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A Package to Damascus: The Mossad and the Nazis in the Middle East

After the Second World War, many Nazi criminals escaped trial by emigrating into faraway countries, especially in South America. Taking advantage of well-oiled "ratlines", a group of hard-boiled criminals escaped to the Middle East, where they fulfilled a fascinating role in Arab corridors of power, Egyptian and Syrian politics, the Israeli-Arab conflict and the espionage struggles of the early Cold War. In this lecture, we will follow one of the darkest figures in this group, the arch-murderer Alois Brunner, and trace the Mossad's creative attempts to eliminate him in Damascus.

Operation Damocles: The Mossad against the German Scientists in Egypt

On July 23, 1962, Revolution Day in Egypt, President Gamal Abdul Nasser horrified Israel by parading new long-range rockets in front of cheering crowds vowing to rain death and destruction on “Zionist” cities in the next, inevitable, round of hostilities. Worse, these weapons were being developed by the very German scientists who had rained destruction on London during WWII, linking the threat to the Holocaust in Israeli decision maker's minds. Working under the false premise that he was fighting a sinister Nazi plot, Mossad Chief Isser Harel ordered a top-secret assassination campaign against the German scientists in Egypt, code-named “Operation Damocles”. In this lecture we will tell the story of the operation and show how it triggered a storm that endangered Israel's domestic stability and its strategic relations with West Germany and the United States. To fix the situation, The Mossad felt constrained to embark on a very unorthodox scheme: a secret alliance with Hitler’s favourite commando leader.

Warriors in Light and Darkness - Ninja: The Real Story

The black-clad Ninja, stalking its prey in silence, is one of the most popular figures in Japanese legends and myths. Along with the samurai, it became a trademark of Japanese martial culture in the West. But who were the real ninja, beyond the heavy veil of myth and legend? In this lecture, we will delve into the Japanese civil wars of the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries, meeting samurai, commando warriors, spies and fearless guerrillas transformed into "ninja" in the imagination of later generations.

Danny Orbach, PhD.

A military historian, specializing in intelligence history

Location Mark



English, Hebrew

Dr. Danny Orbach, a military historian specializing in the history of intelligence and espionage, studied in Tel Aviv and Tokyo, and finished his PhD in Harvard University. Currently, he is a senior lecturer at the departments of history and Asian studies at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem. Dr. Orbach has studied diverse subjects such as military resistance, political assassinations in tyrannical regimes, violent military disobedience, coups d’état, freelance espionage and other issues of military and intelligence history in Germany, Japan, China, Israel, Egypt and other countries. His first book, The Plots against Hitler, told the story of the anti-Nazi underground in the Third Reich.

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