Fifty years after Israel — for the only time in its history — imposed the death penalty, some never-before-seen artifacts about the life and death of Adolf Eichmann went on public exhibit there.
“Revealing the Operation to Capture Eichmann,” at the entrance to the Knesset before it moves to the Museum of Jewish People on the campus of Tel Aviv University, includes the bulletproof glass booth in which Eichmann, the “Architect of the Holocaust,” sat during his trial in 1961.
“If I had to pick two people who were most instrumental in pushing the Final Solution, after seeing this exhibit, I would say it was the Mufti and Eichmann,” Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said at the exhibit’s opening. His reference was to Hajj Amin el Husseini, the wartime leader of Palestine’s Muslim community, an avid supporter of the Nazis’ genocidal policies.
“Eichmann and the Mufti demanded that Jews not be brought to Palestine, but that they burn in Europe,” Netanyahu said. “We came here anyway, and did justice. There will always be new challenge, but the lessons learned in the Eichmann trial will be remembered forever.”
Eichmann, who as head of operation for the SS managed the logistics of the mass deportation of Jews to ghettos and death camps during the Third Reich, fled to Argentine after the war, lived under a false name in Buenos Aires and was captured by the Mossad in 1960 and brought to Israel. His trial captured the attention of the world, and for the first time exposed many Israelis to the horrors of the Shoah.
Found guilty, he was hanged; his ashes were scattered over the Mediterranean.
Many of the Eichmann artifacts – including the fake passport, above, which was used when he was smuggled out of Argentina – were kept at Mossad headquarters until now. Also on display are the blindfold the Mossad put over Eichmann’s head at a Buenos Aires hideaway, gloves worn by the agents who captured him, the keys to Eichmann’s Buenos Aires house, the court’s verdict and many photographs.
“This will be the first time that the Mossad exposes one of its operations to the public,” a Knesset spokesman said.