By Laura Fernández Palomo
Jerusalem, May 11 (efe-epa).- Nazi war criminal Adolf Eichmann was captured by Israeli spies in Buenos Aires 60 years ago on Monday.
His trial, which was broadcast internationally, shocked the world by revealing the horrors committed during World War Two in Europe and murder of millions of Jewish people under the Nazi regime.
After years of investigations, false passports and secrecy, an Israeli operation culminated in the capture of Eichmann on 11 May 1960 in the neighbourhood of San Fernando.
He was seized on his way home from work, put into a car and hidden in a house until Mossad managed to smuggle him into Israel, sedated and under disguise.
Raanan Rein, professor of Latin American history at the University of Tel Aviv, told Efe: “Despite the violation of Argentine sovereignty, Jewish communities around the world legitimised this mission as a moral act and here in Israel, which had not spoken so much about the Holocaust, the trial represented a watershed in public discourse.”
On 23 May, then-Israeli prime minister David Ben Gurion announced that Eichmann was imprisoned and an American magazine later revealed that he had been captured in Argentina.
Rein said the Argentine government “demanded that Eichmann be returned”, declared the Israeli ambassador in Buenos Aires a persona non grata and complained to the United Nations Security Council.
But political tensions only lasted for a couple of months and then the most important chapter began, the trial.
Rein said the Jewish community in Argentina, which was the largest in Latin America at that time with a population of 250,000, suffered from a wave of anti-Semitic attacks.