Adolf Eichmann: Wikis


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Adolf Eichmann
March 19, 1906(1906-03-19) – May 31, 1962 (aged 56)
Eichmann Signature.svg
Place of birth Solingen, German Empire
Place of death Ramla, Israel
Allegiance Nazi Germany
Service/branch Schutzstaffel
Rank Obersturmbannführer, SS
Battles/wars World War II
Awards War Merit Cross 1st Class with swords
War Merit Cross 2nd Class with swords

Otto Adolf Eichmann[1] (March 19, 1906 – May 31, 1962[2]), sometimes referred to as "the architect of the Holocaust", was a German Nazi and SS-Obersturmbannführer (equivalent to Lieutenant Colonel). Because of his organizational talents and ideological reliability, he was charged by Obergruppenführer (General) Reinhard Heydrich with the task of facilitating and managing the logistics of mass deportation of Jews to ghettos and extermination camps in German-occupied Eastern Europe.

After the war, he fled to Argentina using a fraudulently obtained laissez-passer issued by the International Red Cross[3][4] and lived there under a false identity working for Mercedes-Benz until 1960. He was captured by Israeli Mossad operatives in Argentina and tried in an Israeli court on 15 criminal charges, including crimes against humanity and war crimes. He was convicted and executed by hanging in 1962, and is the only person to have been executed in Israel on conviction by a civilian court.



Early life

Adolf Eichmann was born in Solingen, Germany, to a businessman and industrialist, Adolf Karl Eichmann, and Maria née Schefferling.[5] After his mother died in 1914, his family moved to Linz, Austria. During the First World War, Eichmann's father served in the Austro-Hungarian Army. At the war's conclusion, Eichmann's father returned to the family and had a company in Linz. Eichmann left high school—Realschule—without having graduated and began training to become a mechanic, which he also discontinued. In 1923 he started working in the mining company of his father, from 1925 to 1927 he worked as a sales clerk for the Oberösterreichische Elektrobau AG and then until spring 1933 Eichmann worked as district agent for the Vacuum Oil Company AG, a subsidiary of Standard Oil. In July 1933 he moved back to Germany.[6]

Eichmann married Veronica Liebl (1909–1997) on March 21, 1935.[7] The couple had four sons: Klaus Eichmann (b. 1936 in Berlin), Horst Adolf Eichmann (b. 1940 in Vienna), Dieter Helmut Eichmann (b. 1942 in Prague) and Ricardo Francisco Eichmann (b. 1955 in Buenos Aires).

Work with the Nazi Party and the SS

Adolf Eichmann's Lebenslauf (i.e., Curriculum Vitae) for his application for promotion from SS-Hauptscharführer to SS-Untersturmführer in 1937

On the advice of family friend Ernst Kaltenbrunner, Eichmann joined the Austrian branch of the NSDAP—member number 889 895—and of the Schutzstaffel (SS).[8] He enlisted on April 1, 1932, as an SS-Anwärter (Candidate). He was accepted as a full SS member that November, appointed an SS-Mann (Man), and assigned the SS number 45326.[9]

For the next year, Eichmann was a member of the Allgemeine SS and served in a mustering formation operating from Salzburg. In 1933 when the Nazis came to power, Eichmann returned to Germany and submitted an application to join the active duty SS regiments. He was accepted, and in November 1933, was promoted to Scharführer (Squad Leader) and assigned to the administrative staff of the Dachau concentration camp.

By 1934, Eichmann requested transfer into the Sicherheitspolizei (Security Police), which had, by that time, become a very powerful and feared organization. Eichmann's transfer was granted in November 1934, and he was assigned to the headquarters of the Sicherheitsdienst (SD) in Berlin. In 1935, Eichmann was promoted to Hauptscharführer (Head Squad Leader) and later commissioned as an SS-Untersturmführer in 1937.

