, Apogee, and Fall of the Military Dictatorship] (in Spanish). Eudeba. p. 133. ISBN 9789502302133. Retrieved 27 December 2018 – via Google Books.
  8. ^ Ares, Carlos (4 August 2003). "Torturadores de la escuela del horror" [Torturers of the School of Horror]. El País (in Spanish). Retrieved 27 December 2018.
  9. ^ Barud, Luis (6 May 2012). "Crímenes en las entrañas de la dictadura" [Crimes in the Bowels of the Dictatorship]. Puntal (in Spanish). Archived from the original on 8 June 2015. Retrieved 27 December 2018.