The capture of Nazi fiend Adolf Eichmann by Israel’s Mossad is one of the great stories of the last century.
A mastermind of the Holocaust, Eichmann eventually escaped to Argentina. In 1960, Israeli agents dispatched by Prime Minister David Ben-Gurion caught the Nazi and brought him to Israel for justice. The electrifying trial was critical in bringing Nazi crimes to the attention of the world. Complete with film shot by Allied troops liberating the death camps.
The Israelis were methodical in handling Eichmann. His interrogation lasted a staggering nine months, almost every day. There is a famous photograph of Eichmann walking outside his cell. The slight figure is deep in thought. He doesn’t look very menacing.
Even though he was.
Retired Israeli Chief Inspector Mickey Goldman-Gilad, now 95, was tasked with heading Bureau 06, a group that would manage Eichmann’s interrogations.
In a supreme irony, Goldman-Gilad had been born in Poland, and was deported to Szebnie labor camp, then to Birkenau and then…to Auschwitz. He survived a death march in the waning days of the war, then managed to get to Israel, after spending time at a detention camp in Cyprus.
Now he would be interrogating the man responsible for so many deaths.
Goldman-Gilad’s parents and sister died in the camps, along with 40 members of his extended family.
Forty-three family members murdered! How does one cope? It also took him 17 years to find a brother he was certain had perished but had not.
Goldman-Gilad has given some insight into dealing with such a devil:
“He consistently presented himself as a cog in the Nazi machine and put all the blame on others, pleading that he was just following orders from above,” he recalls. “But we presented him with hundreds of documents with his signature on them that had been located in archives in Europe and the US. He had signed letters and directives that he would give to all of his emissaries in the countries that had been occupied by Germany, regarding the transport of Jews to extermination camps. In order to deflect any personal responsibility for these actions, Eichmann claimed that he’d been merely following orders. We were able to prove, however, that he was the one who gave the orders himself. I spoke with him in German. His testimony was recorded in German. Of course, we had everything translated into Hebrew before we submitted the statements to the court.”
Goldman-Gilad today believes that only God could take revenge against Eichmann for his grotesque crimes.
After Eichmann was hanged on May 31, 1962, Goldman-Gilad was among those that scattered his ashes at sea. As he did so, the young police captain said, out loud:
“So may perish all your enemies, Israel.”