Nazi memorabilia bound for museum found to be fake
A trove of Nazi memorabilia that was going to be displayed at the Holocaust Museum in Buenos Aires has been found to consist largely of fakes.
The haul was discovered in June 2017 in a suburb of the Argentinian capital and included a bust of Adolf Hitler, binoculars and war medals.
Police seized 75 items at the time and experts have since confirmed that just 10 are genuine.
The museum said in a statement that, following an assessment by German investigators, it will not display any of the inauthentic artifacts.
Reuters reports that the articles were due to go on display in December.
After World War II, many Nazis fleeing prosecution settled quietly in Argentina, where President Juan Perón gave them a chance to start a new life.
Today, more than 3.5 million people of German descent live in the South American country.
Dr. Stephan Klingen, of the Central Institute for Art History in Munich, traveled to Argentina to examine the objects in March 2018, and 32 other experts were consulted as part of the process.
Klingen told CNN that multiple errors gave the artifacts away as fakes.
“The signage of the objects has multiple spelling errors, the National Socialist symbols were used in the wrong context,” he said, adding that Nazi institutions had been given the wrong names on certain items.
Ten objects were found to be genuine, but most were pre-1945 objects modified at a later date to add a Nazi connection, said Klingen.
He concluded that multiple linguistic errors suggest changes were made outside German-speaking areas, with a view to selling them to “people who are fascinated by National Socialism.”
The museum, which is preparing a new exhibition, put out a statement Friday in response to the findings.
“Those objects identified as fakes will not form part of the new exhibition,” it said.
There is a lucrative market for Nazi artifacts around the world.
A pair of underpants believed to have belonged to Hitler’s wife, Eva Braun, sold for £3,700 ($4,620) at an auction in Britain in September.
Auction house Humbert & Ellis also sold a gold-plated bracelet bearing a swastika, which belonged to the wife of Nazi leader Hermann Göring.