tv The Capture of Nazi War Criminal Adolf Eichmann CSPAN December 30, 2020 5:55pm-7:00pm EST
war to museum in your, leans this is an hour. good evening everybody, i'm the associate vice president for our media and education center here at the museum, first in keeping with our tradition i would like to recognize any world war ii veterans, holocaust survivors. if you are president please stand or wave. it's always a honor to welcome. you this is your museum. even if there is no one here, we should still clap. i'd also like to take this moment to recognize any active duty personnel, also please stand or wave to be recognized. thank you for carrying on the legacy of the great world war ii generation. i would like to welcome all of you to the special evening with
acclaimed author, neal bascomb, neal did a webinar with almost 2000 students as part of our holocaust education program which has been a very well received, a fantastic program. tonight's program is part of our most recent special program which i hope many of you are able to see in the last hour while you were here. the capture of adolf eichmann, courtly in display in the whole of democracy, the special exhibition hall. this is presented here in new orleans and it is a wonderful coat production, several of our steamed partners. the museum of the jewish people in tel aviv israel. the message secret intelligence service, and to heritage in cleveland, ohio. for those of you if you haven't been able to see the exhibit yet it's open until january 5th
and we encourage you to come back and attend if you haven't seen it yet. this tells us the story of one of world war ii's most interest nazi criminals. adolf eichmann manage the transport of millions to world war ii death camps. after the war, he vanishes a no one knows where he is. -- israel intelligence agency tracked eichmann down, captured him, brought him to israel where he stood trial for his crimes. in his work, neal bascomb has presented the true story as gripping lee as any spy novel you might read. -- have been raving about, it as i said earlier the students really enjoyed the webinar with you. we are really happy to have you. -- his works which have been translating to more than 15 languages, focus on true
stories of venture or achievements. the story he tells about eichmann fits well into the medium's mission. it's also the goal of democracy to present stores like this. one lesser-known stories from the war. it's been particularly meaningful to hear the emotional connection that our audience has been making to this war. honoring the men and women who worked so hard to make sure that he didn't get away with atrocities committed during the war. without further ado, i would like to bring to the stage, author neal bascomb. [applause] >> good evening everybody. earlier, one of the staff here asked me if i get nervous speaking in front of audiences like this. the truth is there's probably
still a small part of me that gets a little bit nervous but after those 3000 middle schoolers i think i can handle this crew here tonight i have written a lot of different books about many vastly writ subjects i've written about the black sea, john banister breaking the four minute mile. the sabotage of the nazi program. my most recent book is about the david and goliath story about the jewish race car driver taking on silver as well before the war. people often ask me how do you choose the subjects? i don't quite understand. my wife rather ungenerously says i pick them based on where i want to travel next i don't think that's necessarily true. what i look for is to introduce stories of people doing what we
think is impossible. stories of ordinary people putting through extraordinary situations and getting through. it my first question is something to have something to say about the story, and the story about adolf eichmann and his capture, -- the adult version, this story was largely myth. it was largely written by the people who were involved in the operation, namely esther around, and if you took his word for it he heard that eichmann was in argentina and he lapped both feet forward, everything went swimmingly, nothing went wrong. it was a perfect operation from start to finish. that could not be further from the case. so gathering together all of the various massage agents and all the other people involved in the investigation, closing
archival information i was able to hopefully tell the story in a faithful way to would actually happen. the second story that i ask is does the story have something important to say? i think of all of the box that i've written this has the most import thing to say. namely about memory, and the importance of justice. i came to the story and college actually. i was living in luxembourg, and studying history there, and economics in my junior year and i didn't have much money, as most juniors and college do not. so i walked dogs. a very glamorous job. i walk dogs for extra cash. one of the people who was my client turned out to be a holocaust survivor. she had this little yuppie but who was terrible, but she was a lovely person. should bring me over 40 afterwards. after we got to know each other
she told me she was a survivor. she told me she had never really spoken about what happened to her during the war. she never felt able to tell her story. until adolf eichmann was captured, until the story about the holocaust was heard at the trial afterwards. for her it gave her in a sense permission to little story. so i thought leader as i turn to be a full-time writer here is this terrific narrative, this incredible spies story which actually is a remarkable impact on history. so that's why i told this story of eichmann. now let's first talk about adolf eichmann. i will just briefly give you a sort of snapshot of who he was, it's important to the context. he joined the secret services in 1932, shortly before hitler rose to power. and 1933 and 1934 he took on
the position as head of the jewish department. . his role was essentially to help target jews in germany, and help make plans for the future in order to immigrate down and push them out of germany. by the time 1938 comes, the idea of immigration is now forced deportation. he is put in charge as soon as germany annexes australia sent to austria. he sends a note back to a friend, quote unquote, they are finally in my hands. they are finally in my hands. so we have this idea of adolf eichmann, i don't know if there are any he had a rent themes in here who wrote about the trial. argued that adolf eichmann was sort of just a cobb in the wheel of the nazi machine.
