Jump to content
The Education Forum

Death of Mossad Agent

Recommended Posts

Not right on point but an interesting article about a very famous intelligence operation that occured during the Kennedy administration:

Peter Zvi Malkin Is Dead; Captured Adolf Eichmann


Published: March 3, 2005

Peter Zvi Malkin, a former Israeli intelligence agent who in 1960 captured Adolf Eichmann in Argentina, and who afterward captured him again and again on paper in his second career as a painter and writer, died on Tuesday in a rehabilitation facility in Manhattan. He was believed to be 77, and he had homes in Manhattan and Tel Aviv.

Mr. Malkin, who was recovering from a blood infection he contracted several months ago, choked to death after vomiting, Gabriel Erem, a longtime friend, said.

A Mossad agent for 27 years, Mr. Malkin was the author of a memoir, "Eichmann in My Hands" (Warner, 1990). Written with Harry Stein, it chronicles Mossad's pursuit and capture of Eichmann, an architect of the Final Solution, the systematic Nazi program to exterminate Jews.

A master of disguises, Mr. Malkin often posed as an itinerant painter during intelligence-gathering missions. Repelled and fascinated by Eichmann during the time he spent guarding him in Argentina, he began surreptitiously sketching his portrait. Eichmann was later spirited out of the country by Mossad to stand trial in Israel; he was convicted of crimes against humanity and other charges and executed in 1962.

In an interview last night, Robert M. Morgenthau, the Manhattan district attorney, called Mr. Malkin "an absolutely extraordinary man, probably the last century's greatest intelligence agent." Starting in the late 1970's, Mr. Malkin assisted Mr. Morgenthau on several cases, including the investigation of Frank Terpil, a C.I.A. operative convicted of selling weapons and explosives to Libya and Uganda. Mr. Terpil fled the United States and remains a fugitive.

A two-volume collection of Mr. Malkin's art, "The Argentina Journal" and "Casting Pebbles on the Water With a Cluster of Colors," was published by VWF Publishing in 2002. Mr. Malkin, who retired from Mossad in 1976, was also a private consultant on counterterrorism in later years.

Zvi Malchin was born, most likely on May 27, 1927, either in Poland (according to his son, Omer) or in British Palestine (according to Mr. Malkin's Web site).

"With him, it depends on what passport you're looking at," Omer Malkin said by telephone yesterday. Mr. Malkin adopted the name Peter and anglicized the spelling of his last name as an adult, his son said.

Mr. Malkin's son and Mr. Malkin's Web site agree that Mr. Malkin spent his early childhood in Poland. In 1936, with rising anti-Semitism there, his family settled in Palestine. Mr. Malkin's sister, Fruma, and her three children remained behind in Poland. All died in the Holocaust, along with many of Mr. Malkin's other relatives.

As an adolescent, Mr. Malkin joined the Palestine Jewish underground. After the creation of the State of Israel in 1948, he was recruited by Mossad; he eventually became the organization's chief of operations.

In the spring of 1960, Mr. Malkin was part of a team of agents sent to Buenos Aires to kidnap Eichmann, who was living in a suburb under the alias Ricardo Klement. A creature of meticulous habit, Eichmann was rigorously punctual, returning home by the same bus each evening from his job at a Mercedes-Benz factory.

On May 11, Eichmann alighted from the bus and walked toward his house on Garibaldi Street. Mr. Malkin approached him and uttered the only words of Spanish he knew, "Un momentito, Señor." He grabbed Eichmann's arm. As he told The New York Times in 2003, he wore gloves so he would not have to touch the man.

Concerned about bystanders, Mr. Malkin was unarmed. In an interview in 2003 with Midstream magazine, a monthly Jewish review, he explained, "Obviously, we couldn't tell people, 'We are going to capture Eichmann, so please stay away.' "

Mr. Malkin and his colleagues wrestled Eichmann into a waiting car and drove him to a "safe house," where he was interrogated for 10 days. Standing guard over Eichmann during this time, Mr. Malkin began quietly to draw him, using the sketch pencils, acrylic paints and makeup he carried in his disguise kit.

He drew on the only surface that came to hand, a South American travel guide he had purchased for the trip. The results, portraits of Eichmann and other images of the Holocaust superimposed on yellowing pages of maps and text, are hauntingly beautiful. The images, along with Mr. Malkin's later work, may be seen on Mr. Malkin's Web site, www.peterzmalkin.com.

Besides his son, of Los Altos, Calif., Mr. Malkin is survived by his wife, the former Roni Thorner; two daughters, Tami and Adi, both of Israel; and eight grandchildren.

Because of the extreme secrecy Mossad demanded, Mr. Malkin for many years said nothing about his role in Eichmann's capture. As he recounted to Midstream magazine, he broke his silence only when his mother was on her deathbed. "Mama," he told her, "I captured Eichmann. Fruma is avenged."

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Please sign in to comment

You will be able to leave a comment after signing in

Sign In Now
  • Create New...