Bascomb, N. (2013). The Nazi hunters: How a team of spies and survivors captured the world’s most notorious Nazi. New York, NY: Arthur A. Levine Books.
Adolf Eichmann was an important player in the Nazi regime as the Nazi commander who removed Jews from their homes and sent them to concentration camps during WWII. Many see him as responsible for the death of 6 million Jews. After the war was over, Eichmann changed his name and moved around before settling in Buenos Aires, Argentina under the name Ricardo Klement, later sending for his family to join him.
Back in Germany, Austria and Israel, men were searching for, apprehending and prosecuting Nazi war criminals for the genocide of Jews. Eichmann’s high ranking position and role placed him high on the list of war criminals being searched for. It took many years and the help of a young girl that one of Eichmann’s sons dated in Argentina and her father.
Israel’s director of Mossad took over the logistics of searching for Eichmann and the delicate undercover operation of capturing him and returning him to Israel to stand trial. It took many players, numerous name changes and lots of strategic planning to obtain their goal.
The author notes that he took some liberty with the story because he received conflicting information in his interviews. He took the information he received and pieced it together as best he could and
improvised slightly to fill in gaps.
This novel reads as a spy story, but the basic structure of the story is based in fact. The details of keep you on the edge of your seat, wondering if the plan will meet with success or if they will be caught and punished.
Library Use Suggestions:
I would use this for middle school or high school students. This would be an excellent resource for a student studying WWII or the after-effects of the war on both the German and Jewish people.
After an introduction to the book have students discuss and reflect why the spies and survivors hunted Eichmann down and would they have supported the efforts?
Adolf Eichmann was among the Gestapo war criminals who managed to escape from Europe and establish new lives in Argentina. The search for him involved an international group of Nazi hunters who left no stone unturned to determine where and how he had fled, find him and bring him to justice.
The trail of the man, an exacting scheduler who oversaw the transportation of Jews to the concentration camps, went cold until one small clue led to another. He was finally traced to Argentina, captured and secretly removed to Israel for a public trial. Meticulously detailed plans with timing down to the minute involving several Israeli secret services, intelligence networks, other civilian and governmental agencies, and dedicated individuals brought him to justice. Drawing on a wealth of sources that include original interviews, Bascomb swiftly establishes background, introduces readers to the key players and takes them through the search. At any moment in the hunt something might have gone wrong, with those involved being captured as spies and allowing Eichmann to escape. Tension rises from the pages, thanks to Bascomb’s command of pacing, judicious use of quoted material, inclusion of archival photographs and strong descriptions.
It’s nonfiction as thriller in its recounting of the actions of a midlevel, monstrous clerk and the work of a few dedicated people in delivering him to justice. (author’s note, bibliography, notes, index [not seen]) (Nonfiction. 12 & up)
(2013, August 1). [Review of The Nazi hunters : How a team of spies and survivors captured the world’s most notorious Nazi]. Kirkus Reviews. Retrieved from https://www.kirkusreviews.com/book-reviews/neal-bascomb/the-nazi-hunters/