By David Gardner
The former first lady of Argentina has been accused of accepting Nazi treasures stolen from wealthy families during the Holocaust in return for using her country as a safe haven.
According to a new book, Eva Peron and her husband, former president Juan Peron, kept quiet about the number of Nazis who were hiding out in Argentina after the Second World War.
Among those who fled to the South American country was Adolf Eichmann, a key orchestrator of the concentration camps.
He lived under a false name and worked for Mercedes Benz until 1960, when he was kidnapped by Mossad agents and taken to Israel.
He was later faced trial and was hanged for the war crimes he committed.
Josef Mengele, the Nazi ‘Angel of Death’ responsible for human experiments on Holocaust victims, also found refuge in Argentina and lived in South America until his death in 1979 at the age of 67.
In ‘The Politically Incorrect Guide to Latin America,’ authors Leandro Narloch and Duda Teixeira wrote: ‘It is still suspected that among her [Eva Peron’s] possessions, there were pieces of Nazi treasure that came from rich Jewish families killed in concentration camps.
‘Peron himself even spoke of goods of ”German and Japanese origin” that the Argentine government had appropriated,’ they added.
Switzerland is said to have launched an investigation into whether Argentina deposited stolen Nazi loot in Swiss banks after the war.
In 1947, then First Lady Eva Peron included a brief trip to Switzerland during a publicity tour of Europe to try and boost the image of her husband’s regime abroad.
According to historians, she may have opened at least one secret Geneva account to stash funds and valuables she allegedly received from Nazis in exchange for Argentine passports and visas.
The second wife of Juan Peron, Evita was given the official title of ‘Spiritual Leader of the Nation’ by the Argentine Congress before her death from cancer in 1952 at the age of 33 and is still regarded as a national heroine.
Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner, the country’s first female president, said women of her generation owed a huge debt to Peron for her ‘example of passion and combativeness.’
The Quiet Nazis Hunted in Operation “Last Chance”
Adolf Eichmann hid under the alias of Ricardo Klement in Argentina as early as 1952. He raised his family and worked in a car plant.
During the war, Eichmann was the right-hand-man to S.S. chief Heinrich Himmler in the Third Reich – who was responsible for the trains that carried millions to their deaths at extermination camps in Nazi occupied Poland. Eichmann was hanged in Israel in 1962.
Josef Mengele was known for his horrific genetic experiments in concentration camps including the dissection of live babies and injecting dye into the eyes of prisoners. He hid out in Argentina until his death in 1979.
Several others escaped to Chile. Walter Rauff a high-ranking SS officer who invented the ‘Death Trucks’ – with which 500,000 prisoners were murdered with lethal gas at Auschwitz – arrived in South America in 1950. He spent a short amount of time in jail and died in Santiago in 1984.
Paul Schaeffer began his career in the Hitler Youth before rising through the ranks and arrived in Chile in 1960. He was a known paedophile but was not locked up by Chilean authorities until 1996. He died last April.
Operation Last Chance in an international campaign to bring remaining Nazi war criminals to justice by offering financial rewards for information leading to their arrest and conviction.