Paraguay had strong ties to the Nazi party and was the first country outside Germany to establish its own Nazi party, in 1929. Hohenau, meaning ‘Mother of the Colonies’, was one of the first towns in Paraguay to be settled by German immigrants. During WW2 Hohenau’s Nazi sympathies attracted so much attention in World War II that American diplomats pressed Paraguayan officials to turn the town into a loose detention camp for Nazi leaders from around the country.
When the American President Roosevelt died, it is said everybody in Hohenau celebrated because he was an enemy of Germany.
The infamous Nazi , Dr Josef Mengele, once stayed here at the Hotel Tirol, before a call came at 1am and he left in the middle of the night. He was in room 26.While here , locals talked about how well he played the piano.
Mengele, known as the Angel of Death, was a Nazi German SS officer and a physician in Auschwitz Nazi concentration camp. He gained notoriety chiefly for being one of the SS physicians who supervised the selection of arriving transports of prisoners, determining who was to be killed and who was to become a forced labourer, and for performing human experiments of dubious scientific value on camp inmates including attempts to change eye colour by injecting chemicals into children’s eyes, various amputations of limbs, and shock treatments.
Most of those Mengele experimented on died, either due to the experiments or later infections. On several occasions, he killed subjects simply to be able to dissect them afterwards.
As one local recalls: “We marched to the goosestep, we sang the party’s songs, we used the swastika as a symbol, we were a proud German colony.”
In nearby Villarica , the Hotel Paraiso once displayed a model of a Nazi warship complete with swastika & bomber planes, as well as a complete Nazi airforce uniform & newspaper cuttings from 1944 plastered over a wall.