Jacqueline Paulette Drouilly Yurich
Her story by her mother:
Jacqueline Paulette Drouilly Yurich, was born on December 3, 1949 in Santiago, Chile. She was the daughter of Jorge Drouilly Silva and Norma Yurich Costagliola.
When she was 4 years old, her father, an architect with the Ministry of Public Works, was transferred to the provincial city of Temuco. The next year, 1955, we enrolled her in the kindergarten of the German School.
Right away, she made many friends who would visit her at our house, and whose friendships she would conserve until her final moments. She was a good student and was known as a happy, communicative and sociable girl. In 1956 and 1957, her two sisters arrived.
When she was 11 years old, another sister arrived. In 1964 she transferred from the German School to the Colegio Bautista (Baptist College) along with her sisters. She spent her last years of secondary school at the Gabriel Mistral Lyceum in Temuco. The progress report from her teacher there read:
“She is adaptable, spontaneously cooperative, responsible in her extracurricular activities and very polite.”
Jacqueline was always a loving and very responsible daughter. She was very close to her family and helped her sisters with everything she could. She always stood by her teachers, her family and her friends. Of this there are infinite number of testimonies.
Her vocation from a very young age was always to help the sick, the handicapped, the poor and the abandoned. Many times we thought that she would perhaps be a nurse. But she chose Social Work as her career. Having achieved good grades, she was admitted by the Social Work program at the University of Chile at Temuco.
Some time after, she met a young man who was also a student. They fell in love. He wanted to continue his career in Santiago. As a result, she began to explore her artistic side, namely the theater, which had been an early interest. She studied two years at the School of Theater of the University of Chile in Santiago. After that, she insisted on returning to Social Work. Once again she was admitted to the program at the University of Chile in Santiago.
On August 2, 1974, she married Marcelo Salinas Eytel at the Civil Registry in Ñuñoa. Soon after they moved to Decombe 1191, occupying the second floor, which had its own entrance. The house belonged to a fellow Social Work student. Five days before her arrest, my husband and I visited and had dinner with them. At 6 PM we returned to Temuco. That was the last time we saw them.
On October 30, 1974, close to midnight as she was completing an assignment for school in the first floor of her classmate’s house (she interned in INACAP and needed to use the typewriter there), men dressed as civilians arrived in two vehicles and began asking for Marcelo. She told them he was not there, that he would arrive soon and that she was his wife. They then proceeded to interrogate her, roughly forced her to the second floor, harassing and hitting her and committing every sort of abuse to obtain the whereabouts of her husband.
According to Ms. Marilu Verela’s declarations, these men repeatedly returned to the first floor, while she, her sister, her little brother, the maid and the chauffer heard the party, with music and dancing, that those men had upstairs after taking my daughter. After barely putting on a wool coat and hat, they threw her in one of the vehicles and told the people in the house that they were taking my daughter “as a HOSTAGE” until they had my son-in-law “if he arrives” (it was already past curfew). They then threatened Marilu and left some people handcuffed.
The leader of the group was Osvaldo Romo. He told Marilu not to go to sleep because they would come back to talk to her… to ask “a few more little questions” and to wait for Marcelo.
One of my friends who went to visit Jacqueline the next day found out what had happened and let those of us in Temuco know. I traveled to Santiago where our long and painful pilgrimage began. Someone suggested that I go to the Comite Pro Paz (Pro-Peace Committee). I then visited Alberto Decombe’s house and spoke with Ms. Marilu. Only then did I discover that they had taken my son-in-law the next day from the entrance of the house, shooting at the taxi he arrived in and taking both him and the taxi driver.
We presented an appeal for asylum for my daughter, and another one for both her and her husband. We also reported a kidnapping. We made yet another appeal, this time adding a letter from the Red Cross, stating that they had visited Jacqueline in the Tres Alamos prison on November 20, 1974, and that they still had no news of her husband.
