The ESMA (Navy School of Mechanics) was a clandestine detention centre during the country's military government of 1976-1983. An estimated 5,000 people are thought to have been tortured and killed here in the late 1970s to early 1980s. The building also served as a maternity centre where babies were taken from their mothers and given to childless police and military couples. The mothers were then usually killed. Up to 30,000 people were 'disappeared' during the Dirty War conducted by the Argentine government as part of Operation Condor.