Wednesday, June 7, 2006
The 27,000-pages of documents released on Tuesday reveal that while the United States and West Germany knew the location of Nazi war criminal Adolf Eichmann two years before his capture, the fact was kept secret. The documents were declassified as part of the Nazi War Criminals Disclosure Act of 1998.
West German Intelligence informed the US in March 1958 of the whereabouts of the senior Gestapo officer, who was living under the alias “Clemens” in Argentina where he had arrived seven years earlier.
It was not US policy at the time to go after Nazi criminals since they were still recruited for Cold War operations.
“It now appears that West Germany could have captured him in 1958, if it wished to,” said University of Virginia historian Timothy Naftali. He also said that CIA helped West Germany at the time to suppress part of Eichmann’s diary – which was in the possession of Life magazine – that would have embarrassed West German national security adviser Hans Globke, himself a former Nazi.
Eichmann was captured by Israelis in 1960 in Argentina. He was tried in Jerusalem and received the death penalty.