We appealed for asylum, reported the kidnapping, wrote 2 to 3 page letters to General Raul Benavides (Minister of the Interior), Jaime Arellano Stark (Commander in Chief of the Military Government of Santiago), and many other generals and personnel from all of the military branches. We interviewed with consuls, ambassadors, high ranking officials, visited organizations such as CIME, CONARE, and CELADE almost daily for years. We traveled every day to the Office of the Secretary of Detainees (SENDET) repeatedly requesting information at the Ministry of Defense. We obtained visas to European and American countries so my daughter and her husband would have a place to go after being tried according to the most perfect form of justice: one which has a response other than “Remain calm, ma’am, come back in a week.”
In the meantime, Tres Alamos, The Correctional, and other prisons responded: “That person is not here, do not insist”. Other times… “We haven’t had any news”. “We don’t know anything, go to the SENDET.”
My daughter was three months pregnant when they took her. What happened to that child that should have been born around April of 1975? What happened to him? Where do they have him? Where?
I gave birth to a healthy, beautiful and intelligent daughter. In the prime of her youth, when she was about to become a mother, felons from an organization named SIM, DINA or CNI, secretly broke into her house one night and took her to torture centers where they isolated her from the outside world before making her disappear, depriving her son of a life and torturing her entire family as well.
Jacqueline Paulette Drouilly Yurich and Marcelo Eduardo Salinas Eytel
Victims of the Military Dictatorship in Chile
Disappeared in October 1974
Jacqueline Drouilly, a 25-year-old social-work student was married to Marcelo Salinas Eytel, an electronic technician, in August 1974.
They were living in Santiago, the capital, where both were studying.
Jacqueline’s family was living in the south of Chile.
Their wedding was a happy day, and Marcelo’s brother and sister were there, as well as Jacqueline’s family who travelled to Santiago especially for the occasion. This was the last time that Jacqueline’s three sisters, saw them. Later in October, Jacqueline’s parents,, travelled to Santiago and spent time with her and Marcelo. Her mother will never forget the day she boarded the train to go back home, and Jacqueline was crying. These were terrible times for Chileans. In 1973, Pinochet had seized power through a bloody military coup, against the democratically elected President Allende. Hundreds of thousands of people were imprisoned, thousands killed or “disappeared” (detained at secret locations and their detention never acknowledged officially).
The couple were renting a room from one of their university friends, Miss Varela. Jacqueline’s father had lost his job and was being threatened by the military because of his affiliation to a social democratic party in Chile.
Jacqueline told her mother that she was three months pregnant and was very happy, despite the difficulties. Jacqueline and Marcelo belonged to the resistance movement against Pinochet.
Jacqueline was very attractive, but her personality was what made her unforgettable. She was warm, lively, confident, clever, compassionate and extremely witty. Her family simply adored her. She was spoilt by her father and her younger sisters looked up to her. Marcelo was charming, intelligent, with a exquisite sense of humour. He was very quiet and good looking and was loved like a son by Jacqueline’s family.
On the 30th October 1974, Jacqueline was at the home with Miss Varela’s family. Marcelo had not made it home before the curfew, so he stayed with some friends elsewhere. That night, near midnight, a group of men from the security police, came to the house. They asked Jacqueline for Marcelo, and when she told them that he was not there and that she was his wife, they took her to her room, and began to interrogate, and beat her, to find out about her husband’s whereabouts. While they abused her, they played loud music and threatened her friend’s family,
After many hours, they took Jacqueline with them, leaving some men to wait for Marcelo. Jacqueline hardly had the time to grab a jumper and a woolly hat, as she was still wearing her nightshirt. They took her to a van and told Miss Varela that they were taking Jacqueline as a hostage.
About 6 AM, the security agents went back to the house to join the men already there, to wait for Marcelo.
About 7AM Marcelo phoned for Jacqueline. Miss Varela answered the phone. She had to tell Marcelo that Jacqueline was in the shower, as she was being threatened. Marcelo told her that he would be there in half an hour. Marcelo already knew that some of her friends had been detained and thought that there was still time for them to go to a safe place.
Later, Marcelo drove past the house in a taxi, but did not stop because he noticed agents outside the home. The taxi was attacked by gunfire and they captured Marcelo, who was forced into a van and taken to a secret torture centre. Jacqueline was already there.
