A long-awaited film tells the true story of how, in 1960, Israel’s intelligence agencies managed to locate Adolf Eichmann, one of Hitler’s collaborators and who was considered the main designer of the “final solution”, in Buenos Aires. methods of execution used in the Nazi genocide.
Operation Finale , an awaited film that tells the bold and historical capture of one of the architects of the Jewish holocaust that hid in Argentina after the fall of the Nazi regime, arrives in the US cinemas next week.
Starring the British actor Ben Kingsley , who plays the fledgling German officer Adolf Eichmann , and the Guatemalan American Oscar Isaac , who plays Peter Malkin , one of the Israeli agents who participated in the arrest of the Nazi, the film tries hard in presenting the authors of the Jewish genocide as humans.
“Many of those responsible were not demagogues, nor sadists, nor psychopaths, but normal people who were immersed in that situation,” said the director of this film, Chris Weitz, son of a Jewish refugee who also participated as a soldier in the Second World War. World War.
Yes, Eichmann was “ambitious and opportunist and very manipulative, but a human being,” Weitz said.
For his part, throughout the filming, Kingsley brought a photo of his friend, Holocaust survivor, activist and author Elie Wiesel, who died in 2016.
“Every day, as promised, I looked at the picture of Elie in my wallet and said ‘I’m doing it for you,'” Kingsley said.
Operation Finale tells the real story of how, in 1960, Israel’s intelligence agencies managed to locate Adolf Eichmann, one of Hitler’s collaborators and who was considered the main designer of the “final solution”, the methods in Buenos Aires. of execution used in the Nazi genocide.
Without the knowledge of the Argentine authorities, a team of half a dozen Israeli officers travel incognito to the Latin American country, where they organize a complex operation to kidnap the Nazi soldier and take him to Israel to be tried 15 years after the fall of Hitler.
There, the agents meet with an Eichmann established along with his wife and son in a simple residence of a peaceful and isolated suburb of Buenos Aires, but still in contact with the anti-Semitic movements present in Latin America at that time.
During his capture in Argentina, before being transferred to Israel, the film allows to see “inside the mind and within the world” of Eichmann , and “how it changes the facts and insists on truths”, explained to the press the screenwriter of Operation Finale , the young Briton Matthew Orton.
Full of intense scenes and disturbing moments, the film, filmed entirely in Argentina last year , also recalls the extreme trauma that marked the Jewish society after the Holocaust and the debate in Israel about how to treat the fleeing Nazi officers who were located.
The team responsible for capturing the Nazi officer , commanded by the head of the Israeli Secret Service Isaac Harel , was composed of a dozen specialists settled in Argentina at the beginning of May 1960, after the German prosecution communicated the information on the whereabouts of Eichmann to the Israeli Government.
After a follow-up of several days, they were able to determine that the German who called himself Ricardo Klement left the collective every day at 7:40 pm, walked about eighty meters down the dirt floor of Garibaldi Street, in San Fernando, until you reach your home. He was returning from his job at the Mercedes Benz.
The operation was scheduled for May 11 . It was decided that they would surprise him when he left the collective. In the darkness of the night, the two cars stopped would not raise suspicions. At 8:05 pm, Eichmann asked the bus driver to stop to descend. After getting off the bus, he had only gone thirty meters when Peter Malkin , the designated Israeli agent, threw himself at him and managed to immobilize him.
His family, aware of the terrifying secrets he had sworn to bury, suspected that something had happened with his father. But like the rest of the world, he would know the truth just twelve days later: taken from Argentina incognito, he appeared in Israel, after a resounding world announcement made by Prime Minister Ben Gurion.
For the first time, a Nazi leader would be tried in Israel.
Eichmann was born in Solingen, Germany, on March 19, 1906 . With 44 years arrived Argentina, where he settled under a false name with his family in that locality of Greater Buenos Aires. Married to Veronika Liebl, he had five children: Klaus, Horst, Dieter, Ricardo and Nicolás. Nobody knew that the German of few words was, in fact, one of the great responsible for the murderous machinery of Hitler.
During his glory years as a hierarch he rose to the rank of lieutenant-colonel of the SS, the military-political arm of Nazi Germany, in charge of ideological and racial purity in the forces that fought in the name of the Führer.
Enrolled from April 1, 1932 in the SS, soon achieved notoriety and promotions. Until becoming a right hand of Hitler in the extermination of Jews. He was in charge of organizing the transport logistics of the victims to the concentration camps scattered throughout Europe. He was the one in charge of the deportation of the Jews and the construction of the gas chambers that ended their lives.
From his place in the Nazi bureaucratic structure, Adolf Eichmann organized, successively, the expulsion of the Jews from Germany, his deportation from the territories occupied by the Nazis and the transfer of millions of Jews to the extermination camps.
He was also the host of fifteen senior Nazi officials in the so-called Wansee Conference. There, with Eichmann as secretary, working the minutes of the meeting, leaving evidence for posterity, it was decided to establish The Final Solution.
The trial against Eichmann began in Jerusalem on April 11, 1961 , almost a year after his capture in Buenos Aires. He was charged with crimes against humanity, and a hundred Holocaust survivors testified against him. In his defense he said that he did it on the orders of Hitler.
Jewish-German philosopher Hannah Arendt attended the process as a reporter for The New Yorker magazine . Hence arose his best known and most discussed book to date, Eichmann in Jerusalem , with the subtitle A report on the banality of evil . It was first published in 1963 in the US and soon after in West Germany.
On December 11 of that year he was convicted . Four days later the sentence was known: death. He would be hanged at the Ramla prison , right in the center of Israel, a few minutes after the zero hour of May 31, 1962.
His final words were: “Very soon, gentlemen, we will meet again, such is the destiny of all men, long live Germany, long live Argentina, long live Austria, I will never forget them!”
His body was cremated and the ashes scattered in the sea.