I was twenty-seven years old when the Grandmothers of the Plaza de Mayo finally tracked me down and informed me of my true identity, thanks to an anonymous tip from a woman who remembered seeing a soldier hand over a baby with blue thread tied through her earlobes.
According to the testimony of certain survivors, I was born between August and September, 1977. In a desperate attempt to make sure I would be recognized, my mother used a sewing needle to pierce my ears with blue surgical thread she had been given in case she experienced complications during labor. Fifteen days later, I was taken from her arms. She never saw me again. She was subjected to one of the infamous “transfers,” in which prisoners were injected with sodium pentothal, a powerful form of anesthesia, before being loaded onto military planes and thrown into the sea alive. Like all his colleagues at ESMA (the Superior School of Naval Mechanics), which had been transformed into one of the most sinister torture centers in the heart of Buenos Aires, my own uncle had approved her “transfer.”
I was thus raised in a brazen lie, knowing nothing of my true roots and loving the very people who, to a greater or lesser degree, were responsible for the tragic fate of my real parents. Despite this, I grew up, constructed my own personality, and managed to find my place in life through political activism, never once suspecting that I was following the path my biological parents had chosen long before.
Excerpted from My Name is Victoria by Victoria Donda. Copyright © 2011 by Victoria Donda. Excerpted by permission of Other Press, a division of Random House LLC. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.