Bariloche – The German connection

I thought this excellent tour  called the German and Nazi connection deserved its own post. It takes place several times a week at 7pm from outside the tourist information offices by the civic center and if for nothing else it’s almost worth turning up just for the excellent guide Diego. From the mid 19th century ,15 millions Germans emigrated to the Americas in 3 waves. 200,000 came to Argentina. Bariloche has many German style housing which would not look out of place in Bavaria. The most relevant was the period up to and after the 2nd world war. Many came to Bariloche. In 1994 a man called Donaldson approached a man as he was coming out of the German Civic center and asked him outright if he was Erich Priebke to which he answered immediately he was. Priebke had been involved in the Ardeatine massacre in Rome on 24 March 1944 in which 335 civilians had been massacred in retaliation to a partisan attack that killed 33 SS police. He had escaped Germany after the war as had many Nazis and settled in South America. He was consequently extradited to Italy and handed a life long prison sentence. His defense was like many Nazis that  he had simply  been followingt orders and had personalty never killed anyone. We also found out that in the period before the war Hitler had called for Germans living overseas to return to join a new era in Germany. From Argentina 30000 returned. During the same period 30,000 jews escaped the Nazis and came to Argentina making it the 7 th largest Jewish community in the world. Another interesting thing was that in 1938 the Germans living here held a huge rally in the Luna park in Buenos Aires in support of the Nazis. Afterwards they were met with protesters and fight broke out. Lastly it is almost certain that Dr Mengele came to Bariloche for his honeymoon. The tour will also take you through a small park and you will see the house he once lived in.