he didn't necessarily have any demonic bent towards the jews or otherwise. that could be further from the case. he was committed to his job, absolutely. by 1944 he had become as he titled himself the master of the juice. he was the operational master of the execution of the holocaust. whenever germany invaded a country he would go in, he would target the jewish population. he would generally start from the outer regions, from the main cities, and then work his way towards the urban centers, moving the jews into camps, and then sending them into extermination camps. his masterwork as he called it wasf 724,000 jews living in hungary by the time. six months later when he was finished his work, 450,000 of them had been sent to the camps. that is who adolf eichmann was.
when the war was almost up, and his superiors worsened we need to stop killing jews. we need to use them as bargaining chips, now that the war has gone sour, adolf eichmann continued his work. he continued his work to such a level that he was called by handler, and he was ordered to stop. that was adolf eichmann. this is him. remember this, and the sort of power of that face, and the determination on it, because it will look conversely to the individual d.c. later on in the presentation. when the war was over, eichmann escaped. he ran. he went to northern germany. he worked, hidden trees, hit out there for a couple of years. his knee was largely unknown
along the allies. during the interim big trials, when the name eichmann was first presented, one of the judges wrote on the side of the piece of paper, who is adolf eichmann? he had a relatively low rank, even though he had massive power over the jews. people didn't know who he was outside of germany, largely. it wasn't until all the trials outside nuremburg that it became clear, his name meant something important. so he escapes to northern germany, remains there. by 1950, he begins to make his we down through germany into austria, into italy, thanks to help of many members of the catholic church heading out in monasteries along the way. he gets himself on about to argentina. this is actually the red kraft
task force that he used to escape europe. i found this actually in the argentinian court system. almost 50 years after he used it. you notice here at the name ricardo. that was the aliens that he took on. it took about argentina. people often ask me why argentina? why did he go there? the country was a haven for escaped nazis. largely because he wanted to use them to help bolster, and help his state. juan perrone, just to give you an idea who juan perrone was, he said that the nuremburg trials were the worst atrocity of justice. that is who juan perrone was. eichmann arrives in argentina. goes out to the countryside.
