A bonanza of Nazi artifacts has been uncovered within a hidden room in an Argentinian suburb – the largest haul of Third Reich paraphernalia in the country’s history.
Over 75 individual items have been found so far in a house belonging to a collector living in Béccar, just north of the capital, Buenos Aires. They include swastika-adorned handcrafted boxes, a huge ceremonial dagger, a statue of the Nazi Eagle above a giant swastika, a medical device used to measure head sizes, and even a bust of Adolf Hitler himself.
Based on the range of treasures recovered, it’s likely they all belonged to high-ranking Nazi officials. They were found during a police raid on June 8, stashed away within a compartment concealed behind a small library. The objects were often accompanied with photographs of Hitler, who can be seen posing with the items.
“This is a way to commercialize them, showing that they were used by the horror, by the Fuhrer,” Argentine security minister Patricia Bullrich told reporters earlier this week.
It’s not clear who tipped the police off to the location of the objects, but it’s more than likely that they arrived in Argentina via the so-called “ratlines”, a system of escape routes for Nazis and sympathizers escaping Europe at the close of the Second World War.
Latin America was the primary destination for these fleeing fascists, particularly Argentina. In fact, by the late 1940s, Nazi smuggling was practically a state-sponsored and institutionalized process, fully supported by the then-President Perón. Everyone from Nazis themselves to collaborators, scientists and former SS officers were welcomed with open arms.
There’s no doubt that high-ranking Nazis brought some of their treasures with them, and over the years, authorities have found them all over the country. This latest find is particularly noteworthy in terms of the quantity and idiosyncrasy of the items recovered.
A showcase of some of the recovered artifacts. RT via YouTube
In Argentina, as well as in plenty of other countries, the ownership of such objects is forbidden by law.
Several outlets are suggesting that the search was initiated after “illicit artwork” first appeared in a gallery in Buenos Aires. The owner of the house is said to be under investigation.