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

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Overview

Hunting Eichmann is the first complete narrative of a relentless and harrowing international manhunt.

When the Allies stormed Berlin in the last days of the Third Reich, Adolf Eichmann shed his SS uniform and vanished. Following his escape from two American POW camps, his retreat into the mountains and out of Europe, and his path to an anonymous life in Buenos Aires, his pursuers are a bulldog West German prosecutor, a blind Argentinean Jew and his beautiful daughter, and a ...

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

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Overview

Hunting Eichmann is the first complete narrative of a relentless and harrowing international manhunt.

When the Allies stormed Berlin in the last days of the Third Reich, Adolf Eichmann shed his SS uniform and vanished. Following his escape from two American POW camps, his retreat into the mountains and out of Europe, and his path to an anonymous life in Buenos Aires, his pursuers are 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 (and whose rare surveillance photographs are published here for the first time). The capture of Eichmann and the efforts by Israeli agents to secret him out of Argentina to stand trial is the stunning conclusion to this thrilling historical account, told with the kind of pulse-pounding detail that rivals anything you'd find in great spy fiction. 

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
“A riveting and passionate account of one of history’s most fascinating—and morally significant—secret operations. Neal Bascomb has utilized recently declassified documents to add vivid detail to this stirring episode in the struggle for justice for the victims of genocide.”
Michael Oren, author of Six Days of War: June 1967 and The Making of the Modern Middle East

“There’s no greater satisfaction than seeing someone guilty of great evil being brought to justice, and few people in history have been guilty of more than Adolf Eichmann. Neal Bascomb tells the story of his capture with great verve and a novelist’s eye for suspense.”
Adam Hochschild, author of King Leopold’s Ghost and Bury the Chains

“Admirably researched and relentlessly paced, Hunting Eichmann brings us closer to the manhunt for the Holocaust’s architect than we’ve ever come before. A strangely affecting nonfiction thriller.”
Stephan Talty, author of Empire of Blue Water

“Deeply researched... reads like a thriller.” —Philadelphia Inquirer

“Chilling, authoritative and timely . . . An exhaustive, well-researched volume that supersedes prior accounts.” —Washington Times

Publishers Weekly

After WWII, notorious Nazi war criminal Adolf Eichmann lived comfortably in Buenos Aires under an alias. Nazi hunters like Simon Wiesenthal sought Eichmann fruitlessly until 1956, when Eichmann's son bragged about his father's war exploits to his girlfriend's father, a half-Jew who had been blinded by the Gestapo and who alerted a Jewish attorney general of Hesse in Germany known for his prosecution of Nazis. Bascomb (The Perfect Mile) details Eichmann's wartime atrocities and postwar escapes, and how, in 1960, the Israelis decided to have secret service operatives (one of whom, Isser Harel, recounted these events in 1975's The House on Garibaldi Street)-mostly Holocaust survivors-secretly kidnap Eichmann and fly him to Israel on El Al, disguised as an airline employee. Tried in Israel in 1961, Eichmann was executed in 1962. These were early days for Israel's now-legendary intelligence agencies, Mossad and Shin Bet, and it's fascinating how they accomplished their goal without the technical and monetary support that's now standard. Although Bascomb's prose is awkward, his work is well researched, including interviews with former Israeli operatives and El Al staff who participated in the capture, as well as Argentine fascists. This is a gripping read. Illus. (Mar.)

Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780547248028
  • Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
  • Publication date: 4/20/2010
  • Pages: 387
  • Sales rank: 142,261
  • Product dimensions: 5.20 (w) x 7.90 (h) x 1.10 (d)

Meet the Author

For Hunting Eichmann, Bascomb tracked down former Nazi soldiers and right-wing radicals in Buenos Aires, traveled to Tel Aviv and Jerusalem to meet with legendary Mossad operatives, uncovered an old memoir by Eichmann on his escape from Germany, and interviewed members of the El Al flight crew involved in Eichmann’s transport to Israel, a story that has never been told. He also made numerous archival discoveries, most notably unearthing the passport that Eichmann used to escape Europe, a discovery that made international headlines.

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Read an Excerpt

The man from bus 203 was late.