In 1937, Eichmann was sent to the British Mandate of Palestine with his superior Herbert Hagen to assess the possibilities of massive Jewish emigration from Germany to Palestine. They landed in Haifa but could obtain only a transit visa so they went on to Cairo. There, they met Feival Polkes, an agent of the Haganah, who discussed with them the plans of the Zionists and tried to enlist their assistance in facilitating Jewish emigration from Europe.[10] According to an answer Eichmann gave at his trial, he had also planned to meet Arab leaders in Palestine, but this never happened because entry to Palestine was refused by the British authorities.[10] The British objected to a Jewish state in Palestine, so the idea of deporting all the European Jews to Palestine was abandoned.

In 1938, Eichmann was assigned to Austria to help organize SS Security Forces in Vienna after the Anschluss of Austria moved into Germany. Through this effort, Eichmann was promoted to SS-Obersturmführer (1st Lieutenant) and, by the end of 1938, Eichmann had been selected by the SS leadership to form the Central Office for Jewish Emigration, charged with forcibly deporting and expelling Jews from Austria.

World War II

At the start of World War II, Eichmann had been promoted to SS-Hauptsturmführer (captain) and had made a name for himself with his Office for Jewish Emigration. Through this work Eichmann made several contacts in the Zionist movement, which he worked with to speed up Jewish emigration from the Third Reich.[11]

Eichmann returned to Berlin in 1939 after the formation of the Reichssicherheitshauptamt (Reich Main Security Office). In December 1939, he was assigned to head RSHA Referat IV B4, the RSHA department, which dealt with Jewish affairs and evacuation. He was Heinrich "Gestapo" Müller's subordinate. In August 1940, he released his Reichssicherheitshauptamt: Madagaskar Projekt (Reich Main Security Office: Madagascar Project), a plan for forced Jewish deportation that never materialized.[12] He was promoted to the rank of SS-Sturmbannführer (Major) in late 1940, and less than a year later to Obersturmbannführer (Lieutenant Colonel).

Reinhard Heydrich disclosed to Eichmann in autumn 1941 that all the Jews in German-controlled Europe were to be exterminated.[13] In 1942, Heydrich ordered Eichmann to attend the Wannsee Conference as recording secretary, where Germany's anti-Semitic measures were set down into an official policy of genocide. Eichmann was given the position of Transportation Administrator of the "Final Solution to the Jewish Question", which put him in charge of all the trains that would carry Jews to the death camps in the territory of occupied Poland.

In 1944, he was sent to Hungary after Germany had occupied that country prior to a Soviet invasion. Eichmann at first made an offer through Joel Brand (who was to act as an intermediary) to trade captive European Jews to the Western Allies in exchange for trucks and other goods (see Blood for goods). When there was no positive response to this offer, Eichmann started deporting Jews, sending 430,000 Hungarians to their deaths in the gas chambers.

By 1945, Reichsführer-SS Heinrich Himmler had ordered Jewish extermination to be halted and evidence of the Final Solution to be destroyed. Eichmann was appalled by Himmler's turnabout, and continued his work in Hungary against official orders. Eichmann was also working to avoid being called up in the last ditch German military effort, since a year before he had been commissioned as a Reserve Untersturmführer in the Waffen-SS and was now being ordered to active combat duty.

Eichmann fled Hungary in 1945 as the Soviets entered, and he returned to Austria, where he met up with his old friend Ernst Kaltenbrunner. Kaltenbrunner, however, refused to associate with Eichmann since Eichmann's duties as an extermination administrator had left him a marked man by the Allies.

After World War II
Adolf Eichmann's Argentine passport

At the end of World War II, Eichmann was captured by the U.S. Army, who did not know that this man who presented himself as Otto Eckmann was in fact a much bigger catch. Early in 1946, he escaped from U.S. custody and hid in various parts of Germany for a few years. In 1948 he obtained a landing permit for Argentina, but did not use it immediately.

