Sylvia Rafael

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Sylvia Rafael
Born (1937-04-01)1 April 1937
Cape Town, South Africa
Died 9 February 2005(2005-02-09) (aged 67)
Pretoria, South Africa
Criminal charge
murder, espionage, use of forged documents
Criminal penalty
5.5 years in prison
Criminal status Released and deported from Norway in 1975

Sylvia Rafael Schjødt (born 1 April 1937, South Africa — died 9 February 2005, Pretoria, South Africa) was a South African-born Israeli Mossad operative and was convicted of conspiracy to commit an assassination. [1]

Born near Cape Town in 1937, she was the daughter of a Jewish father. Although her mother was not Jewish, Rafael immigrated to Israel in 1963, where she lived on a kibbutz, later working as a teacher. She later moved to Tel Aviv, where she was recruited by Mossad. After training she attained the highest rank for a Mossad agent — “combattant”, qualified to operate in hostile countries. She was sent to Paris in the guise of a freelance journalist with a Canadian passport in the name of real life Canadian photojournalist Patricia Roxburgh. When the Israeli government decided to track down the Munich terrorists she provided valuable intelligence which led to the killing of three, before being assigned to an Operation Wrath of God team herself.[2]

Rafael was part of a group of Israeli Mossad agents who assassinated a Moroccan-born waiter Ahmed Bouchiki, whom they claimed to have mistaken for Ali Hassan Salameh, in Lillehammer on 21 July 1973. The victim's pregnant Norwegian wife witnessed the murder. The murder is known as the Lillehammer affair.[2] She was arrested shortly after and convicted of planned murder (the most serious murder conviction under Norwegian law), espionage and use of forged documents by Eidsivating Court of Appeal on 1 February 1974.[3] Sentenced to five and a half years in prison, she was released after serving 15 months, and deported from Norway as a foreign criminal in May 1975 (foreigners convicted of serious crimes are routinely deported after serving their sentences).

After her release, she married her defense attorney, Annæus Schjødt, but was deported again after entering the country in 1977. Two years later she obtained a residence permit, but left the country with her husband in 1992 and settled in her native South Africa, where she died in 2005, aged 67, from leukaemia.[4]


  1. ^ Norwegian Official Report 2000: 6 (Summary)
  2. ^ a b The Times Online obituary
  3. ^ Norwegian Official Report 2000: 6, Chapter 4
  4. ^ The Times Online