The men behind the horrors of World War II were either caught, imprisoned and put on trial for their unspeakable crimes, or they took poison before justice could catch up with them.
The ringer leader, Adolf Hitler, committed suicide before the Allies could capture him and make him answer for the war, much to the frustration and disappointment of his enemies.
Not Adolph Eichmann, however. He managed to escape, and lived for years as a quiet, “off the radar” factory worker in South America. He and his family fled to Argentina, and he likely assumed that, once there, he could live out his days in peace and anonymity.
He was wrong.
The family did make it to Buenos Aires, and Eichmann began working at a Mercedes Benz factory. He and his wife had four sons: Klaus, Horst, Dieter, and Ricardo. Only the youngest, Ricardo, loathed his father and what he stood for; the other three remained completely loyal and devoted.
Ironically, it was, in an indirect fashion, because of Horst (Eichmann’s second son) that Eichmann was caught. The young man began dating a Jewish girl, and she had suspicions about the family. She got in touch with the Mossad, Israeli’s intelligence unit, and they investigated.
By 1960, Eichmann had been taken from South America to Israel and was put on trial for war crimes. In 1962, he was hanged.
The entire episode was recently turned into a Netflix movie, Operation Finale, starring British actor, Ben Kingsley.
When Britain’s DailyMail.com decided to see if anyone from those years remains in Argentina, incredibly, they found Carmen Lindemann, once a lover of Horst’s. She told the Mail that Dieter was alive and well and still living in the Buenos Aires neighborhood from which Eichmann had been taken.
Although Dieter had never spoken to the press about his father’s execution, Lindemann was willing to comment on how the family coped with the monster in their midst.
“They expected it,” she told the Mail when asked about the Israelis coming for Eichmann. “But it didn’t make it easier. When he was executed, Klaus and Horst became very angry and started attacking Jews. That made it even worse for them.”
Lindemann spent more than a dozen years with Horst and told the Mail that he was, as far as she knew, still devoted to his father.
“Horst was a very strong Nazi,” she recalled, “and believed that his father had done nothing wrong… [Eichmann] told his sons that Hitler went after the Jews because they planned to sterilize Germans, by putting a chemical in the water.”
Later, she added, “If Horst thought [his father] was guilty, his whole world would have fallen apart.”
Ricardo, born in 1955 in Argentina, was reputed to have little to do with his brothers. Now, only one of the brothers is still alive – Dieter, who lives in Buenos Aires.
While Operation Finale tells the story of Eichmann’s capture and trial, it does not communicate the devastating effects his thoughts and deeds had on the four young men. No film could accurately portray that.