Is Operation Finale (2018) a True Story? Was it a Real Mission? – Operation Finale is a 2018 American historical drama film directed by Chris Weitz and written by Matthew Orton about the 1961 Israeli commando operation to capture former SS commander Adolf Eichmann and smuggle him to Jerusalem for prosecution on allegations of crimes against humanity. Ben Kingsley portrays Eichmann, whereas Oscar Isaac (who also produced) stars as Mossad officer Peter Malkin. In addition to Haley Lu Richardson and Nick Kroll, it features Lior Raz and Mélanie Laurent. The plot was inspired by numerous sources, including Peter Malkin’s book Eichmann in My Hands.
On August 29, 2018, the film was released to mixed reviews in theatres across the United States by the joint venture between Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer and Annapurna Pictures (now known as United Artists Releasing). Let’s see if ‘Operation Finale’ movie is based on true story.
Is Operation Finale Based on a True Story?
The events depicted in Operation Finale did actually occur. The mission depicted in the film was carried out by the Israeli intelligence agency Mossad. After World War II, Adolf Eichmann, the architect of the Holocaust, vanishes, and other Nazi commanders commit suicide to avoid being tried for war crimes. Peter Malkin, a Mossad agent, severely damaged his reputation in 1954 by killing the wrong person in Austria while searching for a Nazi war criminal.
In 1960, Sylvia Hermann met Klaus Eichmann, Adolf’s son, in Buenos Aires, Argentina. During dinner with Lothar, her German Jewish father, Klaus, makes offensive remarks about Jews and reveals that his father perished in the Holocaust. Lothar becomes suspicious and reports his identity to the Israeli intelligence agency Mossad. Undercover agent Zvi Aharoni has been dispatched to Buenos Aires to begin his investigation there. Klaus invites Sylvia to a meeting that Eichmann also attends, which turns out to be a Carlos Fuldner-organized Nazi revival. After the partygoers commence chanting “Sieg Heil,” Sylvia leaves without saying goodbye.
Sylvia, who now works for Mossad, feels reconciliation with Klaus and the Eichmanns at their residence. During an argument between her and Klaus, Eichmann (then known as Ricardo Klement and posing as Klaus’s uncle) intervenes, to whom Klaus inadvertently refers as his father; a Mossad agent then photographs Eichmann. When the agent begins photographing Eichmann, he becomes aware of it and draws a self-portrait.
The Mossad uses evidence from the meeting to confirm Eichmann’s identity and plan his capture; they intend to pose as an El Al flight crew and abduct him while he is sedated. Hanna, Doctor’s ex-girlfriend and Peter’s ex-girlfriend, joins the crew; she will be responsible for sedating Eichmann on the road. The group works in unison and arrests Eichmann in front of his house. Eichmann reveals his true identity to his captors, while his loved ones speculate whether or not his disappearance is related to this revelation. In the interim, the agents learn that their return flight will be delayed by ten days.
Eichmann refuses to sign an affidavit declaring his willingness to travel to Israel because he does not believe he would receive a fair trial there. As the squad’s interrogator cannot communicate with Eichmann and several team members, and express a desire to eliminate him immediately, tensions rise. Eichmann signs the document after Peter informs him of the deaths of his sister Fruma and her three young children during the Holocaust and after Eichmann claims he knew nothing about the actual slaughter of Jews because his job was solely focused on logistics. He was merely “following orders.”
While waiting for the plane and for Eichmann to surrender, Klaus and the police are conducting more and more investigations into Eichmann’s disappearance and publicising the operative’s drawing to the public. One of Mossad’s local contacts is apprehended and tortured after discovering she paid in U.S. dollars instead of Argentine pesos for supplies. After the Mossad team has left, Eichmann loses his civility and tells Peter a story about watching the Einsatzgruppen murder 5,000 Jews in a pit, cruelly wondering aloud if one of the victims was Peter’s sister (a woman who begged Eichmann to save her newborn).
As the Nazis and police close in, the remaining squad members are forced to alter their escape strategy, leaving behind two spies drastically. The authorities have revoked the plane’s landing authorization, stopping it. Peter hands a hard copy of the permit to air traffic control and, as the police close in, permits the plane to take off without him.
All of the agents reunited in Israel to watch the worldwide broadcast of Adolf Eichmann’s trial. The book concludes with the news that Eichmann was found guilty and executed for his crimes in 1962. This trial marked the first time the world heard from victims of the Nazi murder machine in their own words. Peter has a successful life and survived until 2005.