     For three weeks now the team tracking him had watched their target return from work to his small brick bunker of a house on Garibaldi Street. Every night was the same: At 7:40 p.m., bus 203 stopped at the kiosk on the narrow highway 110 yards from the corner of Garibaldi Street; the man exited the bus; another passenger, a woman, also exited at the same stop. They separated. Sometimes the man stopped at the kiosk for a pack of cigarettes, but this never took more than a minute. Then he crossed the street and walked toward his house. If a car approached, he turned on his flashlight — one end red, the other white — to signal his presence. When he reached his property, he circled the house once before entering, as if checking that all was secure. Inside, he greeted his wife and young son, lit a few additional kerosene lamps, and then sat down for dinner. He was a man of precise routines and schedules. His predictability made him vulnerable.

     But on this night, Wednesday, May 11, 1960, 7:40 passed, and neither bus 203 nor the man was in sight. The team waited in two cars. One black Chevrolet sedan was parked on the edge of Route 202, facing toward the bus stop. Once the man showed, if he showed, the driver in the backup car would flick on his headlights to blind him before he turned left toward his house. The capture car, a black Buick limousine, was stationed on Garibaldi Street between the highway and the man’s home. The driver, in a chauffeur’s uniform, had popped the hood to give the impression that the limousine had broken down. Two other men stood outside the car in the cold, windy night, pre- tending to fiddle with the engine. These two were the strongmen, tasked with grabbing the target and getting him into the car — as quietly and quickly as possible.
     At 7:44, a bus finally approached on Route 202, but it drove straight past the kiosk. The team could only wait so long in this isolated neighborhood on the northern outskirts of Buenos Aires, Argentina, without attracting too much attention. There was only a scattering of houses on the flat, nearly treeless plain. Cars foreign to the neighborhood stood out.
     The team leader, hidden in the limousine’s back seat, insisted that they stay despite the risks. There was no argument from the team. Not now, not at this critical hour. The man must not be allowed to elude capture.
     Exactly fifteen years previously, in the last days of the Third Reich, SS lieutenant colonel Adolf Eichmann, chief of Department IVB4 of the Reich Security Main Office and the operational manager of the Nazi genocide, had escaped into the Austrian Alps. He had been listed as killed in action by the woman who now impatiently waited for her husband’s return from work. He had been sought by Allied investigators and independent Nazi-hunters such as Simon Wiesenthal. He had reportedly been executed by Jewish avengers. He had been rumored to be living in West Germany, England, Kuwait, the United States, and even Israel. His trail had gone from hot to cold to hot again.
     He had been so successful at hiding his identity that the Mossad agents now in position on Garibaldi Street were still not 100 percent certain that the man they had come to capture was actually Eichmann. A contingency plan, one of many, was in place if it turned out not to be him. Nonetheless, they were sufficiently convinced to stage a dangerous operation on foreign soil involving more than ten agents, including the head of the Israeli secret service himself. They had read Eichmann’s file and been thoroughly briefed on his role in the mass murder of Jews. They were professionals, but it was impossible for them to be impartial about this mission. Since arriving in Argentina, one agent kept seeing the faces of the members of his family who had been killed in the Holocaust.
     They could wait a few more minutes for bus 203.
     At 8:05, the team saw another faint halo of light in the distance. Moments later, the bus’s headlights shone brightly down the highway, piercing the darkness. Brakes screeched, the bus door clattered open, and the two passengers stepped down onto the street. As the bus pulled away, the woman turned off to the left, moving away from the man. The man headed for Garibaldi Street, bent forward in the wind. His hands were stuffed into his coat. Thunder cracked in the distance, warning of a storm. It was time for Adolf Eichmann to answer for what he had done.

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4.5
( 80 )
Rating Distribution

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(53)

4 Star

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3 Star

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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 80 Customer Reviews
  • Posted June 29, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    This Spy Thriller is a Classic in Modern History

    Wow! I have always believed that non-fiction is better than fiction and Hunting Eichmann is another book to make my case. Neal Bascomb does a thorough account of this infamous Nazi war criminal's rise to power, escape from the Allies after the war, his life in Argentina and eventual capture and execution by the Israelis in the early 1960's. All the key players involved on both sides of the fence are historically documented, in this gripping true story.

