BUENOS AIRES, Argentina – The passport used by high-ranking Nazi Aldolf Eichmann as he escaped to Argentina after World War II has been turned over to the Holocaust Museum in Buenos Aires after a judge stumbled up it in a musty court file.
Eichmann, a leader of a campaign of mass deportation of Jews to extermination camps in Nazi-occupied Eastern Europe during the war, fled to Argentina in 1950 under the alias "Ricardo Klement."
The passport was left behind when Eichmann was abducted by Israeli agents in 1960 from a Buenos Aires suburb where he lived. He was taken to Israel, tried for crimes against humanity and hanged in 1962.
Mario Feferbaum, president of the Foundation for the Memory of the Holocaust, said Tuesday that the passport would join an exhibit of photographs, letters, possessions and oral testimonies of concentration camp survivors, in a humidity-controlled display in coming weeks.
Foundation official Susy Rochwerger said she shuddered when she first saw the passport.
"Eichmann was the one who undertook the indiscriminate killing of children, the elderly, men and women," said Rochwerger, calling the Nazi genocide "a cruel massacre carried out with clockwork precision."
Argentina was a haven for fugitive Nazis after World War II, including Josef Mengele, dubbed "the Angel of Death" for his gruesome medical experiments on Auschwitz prisoners.
At a news conference Tuesday at the foundation's Holocaust Museum, a woman used white latex gloves to hold up the well-preserved passport, issued in 1948 by an Italian delegation of the International Committee of the Red Cross.
The passport, on a single page of cardboard fold in three parts, bears the photograph of Eichmann and the neatly hand-lettered alias "Ricardo Klement." It also bears the French words "Comite International De la Croix-Rouge" and a stamp of its Genova, Italy, delegation.
Federal Judge Maria Servini de Cubria opened the Eichmann file recently and spotted the passport amid aged papers, according to Feferbaum. He added Eichmann's wife had presented the passport to authorities in 1960 when she went to them, complaining he had been abducted.
The legal file containing the passport was being kept in a courthouse repository housing millions of documents from historical court cases.
Feferbaum thanked the judge for taking "the initiative to consider this a document for humanity."