Argentinian police arrest biggest online distributor of Nazi propaganda

Argentina’s federal police have raided and closed down an online bookshop that sold Nazi content and material after a two-year investigation.

Police found “hundreds of books plastered with swastikas” when they raided a home in San Isidro, on the outskirts of Buenos Aires, said The Washington Post, some of which “glorified Adolf Hitler” while others denied the Holocaust. According to officials, it was the largest seizure of Nazi propaganda materials in recent Argentinian history.

More than 200 texts in total were produced by a “prolific” clandestine printing press, known as Librería Argentina. 

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The online bookshop’s alleged owner, a 45-year-old man who has not been identified, was arrested after police raided his parents’ home. The raid “was the tipping point” in an investigation that began in 2021, said The Washington Post, after the Delegation of Israelite Associations of Argentina (DAIA), who represent the country’s Jewish population, “raised alarms”.

“We’re still astonished by the amount of material,” federal police chief Juan Carlos Hernández said. “It’s historic. It’s truly a printing press disseminating and selling Nazi symbology, books and indoctrination.” The arrested man, Hernández said, sold “high-quality material” and had “a high level of purchases and inquiries”.

Librería Argentina sold books with “images of swastikas, iron crosses and the imperial eagle” of the Nazi party, said Reuters, as well as “Nazi propaganda texts”. Displaying Nazi symbols is a crime in Argentina.

“We are shocked by how profuse the material is,” said Marcos Cohen from the DAIA. “I don’t remember anything like this being found before.”

According to El País, the man was “operating as Argentina’s largest Nazi material distributor from his family home”. The investigation began when the DAIA made a complaint about a website disseminating antisemitic content and selling it through Mercado Libre, South America’s foremost e-commerce platform. Police said the man’s account was terminated, but he began to sell the materials through his own website.

Argentina has the largest Jewish population in Latin America, with many moving there after their expulsion from Spain and pogroms in Eastern Europe, and during the Nazis’ rise to power before the Second World War. After the Nazis were defeated, many of their officials also emigrated to Argentina to avoid trials for war crimes.

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