“I look for stories about people doing what we think is impossible—stories about ordinary people being put in extraordinary situations and coming through it,” said author Neal Bascomb during a November 2019 presentation at the Museum. The elite team of spies who captured Adolf Eichmann, architect of the Nazis’ Final Solution, at a bus stop in Argentina then smuggled him to Israel to stand trial fully fit Bascomb’s criteria.
Bascomb’s titles include The Escape Artists, The Winter Fortress, and The Perfect Mile, among others. Published in 2013, his book The Nazi Hunters is a young adult version of his authoritative 2009 work Hunting Eichmann: How a Band of Survivors and a Young Spy Agency Chased Down the World’s Most Notorious Nazi. Earlier on the day of his presentation, Bascomb particpated in a Museum distance-learning webinar joined by more than 3,000 students across the country.
“I ask myself two questions before I start a book, and the first question is, ‘Do I have something new to say about this story?’” he said. “And this story about Adolf Eichmann and his capture … was largely myth, largely written by the people who were involved in the operation.
“The second question I ask is, ‘Does this story have something important to say?’ And I think, of all the books that I have written, this one has the most important thing to say, mainly about memory and the importance of justice.”
Bascomb’s presentation supported the special exhibit Operation Finale: The Capture & Trial of Adolf Eichmann, on view in the Senator John Alario, Jr. Special Exhibition Hall through January 5, 2020.
Watch the presentation here:
Operation Finale: The Capture & Trial of Adolf Eichmann is a coproduction of The Mossad: Israeli Secret Intelligence Service; Beit Hatfutsot, The Museum of the Jewish People, Tel Aviv, Israel; and the Maltz Museum of Jewish Heritage in Cleveland, Ohio. Sponsorship for Operation Finale is generously provided by Perry and Marty Granoff.
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