Not all stories involving Those Wacky Nazis
are set in World War II. Sometimes they are set in the aftermath, or even the present. Some Nazis have escaped from defeat and/or trial, and are lurking in a hidden base laying plans to restore the Reich and Take Over the World
(as if a few guys in a hidden lab had better chances than a whole country). Or in more naturalistic stories, they're just trying to evade justice and fondly remembering what fun they had in the camps
. Perhaps the hero, or a Nazi Hunter
, is chasing such fugitives; perhaps they have treasures
, a Lost Technology
or a MacGuffin
, or perhaps they are simply seen around. Many times, said Nazis are hidden in Argentina or elsewhere
in South America.
Having actual WWII fugitives hanging around in the present is becoming a Dead Horse Trope
(except in period pieces) for obvious reasons - any survivors nowadays are going to be pretty ancient without some Nazi Superscience
to spruce them up. However, they could still be used as Back Story
, to give a run-of-the-mill Evil Scheme
that unmistakeable Nazi flavour. Or their children or grandchildren raised in "the faith".
There is some Truth in Television
to this: yes, several Nazis escaped to Argentina and were allowed safe- passage by the government of Juan Domingo Perón, most notoriously Adolf Eichmann (who was captured by the Mossad, put on trial in Israel, and executed in 1962) and Josef Mengele (who never did get caught, but allegedly died in a scuba diving accident off the coast of Brazil in 1979). As may be seen in some of the trope write-ups below, there was also a popular belief during the 1970s and 1980s that Martin Bormann, the most senior Nazi not accounted for in 1945, had escaped to South America, although it's now believed by most historians that he died in battle during the fall of Berlin. However, things were not so simple in real life. Several countries sought to receive the German scientists
that worked for Hitler and improve their national development, Argentina was one of those countries, but not the only one. The USA
, actually, got the most, including famous Wernher von Braun—although for the most part, the scientists were only working for the Nazis in the first place because nobody else was hiring
. The Argentine neutrality in World War II was not caused by popular support to Nazism (though there certainly was a notorious pro-axis feel at the time, mainly among the armed forces), but by mere localism: most people considered it a distant war between foreign countries, with no Argentine business at stake
. Other countries in South America gave Nazis sanctuary thanks to what is now a rather uncomfortable relationship between the Catholic Church (which was big in both Central Europe and South America) and fascism (which was also big in both Central Europe and South America). One hypothesis is that it was individual clergymen helping national figures escape a Communist crackdown. Another is that Vatican was seeking Catholic bulwarks against the Communist threat.
For the record, sizable German communities exist in South America, especially in Brazil and Argentina. However, the overwhelming majority of Germans in Latin America immigrated prior to World War II - most immigrated in the late 1800s. Argentina is also home to one of the largest Jewish populations in the world. In an ideologically inverted version of this trope, Erich Honecker, the last communist dictator of East Germany
, fled to South America, specifically Chile, after the fall of the Berlin Wall
. His widow, Margot Honecker, still lives there and remains a staunch Stalinist to this day.
Sometimes the escaped Nazis are hiding in Antarctica, or on the Moon.
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Anime and Manga
- In Hellsing, the Nazi Millennium organization went into hiding in South America after the War, preparing an army of artificial vampires to invade the UK at the end of the manga.
- In G.I. Joe: Special Missions #2, the Joes are sent to South America to extract an ageing Nazi, who is the only one who knows the details of a planeload of nerve gas frozen in a glacier, from a heavily fortified compound in the jungle.
- The map of the world in DC Comics' Flashpoint alternate timeline unusually used Brazil but the map appeared to indicate all of South America, more or less: "Brazil (Nazi-Occupied)"
- In the non-canon Hellboy/Batman/Starman crossover, the neo-Nazi Knights of October have an outpost in the Amazon jungle from which they attempt to summon an elder god.
- Herman von Klempt's hid in Brazil and continued his experiments.
- Retroactively used as Doctor Nemesis' "bus" in X-Men. After World War II he spent decades in South America fighting the efforts of Nazi mad scientists to found the Fourth Reich (and more recently, the Fifth Reich). However, after he became too widely known in the patently-insane-fascist-South-American-superhuman community, he decided to leave to help the X-Men. With science.
- When Captain America returned in The Avengers #4, they made the retroactive flashback of the plane, that Bucky was holding to while Captain America fell into the ocean and froze. That plane was part of a plot of Baron Heinrich Zemo (retroactively pointed as the archnemesis of Captain America and Bucky in WWII). What did Zemo do after the war? He stayed hidden in an unexplored jungle in South America, and led the Masters of Evil against the Avengers until he died in a landslide while fighting Captain America.
