Michael Maor, a Mossad agent involved in the capture of Adolf Eichmann, died in Israel on June 25. He was 86. His is a narrative of the Holocaust from its earliest menace to its final drama.
Maor was born in the German town of Halberstadt in 1933, the same year that newly appointed chancellor Adolf Hitler established the Gestapo. As the Nazi terror spread, his family escaped Germany, first to Spain, then to Yugoslavia. From Zagreb, where they were forced for the first time to wear the yellow star, the Maors fled again, to an Italian-controlled area of the country. But Nazis were always at their heels. In short order, the family was imprisoned in a concentration camp on the nearby island of Rab, just off the coast in the Adriatic Sea. When the Italians surrendered to the Allies, in 1943, the Maors were freed into the company of local partisans. Yet, they were still hiding from marauding Nazi soldiers for days at a time in the nearby forests. During one such raid in 1944, Michael’s parents urged him to run deeper into the woods. When the 10-year-old boy eventually backtracked through the trees, he found his parents had been shot to death. Michael was placed in an orphanage until the German surrender, in 1945.