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The Weekly Blague

The Day They Hanged Eichmann

Schoolkids in June Zero reading an Israeli tabloid featuring Adolf Eichmann on the cover. Photo courtesy of the New York Jewish Film Festival and Film at Lincoln Center.


In 1960, the Mossad kidnapped Adolf Eichmann, one of the architects of the Final Solution, off a Buenos Aires street and spirited him back to Israel, where he was tried, convicted of crimes against humanity, sentenced to death, and in 1962, hanged. Israeli authorities wanted to quickly cremate the Gestapo colonel and scatter his ashes at sea before his family could claim the body. They didn't want Eichmann's grave to become a Nazi shrine. But the Jewish religion at the time forbade cremation, and there were no crematoria in Israel. June Zero, an extraordinary film directed by Jake Paltrow, tells the story of how a crematorium was built specifically for Eichmann. There's not a wasted frame or moment that doesn't matter in this intertwining tale of a young Jewish Arab who works at the furnace factory where the crematorium is built; a prison official who guards Eichmann; and an Israeli policeman, a Holocaust survivor, who interrogated Eichmann.


June Zero, the "date," according to Israeli officials, that Eichmann was hanged, serves as a sequel to Operation Finale, the 2018 film about Eichmann's capture, and is a parallel story to the Eichmann section of my book A Brooklyn Memoir, about how the people of Flatbush, a neighborhood where many Holocaust survivors lived, reacted to Eichmann's capture, trial, and execution.


In Hebrew and English with English subtitles.


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