The Maltz Museum of Jewish Heritage is extending Operation Finale: The Capture & Trial of Adolf Eichmann through July 24, 2016. “Fascinating, touching and terrifying,” one exhibition-goer shared on Facebook after seeing Operation Finale. “Absolutely a ‘must-see’,” wrote another.
“We’ve presented 27 special exhibitions on everything from biblical treasures to comic book superheroes over the last 10 years,” says Maltz Museum executive director Ellen Rudolph. “The secret history behind the daring, high stakes spy operation that made a key perpetrator of the Holocaust accountable for crimes against humanity has emerged as one of our most popular exhibitions to-date.” The 4,000-square-foot multimedia exhibition created by the Maltz Museum in partnership with the Mossad — Israeli Secret Intelligence Service, and Beit Hatfutsot — Museum of the Jewish People, was originally slated to close June 12. It will now run through the Republican National Convention in Cleveland.
“Operation Finale” was the code name for the effort to capture Eichmann. Responsible for transporting millions to death camps during World War II, the high-ranking Nazi official was hiding in Argentina when he was apprehended by Mossad agents in 1960 and smuggled out of the country. Films, photographs and 60 recently declassified mission-related artifacts encourage visitors to explore the spy story’s twists and turns. “This is the first time the Mossad has allowed archival materials from a clandestine operation to travel outside of Israel,” says Rudolph. “The printed maps, hand-forged license passports and handwritten case files underscore the complexity of pre-digital espionage.”
An immersive, three-channel video installation that includes the actual bulletproof booth from which a dispassionate Eichmann claimed innocence asks visitors to consider a legacy of one of the most high profile trials of the 20th century—the empowerment of survivors to tell their stories and challenge future generations to address crimes against humanity.
“Every day, everywhere across the globe people are experiencing forms of discrimination, exclusion, persecution and acts of violence based on race, religion, gender, gender identity or politics,” says Rudolph. “Ultimately Operation Finale reminds us that, as Elie Wiesel declared in his 1986 Nobel Prize speech, ‘Wherever men and women are persecuted because of their race, religion, or political views, that place must—at that moment—become the center of the universe.’”
Operation Finale: The Capture & Trial of Adolf Eichmann travels across the country following its Cleveland debut. For more information and future locations, visit maltzmuseum.org.