SANTIAGO – Chile’s Civil Police declassified World War II-era files on Thursday that show Nazi agents in the South American country’s main port of Valparaiso plotted to destroy the Panama Canal.
The archive documents uncovered how Nazi supporters in the country aided the Third Reich, including supplying information and plans to bomb mines in Chile.
According to the 1937-1944 files released by Chile’s investigations police, the force’s counterintelligence unit thwarted the plan after it detained the people leading it in Valparaiso. No other details on the plot were provided.
The head of Chile’s investigations police said the Department 50 unit also dismantled two Nazi espionage networks operating in Chile at the time.
“If they had prospered in their objectives, it could have changed not only Chile’s history, but the history of the whole world,” said investigations police director Hector Espinoza. “I don’t think I’m mistaken when I say that the ones who really made history were the members of Department 50.”
The files were put in display at a ceremony in the Chilean capital, Samtiago. The director of Chile’s National Archives, Emma de Ramon, said that the documents, which can also be accessed online, are “original” and “reliable.”
The 80 files of documents were officially handed over to the country’s national archives office on Thursday and will be available for public viewing.
“Until yesterday, this was a state secret,” center-left lawmaker Gabriel Silber said after a ceremony to hand over the files. “Maybe, from today, we are going to recognize an uncomfortable truth that unfortunately some political and business figures in Chile supported the Nazis.”