60 Years Since the Capture of Eichmann in Argentina
The intellectual of the holocaust, who escaped twice from the allies in Europe, took refuge in Tucumán and Buenos Aires, where he was captured by Mossad
Spanish – The authoritarian processes that are wreaking havoc on human history have violent and convinced fanatics, characters interested with vested personal interests, and ordinary individuals who, under certain circumstances, can become responsible for real tragedies.
The German nationalist socialist apparatus did not have an army of people identical to Hitler. Its leadership had several fanatics like Joseph Goebbels and his wife, who decided to murder their young children before the fall of Berlin. The psychopathic couple did not want the children to have to suffer the misfortune of a non-Nazi Germany. Others, like Heinrich Himmler, embodied the purest Hitlerian loyalty during the years of the regime, but first sought to save their own skins towards the end. Twenty-four hours after April 20, 1945, the last day Himmler and Hitler saw each other (where the Reichsfuhrer swore allegiance again), the SS chief was already arranging interviews with Jewish representatives to attempt a narrative that could eventually save his life.
Surely, characters like Goebbels and Himmler would never have gone down in history if it were not for the Nazi machine that granted them a prominent position to feature. But there are also outrageous cases like that of the architect Albert Speer- a talented man who was able to completely “turn off” his morals for the benefit of his professional career.
What kind of man was Adolf Eichmann? During his trial in Israel, at all times, the architect of the Final Solution presented himself as an ordinary person. A man who could be your next-door neighbor. “I didn’t kill anyone,” he repeated during the trial. However, he was responsible for implementing the methodology that led millions of Jews to the concentration camps and gas chambers.
Otto Eckmann, Otto Henninger, y Ricardo Klement
The Nazi criminal, who had been aware for months that Hitler’s “final victory” was a meaningless illusion, disappeared from the scene with false documents. Although his name was in the records of the allied nations, Eichmann managed to escape his captors twice. The first time he was arrested with papers purporting to be Otto Eckmann, which allowed him to escape without much difficulty. However, he again fell into the hands of the Americans, once again with forged documents. “Otto Henninger” was able to escape once again.
After a stint in Italy, Eichmann, like Ricardo Klement, took refuge in Argentina in 1950. He arrived in the country with a Red Cross passport and the help of some elements of the church that sympathized with the Nazis. He spent some time in the province of Tucumán but finally settled with his family in the province of Buenos Aires.
The blind Jew and Eichmann’s son’s romance
Eichmann had already managed to establish himself in the Buenos Aires territory and was working in a hierarchical position at the local Mercedes Benz plant. Probably in those days, he dared to dream of ending his life in peace, but he was discovered. Silvia Hermann, daughter of Lothar Hermann, a blind German Jew, who escaped from Germany a year before the war, told her father about her new friend: “Mr. Klement’s nephew (or son).” When Lothar got access to detailed information about his neighbors, he realized that Klement was none other than Eichmann.
The immigrant did not hesitate to report it to the Israeli authorities, but the case did not become a priority for the Jewish intelligence service. Not because Eichmann was not important, but because they were suspicious of the veracity of the evidence presented. At the insistence of some Mossad officials, the case came under the organization’s radar, and a task force was sent to photograph Klement. They finally recognized Eichmann by his left ear.
The “Final Operation” for the man responsible for the “Final Solution”
A group of Israeli agents monitored Eichmann’s schedule and intercepted him between his workplace and home. They put him in a car and drove him to one of the houses they had rented in the San Fernando area. Although at one point he said his name was Klement and then Henninger, it didn’t take him long to recognize that it was all over: “Ich bin Adolph Eichmann,” he admitted minutes later.
The Nazi criminal was transferred to Israel, where he was tried and sentenced to death. He traveled disguised as an airline pilot. Mossad drugged him and had little trouble making the local authorities believe that he was a colleague in a drunken state.
The Argentine Government protested in international bodies about the grave violation of national sovereignty, but this was merely a symbolic matter. Arturo Frondizi’s officials knew that they would not get Eichmann back, and Israel never showed any willingness to return him.
On December 15, 1961, he was sentenced to execution by hanging, and on May 31 of the following year, he served his sentence in Ramla prison. His last words were: “Long Live Germany. Long Live Argentina. Long Live Austria. These are the three countries with which I have been most connected, and which I will not forget. I had to obey the rules of war and those of my flag. I am ready.”