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

Neal Bas­comb
  • Review
By – January 13, 2012

Neal Bas­comb uti­lized recent­ly declas­si­fied doc­u­ments for his non­fic­tion thriller” about the hunt for Adolph Eich­mann. Bas­comb, a non-Jew, also stud­ied Nazi edicts and con­cen­tra­tion camp records, oper­a­tions of Israel’s Mossad, the work­ings of Argentina’s gov­ern­ment, El Al’s pro­to­cols, and evi­dence in a Jerusalem court­room. This infor­ma­tion is detailed in the end matter. 

On tri­al, Eichmann’s demeanor and state­ments appeared weasel-like; how­ev­er, Bas­comb tracks his tenac­i­ty, phys­i­cal endurance, and adapt­abil­i­ty as he escaped from Europe. Once in Argenti­na, to avoid detec­tion Eich­mann reduced him­self and even­tu­al­ly his fam­i­ly to a sub­sis­tence-lev­el exis­tence. But Mossad did cap­ture him. Bas­comb impress­es read­ers with fine cap­sule pro­files of the sin­gle­mind­ed but mul­ti-faceted Israeli agents. Lack­ing 21st cen­tu­ry e‑devices, they alter­nat­ed bravu­ra with atten­tion to minute details— tim­ing, the­atri­cal sce­nar­ios, forg­eries, and just plain secret agents’ dis­sem­bling tech­niques— to bring Eich­mann to Israel and his trial. 

Using imme­di­a­cy and urgency to great advan­tage, the author keeps his nar­ra­tive removed from the dimen­sion of time — in many chap­ters, the cal­en­dar year dis­ap­pears, as events are record­ed day-to-day, hour-by-hour. Bas­comb nev­er los­es sus­pense, even though read­ers know the end of the sto­ry — Eichmann’s death fifty years ago and the approach­ing demise of his hunters and all Holo­caust sur­vivors. The wrench­ing words of his Mossad cap­tur­er— author and artist Peter Z. Malkin (d.’05) — to Malkin’s dying moth­er, close this remark­able book. Bib­li­og­ra­phy, index, notes.

Arlene B. Soifer earned degrees in Eng­lish, and has had many years of expe­ri­ence as a free­lance writer, edi­tor, and pub­lic rela­tions professional.

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