The BBC have published a staggering report on Tuesday about a recently discovered Brazilian ranch where Nazis kept boy slaves who played football.
The story started with the discovery of a photograph from the 1930s on a farm deep in the countryside 100 miles from Sao Paulo, which showed a football team arranged for a team photo with their club flag, which had a swastika on it (see above).
The discovery was found by Jose Ricardo Rosa Maciel, who started piecing information together after he amazingly also found bricks with swastikas at his pigsty.
After bringing his finds to the attentions of experts, it was uncovered that Rosa Maciel was living on a property formerly owned by a family who were extreme right-wingers with sympathetic ties to the Nazis. The family bought orphan boys to be slaves on their ranch, and the only freedom the youngsters had came when they were allowed to play football.
Argemiro dos Santos, a former Brazilian footballer who played for Fluminense, Vasco de Gama, and Botafogo in the 1940s, and is now 89, has now come forward to admit he was one of the slaves. He told the BBC:
There were photographs of Hitler and you were compelled to salute. I didn’t understand any of it.
We’d have a kick around and it evolved. We had a championship – we were good at football. There was no problem.
At that time professional players didn’t exist, it was all amateur. I played for Fluminense, Botafogo, Vasco da Gama. The players were all newspaper sellers and shoeshine boys.
The BBC also added:
“The orphans’ only respite came in football matches against teams of local farm workers such as the one pictured in the photograph with the swastika flag. Football was key to the ideology of the integralistas. Military parades took place at the Vasco da Gama football ground and the game was regularly used for propaganda purposes under Brazil’s dictator, Getulio Vargas.”