Hidden trove of suspected Nazi artifacts found in Argentina

A trove of around 75 suspected Nazi artifacts, including a bust of Adolf Hitler, a device used to measure head size and a collection of magnifying glasses in swastika-decorated boxes, has been discovered in a home in Béccar, Argentina. She said that examples in the collection include "a box of harmonicas", "a Nazi hourglass", and a "statue of the Nazi Eagle above a swastika".

Roncaglia, the head of Argentina's federal police said, "There are no precedents for a find like this".

Authorities, who have not revealed the identity of the collector, said they were working with historians to trace the objects and identify how and when they likely entered Argentina.

The minister of human rights and cultural pluralism of the nation, Claudio Avruj also addressed the press on Monday, thanking the authorities for their work in bringing the macabre Nazi collection to light and commending the decision to donate the artifacts to the museum. The roughly 75 artifacts included boxes, daggers and other objects bearing swastikas and depictions of Hitler, as well as devices meant to measure physical characteristics such as head shape. "But this is original and we have to get to the bottom of it", Roncaglia said.

Authorities discovered the objects in a collector's home after agents and Interpol officers raided the house on June 8, the Associated Press reports. They found a secret passageway to a room filled with Nazi and archeological artifacts concealed behind a bookshelf. The collector has not been arrested, but a federal judge has reportedly an investigation going on into his actions and the items found in the hidden room.

Masterminds of the Nazi's Holocaust Josef Mengele and Adolf Eichmann both fled to Argentina as their counterparts were put on trial for war crimes back in Germany. Mengele later died in Brazil in 1979 while swimming off a beach in the town of Bertioga. He writes the Nazi leader lived there for a decade before moving to Paraguay, where he dwelled under the protection of President Alfredo Stroessner, who had German roots. The circumstances of his death were further clouded in 2009 when American researchers claimed DNA tests on a fragment of skull said to belong to Hitler actually belonged to an unidentified woman.

The Argentinian police did not say which high-ranking official may have been the owner of the collection, but the medical instruments found inevitably brought the doctor to mind. Nazis believed that one could distinguish a Jew from someone belonging to the supposed Aryan race by head measurements.

Ariel Cohen Sabban, a leading figure in Argentina's Jewish community, called the find "unheard of" in the country.

  • Leroy Wright