by Stephan Talty
Inspiration for the hit new podcast “Hunting the Butcher”
The untold story of an Israeli spy’s epic journey to bring the notorious Butcher of Latvia to justice—a case that altered the fates of all ex-Nazis.
Before World War II, Herbert Cukurs was a famous figure in his small Latvian city, the “Charles Lindbergh of his country”. But he was soon better known as the Butcher of Latvia, a man who murdered some thirty thousand Jews. By 1965, a statute of limitations on Nazi war crimes threatened to expire, potentially absolving ex-Nazis like Cukurs of their crimes. Jacob Medad, the misfit Mossad agent who had previously kidnapped Adolf Eichmann, knew if Cukurs was not captured soon, he may never be brought to justice. In a thrilling undercover operation, Medad traveled to Cukurs’ new home in Brazil in an elaborate disguise, befriended him, and earned his trust, while negotiations to extend Nazi innocence neared a boiling point.