At the beginning of 1950, Eichmann went to Italy, where he posed as a refugee named Riccardo Klement. With the help of a Franciscan friar who had connections with Bishop Alois Hudal, who organized one of the first postwar escape routes for Axis personnel, Eichmann obtained an International Committee of the Red Cross humanitarian passport in Geneva and an Argentine visa. Both of these issued to "Riccardo Klement, technician." In early May 2007, this fake passport was discovered in court archives in Argentina by a student doing research on Eichmann's abduction.[14] The passport has been handed to the Argentina Holocaust Museum in Buenos Aires. He boarded a ship heading for Argentina on July 14, 1950. For the next 10 years, he worked in several odd jobs in the Buenos Aires area—from factory foreman, to junior water engineer and professional rabbit farmer. Eichmann also brought his family to Argentina.

CIA inaction

In June 2006, old CIA documents about Nazis and stay-behind networks dedicated to anti-communism were released. Among the 27,000 documents was a March 1958 memo from the German BND agency to the CIA, which stated that Eichmann was reported to have lived in Argentina since 1952 using the alias "Clemens". However, the CIA took no action on this information, because Eichmann's arrest could embarrass the US and Germany by turning public attention to the former Nazis they had recruited after World War II.[15] For example, the West German government, headed by Konrad Adenauer, was worried about what Eichmann might say, especially about the past of Hans Globke, Adenauer's national security adviser, who had worked with Eichmann in the Jewish Affairs department and helped draft the 1935 Nuremberg Laws.[16][15][17]

At the request of Bonn (the capital of West Germany from 1949 to 1990) the CIA persuaded Life magazine to delete any reference to Globke from Eichmann's memoirs, which it had bought from his family.[18] By the time the CIA and the BND had this information, Israel had temporarily given up looking for Eichmann in Argentina because they could not discover his alias.[18] Neither the CIA nor the US government as a whole at that time had a policy of pursuing Nazi war criminals.[15] In addition to protecting Eichmann and Globke, the CIA also protected Reinhard Gehlen,[19] who recruited hundreds of former German spies for the CIA. The low key attitude toward Nazi war criminals, and more concentration on the Soviet Union even possibly allowed Eichmann to be a member of a private American golf club and travel freely without being discovered.[citation needed]


Throughout the 1950s, many Jews and other victims of the Holocaust dedicated themselves to finding Eichmann and other notorious Nazis. Among them was the Jewish Nazi hunter Simon Wiesenthal. In 1954, Wiesenthal received a postcard from an associate living in Buenos Aires, saying Eichmann was in Argentina. The message read in part:

Ich sah jenes schmutzige Schwein Eichmann. ("I saw that dirty pig Eichmann.") Er wohnt in der Nähe von Buenos Aires und arbeitet für ein Wassergeschäft. ("He lives near Buenos Aires and works for a water company.")

With this and other information collected by Wiesenthal, Israel had solid leads about Eichmann's whereabouts. However, Isser Harel, the head of the Israeli intelligence agency Mossad, later claimed in an unpublished manuscript that Wiesenthal "'had no role whatsoever' in Eichmann's apprehension but in fact had endangered the entire Eichmann operation and aborted the planned capture of Auschwitz doctor Josef Mengele."[20]

Also instrumental in exposing Eichmann's identity was Lothar Hermann. He was a worker of Jewish descent who fled from Germany to Argentina following his incarceration in the Dachau concentration camp, where Eichmann had served as an administrator. By the 1950s, Hermann had settled into life in Buenos Aires with his family. His daughter Sylvia became acquainted with Eichmann's family and romantically involved with Klaus, Eichmann's oldest son. Klaus made boastful remarks about his father's life as a Nazi and direct responsibility for the Holocaust. Hermann knew he had struck gold in 1957 after reading a newspaper report about German war criminals—of whom Eichmann was one.

Soon after, he sent Sylvia to the Eichmanns' home on a fact-finding mission. She was met at the door by Eichmann himself. She asked for Klaus, and, after learning that he was not home, asked whether she was speaking to his father. Eichmann confirmed this fact. Hermann soon began a correspondence with Fritz Bauer, chief prosecutor for the West German state of Hesse, and provided details about Eichmann's person and life. He contacted Israeli officials, who worked closely with Hermann over the next several years to learn about Eichmann and to formulate a plan to capture him.