he works as a dm engineer. he was provided an i.d., a passport, a job, money, he was provided a whole life when he arrived in argentina. he eventually brought his wife, and his three sons to argentina with him. he was living free. so let's move on to the people who were involved in actually bringing him to justice. and the first person that i would like to mention is one of the important ones. if this individual here. simon wiesenthal now we all have this idea, or many of you may, simon wiesenthal this important, famous historic nazi hunter. right? imagine simon wiesenthal in 1945. he was a former architect. he had no police experience. he stumbled out of the concentration camp wingless
than 100 pounds. he was a big guy. six feet tall. he was determined though to do one thing. he had a very keen memory of all of the people, all the guards names, all the various details of the camps, but he was determined to go after these war criminals. one of the chief people on that list was adolf eichmann. and he did three important things over the course of 1945 to 1948. those two things were one, he determined that adolf eichmann was still alive, or more accurately, he was no longer dead. he petitioned the german a government to declare eichmann had died on the eastern front. for reasons i won't go into, approve that is not the case. the second thing that wiesenthal did was collect evidence of what eichmann did to the jewish people during the war, evidence that was
disappearing in many respects. the third thing that he did was he discovered a photograph of eichmann. now adolf despite only being lieutenant colonel, believed in his heart that he would be sought after after the war. so he made his mission to never be photographed. so that there was no evidence of what he looked like when he was on the run. he made the mistake of have an affair, and taking a picture with one of the individual that he was having an affair with. simon wiesenthal found this woman and found the photograph of eichmann. but it all comes to not, really. in 1948, 1950, simon wiesenthal and friedman, i glanced at him, they were really the only two people going after these were criminals, trying to find them,
both of them largely gave up by 1950. they collected their documents, clutch other stuff, put it away in their proverbial garages, and eichmann was free. no one was looking for him. 1957, eichmann is in argentina. he is working from the dam. and he dissolves as a human being. he drinks a lot. smokes about -- a lot. he is in the german club, proclaiming that he would happily jump in his grieve knowing that 5 million jews would meet him there. he was a pry even within the german community in buenos aires. he works as a rabbit farmer. he unsuccessfully starts eight laundromat business, that's a failure. i'll autumn my bio plan, and his sons are, there it turns out that sylvia herman, this
young lady on the, left she finds herself dating a young man named nicholas eichmann in 1957. again, this eichmann name is aiming to be sought after. the world doesn't know that name, really. nothing is thought of it. sylvia is dating nicholas eichmann. they're having dinners, she invites him over for dinner at her house with her father and mother. he was blinded while in prison, escaped germany before the world war began. nicholas is having dinner, and he doesn't know that soviet is half jewish. he declares that it is too bad
that the germans didn't finish off the jews during the war. like father, like son, sylvia, of course, you can imagine how long that relationship lasted after that. although nothing was set at dinner. they quietly took that in. the relationship had ended. your passes. a year, passes and sylvia is reading the newspaper to her father, as she did. the german newspaper to her father. they come across the story about this west german prosecutor, dr. fritz bower, dr. fritz bower is the only individual even thinking about pursuing world criminals, he is going to publish a list of the top war criminals that he wants to go after. and on that list is adolf
eichmann. sylvia is reading this newspaper, report to her father, dick come across the name, adolf eichmann and there is a hesitation. there is a stop. the biggest have this conversation about whether or not it is possible that nicholas eichmann is the set of adolf eichmann there are a few things that sylvia knows, one nicholas never met her to his house. to, he had said that nicholas had said that his father was a high ranking officers during the war. and three, actually just to. that is what they talked about. those two things. so they have a suspicion. so they begin to suspect and decide, what are they going to do? they are going to this -- write a letter to doctor fritz bauer. i believe the letter is in this marvelous exhibit you have here in the museum. in that letter, they essentially say, we read your
newspaper article and we believe that adolf eichmann might be living here in buenos aires. you can imagine what they thought would happen after that. maybe it was similar to the story told in his memoir. that spies would come in leaping out of the would work and sees him and capture him the next day. but this letter goes all the way to west germany and fritz bauer receives it. the question is, what is he going to do with it? he can't go to anyone within his government really. half of the west german government was largely made a former nazi officials. he decides i can interpol, but interpol is not interested. he could go to the americans with this information, and he does at one point, and the american cia, it's in the archives in d.c., they sent back a letter saying, quote