    With early accounts of the genocide done by Eichmann and the Nazis, the war ends in 1945 and the cat and mouse game begins. Evading early capture, Eichmann uses his old boy network to help him keep one step ahead of those looking for him. But, with the overwhelming Allied presence, his luck runs out. Under a a series of aliases, he is put in a POW camp and blends in with the rest of the men. But as the Nurenburg Trials begin, he starts to worry and escapes. He finds work under his assumed alias but grows tired of a life in Germany where he has to constantly look over his shoulder. Through old connections Eichmann leaves Germany, and after a few stops along the way, escapes to Austria, and eventually finds safe passage to Argentina. There he begins his new life and what he hopes will be the end of the running game.

    The books takes a new twist as word leaks out that he may be living there with his family. Many are still on his trail-though it has seemed to grow cold, until a break comes through. With new information and the interest of the the Israeli Government in catching him, the Mossad takes action. The intensity level is kicked up a notch as they prepare in full mode to catch and bring Eichmann back to Israel for trial. Non stop preparations are put into place, and nothing is overlooked, from the color of ink on forged documents to how to deal with government officials. This is where this book shines as we learn about every detail that the Mossad takes to do their mission. With Eichmann capture in Argentina , events continue to build with intensity as the Mossad now have to move him out of the country undetected to Israel, thousands of miles away.

    What makes this book great is that many involved in his capture had actual ties to the Holocaust. They definitely had a score to settle and fond justice in the end. The bigger picture was more important to Israeli Prime Minister Ben- Gurion, who wanted young Israelis to be aware of the Holocaust and for its victims to open up and make the world never forget about this dark chapter in our history. Defending his actions to his death, Eichmann continued to claim his innocence and use the standard Nazi line of, "I was only following my orders". This book is a well written account of an important part of history.-you will be at the edge of your seat as your read this spy thriller. As I said in the beginning; true stories seem so much more interesting than made up ones. And this book will not leave you disappointed. I guarantee it.

    Robert Glasker

    8 out of 8 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 17, 2010

    Reads like a novel

    Hunting Eichmann reads like a novel as it takes you through Eichmann's escape through Allied lines after WWII and, eventually, to South America where he eluded Nazi hunters for nearly 15 years (with help from the Argentine government and the Catholic Church). The book does an excellent job of showing that Eichmann's eventual capture was the result of persistence from officials in Germany and Israel. In short, even though he eluded them for years, those officals and others like Simon Weisenthal, remained committed to capturing Eichmann and bringing him to trial. The author also does a commendable job of showing what the trial meant to the fledgling Israeli state and those who actually participated in Eichmann's capture. Finally, the author's protrayl of Eichmann, not purprisingly, revealed that he was cold and unrepentant right to the end. A chilling reminder of what happened as Eichmann carried out the "Final Solution" and what could happen again if those who are committed to human rights do not remain vigilant.

    6 out of 6 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted July 19, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    Meticulously Detailed

    This book could quite easily be used as the basis for a spell binding movie or as a series of spy thriller books. The research is amazing, every little detail is covered, from Eichmann's backround and escape from Nazi Germany to his abduction in Argentina and trip to Israel. Reads more like fiction than fact-fast paced and suspenseful.

    4 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted August 30, 2009

    Couldn't Put It Down!

    Eventhough I knew the outcome, it was absolutely a nail biter! Very well written, and extremely detailed. All of the characters were human and at the same time, larger than life. A must read!

    4 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 1, 2009

    I Also Recommend:

    Compelling Post WWII Read

    Fabulous background research leading up to how the search started and the journey and people who were involved along the way. Very compelling. It is also told from Eichmann's perspective as well, and how he came to rise to such power within the Nazi regime. After reading this, the book "Red Orchestra" is a related topic, as it is the story of Nazi Resistance by German Youth.

    4 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted May 27, 2010

    Justice for Eichmann and Israel

    In the last days of the Third Reich,SS Lt. Colonel Adolf Eichmann, the operational manager of the Final Solution to the Jewish Question, shed his Nazi uniform and vanished. Fifteen years later, agents of the Mossad, the Israeli secret service, captured him in Argentina. The author has written a very exciting readable narrative of how Eichmann escaped from Germany and was eventually found, captured, smuggled out of Argentina and brought to trial in Israel. Eichmann's story provides interesting insights into the Nazi killing machine, Israeli's struggle for relevance and the terrible personal burdens carried by Holocast survivors.