- In Hitman, when Tiegel's Nazi Grandpa dies, his old comrades come "from South America" for his funeral.
- In Catwoman #19, Catwoman heads to South America to retrieve a painting from an ex-Nazi who had later served with the KGB and had been allowed to retire with a handful of stolen artworks.
- One Punisher / Wolverine crossover has the two independently investigate a criminal haven in the South American jungle. At one point they find a bunch of blond muscleheads who worship a mummified corpse in Nazi garb. And if you still don't get it, Frank comments that you just add a little dirt on its upper lip and... Eventually they escape setting fire to the place in the process, with the cult's leader remaining to die in the flames.
- In the Taskmaster mini-series the Taskmaster ends up in a small South American town and is surprised to find that the entire village dressed as hitler (yes even the women and children). The villagers are apparently waging endless war on each other trying to take over each others houses and constantly backstabing the other villagers who ally with them. Turns out it was caused by solution created by the same people who made the hatemonger that was dumped into the water supply. The solution was ment to quickly imput the Nazi beliefs into people to resurrect the reich but when when it was spilled into thre water supply it ended up making every one think that they were Hitler.
- Requiem Chevalier Vampire Otto is killed as an old Nazi hiding in Argentina, sending him to Resurection.
- Nero: This comic strip has Adolf Hitler hiding on an unknown island somewhere twice. In "De Man Met Het Gouden Hoofd" ("The Man With The Golden Head") (1947) Hitler is discovered inside an igloo on the North Pole. In "Het Knalgele Koffertje" ("The Very Yellow Little Briefcase") (1958-1959) he is living on an exotic island somewhere. Though clearly not Latin America, left alone Argentina, it still deserves a mention for being one of the earliest pop culture references to Hitler still being alive somewhere.
- In Knowledge is Power the Death Eaters go into exile in Argentina, in possibly one of the strangest invocations of this trope ever.
- At the end of the World War 2 Era Uplifted Series, Tens of thousands of National Socialists escape to Spain and Argentina following the collapse of the National Socialist regime at the hands of the quarian/Wehrmacht alliance. Under the leadership of Ernst Kaltenbrunner they form a paramilitary organization known as Paladin Group and South America turns into their playground... a place where Nazi Hunters go to die.
- The 2013 Argentine movie Wakolda is framed around Josef Mengele's legendary stay in the Argentine city of Bariloche, in the early '60s. As the movie ends, Adolf Eichmann is captured by Mossad agents, and Mengele flees to Paraguay.
- In X-Men: First Class, Erik chases a Nazi to Villa Gesell, a city in Argentina. In the movie, it's an area of mountains and lakes, but the real Villa Gesell is a beach city, former hippie paradise.
- In OSS 117: Lost in Rio, 117 is sent to Brazil to obtain a list of French WWII collaborators from an old Nazi who's plotting to create a fifth Reich - because his fourth Reich attempt failed. His son disguises himself as a hippie.
- The Boys from Brazil (and the novel it was based on) are about a secret plot to raise clones of Hitler in, well, three guesses where. Though unlike the boys, Mengele is seen in Paraguay - his speculated location at the time of filming, and where he really went for some time. But in 1978 Mengele was really in Brazil, where he died an year later.
- In Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory, the Golden Ticket holder from Paraguay is revealed to be a fraud - a news photo shows him to be Martin Bormann, though in this continuity he's going by a Spanish surname.
- Referenced in Yellow Submarine. When the Chief Blue Meanie is defeated and asks where the Meanies should flee to, his flunky suggests, "Argentina?"
- That "flunky's" name is Max.
- The nazis in They Saved Hitler's Brain are hiding in the fictional South American country Mandoras.
- Notorious, in a variant on the trope, has the daughter of a Nazi spy recruited to infiltrate an order of Nazi fugitives in post-war Brazil.
- In The Money Pit, Tom Hanks' character is able to buy the house for a song from a lady whose husband turns out to have been Hitler's pool boy and had escaped to South America about three steps ahead of the Nazi hunters.
- In the final scene of Amen., the Doctor is preparing to catch a boat to Argentina.
- In the end of the French comedy film The Fuhrer Runs Amock, Hitler hides in South America dressed up as a stereotypical German girl.
