BUENOS AIRES, Argentina (AP) — Argentina’s Federal Police shut down a publisher that sold books that praised Nazi ideology, seized hundreds of texts and arrested one person as part of what authorities characterized as a “historic seizure" of Nazi propaganda, officials said Wednesday.
Law enforcement officers seized around 230 books during Tuesday’s raids in the town of San Isidro, north of Buenos Aires, in which officials said they seized the largest number of texts praising Nazi ideology in recent years.
“We’re still astonished by the amount of material from what is truly a printing press for the dissemination and sale of Nazi symbolism, books and indoctrination,” Police Commissioner General Carlos Alejandro Ñamandú said. He went on to characterize it as a “historic seizure” of Nazi documents in Argentina.
Ñamandú described the books as “high quality,” although videos of the raids released by authorities suggested a homegrown operation rather than a large printing press.
Authorities detained Pablo Giorgetti, an Argentine national who is suspected of being the main person responsible for running the bookstore and has been accused of violating Argentina’s anti-discrimination law.
The bookstore’s website, which is still operational, had a large disclaimer on the front page that it sold books related to the two world wars that have been “marginalized from the more popular bookstores,” but warned that it did not “agree with them” and that the sale was meant for “collecting and research.”
Law enforcement officers seized numerous electronic and printing devices, as well as a large amount of Nazi propaganda material. They seized books ready for distribution that included images of swastikas, iron crosses and other Nazi symbols, an Argentine Federal Police unit said in a statement.
The mere display of this type of Nazi symbols amounts to a violation of Argentina's anti-discrimination law.
The material wasn’t just sold on the bookstore’s website, but also on numerous online outlets, such as Mercado Libre, the region’s largest online sales platform.
Although authorities did not detail how many items the bookstore had sold, they said that the seller had a high profile on the online platform, which suggests “a high degree of consultation and consumption.”
“This is the first stage of the investigation," Ñamandu said. "The first thing we did was cut off the sales and distribution channel. We’re moving on to a second stage. The law penalizes not only those who manufacture, but also those who buy.”
The raids Tuesday took place after an investigation that began with a complaint filed by the Delegation of Israeli Associations in Argentina (DAIA), the country’s main Jewish association, in 2021.
“It is astonishing that there are people producing this type of material, and it is concerning that there are people consuming it,” DAIA Vice President Marcos Cohen said.