“Never underestimate the value of a woman.”
In Hamburg, Germany, it was twenty to ten in the morning of April 1, 1971. A beautiful and elegant woman eye color deep sky enters the office of the consul of Bolivia and patiently waiting to be addressed.
While he is doing anteroom, indifferent look at the paintings that adorn the office. Roberto Quintanilla, the Bolivian consul, dressed elegantly dark wool suit, it appears in the office and greets struck by the beauty of the woman claiming to be Australian, and who days before had asked for an interview.
For a fleeting moment, both are facing. Revenge appears embodied in a very attractive female face. The woman, lush beauty stares into his eyes and without words extracted a revolver and fired three times. There was no resistance, no struggle, no struggle. The impacts hit the target. In his flight, he left behind a wig, her purse, her Colt Cobra 38 Special, and a piece of paper that read VoD. ELN.
Who was this bold woman and why have murdered “Toto” Quintanilla?
In the guevarista militia was a woman who called himself Imilla whose meaning in language is Quechua and Aymara indigenous girl or young (now considered an insult in Bolivia). Your name: Monica (Monika) Ertl. German by birth who had made a journey of eleven thousand kilometers from Bolivia lost for the sole purpose of executing a man, the character most hated by the world left: Roberto Quintanilla Pereira.
She, thereafter, became the most wanted woman in the world. He grabbed the front pages of newspapers across America. But what were his reasons and what are their origins?
Let us return to the March 3, 1950, date on which Monica had come to Bolivia with Hans Ertl His father through what became known as the route of rats path that facilitated the escape of members of the Nazi regime to South America at the end of the largest and bloodiest armed conflict in world history: the Second World War.
Monica’s story could be told with great passages through research of Jürgen Schreiber. Which I present is just a brushstroke of this exciting story involving many feelings and characters.
Hans Ertl (Germany, 1908-Bolivia, 2000) mountaineer, innovative techniques underwater explorer, writer, inventor and materializing dreams, farmer, ideological convert, filmmaker, anthropologist and amateur ethnographer. He soon rose to prominence portraying the leaders of the Nazi party when he was filming the majesty, body aesthetics and athletic skills of the participants in the Olympic Games in Berlin (1936), directed by filmmaker Leni Riefenstahl who glorified the Nazis .
However, he had the misfortune to be recognized for the history (and subsequent unfortunately), as the photographer of Adolf Hitler, although the official iconographer of the Führer has been Heinrich Hoffman defense squad. Some sources cite that Hans was assigned to document the areas of action Regiment famous quarterback, nicknamed the “Desert Fox” Erwin Rommel, Tobruk in their journey through Africa.
Curiously, Hans did not belong to the Nazi Party but, although he hated war, proudly displayed jacket designed by Hugo Boss for the German army as a symbol of their deeds of yore, and his Aryan panache. He hated being called “Nazi” had nothing against them but not against Jews. Ironically was another victim of the Schutzstaffel.
At the end of the Second World War, when the Third Reich collapsed, the leaders, colleagues and relatives to the Nazi regime fled European justice refuge in various countries, including the American continent with the approval of their respective governments and support US unconditional. It is said that it was a very peaceful person and had no enemies, so I opted to stay in Germany less time working on assignments to their status, until he emigrated with his family. First to Chile in the southern archipelago of Juan Fernandez, “fascinating lost paradise”, where he made the documentary Robinson (1950), before other projects.
After a long journey, Ertl established in 1951 in Chiquitania, 100 kilometers from the city of Santa Cruz. So much to settle in prosperous and virgin lands which conqueror of the fifteenth century, the thick and intricate Brazilian-Bolivian vegetation. A property of 3,000 hectares where built with his own hands and native matter what was his home until his last days; “Sore”.
The tramp of the mountain, as he was known by explorers and scientists, wandered with his past piggybacked by the overwhelming nature to engrossing vision to unravel and capture with his lens everything perceived its magical setting in Bolivia as he began a new life with his wife and daughters. The eldest was named Monica, he was 15 when resulted in exile and begins his story here …
Monica had lived his childhood amid the turmoil of Nazism in Germany and emigrated to Bolivia when they learned the art from his father that led him to work after the Bolivian filmmaker Jorge Ruiz. Hans held in Bolivia several films (Paititi and Hito Hito) and transmitted to Monica’s passion for photography. By the way, we can easily claim as a pioneer woman of documentary filmmakers in the history of cinema.