- Averted in Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull. Frank Darabont wanted to use escaped Nazis as villains, but Lucas and Spielberg preferred to acknowledge the 50s time period and use Dirty Communists instead. Spielberg in particular disliked the idea of using Nazis again in a humorous fashion after filming Schindlers List. Even so, Darabont's final draft still featured one Nazi living among an Indian tribe in the Amazon. Lucas got rid of Darabont shortly after and the film went back into Development Hell, eventually hitting theatres with no Nazis.
- In French film The Damned, the Nazis and collaborators who board a U-boat as the war is ending have a plan to sail to South America. Somewhat subverted in that once they get there, they find no help from the agents who were supposed to assist them.
- In William Friedkin's 1977 film Sorcerer, Marquez is a former Nazi hiding out in the village of Porvenir.
- In Robert A. Heinlein's Rocket Ship Galileo the protagonists discover a hidden Nazi base on the Moon.
- Andrei Lazarchuk / Mikhail Uspensky's Look into the Monsters Eyes plays with the trope. In it there are two neighboring villages in Argentine, one Belorussian, and other Bavarian, with the catch that the first was created by the survivors of a partizan group hunted by the men of the second during the WWII. Both villages use this fact to bond over. And the real Nazi base is in the Antarctic, but by the time Adm. Baird's expedition finally gets there it was already destroyed by their experiments with the occult.
- Clive Cussler's 1999 novel Atlantis Found has Nazi villains living in Argentina.
- Incidentally, in Cussler's 2010 novel The Silent Sea, the totalitarian villains are actual Argentineans - the country has been taken over by fascists in-universe.
- Suspicion plays with the trope. Dr. Nehle, who may or may not have been a Nazi, was in Chile during the war.
- Two Graves plays with this trope by putting Naziland in Brazil instead.
- In The Onion's Our Dumb World, Argentina is desicribed as a "beautiful Nazi retirement community". Apparently it's filled with old Nazis who will not shut up about that one time they killed a little Jewish girl with the butt of their rifle, much to their grandchildren's annoyance.
- Part of Konrad von Glöda's backstory in Icebreaker involves him escaping to Paraguay with other Nazis after the Continuation War between Finland and Soviet Union was over. He grew frustrated living there, since most of his fellow fugitives weren't really into the nationalist socialist ideology anymore, and he decided to create the Fourth Reich himself.
- Shaun Ryder alludes to the conspiracy theories in the lyrics to Black Grape's "Reverend Black Grape".
"Old Pope he helped the Nazis/ To clean up all their messes/ In exchange for gold and paintings/ he gave them new addresses."
- The Sex Pistols: The band (minus Johnny Rotten, who had already left) visited Brazil in 1978 to record a single, "Nobody Is Innocent", with fugitive British train robber Ronnie Biggs who lived there. The video material ended up in "The Great Rock 'n' Roll Swindle" (1979), where a man in Nazi uniform can be seen in various scenes. According to the band it's supposed to be Martin Bormann (though looking nothing like him it all.)
- Music/Elvis Costello's "Less Than Zero" from My Aim Is True is a Take That to onetime British fascist leader Oswald Mosley and makes this suggestion.
They've got a thousand variations, every witness in a file
Jenny puts on some coffee and she comes back with a smile
She says, "I hear that South America is coming into style"
- This is the subject of The Fall's "Haf Found Bormann".
- Delta Green gives us the remnants of the Karotechia, Hitler's occult warfare division of the Ahnenerbe. They're staked out on a plantation in the depths of the Amazon, usually work through modern neo-Nazis, and most of them have one foot in the grave - though, in an aversion of the "fading threat" bit, one of them's stayed young and immortal due to cannibalistic practices, and may end up being the future of the group.
- In GURPS Technomancer, the Condor Group, comprising former SS magicians, essentially control Argentina behind the scenes after giving Eva Peron immortality.
- Illuminati has the South American Nazis.
- Almost a third part of Bloodrayne takes place in a hidden Nazi base in Argentina. Then again, another third takes place in Germany proper.
- In the I Have No Mouth and I Must Scream adventure game, Nimdok fled to Brazil to continue his experiments.
- Inverted in Wolfenstein: The New Order, an Alternate History game where killing the Big Bad at the top doesn't end the war because his more unhinged subordinates take over and play to win: Nazis taking over the world means that they (General DEATHSHEAD, Sergeant Keller, and Frau) now have private access to nuclear weapons and no fear of retaliation if they want to fire them at any country for kicks. So all the main characters in The Resistance flee to Germany.
- A possibility in Tropico 5 when transitioning from the World War era to the Cold War era. El Presidente can harbor "Axis" expatriates and gain the wrath of the international community in the next era or deny them asylum and face a violent invasion from the Central Powers.