Peter Malkin

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Malkin's gloves
Bronze casting of the gloves worn by Peter Zvi Malkin when he captured Adolf Eichmann.

Peter Zvi Malkin (Hebrew: פיטר צבי מלחין‬; May 27, 1927 – March 1, 2005) was an Israeli secret agent and member of the Mossad intelligence agency. He was part of the team that captured Adolf Eichmann in Argentina in 1960 and brought him to Israel to stand trial. In the movie Operation Finale he was played by Oscar Isaac.

Early life[edit]

Peter Zvi Malchin was born on May 27, 1927[1] in Pilgramshain, Weimar Germany (now Żółkiewka, Poland), to an observant Jewish family.[2] In 1936, his family fled to Palestine to escape the rising tide of German anti-Semitism; his sister, Fruma, and her three children who remained behind with 150 other relatives, died in the Holocaust. At the age of 12, Malkin was recruited into the Haganah. In 1950, he was invited to join the new Jewish state's fledgling security service as an explosives expert. He was also an expert in martial arts and disguises.[3][4]

Mossad career[edit]

Malkin spent 27 years in the Mossad, first as an agent and later as Chief of Operations. As Chief of Operations he played a major role in the capture of Israel Bar, a Soviet spy who had penetrated the highest levels of Israeli government. He also led an operation against Nazi nuclear rocket scientists who assisted an Egyptian weapons development program after World War II.

Malkin's most famous mission was on May 11, 1960,[3] when he and a team of Mossad agents led by Rafi Eitan captured Adolf Eichmann, then living in hiding in Argentina. A senior Nazi bureaucrat, Eichmann had played a key role in organizing the extermination of the Jews during World War II.[5] "Momentito, señor" (One moment, sir) were the words he uttered in Spanish as he approached Eichmann. Then Malkin grabbed him in a neck-lock, wrestled him to the ground, and bundled him in the car that took them to a safe house outside Buenos Aires.[6]

In 1989, Israeli newspaper Maariv cited him as "one of the greatest figures ever in the history of the Mossad." Israeli journalist Uri Dan called him "an extraordinary secret warrior."

Malkin is also said to have been involved in the search for Yossele Schumacher in the 1960s.[7]

Later years[edit]

After retiring in 1976, Peter Malkin devoted his time to painting, a profession he used as a cover during his Mossad years. His paintings at the time of the capture of Eichmann in Argentina through the present have won international acclaim in London, Paris, Brussels and Israel. He has also authored books, and served as a private international consultant on anti-terrorism methods. The movie, The Man Who Captured Eichmann (1996) starring Robert Duvall as Adolf Eichmann, was based on his book Eichmann in My Hands: also in the film was Arliss Howard, who played Malkin. More recently, Evan M. Wiener has written a play, Captors, inspired by the book.[8] He was also portrayed by Oscar Isaac in the 2018 movie Operation Finale (with Ben Kingsley as Eichmann) and by Topol (as a character named Michael) in the 1979 film The House on Garibaldi Street.

In the mid 1980s, Malkin was recruited to go after former SS doctor Josef Mengele. Malkin and the team of ex-Mossad agents that he put together did not know at the time that Mengele was already dead. At the last minute, Malkin and the team called off the operation when they realized that it was a trap.[9][10]

Malkin spent his last years in New York City with his four children. He died on March 1, 2005.

Published works[edit]

  • Malkin, Peter Z.; Stein, Harry (1990). Eichmann in My Hands: A Compelling First-Person Account by the Israeli Agent Who Captured Hitler's Chief Executioner. Warner Books. ISBN 0-446-51418-7.


  1. ^ Fox, Margalit (2005-03-03). "Peter Zvi Malkin, Israeli Agent Who Captured Adolf Eichmann, Dies". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved 2017-04-27.
  2. ^ Samuel Schafler, Hadassah Magazine October 1990, p. 37, review of Eichmann in My Hands, Peter Malkin and Harry Stein
  3. ^ a b "Israeli Agent Peter Malkin Dies; Captured Nazi Fugitive (". Retrieved 2017-04-27.
  4. ^ "Peter Z. Malkin". The Independent. 2005-03-04. Retrieved 2017-04-27.
  5. ^ "Exclusive Interview: How Adolf Eichmann Was Caught". Israel National News. Retrieved 2017-04-27.
  6. ^ "Peter Z. Malkin". The Independent. 2005-03-04. Retrieved 2017-04-27.
  7. ^ Black, Ian; Morris, Benny (1991). Israel's Secret Wars: A History of Israel's Intelligence Services. Grove Press. p. 193. ISBN 0-8021-3286-3.
  8. ^ Captors at the Contemporary American Theatre Festival in Shepherdstown, West Virginia Archived 2012-08-12 at the Wayback Machine
  9. ^ "CANADIAN WAS PART OF PLAN TO CAPTURE MENGELE". CJN News. CJN News. Retrieved 18 July 2018.
  10. ^ "Now Ethan Rubinstein is a Winnipeg professor, but 30 years ago he on-a-secret-mission-to-hunt-down-the-nazi known as the angel of death". National Post. National Post. Retrieved 18 July 2018.

External links[edit]