In 1959, Mossad was informed that Eichmann was in Buenos Aires under the name Ricardo Klement (Clement) and began an effort to locate his exact whereabouts.[21] Through relentless surveillance, it was concluded that Ricardo Klement was, in fact, Adolf Eichmann. The Israeli government then approved an operation to capture Eichmann and bring him to Jerusalem for trial as a war criminal. The Mossad agents continued their surveillance of Eichmann through the first months of 1960 until it was judged safe to take him down, even watching as he delivered flowers to his wife on their 25th wedding anniversary on March 21.

Eichmann was captured by a team of Mossad and Shin Bet agents in a suburb of Buenos Aires on May 11, 1960, as part of a covert operation.[22] The Mossad agents had arrived in Buenos Aires in April 1960 after Eichmann's identity was confirmed. After observing Eichmann for an extensive period of time, a team of Mossad agents waited for him as he arrived home from his work as foreman at a Mercedes Benz factory. One kept lookout waiting for his bus to arrive, while two agents pretended to be fixing a broken down car. An unconfirmed fourth would ride on the bus to make sure he would leave. Once Eichmann alighted and began walking the short distance to his home, he was asked by the agent at the car, Zvi Aharoni, for a cigarette. When Eichmann reached in his pocket he was set upon by the two by the car. Eichmann fought but team member Peter Malkin, a Polish Jew and a black belt in karate, knocked Eichmann unconscious with a strike to the back of his neck and bundled him into the car and took him to the safe house.

There a preliminary interrogation was conducted and it was proved that Klement (Clement) was undoubtedly the Nazi Eichmann.[21] The agents kept him in a safe house until they judged that he could be taken to Israel without being detected by Argentine authorities; then smuggled him out of Argentina on board an El Al Bristol Britannia flight from Argentina to Dakar and then to Israel on May 21, 1960, heavily sedated and disguised, like the agents, in the uniform of the El Al crew.[23]

There was a backup plan in case the apprehension did not go as planned. If the police happened to intervene, one of the agents was to handcuff himself to Eichmann and make full explanations and disclosure. For some time the Israeli government denied involvement in Eichmann's capture, claiming that he had been taken by Jewish volunteers who eagerly turned him over to Israeli government authorities. Negotiations followed between Prime Minister David Ben-Gurion and Argentine president Arturo Frondizi, while the abduction was met from radical right sectors with a violent wave of anti-Semitism, carried on the streets by the Tacuara Nationalist Movement—including assaults, torture and bombings.[24]

Ben-Gurion then announced Eichmann's capture to the Knesset—Israel's parliament—on May 23, receiving a standing ovation in return. Isser Harel, head of the Mossad at the time of the operation, wrote the book The House on Garibaldi Street about Eichmann's capture. The book has since been made into a movie of the same name. Some years later, Peter Malkin, a member of the kidnapping team, wrote Eichmann in My Hands, which explores Eichmann's character and motivations, but its veracity has been attacked.[citation needed]

Josef Mengele

Isser Harel, Chief Executive of the Secret Services of Israel (1952–1963), who headed the successful capture of Eichmann in Buenos Aires in 1960 feels they almost apprehended Josef Mengele, too. As he claims to have told the co-pilot that transported Eichmann at the time: "had it been possible to start the operation several weeks earlier Mengele might also have been on the plane." When they checked on the last known location for the "murderous doctor" in Argentina, he had apparently moved on just two weeks earlier.[25]

International dispute over capture

In June 1960, after unsuccessful secret negotiations with Israel, Argentina requested an urgent meeting of the United Nations Security Council, to protest what Argentina regarded as the "violation of the sovereign rights of the Argentine Republic".[26] In the ensuing debate, the Israeli representative Golda Meir claimed that the abductors were not Israeli agents but private individuals and so the incident was only an "isolated violation of Argentine law".[26] Eventually the Council passed Resolution 138, which requested Israel "to make appropriate reparation", while stating that "Eichmann should be brought to appropriate justice for the crimes of which he is accused" and that "this resolution should in no way be interpreted as condoning the odious crimes of which Eichmann is accused."[27]

