Title: Six Million Accusers: Catching Adolf Eichmann
Author: D. Lawrence-Young
Genre: Historical Fiction/World War II
Length: 245 pages
Release Date: May 2014
Imprint: Enigma Press
"Six Million Accusers" is a historical novel reliving the hunt for, and capture of one of history's most evil criminals - a leading Nazi named Adolf Eichmann.
Having disappeared after WWII, members of an Israeli organization search the world for Eichmann, hoping to one day capture one of the men responsible for brutally massacring millions of Jews, and others. Following any tip possible, eventually they discover a Jewish father and daughter who swear Eichmann quietly lives in their community, under a new name. The search for Eichmann ramps up, and the agents begin to fervently believe they have found their man.
As they get closer and closer, a plan must also be created to capture Eichmann, and secretly transport the villain back to Israel. Is it really Eichmann? And if so, what complications may arise that might destroy their plans to have this notorious Nazi held responsible for his crimes?
"Six Million Accusers" is based on historic detail, and David Lawrence- Young does an excellent job reliving the hunt for, and capture of Adolf Eichmann. Well written and easy to read, "Six Million Accusers" should be a staple of the educational discussion of WWII and the aftermath.
"As I sat there I could not believe that this boring, average-looking man with his receding hairline and large glasses- a man who looked like thousands of petty clerks the world over- had been responsible for the deaths of six million of my fellow Jews. "
Through meticulous research, David Lawrence-Young has recreated this suspenseful operation. What I got most out of this book was an education, and that is why I love reading historical fiction. I did know that many former Nazi were found and tried for their crimes years after the war, but I had no idea who Adolf Eichman was, his role in the Holocaust or the lengths that were gone to in order to locate him. A wonderfully, written historical drama that may not have all of the adventures and excitement of fictional novels, but accurately recounts the story of the capture of Adolf Eichmann.
D. Lawrence-Young takes the often pompous and frequently silly “Shakespeare Authorship Controversy” and turns it into a fast-paced page-turning detective story. All the nooks and crannies of rival candidates and claims are traversed in interesting locations and often funny encounters. The SAC has got under the Shakespeare-loving and teaching David Young’s skin and he has turned this irritant into a pleasure to read and from which there is much to learn.
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An Interview with Haim A, one of the team who tracked down and captured the top Nazi, Adolf Eichmann.
First of all, tell us something about your life that isn’t mentioned in “Six Million Accusers.”
Well, most of my life story is mentioned at the beginning of the novel: how I came to Palestine as a young boy; joined an underground movement; fought in the Second World War and met my future wife. I also described what I did during the Israeli War of Independence and how I joined the Mossad. What I didn’t include was my love of sport. I love playing football and basketball. I try and play these games when I’m at home and I’m a part-time member of my kibbutz basket-ball team. I enjoy these games, especially as playing them gives me a chance to mix even more with my fellow-kibbutz members.
How has Israel changed since when you first arrived there?
When I first arrived, Israel, then called Mandatory Palestine was a very simple, even primitive country by European standards. Today it is as modern as any other Western country. It has also changed politically. At first it was very much the Socialist-flavored country as envisaged by the Founding Fathers such as Ben-Gurion. This has changed a great deal over the past forty years. Today its life-style is very similar to that of the rest of the Western world.
How has being a Mossad agent affected your life?
Being a Mossad agent has certainly affected my life. The downside is that it has made me become secretive in many ways and live my life knowing that I cannot share many of my ‘work’ experiences with my wife and family. They have learned to live with me disappearing from time to time as I go abroad on ‘government business.’ The upside is that I feel I’ve made a serious contribution to protecting my country from all sorts of enemies: internal and external. I’ve also enjoyed much of the foreign travel and have had many ‘work’ experiences which were both exciting and boring. I’ve worked with many good and bad characters, and these I’d never have met if I hadn’t been in the Mossad. Naturally, being one of the team who captured Eichmann was one of the outstanding highlights of my career.
What was your reaction when you first saw Eichmann after you captured him?
I can sum this up in two words – a complete anti-climax! First, catching him meant that I’d accomplished the mission that I had been working on for over two years. Secondly, the man himself was a boring and bland character. As I say in the book, it was almost impossible to believe that this very average looking man who was living in a shabby house in a Buenos Aires slum was one of the most feared Nazis who had organized the genocide of millions of the European Jewish community and others just twenty years earlier.