Jacqueline’s family were told of this the next day, and her mother travelled to Santiago immediately to find out more. When her mother arrived at the couple’s room , where Jacqueline have been held for hours, she noticed some terrible indications; from the devastation she realized that Jacqueline had been cruelly beaten and raped.
Jacqueline’s family presented a number of habeas corpus writs for the couple and visited every possible place they could be held, in an effort to find out where they were.
Jacqueline’s family joined their mother in Santiago to knock on all doors, to ask everyone for information, to follow all leads, that could locate Jacqueline and Marcelo, but all was in vain. The family never saw Jacqueline and Marcelo again.
Witness accounts of people who were released after being held incommunicado in secret detention centres, reveal details about Jacqueline and Marcelo. Their conditions were hellish they were permanently blindfolded and taken many times a day to be tortured using the most barbaric of methods. They were sometimes tortured together. Marcelo was in an appalling state, he could hardly speak, and Jacqueline was progressively weakened by the repeated torture. They were rapidly going down hill.
Innumerable legal and other actions were carried out by Jacqueline’s family. This included visa applications to European countries. But the Courts were on the side of the dictatorship, and not a single submission was granted. The dictatorship never acknowledged the detention of Jacqueline and Marcelo. Despite the fact that it was confirmed later that the International Red Cross had visited Jacqueline whilst incommunicado and were worried about her chances of survival.
Both Jacqueline and Marcelo cases were adopted by Amnesty International.
Jacqueline’s family does not know whether the couple’s baby was born, and if so, where he/she is now.
A few months after their detention all trace of them was lost,. Jacqueline's’ remains have never been found.
A few months ago, some military personnel confessed that a large number of “disappeared” where killed and their bodies attached to metal rails, and dumped in the sea from helicopters. The families of Jacqueline and Marcelo may never know the truth. Yet almost thirty years on, not a single day passes, when Jacqueline’s sisters and parents do not remember the tragedy inflicted on Jacqueline and Marcelo on 31st October 1974, by Pinochet’s thugs.
Time flows, like a glass smooth river.
No beginning, no end, no way across.
So we construct our own divisions.
Birthdays; Saints; Histories; Centuries; Hours, Stories.
Bridges to connect the “Now” with the “nowhere”
But for us who were there; we divide time two ways:
When she was with us.
After she was taken from us.
She was on the side of justice and a better world.
But the greed of the few, who feed on the misery of the many
Our hearts are withered before the cold blast of the long winter
But our souls; our thoughts
Emerge from the shadows and burst, blossom, sprout
All colours in the new warm season.
So the world turns
And our hopes and plans
Our struggle, continues forever.
We had a dream
Of a better world
And at the very margins of chaos –
Where great changes burst out of nothing.
We saw that evil was real.
The backlash against our freedom
Was well planned
And without mercy.
There were those who gave the orders
And those who carried them out.
There were those who advertised, financed
A return to “order” and profit.
They may enjoy their “success”
As Cola-Pop-Music echoes through the new shopping complex
But Marcelo and Jacqueline
Man, Wife and child
Could as well be buried under this commercial concrete
As anywhere else in Chile.
Where are they?
If not here then maybe
Maybe coming to a shopping mall near you!
We grieve for our lost loved ones
And say “never again must suffering like this be allowed to happen!”,
(it has been said so many, many times before)
But is up to you ,
It is up to me.
To learn the lessons.
But not in books.
Not in the classroom
Not in our hearts
But in every step we take
Through the streets
Through our lives.
Poem by Norma Yurich and Stephan Arratoon
Song and Poems about Jacqueline
Song for Jacqueline - Music and lyrics by Stephen Arratoon
Jacqueline Paulette - Poem by Cristian Rojas
Jacqueline for her friends - Poem by her mother, Norma Yurich
To Jacqueline - Poem by Santiago Bell
Her husband, also disappeared: Marcelo Salinas Eytel
Marcelo and Jacqueline
A tree was planted on his memory, as part of our ecomemoria program : www.ecomemoria.com