“un momentino senor”

Peter Malkin who captured Nazi war criminal Adolf Eichmann approached him in a Buenos Aires street with the words “one moment, sir”…

Jesse Marinoff Reyes ( Jesse Marinoff Reyes Design, Maplewood, N.J.)

May 11, 1960. Four Israeli Mossad agents captured fugitive Nazi and SS-ObersturmbannfĂĽhrer, Adolf Eichmann in Buenos Aires—living under the name Ricardo Klement. Could an exploitation paperback be far behind? Yeah, it’s pretty awful in matters-of-taste, but very powerful graphically with the Harry Chester-like scary horror lettering for the title treatment.

JMR Design

To say the least, Argentina protested the “violation of the sovereign rights of the Argentine Republic” (sounds vaguely familiar, as if something like this recently happened…), but the incident was smoothed over through diplomatic channels (and possible U.S. strong arming). Growing up in the 1960s I had the feeling we were still living in the shadow of WWII. It was part of our popular culture certainly (and had been for some time) and events related to the war still popped up in the news. The hunting down and capture of leading Nazi war criminals was certainly a part of that.

BBC: According to Malkin’s account in his book, Eichmann in My Hands, published in 1990, previous operatives sent to Argentina to observe Eichmann committed “gaffes almost beyond invention”, including spectacularly crashing a car in a quiet neighbourhood.

Read More:http://openlibrary.org/works/OL4473064W/The_Argentina_Journal_Paintings_and_Memories

Malkin undertook three months of surveillance, under the cover of a working artist, then decided to confront Eichmann alone near his home to avoid attracting attention. Wearing gloves to avoid touching him, Malkin tapped him on the back with the three words of Spanish he knew: “Un momentito, senor.”

Eichmann paused, upon which Malkin went for his throat, the two men falling to the ground. Another agent sprang out of the getaway car, grabbed Eichmann by the legs and helped bundle him into it.

He later told his friend, Mr Dan: “There were six million pairs of eyes on me… I had to succeed.”

The Mossad team held Eichmann in a safe house for 10 days before smuggling him out of the country, drugged and disguised as a airline steward.

At one point, Malkin told Eichmann he was responsible for the death of his sister Fruma’s son.

“He was just your son’s age. Also blond and blue-eyed, just like your son, and you killed him,” Malkin told Eichmann.

“Genuinely perplexed by the observation, he actually waited a moment to see if I would clarify it,” Malkin recounted. “‘Yes’, he said finally, ‘but he was Jewish, wasn’t he?’” …”I never killed anybody in my life,” he told the New York Times. “I helped get information.”

During the Eichmann operation, he filled a 1960 South American guidebook with paintings and drawings, including a portrait of Eichmann.

The guidebook was reproduced in The Artwork and Memories of Peter Z Malkin. Read More:http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/europe/4321079.stm

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