Society

The forgotten stories of Brazil’s concentration camps

After entering World War II on the side of the Allies, the Brazilian government opened a series of concentration camps housing German, Japanese, and Italian immigrants

concentration camps
Image: Menino 23/divulgação

During the 1930s, Nazi Germany was the second largest consumer of Brazilian goods. Brazil’s police and armed forces often visited Europe to receive training from the Gestapo, and the government handed over German Jews living in Brazil. In April 1942, not long after the Nazi party had decided on its “final solution to the Jewish problem,” 2,000 Nazis marched on the streets of Santa Catarina, in Brazil’s south, wearing full uniform.

At the time, Brazil was governed by President Getúlio Vargas. Elected by the people in 1930, he later became a dictator and — before joining World War...

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