Monday, July 8, 2013

The Nazi Hunters by Bascomb

Coming in August

Richie's Picks: THE NAZI HUNTERS: HOW A TEAM OF SPIES AND SURVIVORS CAPTURED THE WORLD'S MOST NOTORIOUS NAZI by Neal Bascomb, Scholastic/Arthur A. Levine, September 2013, 256p., ISBN: 978-0-545-43099-9

"But if you only have love for your own race

Then you only leave space to discriminate

And to discriminate only generates hate

And when you hate you're bound to get irate, yeah

Madness is what you demonstrate

And that's exactly how anger works and operates

Man you gotta have love just to set it straight

Take control of your mind and meditate

Let your soul gravitate to the love y'all"

--, et al. "Where is the Love?"

Approximately six million Jews were murdered in the Holocaust.

"The long-term after-effects of Holocaust traumatization are far-reaching. More than half a century after the war, the Holocaust continues to make its presence felt on survivor families and others in a variety of ways. Like an atom bomb that disperses its radioactive fallout in distant places, often a long time after the actual explosion, the Holocaust continues to contaminate everyone who was exposed to it in one way or another. When retiring from work or experiencing deteriorating health, terrifying nightmares and flashbacks reappear in aging survivors who over the years had kept themselves excessively busy in order to repress their painful memories. Survivors who were children during the war continue to struggle with their basic insecurities and prolonged mourning for parents they hardly or ever knew."

-- from "The Long-term Psychological Effects and Treatment of Holocaust Trauma" (2001) by clinical psychologist Natan P.F. Kellermann, PhD.

Growing up in Commack, on Long Island, I had a lot of friends who were Jewish. So many had lost -- a decade before we were born -- distant- or not-so-distant relatives in the Nazi death camps. Our community was also home to Jews who were among the survivors of the Holocaust.

Adolf Eichmann organized and oversaw the movement of millions of Jews to the death camps where they were systematically murdered. He was very good at organizing and overseeing these tasks. Clearly, he did not learn that one must not to do to someone that which you wouldn't want done to you...or your mother...or your daughter. If there is a lesson for the world in the life of Adolf Eichmann, it is that one cannot justify morally unjustifiable behavior through claims of having merely been following orders.

"The agents had mentally prepared themselves for the risks of holing up at the house -- possibly even having to face an assault from the police or from Eichmann's sons and associates if they were located. But not one of them had anticipated the soul-hollowing effect of inhabiting the same space as Adolf Eichmann."

THE NAZI HUNTERS by Neal Bascomb is an adaptation for young people of Bascomb's book about the locating, surveillance, capture, and bringing to justice of Adolf Eichmann, who had succeeded in changing his identity and escaping to Argentina at the end of WWII. It is an oft-tense spy thriller of a true story. Pretty much all of those involved in tracking him down, capturing him, and getting him from Argentina to Israel for trial, had deep emotional involvement in the mission, having lost distant- or not-so-distant relatives in the Holocaust thanks, in large part, to Eichmann.

Six million Jews murdered remains a difficult number to get my head around. That is the equivalent of 15 Woodstock audiences. Or, out here in California where I live now, it is the number of people who collectively live in San Francisco plus Oakland plus San Jose plus San Mateo County plus the rest of Alameda County plus Contra Costa County plus Marin County plus Sonoma County (my county).

It took a lot of organizing to kill that many people. Eichmann got it done. It took a lot of work to catch up with Eichmann. Fifteen years after the war, the people we meet in this book got it done. The capture and trial of Adolf Eichmann helped educate the modern world about what had taken place under Hitler.

Now, two-thirds of a century after the end of that war, I continue to hope for the discovery of an avenue to lasting peace and harmony in the Middle East. I'm hoping that, someday soon, someone can get it done, and I can write about those people, too.

"If you never know truth

Then you never know love

Where's the love y'all?"

Richie Partington, MLIS
Richie's Picks

No comments: