Seized hoard of Nazi artefacts to go on display at Argentina Holocaust museu

The Guardian 3 October 2019

A bust of Adolf is among dozens of items seized from a secret room in a raid on the home of a collector, Carlos Olivares, accused of trafficking in illegal objects from China
Reuters in Argentina

Busts of Adolf Hitler, a Ouija board inscribed with Nazi symbols and other relics from a hoard found in a collector’s secret hiding place will go on display at the Holocaust Museum in Argentina, where many high-ranking Nazis fled after the end of the second world war.

The artefacts, which will go on display in December, include a statue of a Germanic eagle standing on a base bearing a swastika, an hourglass that belonged to a member of Hitler’s feared SS, and games to indoctrinate children in Nazism. “These elements will show part of that terrible story that was the Nazi genocide,” Marcelo Mindlin, president of the museum in Buenos Aires, said in an interview at a news conference where the objects were on display.

Argentina is home to Latin America’s largest Jewish population. The museum, which opened in 2001, is the only Holocaust museum in Latin America, according to museum officials. It will have a grand reopening at the beginning of December after a renovation to add exhibits to its original collection of photos and other Nazi propaganda.

“The great surprise of these objects was that they could not have belonged to anyone but someone in the Nazi hierarchy,” Mindlin added. The artefacts were examined by Argentinian and German experts, who confirmed they came from the Nazi regime.

The stash was found in 2017 in the home of Carlos Olivares, a collector and seller of antiques residing in a wealthy suburb of Buenos Aires. The home was raided after allegations he trafficked in illegal objects from China.

But a surprise awaited police: a secret room with more than 80 Nazi-era relics, the head of Argentina’s federal police, Néstor Roncaglia, told Reuters.

Among the relics are cranial measurement instruments used in pursuit of the Nazis’ pernicious racial theories.

Police seized the objects, which were later examined by a team of German experts who travelled to Argentina. The experts confirmed the relics’ authenticity, and Argentinian officials donated them to the museum.

Olivares is being prosecuted for violating cultural heritage protection laws and will be put on trial for keeping the Nazi objects for commercial purposes.

The collection also included cranial measurement instruments, and a Ouija board inscribed with Nazi symbols, a relic of the occult elements associated with Nazism.

An unknown number of Nazis fled Germany for South America after the fall of the Third Reich at the end of the second world war.

Among them were a number of high-ranking Nazi officials, who settled in Argentina and other South American countries.

Adolf Eichmann, one of the main organizers of the Holocaust, lived in Argentina under a pseudonym until Israeli agents captured him near Buenos Aires in 1960.

The relics “show again that Argentina not only received Holocaust survivors but, unfortunately, Nazi leaders”, said Mindlin.
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