Monica grew up in a circle as closed as racist, which shone both his father and another sinister character that she got used to affectionately call “Uncle Klaus.” A German businessman (pseudonym of Klaus Barbie (1913-1991) and former head of the Gestapo in Lyon, France) better known as the “Butcher of Lyon”.
Klaus Barbie, changed his surname to “Altmann” before getting involved with the family Ertl. In the narrow circle of personalities in La Paz, where this man gained enough confidence so that the father of Monica, was who introduced him even got him his first job in Bolivia as German Jewish citizen, who is said I advise South American dictatorships.
The famous protagonist of this story, married another German in La Paz and lived in the copper mines in northern Chile but, after ten years, her marriage failed and she became an active policy that supported noble causes. Among other things, he helped found a home for orphans in La Paz, now a hospital.
He lived in an extreme world surrounded by old Nazi torturers wolves. Any disturbing indication it was not strange. However, the death of the Argentine guerrilla Ernesto Che Guevara in the Bolivian jungle (October 1967) had meant to her the final push to his ideals. Monica according to his sister Beatrice, “worshiped” Che “like a god”.
Following this, the father-daughter relationship was difficult because of the combination: that fanaticism joined a subversive spirit; perhaps they are triggering factors that generated a combative, idealistic, persevering stance. His father was the most surprised and very reluctantly, threw her farm. Perhaps it occurred that challenge certain ideological metamorphosis in the 60s, to become indirect contributor and advocate of leftists in South America.
Monica was his favorite child, my father was very cold towards us and she seemed to be the only one I loved. My father was born as a result of rape, my grandmother never showed her affection and that marked him forever. The only showed affection was for Monika “Beatriz said in an interview for BBC News.
In the late sixties, everything changed with the death of Che Guevara, broke with his roots and took a drastic turn to fully enter the militia wielding arm Guerilla Ñancahuazú, as he did in life his hero by Social inequality.
Monica stopped being that girl who loves the lens to become “revolutionary Imilla” refugee camp in the Bolivian hills. As they were disappearing from the face of the earth most of its members, their pain was transformed into strength to demand justice becoming an operational key to the ELN.
During the four years he remained imprisoned in the camp he wrote to his father only once a year, to say textually; do not worry about me … I’m fine. Unfortunately, he never saw her again; neither alive nor dead.
That was how in 1971 crosses the Atlantic and returns to his native Germany, and Hamburg personally runs the Bolivian consul, Colonel Roberto Quintanilla Pereira, directly responsible for the final insult to Guevara: the amputation of his hands after his execution in The FIG tree. With that desecration signed his death sentence and, since then, the faithful “Imilla” high-risk mission was proposed: he swore to avenge Che Guevara.
After fulfilling his goal begin a hunt that spanned countries and seas and found that only end when Monica fell dead in the year 1973, in an ambush that according to some reliable sources held out his traitorous “uncle” Klaus Barbie.
After his death, Hans Erlt continued to live and filming documentaries in Bolivia, where he died at the age of 92 years (2000) on his farm now converted into a museum with the help of some institutions of Spain and Bolivia. There remains buried, accompanied by his old German military jacket, his faithful companion in recent years. His grave remains between two pine trees and soil of his native Bavaria. The same was commissioned to prepare and daughter Heidi to make their wishes come true. Hans had expressed in an interview with Reuters:
I do not want to return to my country. I want, even dead, remain in this my land.
In a cemetery of La Paz, it is said to lie “symbolically” the remains of Monica Ertl. Actually they were never delivered to his father. Their claims were ignored by the authorities after the fact. These remain in some unknown site of the Bolivian country. Lie in a mass grave without a cross, without a name, without a blessing from his father.
Such was the life of this woman who in a period, in the words of the fascist right of those years, was rampant in “communism” and therefore “terrorism” in Europe. For some, its name was etched into the gardens of memory as a guerrilla, terrorist killer or perhaps for others as a brave woman who fulfilled a mission.
In my opinion, it is the feminine side of a revolution that fought for the utopias of his time, and that in light of our eyes compels us to reflect once again on this phrase: “Never underestimate the value of a woman.”