After further negotiations, on August 3, Israel and Argentina agreed to end their dispute with a joint statement that "the Governments of Israel and the Republic of the Argentine, imbued with the wish to give effect to the resolution of the Security Council of June 23, 1960, in which the hope was expressed that the traditionally friendly relations between the two countries will be advanced, have decided to regard as closed the incident that arose out of the action taken by Israel nationals which infringed fundamental rights of the State of Argentina."[28]

In the subsequent trial and appeal, the Israeli courts avoided the issue of the legality of Eichmann's capture, relying instead on legal precedents that the circumstances of his capture had no bearing on the legality of his trial. The Israeli Court also determined that because "Argentina has condoned the violation of her sovereignty and has waived her claims, including that for the return of the Appellant, any violation of international law that may have been involved in this incident has thus been remedied."[29]


Eichmann trial news story.ogg
Eichmann in Jerusalem court. See video

Eichmann's trial before an Israeli court in Jerusalem began on April 11, 1961. He was indicted on 15 criminal charges, including crimes against humanity, crimes against the Jewish people and membership in an outlawed organization. In accordance with Israeli criminal procedure, the trial was presided over by three judges: Moshe Landau, Benjamin Halevi and Yitzhak Raveh. The chief prosecutor was Gideon Hausner, the Israeli attorney general. The three judges sat high atop a plain dais. The trial was held at the Beit Ha'am—nowadays known as the Gerard Behar Center—a new auditorium in downtown Jerusalem. Eichmann sat inside a bulletproof glass booth to protect him from victims' families. This image inspired the novel, stage play, and film The Man in the Glass Booth, although the plot of the drama has nothing to do with the actual events of the Eichmann trial.

The legal basis of the charges against Eichmann was the 1950 "Nazi and Nazi Collaborators (Punishment) Law".[30]

The trial caused huge international controversy, as well as an international sensation. The Israeli government allowed news programs all over the world to broadcast the trial live with few restrictions. The trial began with various witnesses, including many Holocaust survivors, who testified against Eichmann and his role in transporting victims to the extermination camps. One key witness for the prosecution was an American judge named Michael A. Musmanno, who was a U.S. naval officer in 1945 who questioned the Nuremberg defendants and would go on to become a Justice of the Pennsylvania Supreme Court. He testified that the late Hermann Göring "made it very clear that Eichmann was the man to determine, in what order, in what countries, the Jews were to die."

When the prosecution rested, Eichmann's defense lawyers, Robert Servatius and Dieter Wechtenbruch, opened up the defense by explaining why they did not cross-examine any of the prosecution witnesses. Eichmann, speaking in his own defense, said that he did not dispute the facts of what happened during the Holocaust. During the whole trial, Eichmann insisted that he was only "following orders"—the same Nuremberg Defense used by some of the Nazi war criminals during the 1945–1946 Nuremberg Trials. He explicitly declared that he had abdicated his conscience in order to follow the Führerprinzip. Eichmann claimed that he was merely a "transmitter" with very little power. He testified that: "I never did anything, great or small, without obtaining in advance express instructions from Adolf Hitler or any of my superiors."

During cross-examination, prosecutor Hausner asked Eichmann if he considered himself guilty of the murder of millions of Jews. Eichmann replied: "Legally not, but in the human sense ... yes, for I am guilty of having deported them". When Hausner produced as evidence a quote by Eichmann in 1945 stating: "I will leap into my grave laughing because the feeling that I have five million human beings on my conscience is for me a source of extraordinary satisfaction." Eichmann countered the claim saying that he was referring only to "enemies of the Reich".

Witnesses for the defense, all of them former high-ranking Nazis, were promised immunity and safe conduct from their German and Austrian homes to testify in Jerusalem on Eichmann's behalf. All of them refused to travel to Israel, but they sent the court depositions. None of the depositions supported Eichmann's "following orders" defense. One deposition was from Otto Winkelmann, a former senior SS police leader in Budapest in 1944. His memo stated that "(Eichmann) had the nature of a subaltern, which means a fellow who uses his power recklessly, without moral restraints. He would certainly overstep his authority if he thought he was acting in the spirit of his commander [Adolf Hitler]". Franz Six, a former SS brigadier general in the German secret service, who was assigned the supervision of the occupation of the United Kingdom had Operation Sea Lion been successful, said in his deposition that Eichmann was an absolute believer in National Socialism and would act to the most extreme of the party doctrine, and that Eichmann had greater power than other department chiefs.

