Conversation with a Nationalist Socialist
La Lagunilla, one of the biggest markets in Mexico City, is a boiling mass of furniture, cheap jeans, cameras, shoes, tacos, antique fur coats, old photographs, contemporary art, beer stalls, BBQs and practically anything else that you can think of. Whilst ambling through the hundreds of stalls that spring up each weekend at the market, NewCorrespondent stumbled upon a number of stalls selling paraphernalia from the Second World War.
Not only was the store selling original and replica objects that are testament to one of the most horrific chapters in European history, but the store’s owner claimed to be a Nationalist Socialist himself. Here’s what he had to say:
AP = Augustin Perez
NC = NewCorrespondent
NC: What sorts of clients do you have? Do they come from a particular social class?
AP. We have all sorts – people from the lower classes to people who pay between 30 and 40 thousand pesos for a piece [40 pesos = $3,600 or £1,800].
NC: Is that the most you’ve sold things for?
AP: Yes, this is the most that I make. There are people with no money who just buy a little insignia for 30 pesos, little things, very cheap.
NC: What is the most expensive thing that you’ve sold?
AP: Various things – an official cap with a coat – we sold that for 40 thousand pesos.
NC: Where do these things come from?
AP: We get them all form the same circle of people, who like us are dedicated to collecting things from the Second World War. Some people a lot of the time don’t know what they have in their house, but they sell it. Original pieces have also come to me because people see that it has a Swastika and they don’t want it – in this way I’ve managed to get some Crosses of Honour from the German Army.
NC: Do you go to markets or private houses to get these things?
AP: Private houses and markets, this flea market specialises in antiques, there are other fleamarkets which have a lot of junk, lots of old metal – you can find really cool things.
NC: You go hunting through junk in el Bordo de Xochiaca, for example (another fleamarket)?
AP: There you can find everything, en la San Felipe (another fleamarket) you need to have a good eye for what you’re looking for and be able to recognize the original pieces. You find things that are of very good quality, that seem original, but they’re not.
NC: None of these pieces here are original?
AP: No, the only original thing that I have here is this photograph and this stamp. I always bring just one stamp (I leave the whole set at home so as not to damage it). The price of the item will change according to the state it’s in. What we see here is a replica of a German medal for man to man combat, it was one of the highest decorations, and not many wore it. After five fights of man on man combat in the war the army would award this medal. This is a replica; it sells for a hundred dollars.
In reference to this photo, the state of the piece influences the price. In this case photographs of the German Army are cheap, the price is between 15 and 25 dollars depending on the photograph. In the case of photos of concentration camps, or the SS…
NC: You have photos of the concentration camps?
AP: Yes, I have original photographs from Auswitch, not those that you’ve seen – actually photos of the camps.
NC: How did you get them?
AP: The same – these pictures have been very well looked after, because they’re very fragile.
NC: How did you come to be doing this?
AP: When I enlisted in the Army, I made a friend (I was in Chiapas), and one day he showed me an insignia, which I liked a lot. And so we started to talk and he showed me his collection and from then he awakened in me a taste for these things. Before he introduced this to me I was ignorant of the reality of the things, and like all was against all of it. I didn’t know anything – like the whole world I hated the Nazis in my life I had never had contact with an original relic. After some time I started to find original pieces and to investigate and came upon lots of rare books.
NC: Which books do you remember having read?
AP: The book "Global defeat" is one of the oldest that I've read, this is a really old item. The majority of people have read "The Diary of Anne Frank" – I think it’s a lie. Also "The ovens of Hitler", "My Fight", and when I read "Mein Kampf" for the first time, it was the commercial edition for the whole world, but compared to the original text it doesn’t have anything to say.
NC: Do foreigners buy things here?
AP: Yes, some do.
NC: Do you find that these things can be controversial?
AP: Yes, these things cause controversy, but there are a wide range of opinions. They are people who attack you even if they don’t understand things, but there are also people who attack you who do understand things. Personally, I enjoy discussing with experts even if they don’t agree with me. I can learn a lot from them, and am grateful to have a discussion with someone that knows what they’re talking about than with someone who says ‘this is racist, this is hate, this is bullshit.’ From the moment that a person starts to say this, they’re showing me their culture and the level of knowledge that they have. A real expert is never going to express things like that about art, collecting or other things. I have some clients who are Jews, who buy a lot of things from me, to talk about this issue is really big, for a lot of people to be a Nazi is to wear a Swastika but behind all of this is an ideology and a way of thinking that if very different to what most people understand. People who get it have read the Talmud, they’ve read the Torah, they know about Jewish customs and the Masons. Strangely, the people who attack us here call us fascists, but the fascism of Mussolini is not the same thing as the National Socialism of Hitler. These people don’t know how to distinguish one from the other. In terms of fascism, many people think that it’s a new political idea, but fascism comes from old Roman Times. In Mexico, we have a strong sense of nationalism.
NC: Is there a fascist movement in Mexico?
AP: Yes, there is a fascist movement and national socialist movement in Mexico. The national movement that they’re driving here is concerned with patriotism, customs, traditions. Others groups exist that don’t understand how to apply National Socialism in Mexico. We have problems in Mexico with groups that claim to be Aryan, when here in Mexico they can’t talk about Aryanism because there is no such thing as a pure race.
NC: Are there groups in Mexico that consider themselves Aryan?
AP: Yes there are. It’s only a handful of people that because they’re quite white skinned, they think they’re Aryans.
NC: What are your political beliefs?
AP: I’m a hundred per cent Nationalist Socialist. After Augustin said this, an old man who was listening the whole time raised his arm in a Nazi salute, in agreement.
AP: I am going to repeat to you the words of the Fuhrer: "The National Socialism is not an imported product. But National Socialism changes because it has to adapt to the country in which it is being practiced." We don’t have to speak German, or practice German customs or traditions to be national socialists – we have our own customs in this country.
NC: Why did you leave the army?
AP: I finished my contract, and also the psychological impact of the army was very difficult. The things you see…war isn’t easy. In theory to shoot a gun at another person is something anyone can do. Anyone can take a gun and shoot it, but in practice it is something terrible, although the person that you have killed serves political reasons, in terms of humanity it’s horrible to kill someone. I was in active combat, 17 objectives in my service documents. My specialty was large weapons like rifles. At this time, a young, thin white man arrived and Augustin told us that he is a client who collects rare insignias and caps.