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Archives reveal Argentina’s support of the Nazis during WWII

Members of the federal police carry a Nazi statue at the Interpol headquarters in Buenos Aires, Argentina, Friday, June 16, 2017
AP Photo/Natacha Pisarenko

An Argentinian-Jewish organization revealed extracts from thousands of Second World War archival documents that exposed Nazi influence on the country as well as more information about the Nazis who escaped there, the Jewish Telegraphic Agency reported on Friday.

The Delegation of Argentine Jewish Associations (DAIA) released a documentary on Tuesday uncovering images from the records constituting around 139, 544 documents mainly letters, telegrams, newspaper articles, notes and reports.

“The investigation will take some myths about the Nazis in Argentina and replace those myths with facts and truth. We will deliver reports about the main findings of the current work with the historic archives,” Marisa Braylan, the director of the DAIA’s Center for Social Studies (CES) told JTA.

Entitled “The Argentinian Role during WWII”, the footage begins with pro-Hitler rally in the Luna Park sports venue in Buenos Aires where around 15,000 gathered on April 10, 1938. Braylan refers to this as “the most important demonstration in favor of Hitler outside Germany.”

Despite it maintaining neutral for much of World War Two before joining the allied forces, the documents are expected to shed light on the assistance Argentina gave to Nazi war criminals. The country, alongside other South American states, became a safe haven for Nazi party members and collaborators after the fall of the Third Reich.

Nazi 'Angel of Death' Josef Mengele, known for his cruel and deadly experiments on Jews in the Auschwitz concentration camp, lived in Argentina for a period following the war before drowning off the coast of Brazil in 1979.

GPO

Holocaust mastermind Adolf Eichmann was abducted by Israeli Mossad agents in Buenos Aires in 1960, sentenced to death in 1961, and subsequently hanged in Israel a year later.

The documents reveal communications between Argentina and countries who were involved in the war including correspondence between the Argentine Embassy in Germany, the JTA report explained.

There are also files detailing the blacklisting of Jews. In one example, Argentina’s Foreign Ministry prohibited entry to Jews wanting to escape from Europe amid Nazi persecution, they were described in the records as “non-desirable immigrants.”

A study into the records is ongoing, with the documentary revealing only the beginning of the findings.

In June 2017, police in Argentina announced they had uncovered the largest collection of Nazi artifacts in the country's history. The 75 pieces were found in a hidden room in the home of a collector north of Buenos Aires, and were said to have originally belonged to high-ranking officials in the Third Reich.

The artifacts include a bust relief of Adolf Hitler, Nazi-themed toys and a medical device used to measure head size. The Nazis were proponents of the theory of eugenics and used the concept of genetic differences between people to advance their theories of Aryan racial superiority. Cranial measurements was one way in which the Nazis believed they could distinguish between races and prove that Jews were inferior.

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