People in the concentration camps peculiarly asked one question: “Does God exist?” Many of them lost their faith because they knew, if God really existed, he wouldn’t have let his children rot in there. After the Allied forces liberated these tortured souls, many of them yearned for vengeance against their heinous perpetrators, “The Nazis.” In the Netflix Spanish series, Jaguar, a Guerrilla group, hunts down escaped Nazis and bring them to justice.
Created by Ramón Campos and Gema R. Neira, Jaguar Season 1 is a period drama set 12 years after World War 2. It chronicles the incidents of 1960s Spain that became home to hundreds of Mauthausen camp survivors. A small guerrilla group known as the Jaguars pursues Spanish Odessa, Otto Bachmann, and prevents him from assisting in the escape of a ruthless Nazi doctor, Aribert Heim.
‘Jaguar’ Season 1: Plot Summary
Isabel Riaza Chacon (living under the pseudonym Isabel Sanchez Garcia) is a young woman who speaks fluent German, lives alone, and works in an esteemed Haus Restaurant in Madrid in 1962. Lucena and his team follow Isabel and discover that Isabel is planning to murder a decorated Nazi officer, Otto Johann Anton Skorzeny (living under Otto Bachmann). Bachmann often visits Haus Restaurant, and Isabel has been trailing him for a year.
Bachmann throws a lavish dinner party for the Fuhrer’s birthday and invites his Nazi friends. Isabel arranges for highly toxic liquid from a stranger, Antonio, and poisons the meals. She soon discovers that the poison is fake and thus uses a strange German pistol to kill the offenders. But before she can fire the shots, Lucena and his team arrest Isabel and take her under their custody.
In interrogation, Isabel reveals that her father and brother were prisoners in the Mauthausen concentration camp. Her father was ruthlessly killed by Otto Skorzeny (Bachmann). After the tragedy, Isabel worked as a young maid at Commander Ziereis’ house during the war and earned her freedom when allied forces liberated the camp. From childhood, Isabel is burning with the desire to take revenge on Bachmann and will stop at nothing.
Lucena’s senior, Ramos (Maria de Medeiros), convinces Lucena to make Isabel a part of the team and use her help to arrest the Nazis. Ramos explains that the team needs someone who has actually seen the Nazi officers and will be able to recognize and identify them. Isabel worked as a maid in Bachmann’s house and thus had seen their malicious faces closely.
But will Isabel, blinded with a vengeance, accept the offer to arrest Nazis and not kill them?
Who were Otto Bachmann & Aribert Heim?
Otto Bachmann (originally named Otto Skorzeny) was a celebrated SS lieutenant colonel who fled to Spain after World War 2. According to Lucena, Bachmann was an Odessa man in Spain. Odessa was a network that helped Nazis escape from Germany through Spain or Italy with the support of the Vatican. And from there, they were escorted to Brazil, Chile, or Paraguay, where they lived peacefully with their new identities.
In Spain, Otto was going to help an Austrian Nazi doctor, Aribert Heim (Jochen Horst), escape through Spain to Egypt. Heim was a doctor in the Mauthausen camp, where he tortured more than 300 Spaniards. In his madness, Heim gave them water, phenol, and petroleum injections in their heart to see how long before they died. The mad scientist experimented on prisoners and removed their organs without anesthesia, just to see how much pain his victims could endure. By all means, the Jaguar wanted to arrest Heim and put him under trial for his atrocity.
However, none of Lucena’s team members had seen Aribert and thus needed Isabel to identify him. Isabel was reluctant at first because she wanted to kill the Nazis and not arrest them. However, Lucena explained that these men had done terrible things, and the world should know who they were. If they had shot in the back in the park in Madrid as Isabel intended, then no one would know about their crimes. No one would be ashamed to show their faces, and thus they needed to put every Nazi officer on trial.
Why the name ‘Jaguar’?
Lucena was a member of a Spanish Guerilla group commanded by Cristino Garcia Granda. The small group was a part of the French Resistance and fought behind the Nationalist lines. According to Lucena, due to their nature of warfare, no one remembered them. In France, Cristino is a hero, but in Spain, he was executed.
After the French war, the Guerilla Group returned to Spain to fight with the resistance to stop dictator Francisco Franco Bahamonde (Caudillo). They were caught, but Lucena managed to escape. His companions, along with Cristino, were shot in Spain.
Lucena didn’t understand at first why they were fighting a futile war when even their countrymen regarded them as fugitives. His fears fainted when Cristino narrated a story about Mexican warriors called Jaguars. They were twelfth-century Aztec warriors who fought for their people. The Jaguars came from the people, and they were willing to die for their people. But then, there were other warriors of a higher rank, the Eagles, who were the elite. They never fought on the front lines but always got all the recognition. Whereas the Jaguars died fighting for the cause in complete anonymity.
After Cristino’s assassination, Lucena formed a group with Ramos and named it ‘Jaguar.’ They swore to stand against injustice and fight for freedom. They wanted to bring the Nazis to justice and let the world know about the thousands of Spaniards they killed in concentration camps. The Jaguars didn’t seek recognition. They sought freedom.
“We swear before the whole world, in this public square, this place of fascist cruelty, that we will never give up the struggle until the last of the guilty stand before us and are judged by the people.”
Who killed Isabel’s brother?
In Almeria, Otto Bachmann arranged for a boat, Santa Tecla, to escort Aribert Heim to Egypt through the Suez Canal. When Jaguars failed to arrest Heim strategically, they rammed the ship on their escape vessel, which led to a massive boat accident.
After the tragedy, Bachmann aided Heim to ‘Hospital del Nino Dios’ in Almeria for urgent medical attention. Lucena and his men found out Heim’s whereabouts and infiltrated the hospital to arrest them. Heim needed blood after a critical surgery, and thus, to safeguard his friend, he sought help from a Spanish military friend, Colonel Aguado.
The military turned the hospital into a barrack, and Lucena’s group was trapped inside it with Bachmann and Heim. They engaged in combat, and Isabel managed to escape with Heim.
Isabel brought Heim to their hideout inside a windmill and, during their conversation, revealed that her brother, Javier Riaza, was just 15 years old when he was killed in Mauthausen. Heim remembered the name and confessed that he killed Isabel’s brother.
‘Jaguar’ Season 1 Ending Explained
Doctor Death, or Butcher of Mauthausen, aka Aribert Heim, needed blood after the surgery. To save him, Isabel transfused her blood to Heim so that he could live and face the trial. Heim symbolically noted down that after the transfusion, Isabel and Heim shared the same blood. But Isabel knew that it wasn’t blood (religion, creed, belief) that differentiated men but their acts.
Soon enough, Marsé, Castro, and a bleeding Deaf Man (Sordo) returned to the windmill. However, Lucena was captured by Bachmann. In his villainous act, Bachmann tortured Lucena and gave him high voltage electric shocks. Fortunately, Lucena survived the torture and was still breathing in the end.
When Isabel found out that Lucena was held hostage, she tightened her palm into a fist. From the beginning, Lucena chanted the virtues of saving others and exercising teamwork. Isabel understood the fact and thus decided to save Lucena. She called Bachmann’s friend, Colonel Aguado, and asked him to contact Otto Bachmann.
In the end, Isabel called herself a Jaguar and would probably wage war against the Nazis and their sympathizers. Jaguar Season 2 will follow the lead.
Jaguar is a 2021 Period Drama Spanish Series created by Ramón Campos and Gema R. Neira. Season 1 is streaming on Netflix.