Did you ever seriously question the legality of illegally spiriting Eichmann out of Argentina and bringing him back to Israel to stand trial?
Never in a serious manner. I did give it some thought and discussed it with my fellow team-members. However, in the end I decided that the moral aspect of bringing him to trial far outweighed the legal niceties of having him tried in Germany or Austria. And remember this was in 1960, fifteen years after the Second World War when many people wanted to put the violent past behind them and start anew.
At the end of the book you say that it would have been better to keep Eichmann in prison for life instead of hanging him. Do you still think that is true?
Yes, and even more so today. When I see how Israel has grown and developed as a country, it would have been a much harsher punishment for him to have spent the rest of his miserable life living in the middle of the country built by the Jews, the people he had done his best to completely annihilate. And this is especially true as he showed absolutely no remorse for the mass-murders he had been responsible for.
What do you think of “Six Million Accusers” as a title for this book? After all, it bears no reference to what you did as a member of the Mossad team.
I think it’s a very good title. As you know, it’s taken from the Israeli Attorney General, Gideon Hauser’s opening speech at Eichmann’s trial in Jerusalem. This as you know was not just a trial to seek out justice but it was one that helped to set a precedent for future international criminal trials. These included the trial of Slobodan Milosevic, the Serbian leader who was tried for war crimes over a dozen years ago, and also the trial of the Chilean dictator, Augusto Pinochet, who had murdered many of those who’d opposed him during his 25 year reign of terror. In addition, Eichmann’s trial was also one that was geared for international and public education. Remember, this was before the days of Internet, Facebook CNN etc. So having Gideon Hausner open his speech with these words in front of an international audience via their TV stations present in the courtroom was very important.
A GMTA Interview with David Lawrence-Young
GMTA: How and why I write historical novels
I have always liked learning history, even when I had to suffer three of the world’s most boring history teachers in high school. Fortunately, when I went home and told my parents about what I had studied, my father would ask pointed and cynical questions about the heroes or the events we had concentrated on that day. In that way, I learned that there was more than one way in which I could relate to a specific historical hero or incident.
Another spin-off of this was, that when I became an English teacher, I would pepper grammatical examples I wrote on the board with historical events. In this way I hoped that this potentially dry subject would be more interesting. Using examples such as “If Henry VIII had not fallen in love with Anne Boleyn…” or “If the 1944 plot to assassinate Hitler had succeeded…” In this way I hoped made the learning of the conditional structure in English grammar more exciting.
From this use of English and history grew my desire to write a complete historical novel. This desire was helped in that I feel I don’t have to specialize in dealing with one particular era or country. Therefore I have been able to write about Australia in Sail Away from Botany Bay, about Israel in Six Million Accusers, about Anglo-Saxon kings in Of Plots & Passions, about Tudor queens in Anne of Cleves and Catherine Howard as well writing about the 1605 Gunpowder Plot in Gunpowder, Treason & Plot. In addition, I have also written novels about the two World Wars - Of Guns & Mules and Of Guns, Revenge & Hope. And of course I had to write about Shakespeare and Marlowe. These two Elizabethan playwrights became the subjects of four other historical novels.
When it comes to the actual writing, this and the necessary background research is the best part. In terms of writing this means selecting the most suitable vocabulary and style; not repeating the same words too often and making sure that what I write flows well and is credible and accurate. Even though I am writing fiction, I cannot allow mistakes such as ‘the American Declaration of Independence of June 4th, 1777’ or ‘After the Confederate victory at Gettysburg…’ to creep in. Therefore I work hard to ascertain that if I do include an historical fact, it is completely accurate. This means I have to check my sources very carefully. As an example of this, I once phoned a friend in England who is an expert on trees to ask him about which sort of trees probably grew in the New Forest, the site where King William II was accidentally (?) shot to death by an arrow.
Finally, I assume that because I was a teacher for many years as well as being a long-suffering student, that today I work hard to choose interesting topics for books and then to write about them in the most ‘page-turning’ way I can. I love reading and learning about what happened in the past and I want you to do the same.