History vs Hollywood
Operation Finale recounts the brave mission to capture one of the biggest Nazi perpetrators of the Holocaust – but does it stick to the facts?
Was Netflix’s Operation Finale the final nail in the coffin of truth?
Mossad agent Peter Malkin poses as a painter while observing on-the-run former Nazi Adolf Eichmann in Argentina. Malkin was an artist in real life, inspired by his time undercover, and some of the images he painted of Eichmann are included in his book.
Just like in the movie Malkin really did capture Eichmann using a neck lock, bundling him into a waiting car. He also wore gloves so that his bare hand wouldn’t touch Eichmann’s mouth, which is something that Malkin admitted to in his book.
Eichmann really was drugged to get him onto the plane to Israel but the doctor who sedates him, Dr Hanna Elian, is a fictional character. In real life it was a male doctor, Dr Yonah Elian, who drugged Eichmann and it is only his surname that is used in the movie.
Though the film presents a nail-biting moment where the plane carrying Eichmann almost doesn’t take off, this is just pure fiction added for dramatic tension. In reality, the operation went smoothly and Malkin never had to go to the airport for a land permit.
For his safety Eichmann really did have to sit inside a glass booth for his trial. Made from bulletproof glass it was intended to protect Eichmann from any assassination attempts. Just as in the film, he was given the death sentence and executed in 1962.
Verdict Operation Finale largely adheres to historical record, despite some inaccuracies