In Beccar, a beachy residential neighborhood north of Buenos Aires, Argentine police, working together with Interpol, discovered an incredible trove of Nazi-era artifacts in the home of an unidentified collector. The raid, which occurred on June 8, only resulted in a discovery because, as the AP reported, “a large bookshelf caught their attention and behind it agents found a hidden passageway to a room filled with Nazi imagery.”
What’d they find? Seventy-five grim, Third Reich things: toys, a bust relief of Adolf Hitler, magnifying glasses inside swastika-adorned boxes, a medical device for measuring heads, a statue of the Reichsadler, an hourglass, a box of harmonicas, a swastika-engraved knife, and a photographic negative of Hitler “holding a magnifying glass similar to those found in the boxes.” Argentine authorities have said that the findings are original, and that it’s the largest trove of Nazi artifacts in the country’s history.
What authorities don’t know, however, is how these items got to Argentina in the first place.
The main hypothesis among investigators and member of Argentina’s Jewish community is that they were brought to Argentina by a high-ranking Nazi or Nazis after World War II, when the South American country became a refuge for fleeing war criminals, including some of the best known.
Jonathan Zalman is a writer and teacher based in Brooklyn.