Federal police in Argentina have seized more than 200 Nazi publications and book covers after arresting the owner of a clandestine printing press run out of a home on the outskirts of Buenos Aires, authorities confirmed Wednesday.
After a two-year investigation, police raided a home in San Isidro, where they found publications bearing swastikas and markings of the SS paramilitary group which played a key role in enforcing Nazi German leader Adolf Hitler's ideologies.
Another address in Beccar was also raided. Police said a 40-year-old man had been taken into custody.
“We’re astonished with the amount of material, it’s historic. It’s a real printing press disseminating and selling Nazi symbology, books and indoctrination,” Federal Police Chief Juan Carlos Hernández, said at a press conference.
He said the "high-quality material" had been openly sold on e-commerce websites "with a high level of purchases and inquiries."
“We don’t rule out this being the tip of the iceberg. For now, we’ve cut distribution lines, but the law also punishes consumers” of discriminatory publications such as Nazi-orientated ones, the chief of police stated.
The police said that the mere display of Nazi symbology is prohibited under local anti-discrimination legislation. It violates Law 23,592 on the basis “it justifies, vindicates and even venerates the atrocities committed by the National Socialist regime against the Jewish community."
The report which started the investigation was filed in 2021 by the DAIA Delegation of Argentine Israeli Associations and admitted by the Federal Police’s Terrorism Investigation Unit.
Argentina was a refuge for many Nazi criminals after World War II, many of whom fled there with the blessing of president Juan Perón, according to the Nazi-hunting Simon Wiesenthal Center.
They included top war criminals such as Adolf Eichmann – considered a key architect of Hitler's plan to exterminate Europe's Jews – who was captured in Buenos Aires in 1960.
The country also took in Jewish people fleeing persecution and extermination camps. The country is also home to Latin America's largest Jewish population, which has suffered attacks such as the 1994 bombing of the AMIA Jewish community centre that killed 85 people and left 300 injured.
That attack came just two years after the Israeli Embassy was bombed, killing 29 and wounding 200.
In 2019, a set of 83 Nazi objects seized by the Buenos Aires Province police force two years earlier was delivered to the Holocaust Museum of Argentina for safe custody.