Hunting Eichmann

Written by Neal Bascomb
Review by Gordon O'Sullivan


This is a fascinating account of the capture of Adolf Eichmann in Buenos Aires by Israeli agents, an event that made headlines around the world. In the first half of the book, Bascomb presents a vivid picture of the chaos of the end of the war explaining how many high-ranking Nazis, including Eichmann, managed to remain in Germany for years after the war. Eichmann, responsible for the gruesome logistics of the genocide of millions of Jews, escaped American custody in 1946 and managed to remain undiscovered in Germany until 1950, before escaping via a “ratline” route to Argentina. After a decade of relative anonymity in Buenos Aires, Eichmann was finally discovered in 1960 and during this meticulously planned and daring operation, he was smuggled by plane to Israel, where he was tried and hanged for crimes against humanity. The second part of the book focuses for the most part on the kidnap operation itself, bringing the Israeli operatives superbly to life, and painting brief but resonant portraits of the men and women involved, many of whose families had suffered directly at Eichmann’s hands. Bascomb also provides a striking comparison between the strutting wartime Eichmann and the feeble and isolated man he became in Argentina. Bascomb has drawn on archival material and interviews with the Mossad agents and people who knew Eichmann in Argentina. What he has pulled together is partly a journalistic exposé and partly a detective story, but the two are woven tightly together to make an absorbing whole. This book is very much recommended.