New 6-8th – They Won’t Be Able To Put This Down

nazi hunters

Neal Bascomb has written a gripping account of an international effort to capture Adolf Eichmann – the SS official who basically visualized, organized, and ran the Holocaust. Eichman disappeared for over a decade and, while Europe and the U.S. got caught up in the Cold War, a tenacious few kept hunting for ex-Nazi officials who were responsible for the murder of millions of Jews and others. In a spy-like, action packed text, the author tells the story of how Eichman was discovered in Argentina, kept under surveillance and then captured through an elaborate plan by an international team led by the Israelis.

What struck me were some of the thematic threads that ran through the book –

  • Everyone involved (and there were dozens) had lost a relative in the Holocaust and was still suffering the loss (why wouldn’t they be?) – this served as motivation, but also as an energy that sometimes had to be suppressed in order to pull off the mission successfully;
  • Even when world powers like the U.S., Europe, and even Germany lost focus on pursuing these criminals, a tenacious few – a lawyer in Germany, leaders in Israel, every day people in Argentina including a teenage girl – continued this pursuit.
  • To pull off this mission, meticulous care had to be taken as well as innovation – disguise, caution, use of new technology, etc. As well, collective thinking and collaboration and trust played an important role in the mission.

Beautiful. Well written and thoroughly researched. Actually, I found this in a bookstore and had not heard of Neal Bascomb. I immediately turned to the author’s note to check out his research and was impressed enough to pay. While the notes and research were extensive, Bascomb writes the following note: “Now, despite my best efforts, my reconstruction of these events is no doubt imperfect” and then he goes on to explain. Great example for your middle school students to consider in thinking critically about the informational texts they are reading.

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