The Nazi SS officer who helped carry out Hitler’s Final Solution, the mass murder of millions of Jews, Adolf Eichmann seemed to have made good his escape to Argentina after the Second World War. But 15 years later he was abducted by Israeli agents from Buenos Aires in May 1960, and brought to Israel to be tried for war crimes. He was sentenced to death on December 15th, 1961, and hanged on Thursday, May 31st, 1962.

Eichmann was a solitary child, taunted, curiously, for being a Jew by his schoolfellows, who mistook his dark complexion. Born in Austria, he became a member of the Austrian Nazi party, moving to Germany in 1932.

In 1941, as chief of department IVA 4b of the Gestapo, he received Heinrich Himmler’s direct orders for the mass executions. In January 1942, he set up the Wannsee conference in Berlin with the object of coordinating those ministries involved in the arrest, transportation and extermination of his victims, and from then on he travelled through Europe to see it carried out.

The millions of deaths that resulted from the Final Solution were at his orders, although he never achieved high rank. To other German officers who questioned the inhumanity of it all he said: “Don’t be sentimental. This is an order from the F?hrer.”

Eichmann was hanged by Britain’s executioner Harry Allen, and is the only person ever to have been executed in Israel.