"The Situation I Am in Is Not at All Easy"

In 1974, Eduardo Grutzky was condemned—without the benefit of a defense attorney—to three years in prison for violating the National Security Law. Five years later, he still hadn’t been released.

Eduardo’s mother contacted Rabbi Meyer in October 1979 as her son’s conditions deteriorated. He was denied access to exercise, books, and adequate food. Mrs. Grutzky wrote frequent, anguished letters to the Rabbi asking him to advocate for her son and emphasizing how much Marshall’s letters helped Eduardo get through his interminable prison sentence.

By August of 1980, Eduardo had developed an ulcer. Despite the young prisoner’s ailing health, prison officials thwarted Marshall’s attempt to visit him, claiming that Eduardo had declared himself Catholic and that Rabbi Meyer’s services were not needed. This, of course, was not true. Finally, Marshall was able to secure Eduardo’s release and emigration to Israel by August 1981. He was only 25.

Throughout the late 1970s and early 1980s, Marshall was able to help dozens of prisoners and their families. Sometimes terrified family members would anonymously send Marshall a slip of paper in an unstamped envelope with no return address. The slip of paper would contain only the name of the disappeared person, date of disappearance, and perhaps their national ID number. Often prisoners would write Marshall simply asking for him to correspond with them, in addition to whatever assistance he could provide, as they simply needed words of support to get through their horrendous ordeals.