For more than a decade after the second world war, his whereabouts were officially unknown. Adolf Eichmann, chief architect of the Holocaust, had escaped from an American POW camp, slipped into Italy and on to a ship bound for Argentina.The West German government, busy rebuilding the country and rehabilitating its reputation, knew from at least 1952 where he was living, yet never made any real attempt to bring him to justice. But a new book claims Eichmann had wanted to return to his motherland and claim his place in history several years before he was captured by Israeli intelligence in 1960 and put on trial in Jerusalem.In 1956, Eichmann wrote an open letter to the West German chancellor, Konrad Adenauer. “It is time to relinquish my anonymity and introduce myself,” wrote Eichmann, who was then living under the name Ricardo Klement in a suburb of Buenos Aires. “Name: Adolf Otto Eichmann. Occupation: SS Obersturmbannführer a. D [lieutenant colonel].”The letter was supposed to be published by an Argentinian company with Nazi sympathies, although it never saw the light of day. It was unearthed from German state archives by historian Dr Bettina Stangneth in Hamburg, whose book, Eichmann Before Jerusalem, is published in Germany this week.In the letter to Adenauer, Eichmann, then aged 50, suggests he should be allowed home to tell the young people of Germany what really happened under Hitler.”How long fate will allow me to live, I don’t know, but I know that someone has to be the one to tell future generations about these events,” he said, neglecting to mention that “these events” involved the mass murder of millions of people. “I had a big role in leading and directing these programmes,” he added.