    3 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted July 23, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    FABULOUS

    This was one of the best books I have read in a long time. It was thrilling from the first paragraph until the remarkable, and true, ending. Masterfully written. When I finished the last paragraph, I wanted to start reading it over again. I've since recommended this book to several friends all of whom agree - it's a fabulous read!

    3 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 26, 2013

    SUPERBLY TOLD ACCOUNT...

    I SAW THE AUTHOR INTERVIEWED ON C-SPAN & I WAS IMMEDIATELY
    "HOOKED".
    I CONSIDER IT ONE OF THE BEST NON-FICTION BOOKS EVER, IT UNFOLDS
    BETTER THAN MANY "OSCAR"- WINNING MOVIES.

    I HAVE "GIFTED" IT TO MANY RELATIVES AND FRIENDS--SUFFICE IT
    TI SAT IT HAS ITS OWN "FAN CLUB."

    THANK YOU A THOUSAND-FOLD, NEAL BASCOMB.!!!!

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 14, 2012

    Haunting.....

    This is one of the finest books I've ever read. A true page turner. The historical accuracies alone are enough to keep the reader's attention. What kept my attention is that everything is true. Knowing more of the Iraeli involkvement made me proud to read how they abandoned their desire to kill him ang bring him to Israel to stand trial.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted June 1, 2012

    I was born 10 years after WWII and with my Catholic Education we

    I was born 10 years after WWII and with my Catholic Education we just didn't study that much about WWII. So of course I was in 1st grade when Eichmann was captured. So now 50 years later I decided to read about the capture. I was not disappointed. The author does paint a picture of Eichmann the man and what he did in the concentration camps. I think after 15 years that Eichmann was sick of running and almost welcomed capture but insisted to the end he was just following orders. This was an excellent book for someone wanting a bit of WWII history.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 7, 2012

    Excellent narrative; riveting

    As someone who normally reads mystery thrillers, I was extremely surprised at how riverting this narrative was. It made the content, which I'd studied before, very much alive. It was obvious from the start that the author had thoroughly researched the subject matter and found a way to relate it in a natural and convincing voice.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted August 1, 2009

    Awesome reading!!!

    This book is a page turner and cannot be put down once you start. It details Israel's plans to kidnap one of the most infamous persons in modern history. It is a compelling look of how the plans were made and carried out.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted July 8, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    I Also Recommend:

    A Very Well Written Account

    This is a excellent account of the trackin and capture of Adolf Eichmann by the Mossad. The book does a great job of explaining the characters involved, the unfolding of the operation, as well as the capture. It reads like a action novel, yet all of it is true. It is easily the best book that I've read on this subject. A must read for anyone interested in the story

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted December 15, 2014

    Thorough telling of events, but needed more story

    Thorough telling of events, but needed more story

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 9, 2014

    Thrilling

    Fantastic book. Could not put it down. I love the Daniel Silva fiction books - this the real life version. Fascinating look into the lives of secret agents and also a learning experience about the Holocaust and the mind of the monster Eichmann.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 21, 2014

    Jordan

    Umbreo started this when he made the executive decision to move. I won't tolerate it. Hush, forget it.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 30, 2014

    Holly

    O.o Amelia res two.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 22, 2014

    Hush

    You were all over Alexander. It annoyed me. Then you always were depressed when Alexander wasn't around. And Bry asked me to make Amelia as a side-plot character, which is not what Hush is. I'm just smart enough to whore off with one character rather than rp five or six different ones. Poor Chance. Poor Cody. Poor Ryan.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 21, 2014

    Hazel

    Yeah, im going to the other place. Im done talking with you, hush and jordan

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 21, 2014

    Umbreo

    (Jordan - Y'know, the thing is - that character is an expert and can obviously cover her tracks. Thus it makes sense that you'd need a Goldthunder in order to track down the hideout. And besides, you're just making an idiot of yourself.) <br>
    (Hush - Sorry, I've nothing against you. I just can't have Jordan shooting me because he couldn't bother to be active.) <br>
    (Now, I shall depart. Farewell.)

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
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