WHAT IS BNM?
BRASIL: NUNCA MAIS is the most comprehensive investigation about torture carried out by citizens in their country. The project was initiated by the World Council of Churches and the Archdiocese of São Paulo, who worked secretly for five years with 850,000 pages of legal proceedings of the Military Supreme Court. The result was the publication of a report and a book in 1985 that revealed the gross violation of human rights carried out by repressive policies during the military dictatorship. The success of the publication continues to influence new generations and strengthened a commitment of the Brazilian state to confronting torture.
A lasting book
THE BOOK BRASIL: NUNCA MAIS was one of the best selling books in the history of Brazil. Published by Editora Vozes in 1985, it remained on the list of the ten best-selling books for 91 consecutive weeks and became at the time the best selling non-fiction books of all times. For the first time, the theme of human rights reached Brazilian households. It is the product of the work and the engenius of Dom Paulo Evaristo Arns and Reverend Jaime Wright.
BNM Digit@l brings the BRASIL: NUNCA MAIS archive to the digital age, where previously it remained on paper and microfilm in archives that were only available to those researchers who could go to the University of Campinas, Brasília or abroad. Moreover, it can be used for research with a searchable index. BNM Digit@l is the result of a joint initiative of public institutions and non-government organizations committed to promoting human rights. Its maintenance and updating is guaranteed by the Federal Prosecution Service.Learn more
HOW TO DO RESEARCH
There are two ways for you to do research with BNM Digit@l: directly consulting the ARCHIVE (Military Supreme Court judicial proceedings, reports, and archives of the World Council of Churches and the Justice and Peace Commission), which is entirely indexed, or through the SUMMARIES that the Federal Prosecution Service developed. The Summaries compile and classify the relevant information for each of the 710 cases, indicating links to the most relevant pages. This is a quick and easy way to search for key information in original sources.
She was one of the people who came up with the idea of BNM. A lawyer, at the time, she was a member of the office of Sobral Pinto in Rio de Janeiro, a place that offered legal support to the politically persecuted, victims of torture and mistreatment and relatives of the activists that had disappeared. Concerned about the possible destruction of the archives of the legal proceedings that registers political repression, she proposed to Charles Harper and Jaime Wright that they carry out the project, which she followed until its conclusion.
A Brazilian minister ordained in the United States and a member of the World Council of Churches in Geneva, he secured the financial support to organizations and activists involved in political resistance, refugees, and those tortured by the military regime. He played a key role in obtaining the financial resources to carry out the BNM project. He organized and catalogued the registration of materials related to the Brazilian and international press, collected by Rev. Jaime Wright over the years. He died in May 2016.
At the invitation of Dom Paulo Evaristo Arns, he coordinated the work of compiling the BNM documents that led to the preparation of the BNM report and the publication of the book. His was a political prisoner during the dictatorship. His cousin, Alexandre Vannucchi Leme was a student leader murdered by the regime.
If you need information about how to do research, click here.
In the BNM cases there are many photographs of demonstrations and persons relevant to our history, some known and some anonymous. The Armazém Mermória, a partner of BNM Digit@l, made a selection of these photographs, organized in six albums that are presented here. In addition to these, there are two special collections: one is an exposition of BNM prepared by CEDIC of PUC-SP and the other is a homage to the collaborators of these project who made copies of the original legal proceedings of the Military Supreme Court and left the image of their hands in some cases.
This archive contains documentaries, depositions, articles and information about BNM and BNM Digit@l. Of particular note is Coratio by Ana Castro and Gabriel Mitani, that portrays the idea of and the execution of the BNM project in the 1980s and its impact on the protection of human rights. Along with this are statements of different actors who made BNM a reality, as well as the filming of the repatriation of microfilms that located in the United States during the dictatorship and turned over to the Federal Prosecution Service. There are also documentaries about Dom Paulo Evaristo Arns.
“Under torture, the body turns against us, demanding that we speak. From the most intimate places of our own flesh, a voice arises that negates us, to the extent that it tries to rip from us a discourse which is horrific for us, since it is the negation of our freedom.”
“There is no one on earth that is able to describe the pain of someone a dear person disappear behind prison bars without guessing what happened to the person. The person who 'disappeared' becomes a shadow that in darkening it will envelop the last illumination of earthly existence.”
“I was physically very weak in relationship to the torturers and I asked myself, ‘Why do they use such violence to dominate me?’ This question didn’t occur to me until everything became clearer. I had something stronger within me: the love of Truth, Justice, Ethics, and a commitment to the people... The torturers were physically strong, but morally I was stronger and I had the conditions to resist.”