A massive trove of suspected Nazi treasures discovered in Argentina

The cache of artifacts does not, as some on the internet are speculating, prove that Hitler escaped to Argentina

Published June 20, 2017 12:36PM (EDT)

A Nazi medical device found in Argentina (AP/Natacha Pisarenko)
A Nazi medical device found in Argentina (AP/Natacha Pisarenko)

A raid on an Argentina home has yielded what many experts believe to be the largest collection of Nazi artifacts ever discovered in that country.

"Our first investigations indicate that these are original pieces," said Argentine Security Minister Patricia Bullrich, according to an Associated Press report on Monday. She later added, "This is a way to commercialize them, showing that they were used by the horror, by the Führer. There are photos of him with the objects."

One of the photographs (actually a photo negative) shows Hitler holding a magnifying glass similar to the ones found in some of the boxes. Some historians believe this may indicate that the magnifying glasses discovered were used by Hitler himself.

Among the other roughly six dozen pieces found in the Buenos Aires suburb of Beccar are toys used to inculcate children about the tenets of Nazism, a statue of the Nazi eagle over a swastika, a box of harmonicas, a bust relief of Adolf Hitler, a device used to measure head size and a Nazi hourglass.

The collectibles were discovered when Interpol, the international police force, began investigating how illicit artwork began to appear at a gallery in Buenos Aires. When authorities raided the collector's house on June 8, the Nazi artifacts were discovered in a secret room behind a large bookshelf. The collector, who remains unnamed, is free but under investigation by a federal judge.

Many people on the internet are speculating that this discovery proves that Hitler faked his suicide and fled to Argentina, with some individuals linking this find to stories of dubious origin about an Argentine centenarian who claims to be Hitler.

Although the current find does not add any convincing evidence to verify that Hitler escaped to Argentina, prominent Nazis fled to South America after World War II. The infamous Nazi doctor Josef Mengele, nicknamed the "Angel of Death," traveled to several South American countries after the war, while Adolf Eichmann (who was in charge of executing Hitler's Final Solution) was apprehended in Argentina before being deported and tried in Israel.

By Matthew Rozsa

Matthew Rozsa is a professional writer whose work has appeared in multiple national media outlets since 2012 and exclusively at Salon since 2016. His diverse interests are reflected in his interview, including: President Jimmy Carter (1977-1981), Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Barak (1999-2001), animal scientist and autism activist Temple Grandin, inventor Ernő Rubik, comedian Bill Burr ("F Is for Family"), novelist James Patterson ("The President's Daughter"), epidemiologist Monica Gandhi, theoretical cosmologist Janna Levin, voice actor Rob Paulsen ("Animaniacs"), mRNA vaccine pioneer Katalin Karikó, philosopher of science Vinciane Despret, actor George Takei ("Star Trek"), climatologist Michael E. Mann, Washington Gov. Jay Inslee (2013-present), dog cognition researcher Alexandra Horowitz, Libertarian presidential candidate Gary Johnson (2012, 2016), comedian and writer Larry Charles ("Seinfeld"), Democratic vice presidential nominee Joe Lieberman (2000), Ambassador Michael McFaul (2012-2014), economist Richard Wolff, director Kevin Greutert ("Saw VI"), model Liskula Cohen, actor Rodger Bumpass ("SpongeBob Squarepants"), Senator John Hickenlooper (2021-present), biologist and genomics entrepreneur William Haseltine, comedian David Cross ("Scary Movie 2"), linguistics consultant Paul Frommer ("Avatar"), Maryland Gov. Martin O'Malley (2007-2015), computer engineer and Internet co-inventor Leonard Kleinrock and right-wing insurrectionist Roger Stone.

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