A sensational cache of Nazi artifacts that glorifies Adolf Hitler just found in Argentina is likely fake, according to a leading militaria collector and auctioneer.
Leading a chorus of doubters, Panagopulos said the media and Argentine government were duped by the "carnival-quality garbage."
Earlier this week, police revealed the discovery near Buenos Aires of some 75 pristine artifacts, including a bust of Hitler, Hitler youth harmonicas and calipers stamped with the swastika thought to have been used by death camp doctors to measure the size of prisoner heads.
"After investigating," said Marcelo El Haibe, police commissioner for the protection of cultural heritage, "we were able to discover those objects that were hidden behind a bookcase. Behind the bookcase there was a wall, and after that a door."
Behind a bookcase in Argentina, Nazi artifacts, including toys to teach children the superiority of the Aryan race https://t.co/VJCljpKT5n pic.twitter.com/igf4Qwyvrm— National Post (@nationalpost) June 20, 2017
The items were found in the home of an unnamed collector who faces charges. According to AP, police believe that they were owned by Nazis who fled Germany near the end of the war to South America, including notorious death doctor Josef Mengele.
Referring to toys in the collection, Haibe told the New York Times, "There are Nazi objects used by kids, but with the party's propaganda."
They are headed to the Holocaust Museum of Buenos Aires, still sanctioned as authentic by the police.
Claudio Avruj, the minister of human rights and cultural pluralism told Newsweek, "This decision to bring these pieces to the Holocaust Museum will put strong barriers against hatred and discrimination." Avruj added, "These facts show that the Holocaust did not end with the passage of time because there are people who try to keep this policy of death, discrimination and hatred alive."
But Panagopulos, who has for decades bought and auctioned thousands of Nazi and World War II artifacts including Hitler's hotline, Mengele's hand-written diaries, and Gen. George Patton's signed pistol holder, said the collection is just too good to believe.
While he has only seen the video and pictures provided by police, he called the items obvious replicas. He also dismissed some of the items as historical fakes, such as the harmonicas and swastika-stamped calipers.
"Just imagine: Nazi-approved children's harmonicas sold in boxed sets of six with what appear to be laser-printed labels, and presentation-cased, swastika-emblazoned medical measuring calipers," he mocked.
Panagopulos also took exception to the sensationalizing of the story with no expert analysis.
"There are millions of collectors of historic Allied and Axis militaria worldwide and this breathless portrayal of an alleged criminal also collecting these historic relics tars everyone with a broad brush," he said.
Paul Bedard, the Washington Examiner's "Washington Secrets" columnist, can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org