unquote, we are not in the business of apprehending war criminals. and so fritz bauer says, okay. no one is going to help me. so he writes a letter back to sylvia and her father. in that letter, he includes the photograph of adolf eichmann. he includes details of what he looks like and sounds like, the impression that he made that was described by many people as you saw in that photograph of. his large and powerful presence. he says to sylvia and low far in the letter, to basically go find him. go see if you can determine, with 100% accuracy, that that is eight off eichmann. go find one of the worst war criminals in history, you this 18 year old young lady and her blind father. what is incredible in this story is that they actually do it. they are now living outside of
buenos aires. they take a train into the city. eventually, they determine where nicholas is living, through friends, and sylvia goes, as was written, in a pretty little dress to the door, to this two bedroom small one story house and knocks on the door. who answers but ricardo clementa? eight off eichmann. you can imagine he invites her in. nicholas is not there and they are having a conversation. she cannot quite determine one way or another whether this person, and you will see later in this presentation what he looked like by the time of his capture, they were to largely different men. they almost looked like two different people. so she could not quite tell one
way or another whether it was him. she asked him who he was. he said i'm nicholas is uncle, i'm living here. that's really where the conversation ends. suddenly nicholas eichmann comes in. you can imagine your ex girlfriend showing up to your house. that is bad enough. even worse is you know your father is the war criminal. that he's living hundred an alias. but nicholas eichmann, not being terribly bright, perhaps sylvia and store -- sort of assures her out of the house and says i will be right back father. you guys got that, right? i can always tell if the audience is playing -- paying attention if they get that. so sylvia determines this is very likely adolf eichmann. again, another letter finds its way all the way across the sea
to dr. bower -- to doctor bauer. doctor bauer decides he has enough information, he's going to do something about this. no international organization will help me. i will go to the one people who should actually care about these war criminals. i will go to the israelis. so he does not actually fly there. he can base his information through back channels and it reaches this individual here. this man was a very powerful individual within the newly formed israeli government. he was head of the assad. it's essentially like being the head of the cia and the fbi simultaneously. again, a very important and powerful individual, this job was to protect the state of israel from its neighbors. his job was not to pursue war
criminals, to look into the past, to find justice. so he feels like i can't just sweep this under the rug like most of the world had done with what happened in the holocaust. i have to do something, so i will do the least i can possibly do. i will send a police investigator, just a normal police investigator, to argentina to determine if this information is accurate. the man he sent had no experience working over seas and did not speak a lick of spanish he sends mr. hofstetter to argentina. he spends a few weeks. he does not spend much time in
surveillance. he just looks at the house. he sends a report back to isser harel, quote unquote, there is no way that adolf eichmann could live in such a, quote, wretched little house. and the investigation is over. it's tabled, it is shelved, it's put in a drawer. isser harel has done his job. he put a stamp on it. let's move on. over the course of researching a book, as anyone who has researched history knows, you just can't find a fact. this fact is that doctor fritz bauer was delivered a second source in 1959, a few months after this. a second source that determined the same exact information that sylvia and her father had written about where eichmann
was living and working. under wet name he was living. it also had information like when he arrived in argentina. wet jobs he was given. how much he made. everything that you would need to know. it's psyched up perfectly with wet sylvia had found. we now know that this came from the west german security services, but that information prior to that, when i was writing this, was not available. regardless of that, fritz bauer is now in a fury. he's had this information for about 18 months. where eichmann is living. he does not know if adolf eichmann is going to stay there. he does not know if he's going to be tipped off. he doesn't know anything. so, this time he gets on a plane personally, flies to israel, gets into a room with isser harel and the attorney general of israel and says, you
must go after adolf eichmann. he is here. go. he is so convincing that isser harel is a bit shamed into acting now. he feels compelled to do something. he cannot deny now that this is adolf eichmann and this is where he's living. so what does isser want to do? he wants to kill him. he wants to send an agent to buenos aires. he wants to bring eichmann down a dark alley, he wants to arrange a car accident, he wants to assassinate him quickly and quietly and be done with him. this individual here, many of you may recognize him, the head of the israeli government. he has a very different idea when convey this information. david ben-gurion season opportunity here. an opportunity to make and
define history. the states very clearly why he wants to go after i come in. he does not want to kill him, he wants to capture him and bring him back to israel and put him on trial. he wants to do that to remind the israeli youth why the state of israel needs to exist. and number two, he wants to remind the world, or rather inform the world, about what happened to the jewish people during the holocaust. this information that the world and that the teachers are teaching and that the world sort of wants to put away happened. it must be exposed. so a mission is put together to go after eichmann. and after all of this happens, by 1960, an interrogator.