After 14 weeks of testimony with more than 1,500 documents, 100 prosecution witnesses (90 of whom were Nazi concentration camp survivors) and dozens of defense depositions delivered by diplomatic couriers from 16 different countries, the Eichmann trial ended on August 14. At that point, the judges began deliberations in seclusion. On December 11, the three judges announced their verdict: Eichmann was convicted on all counts. Eichmann had said to the court that he expected the death penalty.[31] On December 15, the court imposed a death sentence. Eichmann appealed the verdict, mostly relying on legal arguments about Israel's jurisdiction and the legality of the laws under which he was charged. He also claimed that he was protected by the principle of "Acts of State" and repeated his "following orders" defense.

On May 29, 1962 Israel's Supreme Court, sitting as a Court of Criminal Appeal, rejected the appeal and upheld the District Court's judgment on all counts. In rejecting his appeal again claiming that he was only "following orders", the court stated that, "Eichmann received no superior orders at all. He was his own superior and he gave all orders in matters that concerned Jewish affairs ... the so-called Final Solution would never have assumed the infernal forms of the flayed skin and tortured flesh of millions of Jews without the fanatical zeal and the unquenchable blood thirst of the appellant and his associates." On May 31, Israeli President Yitzhak Ben-Zvi turned down Eichmann's petition for mercy.[32] A large number of prominent persons sent requests for clemency.[33]

In 1999, 128 minutes of the original video recordings made during court sessions of the Eichmann trial were released to cinemas and later to home video under the title Un spécialiste (The Specialist in the US),[34] whereas the title related to Eichmann's wartime reputation as a "specialist" in his field of all the logistics regarding expatriation, expropriation, and deportation of Jewish people.


Eichmann was hanged a few minutes before midnight on May 31, 1962, at a prison in Ramla, Israel. This remains the only civil execution ever carried out in Israel, which has a general policy of not using the death penalty. Eichmann allegedly refused a last meal, preferring instead a bottle of Carmel, a dry red Israeli wine. He consumed about half of the bottle. He also refused to don the traditional black hood for his execution.

According to an official account, there were two people who would pull the lever simultaneously, so neither would know for sure by whose hand Eichmann died.[35]

There is some dispute over Eichmann's last words. One account states that these were, "Long live Germany. Long live Austria. Long live Argentina. These are the countries with which I have been most closely associated and I shall not forget them. I had to obey the rules of war and my flag. I am ready."[36] According to David Cesarani, a leading Holocaust historian and Research Professor in History of the Royal Holloway, University of London, the order of countries (Austria and Argentina) was inverted and he also spoke of his wife, friends and family, as well as his belief in God. Any mention of obedience to the rules of war or flag is omitted in Cesarani's account in which Eichmann is quoted thus:

Long live Germany. Long live Argentina. Long live Austria. These are the three countries with which I have been most connected and which I will not forget. I greet my wife, my family, and my friends. I am ready. We'll meet again soon, as is the fate of all men. I die believing in God.[37]

Shortly after the execution, Eichmann's body was cremated in a specially designed furnace. The furnace was so hot that no one dared to go near it, but a stretcher on tracks was used to put the body in. The next morning, on June 1, his ashes were scattered at sea over the Mediterranean, beyond the territorial waters of Israel. This was to ensure that there could be no future memorial and that no country would serve as his final resting place.[38]


