The Nazi Hunters: How a Team of Spies and Survivors Captured the World’s Most Notorious Nazi
by Neal Bascomb
Middle School, High School Levine/Scholastic
240 pp. 9/13 978-0-545-43099-9 $16.99 g
e-book ed. 978-0-545-56239-3 $16.99
Dismissing Hannah Arendt via footnote, Bascomb concisely establishes Adolf Eichmann as an enthusiastic and painstaking enforcer of Hitler’s Final Solution, even when told, late in the war, to cease and desist: “[not] even Hitler himself was going to divert him from completing his masterpiece: the destruction of Hungarian Jewry.” The first chapter outlines Eichmann’s wartime activities and escape from the victorious Allies in 1945; the last sees him in 1961 in the bulletproof glass booth in Israel’s Beit Ha’am, on trial for his crimes. It’s the in-between time that most interests Bascomb: Eichmann’s settlement in Argentina under an alias and the secret, careful work done by Israel to locate and bring him to justice. Thriller fans will find all their favorite plot points here, from disguises and coded messages to abduction and interrogation, and Bascomb keeps on the right side of the fine line that distinguishes suspense from sensationalism. Photographs are included throughout the text, adding not just to the evidence of Eichmann’s guilt but to the reader’s sense of being along on the mission, with surveillance photos of Eichmann and his (shabby) house in Argentina, the logbook of the El Al plane used to transport him to Israel, and even a picture of the needle used to sedate the prisoner. A “list of participants” precedes the text, and it’s useful in keeping track of the many Mossad and Shin Bet agents who undertook the tracking and retrieval; a thorough bibliography, notes, and an index (unseen) are appended.