A Holocaust museum in Argentina still plans to go ahead with the opening of a new collection, despite a German historian saying most of its Nazi artefacts are fakes.
The Museo del Holocausto said the items in its collection, including a giant silver eagle, a Ouija board inscribed with Nazi symbols and a swastika-emblazoned instrument for measuring skulls, are real.
But Stephen Klingen from the Central Institute for Art History in Munich has now poured doubt on the 83 objects on display, just days before the museum’s grand reopening after a £4 million refurbishment.
Klingen said some were complete fakes and others date from the 1930s but have had their swastikas and other Nazi images added later.
Jonathan Krszenbaum, the museum’s director, said this did not invalidate them. “They are original objects – original from the period – even if they were modified later,” he said.
“The skull-measuring instrument, even if the swastika was added later, is still from the Nazi period, or from the pre-Nazi period, and as such it has educational value because it exemplifies the Nazi obsession with the question of race.”
However, taking Krszenbaum’s example, Klingen said the skull-measuring device was made between 1890 and 1910 so had no Nazi link, adding that the plaque attached to its case reading “Amt für Rassenpolitk” (“Office for Racial Politics”) was fake because no Nazi office existed under that name.