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When Argentina’s federal police raided a house on the outskirts of Buenos Aires this week, they discovered a whole bunch of books plastered with swastikas and imperial eagles. A few of the works glorified Adolf Hitler, whereas others denied the Holocaust and supplied a revisionist historical past of World Warfare II.

All had been a part of the nation’s largest seizure of supplies espousing Nazi propaganda in recent times, officers mentioned in a information convention Wednesday.

The texts — greater than 200 in whole — had been produced by a “prolific” clandestine printing press that operated below the identify Librería Argentina, officers mentioned. On Tuesday, the web bookstore’s alleged proprietor, a 45-year-old man who was not publicly recognized, was arrested on discriminatory acts prices after police raided his mother and father’ dwelling.

“We’re nonetheless astonished by the quantity of fabric,” Federal Police Chief Juan Carlos Hernández mentioned in the course of the information convention. “It’s historic. It’s really a printing press disseminating and promoting Nazi symbology, books and indoctrination.”

The raid in Béccar, a city simply north of Buenos Aires, was the tipping level in an investigation that started in 2021 after the Delegation of Israelite Associations of Argentina, the umbrella group representing the nation’s Jewish neighborhood, raised alarms.

The group had acquired complaints a couple of web site that was disseminating antisemitic content material and promoting the fabric by way of Mercado Libre, the biggest e-commerce platform in South America — working afoul of an Argentine regulation that prohibits discrimination and finishing up “propaganda primarily based on concepts or theories of superiority of a race or a gaggle of individuals of a sure faith, ethnic origin or shade.”

The seller, Hernández mentioned, bought “high-quality materials” and had “a excessive degree of purchases and inquiries.” In some unspecified time in the future after the delegation denounced it, the person’s Mercado Libre account was terminated, prompting him to promote the supplies by way of a web site of his personal, police mentioned.

The Librería Argentina web site presents itself as an internet bookstore “specialised in struggle themes” that makes “room for all books which have been marginalized from the most well-liked bookstores no matter their tendency, particularly all types of nationalism and historical past of historical or forgotten actions.”

Whereas the bookstore claims it “deplores any type of violence, discrimination or racism,” its web site is brimming with Nazi symbolism, from Othala runes to Celtic crosses and imperial eagles. And its repertoire consists of works by Belgian Nazi collaborator León Degrelle, the Italian fascist Julius Evola, and Nazi theorist and ideologue Alfred Rosenberg — in addition to “Mein Kampf” by Hitler.

Finally, police had been capable of match the 45-year-old man to the Mercado Libre account and the bookstore’s web site, discovering that he used his father’s dwelling as his printing office, officers mentioned.

A household finds swastikas within the garden as antisemitism surges

On Tuesday, police hauled away 222 books, 140 e book covers for unprinted copies and two workplace printers. The quantity of supplies was “stupefying” for the authorities concerned and the group that prompted the investigation.

“We’re shocked by how profuse the fabric is,” Marcos Cohen, of the Delegation of Argentine Israelite Associations, mentioned on the information convention. “I don’t keep in mind something like this being discovered earlier than.”

The invention introduced shock waves throughout Argentina, a nation that has grappled with its legacy as a haven for Nazis fleeing justice after the tip of World Warfare II.

Within the South American nation, they discovered a welcoming authorities headed by President Juan Perón, who had fascist ties, mentioned Gerald J. Steinacher, a professor of historical past at College of Nebraska-Lincoln.

“Argentina was a conventional nation with sturdy Italian and German immigration, so there have been communities and connections already there,” Steinacher mentioned. “However one more reason is that Argentina had very pragmatic causes as to why it was prepared to absorb folks with a Nazi background after the struggle, and it’s as a result of they needed the German know-how and know-how, particularly to modernize their army.”

Those that made their strategy to Argentina included Josef Mengele, the physician who carried out experiments on people; Erich Priebke, a former SS captain who participated within the killing of 335 folks in an Italian cave; and Adolf Eichmann, one of many key organizers of the Holocaust. By 1997, the nation had established a fee to research Nazi actions and Argentina’s function as a refuge for Nazis and their private or stolen wealth.

Behind a bookcase, a secret passageway results in a trove of Nazi artifacts in Argentina

Since then, Argentina has cracked down on different situations of Nazi propaganda distribution and antisemitism — one thing Steinacher counseled as a “essential step ahead.”

“It’s essential to not be passive and permit hate to go by unchecked,” he mentioned. “That’s one of many classes we’ve discovered from learning the historical past of Germany: {that a} democracy needs to be prepared to defend itself towards individuals who need to overthrow democracy.”

But, the truth that antisemitic and Nazi supplies are nonetheless swirling round Argentina — the nation with the biggest Jewish inhabitants in Latin America — is nice trigger for concern, Cohen mentioned on the information convention.

“It’s astonishing that there are folks producing this sort of materials, and it’s regarding that there are folks consuming it,” Cohen mentioned. “And that’s the problem we’ve to beat.”

Hernández, the federal police chief, mentioned Tuesday’s raid and arrest had been just the start in what may develop into a sprawling probe.

“We don’t rule out that it’s simply the tip of an iceberg,” he mentioned. “For now, we’ve reduce the distribution traces, however the regulation additionally punishes those that devour such materials.”

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