A treasure trove of Nazi-era paraphernalia has been discovered in a secret room behind a bookcase in Argentina, lending further weight that top Third Reich officials fled to the country at the close of World War II.
Argentine Federal Police (PFA) confiscated numerous historical artifacts belonging to Nazi Germany, as well as objects of Asian and Egyptian origin, in Buenos Aires as they conducted a recovery operation dubbed “Near East.”
Among the 75 Nazi-era pieces recovered were Adolf Hitler busts, silver statues, boxes carrying swastika engravings and imperial eagles as well as macabre medical devices, and toys that were used to indoctrinate children.
Authorities believe that the items are originals and were smuggled into Argentina by high-ranking Nazi officials at the end of the war.
“Our first investigations indicate that these are original pieces,” Argentine Security Minister Patricia Bullrich told The Associated Press on Monday.
Bullrich did not speculate as to which Nazi officials the items could have belonged but did note the cache contained medical devices. “There are objects to measure heads that was the logic of the Aryan race,” she said.
When leading members of the Third Reich were caught in Europe, a number of high-ranking Nazi’s fled Europe for Argentina to escape justice.
Among them was the infamous SS doctor Josef Mengele, aka ‘The Angel of Death,’ a member of the team of doctors responsible for sending people to the gas chambers and performing gruesome experiments on prisoners.
Mengele fled to Paraguay after Israeli Mossad agents captured the notorious Nazi figure Adolf Eichmann in Buenos Aires, returning him to Israel to stand trial for his crimes.
Eichmann, a former SS Obersturmbannführer, was subsequently executed for being one of the main architects of the holocaust.
According to the Head of the Argentine Federal Police Nestor Roncaglia, the operation was the result of an investigation aimed at “protecting and recovering cultural property,” which was of illegal origin and hidden behind false walls.