again, not much investigative experience, but one of the top interrogators is sent to argentina to make sure that eichmann is till there. he speaks spanish. then the team will be sent. the problem is, when he gets there, he discovers that adolf eichmann is now gone. he's no longer living in the area and he cannot find him. now, not only did they need to capture him, detain him and get him out of the country, but they need to find him again. this is an operation happening in argentina, thousands of miles away from israel, in a country that is not terribly favorable to the jews. that has a large nazi community really. the mossad at this point in 1960 is really pretty small, a fledgling agency. and this is a mission way
beyond their scope. so it is a tremendous risk. the investigator, who was more dogged than probably any of the people who were sent on this mission, ends up tracking down eichmann. he goes in this truck here. even now, they still do not know with 100 percent accuracy if this is adolf eichmann. so they need photographs. this was the truck that was used. this, again, is from the exhibit. i've never seen it outside of my book before. they will take photographs of eichmann and the family living in their new spot. he can't get close enough. so what he eventually does is he fits a camera within a
suitcase and walks up to the fence around the property where adolf eichmann lives and this is one of the photographs he takes of him. imagine how close he was. they ultimately determined that this was adolf eichmann. by the shape of his ears of all things. by the shape of the side of his face. there's actually a study that the mossad put together a photographs -- of photographs that they had of him. they determined with 100% accuracy that it was adolf eichmann. so a team is assembled. the team is assembled out of a spy movie almost in some respects. they have a master forger. they have an operations person. he's very good at strategy and tactical precision. they have two strong men who are responsible for capturing eichmann. they have front men, even a
front woman, to stay in the safe house. this team is the top of the top of mossad. roughly icon was actually head of the operation. he was number two at mossad. the top individuals all went on this mission. isser harel also went on this mission. the number one man in the mossad. you can imagine the cia director going on a mission. they arrive in argentina, put together the team, this is the house on the street. you see the photograph with the errol. it looks like a lovely place to live. may 11th, 1960. after weeks of surveillance, they grab him, capture him, put him in the back of a car and rushed to a safe house with his blindfold here. that's two thirds of the book.
i do want you to read it. i do want to tell you in conclusion, and along conclusion as it is, to sort of important episodes that i think are thematically important and fairly dramatic. now when i was researching this story, and i spent a lot of time in israel. i would interview these missile agents, getting a massage agent to remote is very difficult. i would keep asking them so how did you feel? what was going through your mind? were you scared? was your heart beating? they would, as a joke
frequently, they would talk about this operation the night of the capture. like they had just gone to the dry cleaning. it was terribly frustrating. they remember exactly what happened, but no emotion, there are professionals. then i would speak to them about the ten days that they spent with eichmann in the same house. into an individual, you would see their face change, one of them broke into tears. just the emotional weight of those ten days in the safe house. it was a way that was sort of a combination of immense pride, pride of going to argentina, risking everything, grabbing them, successfully detaining them, and bringing, hannah this
man that portrayed such atrocities against the jewish people. just a sense of we did this. also the horror of living with this person. beating, him a feeding, him of watching him 24 hours. speaking to him. he was, from the very moment of capture, rather sniffling, he gave up who he was within less than an hour of interrogation. he was completely compliant, as one of the agents sort of half joked. if i asked him to pick the nails out of the floor boards, he would have. he was just wearing dirty underwear, in this scrawny and pail, devout human being. the horror of living and being and staying with this individual was terribly wrenching for them.
