Is Jaguar based on a true story? Netflix series 'inspired by reality'

Bruno Cooke September 21, 2021

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Spanish historical drama series Jaguar arrives on Netflix tomorrow (22 September). It stars Blanca Suárez as Isabel Garrido, on the hunt for Otto Bachmann, the man who killed her father. Is Jaguar based on a true story?

Is Jaguar based on a true story?

Jaguar tells the story of Isabel Garrido. To avenge her father, Garrido sets off in pursuit of “the most dangerous Nazi in Europe”, a man called Otto Bachmann.

The series’ premise – that hundreds of Nazi war criminals fled Germany following the end of World War II and found refuge in Spain – has grounding in reality.

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Jaguar | Date Announcement | Netflix

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Jaguar | Date Announcement | Netflix
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Francoist Spain was the period of Spanish history between 1939 and 1975. During this time, Francisco Franco ruled Spain with the title Caudillo.

In Madrid in the 1950s, writes Spanish-language newspaper El País, it “wasn’t strange” to see “Nazis protected by the Franco regime” about in town. Spain’s glamour, Jaguar’s narrator explains, helped Nazis to “hide in plain sight”.

Jaguar also incorporates the story of Final Solution architect Adolf Eichmann

Jaguar is set in the 1960s. In May 1960, Israeli prime minister David Ben-Gurion announced to the world that Mossad, Israel’s national intelligence agency, had tracked down and captured Adolf Eichmann. 

Eichmann was a Nazi SS officer. He organised Hitler’s “final solution of the Jewish question”. Israeli agents seized him in Buenos Aires on 11 May and smuggled him to Israel nine days later.

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Per the Wall Street Journal’s review of Jaguar, the series “manages to incorporate the impact of Eichmann’s fate on the consciousness” of its characters. 

“Eichmann’s kidnapping by the Israelis,” brood those former Nazis hiding out in Franco’s Spain (in the series), “was an outrage, an illegality.”

Meet the cast of Netflix’s Jaguar

Blanca Suárez stars as Isabel Garrido, the series’ protagonist. Known for roles in Pedro Almodóvar’s The Skin I Live In (2011) and TV series Cable Girls (2017-20), Suárez is 32 years old and hails from Madrid.

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Her co-stars include Iván Marcos (32 Malasana Street), Francesc Garrido (The Titan), Adrián Lastra (Velvet), Óscar Casas (The Orphanage) and Stefan Weinert (The Photographer Of Mauthausen).

Jaguar is, for co-creator Ramón Campos, “the most ambitious series I have faced in my career”.

“Because more than 40,000 Nazi criminals settled in Spain after World War II and, with total impunity, their last names were not even changed. Jaguar is a fiction, but it is inspired by reality. It is time for us to get to know that part of our history.”

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Bruno is a postgraduate student studying global journalism, with research interests in the intersection of the media, storytelling, culture and politics. His articles have appeared in Groundviews, Packs Light and Forge Press, and most are readable on Medium or onurbicycle.com. He is a Student Ambassador for Tortoise Media, a big fan of Freddie Mercury and a novelist – his debut novel, Reveries, is available on Amazon.