Review: Hunting Eichmann: How a Band of Survivors and a Young Spy Agency Chased Down the World’s Most Notorious Nazi – Neal Bascomb

Hubting Eichmann 2 Neal Bascombe

My version: Paperback
Genre: Non Fiction, Nazis, Israel, Eichmann
First published: 2010
ISBN: 9781849162340
Pages: 416

From the cover:
The first complete narrative of the pursuit and capture of Adolf Eichmann, based on groundbreaking new information and interviews and featuring rare, never published Mossad surveillance photographs.
When the Allies stormed Berlin in the last days of the Third Reich, the operational manager of the mass murder of Europe’s Jews shed his SS uniform and vanished.
Bringing Adolf Eichmann to justice would require a harrowing fifteen-year chase stretching from war- ravaged Europe to the shores of Argentina. Alternating from a criminal on the run to his pursuers closing in on his trail, Hunting Eichmann follows the Nazi as he escapes two American POW camps, hides in the mountains, slips out of Europe on the ratlines, and builds
an anonymous life in Buenos Aires.Meanwhile, a persistent search for Eichmann gradually evolves into an international manhunt that includes a bulldog West German prosecutor, a blind Argentinean Jew and his beautiful daughter, and a budding, ragtag spy agency called the Mossad, whose operatives have their own scores to settle. Presented in a pulse-pounding, hour-by-hour account, the capture of Eichmann and the efforts by Israeli agents to secret him out of Argentina and fly him to Israel to stand trial bring the narrative to a stunning conclusion. Hunting Eichmann is a fully documented, finely nuanced history that offers the intrigue of a detective story and the thrill of great spy fiction.

Hunting Eichmann Neal Bascomb

I read Hunting Eichmann last in the (so far) series of books I have read about the hunt for Nazis in general and Eichmann in particular. It is indeed a painstakingly put together portrait of Eichmann – his career in the Nazis, and his escape from Allied prison (they didn’t know who they’d got, in fact, they didn’t at that point know that he was the one responsible for the running of the Nazi Final Solution) his life on the run before his flight to Argentina, his life before his capture on Garibaldi Street, Buenos Aires; of how the Israelis came to the decision to go after and capture him (because, capturing him and bringing him back for trial, wasn’t often anywhere near the most popular option); then of his trial and execution. It smashes his attempted defence of merely following orders (though, of course, he wasn’t the only one to try this angle), or only being a minor official and that ‘others’ took the real decisions, and that he never killed anyone. Never ‘actually’ killed anyone, would be more accurate.

Hunting Eichmann Neal Bascombe
Hunting Eichmann 3 Neal Bascombe

The book confirms – because these days that sort of thing actually is, if you can believe it, necessary – what the Peter Malkin book says and most of the references to the Eichmann hunt from The Nazi Hunters. Which is interesting, as The Nazi Hunters does mention some people’s opinions that some participants in the hunt, played up their part, shall we say. Over exaggerated. The parts of Peter Malkin’s book detailing his conversations with Eichmann in the safe-house in Buenos Aires, is also confirmed, though (and without checking the dates of publication), I would suggest that Neal Bascombe has read Peter Malkin’s book before he wrote this one. It also details more about the Mossad wanting to go one further while they were on the ground in Argentina, and capture Mengele as well. One of the agents sent to capture him, or at least see if it was possible, saw Mengele, but got ordered to return, and the chance was gone. Mengele died in a swimming accident a number of years later.

It is very readable and dramatic, without over doing it for excitement’s sake. There is enough tension and drama in the situation and the story itself, without anyone building it up any more. A well presented, well written and always compelling story. Recommended reading.

I have put together a Pinterest Board for Hunting Eichmann, Eichmann In My Hands and The Nazi Hunters, for you to peruse while reading the book, or just to peruse.

You can buy Hunting Eichmann: How a band of Survivors and a Young Spy Agency Chased Down The World’s Most Notorious Nazi from The Book Depository

The cover image, is of Eichmann’s ‘Ricardo Klement’ identity papers

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