In a hidden room in a house near Argentina’s capital, police believe they have found the biggest collection of Nazi artifacts in the country’s history, including a bust relief of Adolf Hitler, magnifying glasses inside elegant boxes with swastikas and even a macabre medical device used to measure head size.
Some 75 objects were found in a collector’s home in Beccar, a suburb north of Buenos Aires, and authorities say they suspect they are originals that belonged to high-ranking Nazis in Germany during World War II.
“Our first investigations indicate that these are original pieces,” Argentine Security Minister Patricia Bullrich told The Associated Press on Monday, saying that some pieces were accompanied by old photographs. “This is a way to commercialize them, showing that they were used by the horror, by the Fuhrer. There are photos of him with the objects.”
Among the disturbing items were toys that Bullrich said would have been used to indoctrinate children, a large statue of the Nazi Eagle above a swastika, a Nazi hourglass and a box of harmonicas.
Police say one of the most-compelling pieces of evidence of the historical importance of the find is a photo negative of Hitler holding a magnifying glass similar to those found in the boxes.
“We have turned to historians and they’ve told us it is the original magnifying glass” that Hitler was using, said Nestor Roncaglia, head of Argentina’s federal police. “We are reaching out to international experts to deepen” the investigation.
The photograph was not released to the public, but was shown to The Associated Press on the condition that it not be published.
The investigation that culminated in the discovery of the collection began when authorities found artworks of illicit origin in a gallery in north Buenos Aires.
Agents with the international police force Interpol began following the collector and with a judicial order raided the house on June 8. A large bookshelf caught their attention and behind it…