Political theorist Hannah Arendt, a Jew who fled Germany before Hitler's rise to power, reported on Eichmann's trial for The New Yorker. In Eichmann in Jerusalem, a book formed by this reporting, Arendt concluded that, aside from a desire for improving his career, Eichmann showed no trace of an antisemitic personality or of any psychological damage to his character. She called him the embodiment of the "Banality of Evil", as he appeared at his trial to have an ordinary and common personality, displaying neither guilt nor hatred. She suggested that this most strikingly discredits the idea that the Nazi criminals were manifestly psychopathic and different from ordinary people. Eichmann himself said he joined the SS not because he agreed or disagreed with its ethos, but because he needed to build a career.[39]

Stanley Milgram interpreted Arendt's work as stating that even the most ordinary of people can commit horrendous crimes if placed in certain situations and given certain incentives. He wrote: "I must conclude that Arendt's conception of the banality of evil comes closer to the truth than one might dare imagine."[40] However, Arendt did not suggest that Eichmann was normal or that any person placed in his situation would have done as he did. According to her account, Eichmann had abdicated his will to make moral choices, and thus his autonomy.[41] Eichmann claimed he was just following orders, and that he was therefore respecting the duties of a "bureaucrat". Arendt thus argued that he had essentially forsaken the conditions of morality, autonomy and the ability to question orders (see Führerprinzip).

In Becoming Eichmann, David Cesarani claimed that Eichmann was in fact extremely anti-Semitic, and that these feelings were important motivators of his genocidal actions.[42]

Eichmann's son, Ricardo, who was born after the War, has condemned his father's actions and says he harbours no resentment toward Israel for executing his father.[43]

