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Adolf Eichmann: Documents Reveal German Intelligence Knew Eichmann's Location

(Updated January 2011)

According to German federal archive documents released in January 2011, the West German Gehlen Organization, predecessor to the German intelligence agency Bundesnachrichtendienst (BND), knew since at least 1952 Nazi fugitive Adolf Eichmann's fake name and hiding place in Argentina. When Eichmann used the false name Ricardo Klement and sent for his wife and children in Austria to join him in South America, the West German intelligence service did not attempt to capture him.

Despite knowledge of his location and alias, the Gehlen Organization did not disclose the information until it told an American intelligence agent that Eichmann fled to Argentina in 1958. The CIA also did not share the information with Israel.

Other newly released German archive documents revealed that an Israeli commando squad sought to capture Eichmann as early as 1949 when rumors began circulating he planned to visit his wife in Bad Aussee, Austria. The failed abduction, as a result of Eichmann traveling to North Germany and not Bad Aussee, meant Israeli agents did not capture Eichmann until 1960. Eichmann was flown to Israel and tried and executed in 1962, a decade after the West German secret service learned of his location.

Sources: Haaretz, Jerusalem Post