Peter Zvi Malkin, the Mossad agent who literally nabbed Adolf Eichmann on a street in Buenos Aires in 1960, was also a talented artist. During the long hours guarding Eichmann in a safe house before transporting him to Israel, Malkin captured his impressions of Eichmann and the significance of this clandestine mission.
Using what he had on hand – pencil, pen, crayons, paint, and even makeup, Malkin made sketches in a guidebook about South America – one of the props used by the Mossad agents so that they appeared to be tourists.
The sketchbook is now on display in Operation Finale, courtesy of Malkin’s son, Omer, who hand-delivered it.
Learn more about Peter Malkin and his sketchbook in this video narrated by Operation Finale curator Avner Avraham:
The slideshow below highlights some of Malkin’s sketches, color drawings, and paintings. These photos were taken in the Museum’s prep room before the sketchbook was placed in the Operation Finale exhibition.
This 1960 South American Handbook belonged to Peter Zvi Malkin. Inside is where he sketched, drew, and painted his impressions while guarding Adolf Eichmann in Argentina.
One of Malkin's artworks inside the South American handbook.
Most of Malkin's artworks were inside the Argentina portion of the guidebook, and they sometimes incorporated words, maps, or images from the guidebook that gave additional power to the artwork.
Some of the art depicts Eichmann. Some of it depicts his victims. Sometimes it depicts both.
This shows the Museum's Associate Registrar assessing the condition of the sketchbook when received.
Malkin used the materials available to him - pencil, pen, crayons, paint, even makeup - to create his art.
Malkin's sketchpad didn't include captions.
This sketch of Eichmann covers one wall of the Operation Finale exhibition. Below Eichmann is a train with six cars, to denote the six million Jews murdered by Nazis. Hitler is shown in the lower left, and in the upper right is a small boy in a crematorium.
The pages on display in the Operation Finale exhibition.