Adolf Hitler’s ‘chief executioner’ was turned in by a German geologist who worked with him while he was hiding in Argentina, the geologist’s family has revealed 32 years after his death.
Until Friday, Gerhard Klammer’s name was only known by his family, Israel’s intelligence agency – Mossad – and others involved in the 15-year-long manhunt for Adolf Eichmann, who organized the Nazi’s ‘final solution to the Jewish question.’
In 1959, he told a close friend that he worked with Eichmann, who joined the Nazi’s SS in 1932 and rose the top of the party’s ranks, at a construction company called Capri in the Tucuman province of Argentina earlier in the decade.
At the time, Eichmann was going by the alias ‘Ricardo Klement.’
Klammer’s friend, a priest who served in the German Army, told his bishop. The bishop told Fritz Bauer, a German Jewish prosecutor who was the district attorney for the state of Hesse.
Bauer met with Mossad head Isser Harel and Attorney General Haim Cohn in Israel to pass on the information.
It all led to the capture of Eichmann in 1960. He was tried, convicted and hanged in Israel in 1962.
Gerhard Klammer worked with Eichmann at Capri, a construction company in northern Argentina, after Eichmann fled there in the early 1950s
Adolf Eichmann was the ‘chief executioner’ for the Nazis. He joined the party in 1932 and planned the ‘final solution,’ which saw Jews gassed or worked to death throughout Europe. He is pictured in April 1961, after being captured by Israeli intelligence officials
He escaped US capture and absconded to Argentina in the early 1950s. Above, Eichmann at the height of his power as the Nazi SS Lieutenant Colonel in charge of Hitler’s Jewish bureau
Klammer provided a photo of Eichmann (circled) and himself standing next to each other
Klammer’s name was first reported by German newspaper Sueddeutsche Zeitung, according to Israeli newspaper Haaretz, which said Klammer has earned ‘a place of honor in Israeli history.’
He studied geology, philosophy and history in Germany and moved to Argentina to look for work in 1950, at around the same time Eichmann landed in the South American country.
The German establishment knew Eichmann was in South America for years, but they weren’t too keen on finding him. In fact, Klammer had contacted German authorities about Eichmann in the early 1950s but never got a response.
Eichmann (second from right) smiles as German officers cut a Jewish prisoner’s hair
US troops captured Eichmann after World War II, but he escaped from a prison camp in 1946. He landed in Argentina after living in Germany under a false identity for years, according to Encyclopedia Britannica.
Klammer knew who Eichmann was because their company, which planned hydroelectric power plants, employed many Nazis, according to German magazine Der Spiegel.
Klammer provided Eichmann’s home address and a photo from the early 1950s showing them standing next to each other at the time they worked at Capri, according to Haaretz.
Above, the home in Suburban Buenos Aires where Eichmann’s wife and kids were taken from
Vera, Eichmann’s wife, reads her husband’s book as she waits his sentencing in December 1961
Bauer had already gotten some information about Eichmann from Lothar Hermann, a half-Jewish man born in Germany who was living in Argentina
It turns out Hermann’s daughter had gone on a date with Eichmann’s son, who boasted about his father’s identity.
Mossad sent agents to Argentina to try to find Eichmann in 1957 but came up empty.
Hermann’s information was not as complete as Klammer, who is credited with helping the agents locate the Nazi.
Prosecutor Fritz Bauer (right) followed up on Klammer’s claims and handed the information to Mossad, Israel’s intelligence agency
Fake passports used by an Israeli Mossad agent (left) to fly Adolf Eichmann (right) out of Argentina were displayed in an exhibition at the Knesset in Jerusalem in December 2011
Eichmann had moved somewhere else by the time Mossad forces arrived in Argentina to capture him using Klammer’s information, but they found his new address, and a group of agents headed by Rafi Eitan abducted him and put on a plane to Israel.
Eichmann was sent to Vienna with the mission of ridding the city of Jews after the city’s annexation in 1938, according to History.com.
Rafi Eitan (second from left) led a group of agents who abducted Eichmann in Argentina in 1960. Above, Eitan attends a march at the former Auschwitz death camp in 2007
‘He set up an efficient Jewish deportation center and in 1939 was sent to Prague on a similar mission. That year, Eichmann was appointed to the Jewish section of the SS central security office in Berlin,’ the website says.
In January 1942, Eichmann met with top Nazi officials at the Wannsee Conference near Berlin, where he was appointed to organize the identification, assembly, and transportation of millions of Jews from occupied Europe to Nazi death camps where Jews were gassed or worked to death.
It’s impossible to know the actual death toll of the Holocaust, but most sources estimate that six million Jews were killed in the massacre/
Eichmann’s trial began in April 1961 following his capture.
He was convicted in December of 15 counts of crimes against the Jewish people, crimes against humanity, war crimes and membership in a criminal organization, according to the International Crimes Database of The Hague.
He was hanged in May 1962 in prison in Ramla, Israel.