Hidden trove of Nazi artifacts discovered in Argentina (courtesy Ministerio de Seguridad de la Nación Argentina)

Over 75 Nazi artifacts were discovered in a secret room of a collector’s suburban Buenos Aires home, the New York Times reported on Tuesday. As Marcelo El Haibe, federal police commissioner for the protection of cultural heritage, described to the Times, Argentine police found the objects on a June 8 raid  “hidden behind a bookcase. Behind the bookcase there was a wall, and after that a door.”

The AP has details on some of the pieces, which include a magnifying glass in a swastika-adorned container, accompanied by a photo negative showing Adolf Hitler holding the object. There is also a huge Nazi Eagle statue, silverware, a phrenological measuring device, a dagger, binoculars, a sundial, an hourglass, a box of harmonicas, and toys that “would have been used to indoctrinate children.” The AP added that the investigation was sparked by the identification of “artworks of illicit origin” in a gallery located in north Buenos Aires. The Ministerio de Seguridad de la Nación Argentina (Ministry of Security of the Nation of Argentina) shared photographs of selected objects on Twitter, as well as a video from the police investigation (warning, it is soundtracked by aggressively peppy music):

The name of the collector, whose hidden trove additionally included mummified animals and items from China, Japan, and Egypt, has not been released. As the Washington Post noted, many Nazi higher-ups fled Europe for Argentina at the end of World War II, and “investigators believe that officials close to Adolf Hitler brought the artifacts with them.” Ariel Cohen Sabban, the president of Delegación de Asociaciones Israelitas Argentinas (DAIA), affirmed to the AP that the discovery “could offer irrefutable proof of the presence of top leaders who escaped from Nazi Germany.”

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Allison Meier

Allison C. Meier is a former staff writer for Hyperallergic. Originally from Oklahoma, she has been covering visual culture and overlooked history for print...