the second part, in this is really about sacrifice which is framed throat this story is getting eichmann out of argentina. now they can't walk him. right. they had plans for a ship. but a ship is possible in doable, of course, but it would take weeks of steaming across the oceans. if at any point of time, news of eichmann being captured came forward, this ship could be stopped. they need to fly him. they need to get him out of the airplane as quickly as possible. then there is the national airline. the problem is that it does not fly to argentina, it has no service to argentina. and is sir harass takes a look at his calendar, and he saw
that right around this time was the 150th anniversary of argentinian independence from spain. it's a mouthful. not that isser hare; could give a lake about argentinian independence, but it gave him an opportunity, it gave him a roofs to bring a delegation of israeli diplomats to argentina to celebrate this great event. these diplomats would come off the plane, and on the plane would come of the most sad agents, and they would fly safely back to israel with adolf eichmann. everything went constantly with this circumstance. after ten days and, house they have any idea, he's coming on
the plane, he is even more compliant. they get him on the plane, they put him where first class was at the time, and they are ready to go. they are ready to take. got they allow taxes towards the runway. i would like to preface this by saying that these were -- massage did not have a airplane crew, with pilots and navigators and radio man who knew had command such aircraft. what they had were these individuals who now and again would massad be involved together, in bringing someone maybe secret. they call themselves the dirty business crew.
but they thought, they were not told anything. they thought they were actually just involved in this diplomatic mission to go to argentina. they thought that they as my grandmother would say we're having a great bundle. they thought they would go to buenos aires, dance, tango, have a nice dinner, and get on the plane, a few days later fly back home. 24 hours after arriving, hours before they're set to leave they are told that they are bringing back adolf eichmann secretly. everyone needed to be on time. you can imagine the fear involved in this, suddenly thrust into this very dangerous mission. i get i said, everything is going. well they are taxing to the runway. they are told by air traffic control, stop, you can't take off. there is this remarkable
conversation in the cockpit at this moment. this is the pilot. he was the veteran of the 48 war. he was a very cool customer, and isser harel was also in the cockpit, and they are having a chatter about what to do. isser harel is marvelous at his job, and headed back a plan for his backup plan for a backup plan. he panics and he says let's just go. the direct quote is let's test the prowess of the argentinian air force. are there any argentinians here? i'm sorry. so he says maybe we should take a breath, and figure out what is happening, but do they want.
the navigator turns in his seat, the navigator is show shoal, he's alive, a huge man, 65, very thick and you can imagine him in the cockpit. it was mueller, then he turns in his navigator seat and he says i will go. abvvisser harel says that is wonderful, you can go, but if things go bad, or if you are not back soon we are going to leave. we will take off without you. you will be left holding the bag, and you won't want to be holding the bag. and he says i will not go.
he tells me as he walks down the steps of the airplane, on the tarmac, he felt his heart was sinking into his shoes and he wasn't sure he could do it. was it sure he could go. then he reminded himself that a lot of his family had died in the holocaust. thought to himself that this was a sacrifice that he needed to make. a sacrifice that he needed to take for what's happened before. so he goes. that is the end. think you. no. you are still listening. okay. what ends up happening is a whole lot of nothing, a third signature on the third piece of paper, he signs the site plan and he is back on that plane. it seems like this insignificant little glitch in this whole operation. but let me just tell you a
little bit about what happens next. so a normal flight planned for one us iris will take you to brazil, from brazil onwards. but isser harel very clearly says to zvi tohar and -- i don't want to stop in brazil. whatever comes out that he's been captured. we can't stop here. we need to fly all the way to africa. i want to fly all the way to africa, senegal, then from there i feel that we can safely make it to israel. so zvi tohar and the mechanics and crew, and this is planned beforehand made it very clear that this aircraft never made that distance in-flight. they largely script the thing down.
