Tuesday, January 7, 2014

The Nazi Hunters

As a Social Studies teacher turned librarian, WWII is a very familiar topic. And yet, there is always more to discover about this horrific time. Similar to my experience with Unbroken, Neal Bascomb's The Nazi Hunters: How a team of spies and survivors captured the world's most notorious Nazi reveals an often overlooked aspect of WWII. This story provides the account of the fledgling Mossad in the years after the war had concluded. Since no nation was willing to accept responsibility for hunting down Adolf Eichmann, it fell to a group of Mossad operative volunteers. This group, including a number of Holocaust survivors, were quietly sanctioned by the Israeli government, without any protection if caught in their mission.

Despite knowing the historical outcome of the events, Bascomb's account was an intriguing page-turner. It is filled with personal details and nail-biting tension reminiscent of the movie "Argo". It is strangely bitter sweet to read as roles reversed and the once powerful Eichmann was brought to trial by those who once suffered under his orders. With little substantial character development, I found myself somewhat disconnected from the individual people in the book. Still, the infamy of Eichmann and the riveting account of this momentous mission makes Bascomb's book a must read.

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