Wednesday, March 02, 2005

Passing of a Legend

Peter Mann was an artist . . . to some, and an inspiration to at least one, Daniel Silva (see here. But to Israel he is a national hero.

Peter Mann died in New York at age 77. His real name is Peter Malchin (also spelled "Malkin"), aka "Zvika", a Jew born in British Palestine, raised in Poland and who returned to British Palestine in the 1930s and joined the Hagana, the precursor to the Israeli Defense Forces. He lost most of his family in the Holocaust, became a member of the Mossad and is a hero in Israel because he personally captured Adolf Eichmann on Garibaldi Street in Buenos Aries, Argentina in 1960. [See here and here for books about the capture and transport of Eichmann]. Malchin uttered the three words that ended up changing Eichmann's future: "Uno momento, senor." Eichmann turned, Malchin tackled him, and the Mossad agents in the operation put Eichmann in a car and took him to a safe house to await the first international flight from Israel to Argentina: a "cover" diplomatic mission that disguised the purpose of the El Al plane -- taking Eichmann back to Israel, where David Ben-Gurion stunned the world on May 24, 1960 by declaring Eichmann's capture.

Malchin's body is being flown to Tel Aviv and he will be interred in Israel.


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