Children of Holocaust Survivors Bring ‘Eichmann’s Hangman’ to Home for the Aged With Fundraising Effort
On a day when the world paused to honor those who perished at the hands of the Nazis, a man who helped bring to justice one of the regime’s most notorious officials is resting easier.
In recent weeks, friends of Shalom Nagar — called “the hangman of Eichmann” and one of the last living links to Israel’s capture of the Nazi leader — raised money for his transfer to a state-of-the-art home for the aged near Tel Aviv.
Nagar, who had been living at home and in poor health during the pandemic lockdown, is a Yemenite Jewish immigrant to Israel and former ritual butcher, who served as prison guard to Adolf Eichmann. The Nazi’s 1960 apprehension by Israel’s spy service was a coup for the young Jewish state, and served as some measure of punishment less than twenty years after the Holocaust.
After a widely-publicized trial in Jerusalem and a conviction on charges of war crimes, Eichmann was hung by Nagar — who spoke of his involvement in the “great mitzvah of wiping out Amalek.”
“It was just me and Eichmann,” he later told Mishpacha magazine. “I was standing a few feet from him and looked him straight in the eye. He refused to have his face covered, and he was still wearing those trademark checkered slippers. Then I pulled the lever and he fell, dangling by the rope.”
The recent effort to improve Nagar’s living situation began when Avner Avraham, a Mossad expert and former agent who has produced museum exhibits on the Eichmann operation, learned of his deteriorating condition in December, 2020.
“The story of the Holocaust and the story of Operation Finale is very, very close to me,” Avraham told The Algemeiner. “Most of the Holocaust survivors cannot talk, most of them are not with us anymore.”
Avraham rang Gabriel Erem — who calls himself a “serial entrepreneur and active philanthropist, with a deep passion for Tikkun Olam” — who then spearheaded a fundraising effort with fellow descendants of Holocaust survivors.
By January 10th, their campaign had brought Nagar, with his family’s blessing, to a home for the aged.
Erem, who lost many family members during the Holocaust, was a young boy when he heard the announcement of Eichmann’s capture over the radio. He recalled his mother — a survivor of Auschwitz — reacting with tears and anger at the arrest of the man who designed the “Final Solution” policy.
“I am happy in the knowledge, at the time of this writing, that Shalom Nagar is enjoying the comfort and safety of a first-rate old age home under the care of top doctors and nurses,” said Erem. “He participates in the daily prayer services and is very happy.”
“Having been able to help Shalom Nagar find a comfortable, safe and well staffed retirement home in Jerusalem will always be something that I feel good about,” said Erem. “I did this in the name of the millions of martyrs — and my many family members among them. I am sure my parents would be proud of me.”
For sixty years, the arrest and execution of Eichmann has similarly moved others linked to the tragedies of the Holocaust. His capture in Argentina by the Mossad captivated the world, and the televised trial that followed became a unifying event for the Jewish state.
Speaking to The Algemeiner on International Holocaust Remembrance Day, Avraham said that the retelling of Nagar’s actions, and of Israel’s triumph in the Eichmann operation, is an essential part of preserving the memory of the Shoah.
“We need to find for the future, when the survivors cannot do it anymore — we need to find creative ways to talk about the Holocaust story,” he said.