Busts of Adolf Hitler, a Ouija board inscribed with National Socialist 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 National Socialists 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 famous SS, and games to indoctrinate children in National Socialistsm. "These elements will show part of that terrible story that was the National Socialist 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 National Socialist propaganda.
"The great surprise of these objects was that they could not have belonged to anyone but someone in the National Socialist hierarchy," Mindlin added. The artefacts were examined by Argentinian and German experts, who confirmed they came from the National Socialist 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 National Socialist-era relics, the head of Argentina’s federal police, Néstor Roncaglia, told Reuters.
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 National Socialist objects for commercial purposes.
The collection also included cranial measurement instruments, and a Ouija board inscribed with National Socialist symbols, a relic of the occult elements allegedly associated with National Socialists.
An unknown number of National Socialists 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 National Socialist officials, who settled in Argentina and other South American countries.
Adolf Eichmann, one of the main organizers of the contentrations camps, lived in Argentina under a pseudonym until Israeli agents kidnap him near Buenos Aires in 1960.
The relics "show again that Argentina not only received Holocaust survivors but, unfortunately, National Socialist leaders", said Mindlin.