Operation Finale: The Capture & Trial of Adolf Eichmann

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New Maltz Museum of Jewish Heritage exhibition (February 19 - June 12, 2016) uses recently declassified material to reveal the secret history behind high profile Nazi war criminal’s capture & trial

The Nazi responsible for the transport of millions of innocent people to death camps might well have lived out his days in Argentina as “Ricardo Klement” if fate, a Holocaust survivor and Israel’s foreign intelligence service hadn’t intervened. A multimedia exhibition produced by the Maltz Museum of Jewish Heritage in collaboration with The Mossad – Israeli Secret Intelligence Service and Beit Hatfutsot – The Museum of the Jewish People, Tel Aviv, featuring recently declassified artifacts never before seen outside of Israel reveals the secret history behind the capture, extradition and trial of one of the world's most notorious escaped war criminals. OPERATION FINALE: THE CAPTURE & TRIAL OF ADOLF EICHMANN premieres at the Maltz Museum (2929 Richmond Road, Beachwood, Ohio 44122; 216.593.0575; maltzmuseum.org) February 19 – June 12, 2016.

“This is the first time the Mossad has allowed archival materials related to one of its clandestine operations to leave Israel,” asserts Maltz Museum Executive Director Ellen Rudolph. “We’ve been working with our international partners for more than two years to assemble this new exhibition and we’re thrilled to debut it here before traveling it to museums across the country.”

‘Operation Finale’ references the code name given to the Mossad’s effort to capture and abduct Eichmann. “The exhibition offers an unprecedented opportunity to see impressive pre-digital-era espionage with all of its accompanying maps, printed case files, hand-forged documents and even a pair of goggles used to obscure Eichmann’s vision during the abduction,” says former agent and espionage expert Avner Avraham, who curated the materials for the Mossad in Israel. With 60 original artifacts and 70 photographs, the 4,000-square-foot exhibition details exactly how agents located a perpetrator of “The Final Solution” hiding in South America and smuggled him to Israel to stand trial for crimes against the Jewish people. “The entire dramatic story is told, including never-before-revealed details of a ‘Plan B’ backup escape strategy devised in case the initial scheme failed,” explains Avraham.

Short films within OPERATION FINALE allow exhibition-goers to hear directly from the abduction team that caught the SS lieutenant colonel and the legal team that prosecuted him. An immersive video installation housing the iconic bulletproof glass booth from which a dispassionate Eichmann testified drops visitors right into the historic 1961 trial. “Although it was more than 15 years after the end of World War II, this was the first time many survivors publicly shared their stories,” says Beit Hatfutsot Chief Curator Dr. Orit Shaham Gover. “These moving accounts of pain, suffering, courage and survival were broadcast across the globe, providing a deeper, more complete understanding of the Holocaust that became not only a living part of Jewish identity, but of the world’s conscience.”

OPERATION FINALE illustrates the enormity of the crimes committed during the Nazi regime and explores issues of justice and accountability. A high school dropout who lost his job as salesmen during the Depression in 1933, Eichmann rose to prominence in the Nazi party by zealously applying his logistical skills to the efficient execution of state-sponsored genocide. He never expressed remorse. “I was not a responsible leader, and as such do not feel myself guilty,” he wrote, asking for clemency.

“Eleven million people, including six million Jews, were systematically murdered when their neighbors and countrymen—perhaps motivated by fear or a desire to get ahead—accepted a worldview that required them to suppress their humanity,” says Rudolph. “The exhibition drives home the need to remain firm in our moral convictions and ever vigilant against indifference and intolerance in the world.”

As survivor and longtime Maltz Museum volunteer Erika Gold states in an OPERATION FINALE film, “We must talk about the Holocaust so it will never happen again.”

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OPERATION FINALE: THE CAPTURE & TRIAL OF ADOLF EICHMANN: The head of the Nazis’ homicidal “Jewish Department” who zealously managed the transport of millions of innocent people to death camps disappeared after World War II. Photographs, film and recently declassified espionage artifacts never before seen outside of Israel reveal the dramatic secret history behind the pursuit, capture, extradition and 1961 trial of a principal perpetrator of The Final Solution. This world premiere exhibition is a co-production of The Mossad – Israeli Secret Intelligence Service; Beit Hatfutsot – The Museum of the Jewish People, Tel Aviv, Israel; and the Maltz Museum of Jewish Heritage.

OPERATION FINALE is included with Maltz Museum admission: $12 adults, $10 seniors (60+) and students, $5 youth (5-11) and FREE for Maltz Museum Members and children under 5. Groups of 10 or more are eligible for guided tours and a discount with advance registration.

Exhibition/Maltz Museum hours: Tuesday – Sunday, 11am -5pm, Wednesday, 11am-9pm. The Museum is closed Mondays. (Note: The Museum recently changed its Saturday hours to open at 11am.)

Guided “drop-in” tours of the OPERATION FINALE exhibition: Available on Tuesdays and Sundays at 2pm with regular Museum admission.

MALTZ MUSEUM OF JEWISH HERITAGE: The Maltz Museum celebrates culture and identity to encourage connection and promote a greater appreciation of Jewish heritage and the diversity of the human experience. Personal stories of struggle, courage and creativity are brought to life through interactive exhibitions and thought-provoking programs. For more information, visit maltzmuseum.org and follow us on Twitter @maltzmuseum and @stopthehateUS.

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