Police in Argentina Discover Cache of Nazi Artifacts Hidden Inside a Secret Room

Hulton Archive/Getty Images
Hulton Archive/Getty Images

A gleaming bust of Adolf Hitler. Children’s toys and musical instruments emblazoned with swastikas. A tool once used to measure individuals’ heads as a way of gauging so-called "racial purity." Police in Argentina discovered these disturbing Nazi relics, and dozens more like them, hidden inside a suburban home’s secret room earlier this week. Together, they comprise the largest group of original World War II–era artifacts ever discovered in Argentina, according to The Washington Post.

As part of an investigation of suspicious artworks found at a Buenos Aires gallery, officials visited an unidentified collector's home in the nearby residential neighborhood of Beccar. They discovered a wall hidden behind a bookcase, and then a door, which led to a chamber containing both Hitler-era memorabilia and mummified animals and items from Egypt, Japan, and China, according to NPR.

Together, the room contained 75 Nazi artifacts, all of which likely belonged to high-ranking German officials during World War II. At least one of the items—a magnifying glass—may have personally belonged to Hitler himself, judging by accompanying photo negatives that show Hitler holding the identical lens.

Perhaps most chillingly, the cache contained "Nazi objects used by kids, but with the party's propaganda," federal police commissioner Marcelo El Haibe told The New York Times. "There were jigsaw puzzles and little wood pieces to build houses, but they always featured party-related images and symbols."

Nobody knows quite yet how the illegal artifacts made their way to Argentina, but they're still of "of great interest due to their historical value," Argentina's Ministry of Security noted in a Facebook statement.

Once authorities have wrapped up their investigation, the Nazi relics will be given to the Holocaust Museum of Buenos Aires, according to Newsweek. As for the collector, he or she is currently under investigation by a federal judge.

Following World War II, thousands of Nazi war criminals and collaborators—including prominent party figures like SS leader Adolf Eichmann and officer/physician Nazi doctor Josef Mengele—escaped punishment by fleeing to South American countries like Argentina. To this day, vestiges of their presence are periodically uncovered, ranging from secret jungle hideouts to the newly discovered cache of Nazi relics.

They serve as a continuous reminder of a dark chapter in both Argentinian and world history.

"When I see these objects, I see the infamy of that terrible era of humanity that has caused so much damage, so much sadness," Ariel Cohen Sabban, president of the Delegation of Israelite-Argentines Associations, told The New York Times.

[h/t The Washington Post]

Looking to Downsize? You Can Buy a 5-Room DIY Cabin on Amazon for Less Than $33,000

Five rooms of one's own.
Five rooms of one's own.
Allwood/Amazon

If you’ve already mastered DIY houses for birds and dogs, maybe it’s time you built one for yourself.

As Simplemost reports, there are a number of house kits that you can order on Amazon, and the Allwood Avalon Cabin Kit is one of the quaintest—and, at $32,990, most affordable—options. The 540-square-foot structure has enough space for a kitchen, a bathroom, a bedroom, and a sitting room—and there’s an additional 218-square-foot loft with the potential to be the coziest reading nook of all time.

You can opt for three larger rooms if you're willing to skip the kitchen and bathroom.Allwood/Amazon

The construction process might not be a great idea for someone who’s never picked up a hammer, but you don’t need an architectural degree to tackle it. Step-by-step instructions and all materials are included, so it’s a little like a high-level IKEA project. According to the Amazon listing, it takes two adults about a week to complete. Since the Nordic wood walls are reinforced with steel rods, the house can withstand winds up to 120 mph, and you can pay an extra $1000 to upgrade from double-glass windows and doors to triple-glass for added fortification.

Sadly, the cool ceiling lamp is not included.Allwood/Amazon

Though everything you need for the shell of the house comes in the kit, you will need to purchase whatever goes inside it: toilet, shower, sink, stove, insulation, and all other furnishings. You can also customize the blueprint to fit your own plans for the space; maybe, for example, you’re going to use the house as a small event venue, and you’d rather have two or three large, airy rooms and no kitchen or bedroom.

Intrigued? Find out more here.

[h/t Simplemost]

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Florence’s Plague-Era Wine Windows Are Back in Business

A wine window in Florence's Via Santo Spirito.
A wine window in Florence's Via Santo Spirito.

Many bars and restaurants have started selling takeout cocktails and other alcoholic beverages to stay in business—and keep customers safe—during the coronavirus pandemic. Meanwhile, 17th-century Florentines are surely applauding from their front-row seats in the afterlife.

As Insider reports, a number of buildings in Florence had been constructed with small “wine windows,” or buchette del vino, through which vendors sold wine directly to less affluent customers. When the city suffered an outbreak of plague in the 1630s, business owners recognized the value of these windows as a way to serve people without spreading germs. They even exchanged money on a metal tray that was sanitized with vinegar.

Wine not?sailko, Wikimedia Commons // CC BY-SA 3.0

Things eventually went back to normal, and the windows slowly fell out of fashion altogether as commerce laws evolved. This year, however, they’ve made a comeback. According to Food & Wine, there are currently at least four in operation around Florence. Osteria delle Brache in Piazza Peruzzi is using its window to deliver wine and cocktails, for example, and the Vivoli ice cream shop, a go-to dessert spot since 1929, is handing out sweet scoops and coffee through its formerly dormant aperture.

Apart from the recent resurgence of interest, the wine windows often go unnoticed by tourists drawn to the grandeur of attractions like the Uffizi Gallery and the Florence Cathedral. So in 2015, locals Matteo Faglia, Diletta Corsini, and Mary Christine Forrest established the Wine Window Association to generate some buzz. In addition to researching the history of the windows, they also keep a running list of all the ones they know of. Florence has roughly 150, and there are another 100 or so in other parts of Tuscany.

They’re hoping to affix a plaque near each window to promote their stories and discourage people from defacing them. And if you want to support their work, you can even become a member of the organization for €25 (about $29).

[h/t Insider]