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Seized Nazi currency donated to Argentina’s Holocaust museum

Buenos Aires, Mar 22 (EFE).- Currency of Germany’s Nazi regime seized by Argentine customs officials from a trafficker was turned over to the Museum of the Holocaust in Buenos Aires, authorities said Wednesday.

The 17 Nazi bills, including some for exclusive use by inmates of concentration and prisoner of war camps, were part of a haul of $120,000 worth of coins and paper currency taken from a trafficker who arrived in the Argentine capital by boat from neighboring Uruguay, the General Customs Directorate said.

The Argentine customs agents searched the trafficker’s luggage after receiving an alert from Interpol, according to the statement.

Besides the Nazi money, the smuggler was carrying currency issued in 1942-1945 by the wartime German administration in occupied Ukraine.

The five bills of Lagergeld (camp money) are labeled as only valid inside camps or at specifically designated locations beyond the gates for prisoners sent to factories or other businesses on work details.

Judge Javier Lopez Biscayart, who heard the case against the trafficker, accepted a request from the Museum of the Holocaust to order the confiscated Nazi currency to handed over to the institution.

“In line with what is established by UNESCO and the World Customs Organization, we stopped a maneuver of illicit trafficking in cultural goods,” Argentine customs chief Guillermo Michel said, adding that the directorate was determined to see the items “returned to society in a beneficial way.”

“These bills of Nazi Germany were produced by a regime of hate, responsible for the extermination of 11 million people, among them the 6 million Jewish victims of the Shoah (Holocaust),” museum president Marcelo Mindlin said.

“We will put them at the service of the construction of memory, of education, and of the struggle for democratic values, to prevent similar crimes against humanity,” he said. EFE rgm/dr

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