During World War II, Brazil sent troops to fight with the Allies, and opened military bases to American forces. But after the war, Brazil became a destination for between 1,500 and 2,000 Nazi war criminals. One of the most notorious Nazis, Josef Mengele, lived for the last years of his life in Brazil, and died of drowning in the resort town of Bertioga in São Paulo. Alois Brunner, one of the most wanted Nazi war criminals who escaped capture, was rumored to have lived in Brazil.
But what fewer people know is that Nazis--both German and Brazilian--made attempts at establishing Nazi settlements in Brazil.
One of the known German attempts was the Guyana Project, as detailed in the 2008 book The Guyana Project: A German Adventure on the Amazon. A Nazi delegation traveled to the Amazon in the 1930s to search for land to colonize and to establish settlements. One of the explorers, Joseph Greiner, died of malaria or yellow fever, and a nine-foot high grave was erected near the Rio Jari. The author of the book found the grave, marked with swastikas, along with remains of dwellings. (See photos here.)
Revista de História recently made a short documentary about this case, which includes interviews with the farmer who originally discovered the bricks and several of those who were forced to work on the farm. There are Portuguese subtitles available.Image: Via "Entre a suástica e a palmatória"