if they had tested the promise of the argentinian air force they would have -- they were flying into the coast of senegal, lights were flashing, alarms were going, running out of fuel as it was. one of the massad agents joked at the time, he would go up and down the aisles and ask if anyone needed a light. they needed fuel. they landed on the tarmac and were taxing and the plane ran out of gas. you can argue and i can argue if charles shaul hadn't gone to check on what happened, they would not have taken that risk, adolf eichmann would have never
made it israel. he never would have stood trial, and given the opportunity of individual like this to testify their experience in the holocaust. the eichmann was a massive success, in terms of a learning the israeli state that he exists, and reminding the world would happen in the holocaust. eichmann was tried and convicted, if you remember what he looks like in the uniform, and what he looks like here, to remarkably different individuals. he's hung, cremated, his ashes were spread at sea to make sure that there was no memorial for him. and all of those individuals from massad four years and
decades were never able to tell the role of what happened. their experience, and their stories. some very proud to be one of those telling that. thank you all very much. [applause] i am more than happy to take questions, as long as they are easy. ones >> i've got three easy ones for you. >> three. >> first did israel have the death penalty that eichmann was sent, or did they make a special exception for him? >> the mid exception for, him it was a massive controversy. it was massive controversy to one even try him in israel. they believe that the west german state should try him, or
some other body, but they weren't going to do that. and the fact that they were willing to do the death penalty was also a major, they stood their ground. can you speak to his escape from germany down to italy. you mention he stayed in some catholic churches. was their complicity there or did the catholic church is not know who he was? >> it's a very murky world during that period from what were called the nazi rats lines. they were well organized, well orchestrated, the catholic church to say complicity, complicity is a big word. there is no evidence that the pope for instance had a meeting and said we should help the nazis escape. in fact, i would say that the
converse of that is true. but there are many individuals high up as bishops who were fervent nazi sympathizers. and those individuals were the ones who helped put together these nazi red lines, but the fact is that juan perrone he and his government were the ones orchestrating the whole thing. he had agents in europe at the time, helping bring scientists and industrialists and individuals of the security services like adolf eichmann and there's a very good book by individual named, a argentinian journalist and the name of his book is escaping but if you want to read more about it -- >> finally, did you speak to how the nazi hunter determined that eichmann had not died on the eastern front? >> the determination that eichmann had not died on the eastern front is, i guess for
lack of a better term, the affidavit saying he had died there was written by a cousin of his wife. it seemed rather dubious to anyone involved. other people within eichmann's command were interviewed and interrogated and said there was no way that he would have been on the eastern front at that period of time. in fact, he was in berlin up to the late stages of the war and then escaped south. >> i'm curious about the ten days in the villa. you said it was a safe house. they were delayed. they have to keep him there. during that time, neither the german community nor his family raised an alarm? >> so, it's a very good question.
one, vira eichmann cannot really go to the police or the government at that time and declare that her husband was this war criminal. she did not feel safe in doing that despite the sort of bent of the government. that would have been a step too far. what's ended up happening was the son's knew that their father, or knew almost with complete certainty that their father had been grabbed, they found the glasses in the ditch. there were three sons, three adult sons at this point. they put together, they were sort of neo-nazis in their own right. they partnered with this group of semi fascists.
