One of the 20th century’s greatest spy stories has just been declassified, and the entire saga from capture to trial is now on display at the Museum of Jewish Heritage in Lower Manhattan.
Few Nazi soldiers are as notorious as Adolf Eichmann, who oversaw the mass incarceration of Jews into ghettos and their eventual deportation to concentration camps. Through 130 artifacts from the archives of the Israeli intelligence agency Mossad, “Operation Finale” reveals how he was captured after fleeing to South America, smuggled out and convicted in the first mass-televised trial.
“The exhibit is not about Eichmann,” says Yitzchak Mais, a consulting curator on “Operation Finale,” which opens July 16. He describes the SS lieutenant colonel as a technician of the highest order, who tried to win sympathy at trial by claiming that he didn’t directly kill any Jews. “It’s more the cloak-and-dagger story of how he was caught by Mossad, and the trial that followed.”