Table of Contents:
- Farm’s Nazi past still fresh for slave workers
- War criminals
- The Cruzeiro do Sul farm still bears the swastika marks from a forgotten piece of Nazi history, and a few survivors are still telling the tale.
There wasn’t anything unusual about the confluence of forced labor and Nazi identity, but the location of Cruzerio do Sul, roughly 6,000 miles from Germany, makes it unique. However, even before World War ll, the Nazis cast a long eye toward expansion in South America. In 1935, the SS sent a three-man expedition (The Guyana Project) into the Amazon that scouted for potential agriculture and settlement land.
And after WW ll, South America became home for several thousand Nazi war criminals. Josef Mengele, Auschwitz’s “Angel of Death” doctor, eluded an international manhunt for decades and was never captured, dying in Brazil at age 67. Walther Rauff, an SS colonel instrumental in the development of mobile gas vans, was directly involved in the deaths of 100,000 Jews, yet escaped to Chile after the war and died a free man in 1984. Adolf Eichmann, one of the architects of the Holocaust, found a hiding place in Argentina until he was captured in 1960 by Israeli Mossad agents and executed after a trial in Jerusalem.
It’s been roughly 80 years since the Nazis’ grandiose schemes began unfolding in South America; not that long ago considering survivors like Aloysia da Silva are still living: “I want compensation. I want an apology. But above all, I want to find out who my mother was and put some flowers on her grave.”
For more, see The Brazilian ranch where Nazis kept slaves