A new story has emerged on the strong presence of Nazism in Brazil before the Second World War broke out, where farmers and football teams all adopted the use of the Swastika. This comes as new information to former rancher Jose Ricardo Rosa Maciel, who claimed that nothing indicated the presence of a Swastika in his area. Pre-war Brazil had strong links with Nazi Germany as the two were economic partners and Brazil had the biggest fascist party outside Europe with 40,000 members.
History Professor Sidney Aguilar Filho investigated Maciel’s farm’s links to Brazilian fascists and discovered that the farm had once been owned by the Rocha Mirandas, a family of wealthy industrialists from Rio de Janeiro. Three of them were members of the Acao Integralista Brasileira, an extreme right-wing organisation sympathetic to the Nazis. The family sometimes held rallies on the farm but it also turned out to be a brutal work camp for abandoned and non-white children. With promises of football, horse-riding and other new activities, the children were tricked and subjected to endless work and beatings.
Photographs of Hitler were everywhere and people were forced to salute to him, despite not having much understanding of who he was or what he represented. Some people managed to escape but others were not so lucky. For more information and to read some testimony from survivors, have a look here.