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Police arrest Argentina’s biggest online distributor of Nazi propaganda and literature

The detainee printed and sold more than 300 titles on Adolf Hitler, Aryan ‘ethics,’ anti-Semitism and Holocaust denial from his family home in Buenos Aires

Buenos Aires Police officials during a conference, with some of the titles seized from Librería Argentina.Photo: POLICÍA DE BUENOS AIRES | Video: REUTERS
José Pablo Criales

A man who lived in the northern outskirts of Buenos Aires was operating as Argentina’s largest Nazi material distributor from his family home, federal police announced Wednesday after an investigation lasting nearly two years. According to the authorities, who arrested the suspect after agents staged an undercover purchase operation, he sold more than 300 titles, including Nazi propaganda, works glorifying Adolf Hitler, Holocaust denialism and World War II revisionism, through various websites.

The investigation began in mid-2021 following a complaint from the Delegation of Argentine Israelite Associations (DAIA). “We received a complaint about a website that disseminated anti-Semitic content online,” said Commissioner Fabián Villagra, head of the Terrorist Investigations Unit of the Argentine Federal Police. “The investigations lasted almost two years. Initially, we had a user name, to which we managed to put name, surname, and [identity] document. Then we arrived at the person’s home where the material was being printed.” The man, who has not been identified by the authorities, had been distributing the books on Mercado Libre, the largest online trading platform in South America. When his account was terminated, he continued through a webpage of his own.

Libros nazis
'The SS calls you,' one of the titles available on the detainee's website. José Pablo Criales

The detainee’s website, Librería Argentina, remains online and offers a catalog of hundreds of titles. His website describes itself as “specialized in war themes related to the two World Wars and the political, philosophical, and spiritual movements at work in them.” Describing the catalog as “marginalized books from the most popular bookstores regardless of their inclination,” some of the first titles on the list are related to fascism and Aryan “ethics.”

During the raid in the municipality of San Isidro, in the wealthy northern suburbs of Buenos Aires, authorities seized 222 books, 140 covers for unprinted copies, and two office printers. The haul seized by federal detectives was displayed Wednesday in a room at the headquarters of the Mounted Police Corps in the Argentine capital. Among the titles confiscated were various editions of Mein Kampf and a recruitment manual titled The SS calls you!

Investigators also found a wide variety of titles from around twenty different publishers, ranging from Holocaust denial and the bombing of Gernika by Nazi Germany and Francisco Franco’s Nationalists in Spain, to apocryphal biographies of American automobile magnate Henry Ford and Argentine anti-Jewish pamphlets. Many of the books displayed symbols such as swastikas, the Reichsadler — the imperial eagle of German National Socialism — and the Iron Crosses, a military decoration used by the Nazis during World War II.

The police used the latter to prosecute the crime under a law against discriminatory acts. “The mere exhibition of this type of symbology constitutes an infraction as it justifies, vindicates and even venerates the atrocities committed by the Nazi National Socialist regime against the Jewish community,” the authorities said in a statement.

Libros nazis
Some of the titles seized by the Buenos Aires Police.POLICÍA DE BUENOS AIRES

“It is incredible that there are people producing this type of material, and worrying that there are people who consume it. That is the challenge we have to work on,” said Marcos Cohen, a DAIA vice-president, during the announcement.

Librería Argentina will no longer be able to receive orders from customers, but many of its books are still circulating online in a word-of-mouth market among comments on other, less explicit titles. “Hello! I just bought this book, by any chance do you have The SS calls you! SS-Hauptmat Sieghels Edition?” asks one user in a post on the same e-commerce site used by the detainee. The seller replies: “Hello, good morning. Yes, we have it, but it cannot be published on Mercado Libre. We will write you privately to tell you how [it can be obtained]. If you have any queries, please contact us.”

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