Berlin – Fifty years after Adolf Eichmann went on trial in Israel, Germany is still keeping mum on how much it knew before Mossad agents kidnapped the Nazi war criminal in Argentina in 1960.
Organisers of a Berlin exhibition opening to the public on Wednesday to mark the start of the trial on April 11 1961 say Germany’s Bundesnachrichtendienst (BND) foreign intelligence agency refused access to the relevant files.
“We made a request to the BND around a year ago to be able to look at these files. The response was negative,” Lisa Hauff, curator at the exhibition at the Topography of Terror museum, said.
This is “absurd” and “outrageous”, said Norbert Kampe, head of the Wannsee Conference memorial, which helped on the exhibition at the museum on the site of the Gestapo and SS’s former Berlin headquarters.
Eichmann was a key organiser in the deportation and murder of millions of Jews and others during World War II. He escaped from captivity and ended up, like many other war criminals, in Argentina in 1950.
After his capture by Israeli agents, he stood trial in Jerusalem and was executed in 1962.
Freelance journalist Gaby Weber last year won a legal victory forcing the BND to make available some of its files, which it is now doing, but only step by step.
According to Spiegel magazine, they show that the BND, or rather its forerunner Organisation Gehlen, was aware as early as 1952 that Eichmann was in Argentina – eight years before his capture.