sort of young semi fascists, it's complicated. they put together a search to try to find him. they were unsuccessful. nicholas at one point says that they went to the airport about 30 minutes after the departure. i find no evidence of that. the family was definitely looking and there were elements within the community, particularly the ex pat nazi community for lack of a better word, who were worried about this because they were worried about themselves. the government itself was not part of that. >> you acknowledged at the beginning that in your work you are interested in the pursuit of justice. there are still similar vicious
were criminals who played in integral role in the holocaust, even 25 years ago were walking free in the world. do you think people just forgot? >> kind of the history of nazi hunting after i commitments captured ... fritz bauer was very successful after the eichmann capture, putting together trials in west germany for a number of war criminals and those responsible for the camps. after a certain period of time, and that was very successful, but after a bit of time, the sort of interest level on pursuing that sort of waned. you could say that the rise of the cold war had a significant aspect to that. simon wiesenthal, who played a role, albeit tangential to the
capture of it eichmann, because the mossad cannot speak about what they had done, there was a vacuum in a sense. and so, simon wiesenthal, whether purposefully or not, and i won't get into that, he stepped into that vacuum and became the nazi hunter. he, for a number of years, it was very successful i think in keeping that momentum going. and then, though, that waned. still though, to this day, even across the globe, there were definitely, for a number of years, people walking free. looking for them. the mossad look for people for a while. there is still what is called operation last chance, which essentially says that justice has no time limit and we will still pursue these individuals. the last caveat i would say to
that is there were a lot of people harboring these individuals like eichmann. individuals in the ss and other high government nazi officials. there are files, there are books, there are papers about this, the number of individuals, security services that the government recruited here. britain did it. individuals and governments in the middle east did it. argentinians did it. i mean, everyone did it. so there was a lot of pushback on that. it's a complicated answer for a complicated world. >> we will take this last question from facebook. can you elaborate on the aid catholic members gave to his escape to argentina?
>> as i sort of mentioned before, and i will go into a bit more detail, what essentially happened is eichmann, as he made his way through germany and the alps, he would need places to stay that he would feel secure. so those were largely monasteries and convents. when he arrived in general roy to ship out -- genoa to ship out, he stayed at a monastery there. he felt very protected and very safe. this was largely assembled and put together by the argentinian government with specific individuals who happened to be nazi sympathizers in italy, switzerland and in germany. did you have a question? sorry. >> the question was, was there
any contrition on the part of his family? i wish i had a short answer to that. a few things, one is vera eichmann, who had to know in many senses what her husband did, you at least he was in hiding. after it was announced that the israeli security service announced they had captured eichmann and brought back to -- back him back to israel, she went and to the israeli government, or tried to sue the israeli government, to have her husband returned. have him returned to argentina. that was a failure, of course. israel did not bend on that. the suns were -- the eldest son, i believe, i
try to interview them, of course, because i wanted to find information. i thought telling part of their story was important. i was told by a very well connected argentinian journalist in buenos aires not to go looking. that it was dangerous first of all and that i would never find him. he was a neo-nazi still living underground outside of buenos aires. so he was not contrite. i spoke to nicholas and director -- dieter, who live on the swiss german border to try to talk to them about what happened. what they thought of their father. they essentially told me that their father had done nothing wrong and there were a few expletives and then the phone was hung up. i can actually had a son, a
final son, when he was living in argentina. he was very young when his father was captured. he is now a professor in germany. i connect with him and he still lives under the name eichmann. so i was curious. he was very upfront that he thought his father was in essence a monster and head perpetrated heinous acts and that he deserved everything he got. i asked him, so why would you keep your last name in a sense? it must be a tough road to ride, right? being named eichmann in germany. he said rather poignantly that he felt like it was a small burden that he could carry for the heinous things that his father had done, which i found pretty remarkable. thank you for the question. thank you. [applause]
professor katherine on the end of the emergent -- american revolution and the 1783 treaty of paris. sunday at 8 pm eastern on the presidency. national portrait senior historian gwendolyn dubois on the gallery exhibit, every eyes upon me. first ladies of the united states. exploring the american story, watch american history tv this weekend on c-span 3. the gadget was the plutonium device that made it to the nuclear test and ally of 1945, it was developed at the the site of new mexico, as part of the manhattan project to develop at the first nuclear weapons during world war ii. atomic heritage foundation cynthia, we counter efforts to preserve the buildings and save them from pending demolition. the foundation hosted the top, and prov t