When Israel was established, Wiesenthal was enlisted to work with the Mossad’s predecessor, the Foreign Ministry’s “state department.” Though he was not Israeli, he received an Israeli passport that enabled him to remain in Austria.

In December 1948, the department sent three agents, headed by Israel Defense Forces officer Michael Bloch, to Austria. With Wiesenthal’s help and the Austrian security services’ cooperation, the agents lay in wait for Eichmann in the Alpine village of Altaussee, where Eichmann’s wife lived with her children. They believed Eichmann, who had escaped from the American POW camp Oberdachstetten, would visit his family for the new year.