What would you do if you discovered that your mother and father were not your real parents after all … that the two people who raised you knew the truth and hid it from you … that you were one of those children known as … the Disappeared?
What would you do?
How would you feel?
For most people it is almost impossible to contemplate.
But a year ago this was the situation that Ignacio Hurban had to face.
On August 5 2014, Ignacio received a phone call informing him that DNA tests had proved that he was the stolen grandson that Argentina’s most famous grandmother – Estela Carlotto – had been searching for.
Carlotto is the leader of the Grandmothers of the Plaza de Mayo, which had been founded to search for the 500 babies stolen from political prisoners during Argentina’s brutal military dictatorship of the late seventies.
The organization worked with testing centers to carry out DNA analysis to find the missing babies.
Hurban had gone to them on a hunch.
At that time Carlotto’s group had managed to find 113 missing children – but that phone call meant that Estela had finally located the lost grandchild she had been desperately searching for herself.
Hurban was actually the son of Walmir Montoya and Laura Carlotto, leftist activists abducted by government agents during the regime’s “dirty war” of the seventies. Laura gave birth while in prison; she was murdered shortly after.
The infant was handed over to two farm workers by their employer, who had close ties to the military junta.
Thirty seven years later his ‘parents’ are now facing trial.
Hurban – who now calls himself Ignacio Montoya Carlotto – still speaks of them with some fondness. He said they had loved him and cared for him and given him a good life. Why should he hate them?
And Carlotta herself described just how difficult it had been for her and for him to sort through his tangled identity. With one phone call he had lost his entire history and now had to grapple with a terrible truth that until then had been kept secret from him.
It is unimaginable; and yet for hundreds of men and women, the secret still remains hidden, even today …