Eichmann Underwent Plastic Surgery

The Capture and Trial of Adolf Eichmann

by Rabbi Lipman (Jewish Gates)

Simon Wiesenthal suffered as an inmate of various Nazi concentration camps including Mauthausen and Buchenwald. Following his liberation, he dedicated his life to identifying and hunting down Nazi war criminals. Despite obstacles placed in his way by almost every government, over the years he succeeded in bringing more than 1,100 Nazi war criminals to prosecution. His most famous success was in 1960, when his data led to the capture of Adolf Eichmann.

Eichmann was responsible for all transportation of Jews during the Holocaust. He created the efficient assembly-line system which enabled the death camps to slaughter huge numbers of Jews daily. He set up the original gas chambers and purchased the Zyklon B used in the mass murder of Jews. He was unquestionably devoted to his assignment of ridding the world of Jews.

At the end of the war Eichmann escaped to Argentina. He lived in Buenos Aires with his wife and three children. He underwent plastic surgery to change his facial features and became Ricardo Klement.

Israel's Secret Service, following leads supplied by Simon Wiesenthal, found him and abducted him in 1960. He was tried in Israel and found guilty on December 15, 1961.

Eichmann's trial shook Israel. With more than 100 witnesses and 1,600 documents, a generation of young Israelis was shown the Holocaust in all its stark horror. Until that time, they hadn't known a great deal about the Holocaust because the survivors didn't speak about it; it was too painful. The Eichmann trial was a revelation to them.

At the same time that Eichmann was being tried, a powerful short novel by Elie Wiesel, a Holocaust survivor, was translated into English. Originally written in Yiddish and then in French, Night described Wiesel's experience in the camps. Powerful and stark, Wiesel's subsequent three novels in four years burned an image of the Holocaust into the consciousness of the world, and he became the Holocaust's living voice. Eichmann was hanged in 1962.