Awards and decorations

See also


  1. ^ [1] [2] His name is sometimes incorrectly given as Karl.
  2. ^ [3] However, some sources say that he died shortly after midnight, on June 1, such as eyewitness William Hull, The Struggle for a Soul (1963).
  3. ^ Nazi abuse of ICRC humanitarian service ICRC travel document. 31-05-2007
  4. ^ Nazi Eichmann's passport found in Argentina ABC News. May 30, 2007
  5. ^ His father's name is given as Karl Adolf in many sources. The name Adolf Karl was testified by Eichmann himself [4] and accepted by the Israeli court [5] [6].
  6. ^ Peter Krause: Der Eichmann-Prozess in der deutschen Presse (The Eichmann trial in the German press; Frankfurt, Campus 2002), ISBN 3-593-37001-8, p. 20.
  7. ^ "Eichman's wife was from České Budějovice" (in Czech). MF Dnes. Retrieved 2007-11-21. "Short article about Eichmann's wife" 
  8. ^ "WW2DB: Adolf Eichmann". Retrieved 2009-05-13. 
  9. ^ "Adolf Eichman was born in Austria in Solingen in 1906 and died in Israel". Retrieved 2009-05-13. 
  10. ^ a b "The deportation of the Hungarian Jews to Auschwitz-Birkenau in 1944". Retrieved 2009-05-13. 
  11. ^ "Adolf Eichmann". Retrieved 2009-05-14. 
  12. ^ Browning, Christopher R. The Origins of the Final Solution. 2004. Page 81
  13. ^ Christopher R. Browning, The Origins of the Final Solution (2004), p. 362.
  14. ^ "Argentina uncovers Eichmann pass". BBC. 29 May 2007. Retrieved 2007-06-07. "A student has found the passport used by Nazi war criminal Adolf Eichmann to enter Argentina in 1950." 
  15. ^ a b c "C.I.A. Knew Where Eichmann Was Hiding, Documents Show". 2006-06-07. Retrieved 2007-02-28. 
  16. ^ "Rapport: CIA beskyttede topnazist". 2006-06-07. Retrieved 2006-06-07.  (Danish)
  17. ^ "Documents show post-war CIA covered up Nazi war crimes". 2006-06-07. Retrieved 2006-06-11. 
  18. ^ a b CIA Ties With Ex-Nazis Shown, The Washington Post, June 7, 2006
  19. ^ The Guardian, June 8, 2006,"Why Israel's capture of Eichmann caused panic at the CIA"
  20. ^ Schachter, Jonathan, "Isser Harel Takes On Nazi-Hunter. Wiesenthal 'Had No Role' In Eichmann Kidnapping", The Jerusalem Post 7 May 1991.
  21. ^ a b Shin Bet Web Site
  22. ^ Haggai Hitron, "The monster is in handcuffs", Haaretz, January 16, 2007.
  23. ^ Bascomb, Neil (2009). Hunting Eichmann: How a Band of Survivors and a Young Spy Agency Chased Down the World's Most Notorious Nazi. Boston/New York: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt. ISBN 0-618-85867-9. 
  24. ^ Tacuara salió a la calle, Página/12, May 15, 2005 (Spanish)
  25. ^ Harel, Isser (1975). The house on Garibaldi Street: the first full account of the capture of Adolf Eichmann. New York: Viking Press. ISBN 0-670-38028-8. 
  26. ^ a b M. Lippmann, The trial of Adolf Eichmann and the protection of universal human rights under international law, Houston Journal of International Law, Autumn 1982, pp.1–34.
  27. ^ Security Council resolution 138, June 23, 1960 (Symbol S/4349)
  28. ^ L. C. Green, Legal issues of the Eichmann trial, Tulane Law Review, vol 641 (1962–3) pp.643–683.
  29. ^ Eichmann trial transcript [7] and appeal transcript [8].
  30. ^ This law had previously been used to prosecute about 30 people, all but one of them Jewish Holocaust survivors, who were alleged to have been "Nazi Collaborators". See: Orna Ben-Naftali and Yogev Tuval, Punishing International Crimes Committed by the Persecuted, Journal of International Criminal Justice, Vol. 4 (2006), 128–178.
  31. ^ "1969 In Review: Eichmann"
  32. ^ New York Times, June 1, 1962.
  33. ^ Israeli letters favored sparing of Eichmann, New York Times, June 4, 1962. Article available on-line for pay only. Retrieved 2009-07-31.
  34. ^ Un spécialiste, portrait d'un criminel moderne on IMDB
  35. ^ The Executioner
  36. ^ "Eichmann memoirs published". Guardian Unlimited. 1999-08-12.,283585,00.html. Retrieved 2006-03-23. 
  37. ^ David Cesarani, Eichmann: His Life and Crimes, (London: Vintage, 2005), p.321.
  38. ^ 'We have to carry out the sentence' - Haaretz - Israel News
  39. ^ Resignation on moral principle | Opinion | The First Post
  40. ^ Milgram, Stanley. "The Perils of Obedience". Harper's Magazine (1974)
  41. ^ The Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy,, retrieved 11/26/2007
  42. ^ Cesarani, David, Becoming Eichmann: Rethinking the Life, Crimes and Trial of a ‘Desk Murderer’, Da Capo Press, Cambridge, MA, 2006, pages 197, 347
  43. ^ j. – Eichmann's son: ‘There is no way I can explain’


  • Arendt, Hannah (1994). Eichmann in Jerusalem: A Report on the Banality of Evil. New York: Penguin Books. ISBN 0-14-018765-0. 
  • Bascomb, Neil (2009). Hunting Eichmann: How a Band of Survivors and a Young Spy Agency Chased Down the World's Most Notorious Nazi. Boston/New York: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt. ISBN 0-618-85867-9. 
  • Cesarani, David (2004). Eichmann: His Life and Crimes. London: W. Heinemann. ISBN 0-434-01056-1. 
  • Zvi Aharoni, Wilhelm Dietl: Der Jäger – Operation Eichmann, DVA GmbH, 1996, ISBN 3-421-05031-7
  • My Role in Operation Eichmann. Tuviah Friedman Institute of Documentation. Israel
  • Harel, Isser (1975). The House on Garibaldi Street: the First Full Account of the Capture of Adolf Eichmann. New York: Viking Press. ISBN 0-670-38028-8. 
  • Jochen von Lang, Eichmann Interrogated (1982) ISBN 0-88619-017-7
  • Mulisch, Harry (2005). Criminal Case 40/61, The Trial of Adolf Eichmann: An Eyewitness Account. Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press. ISBN 0-8122-3861-3. 
  • Moshe Pearlman, The Capture of Adolf Eichmann, 1961. (cited in Hannah Arendt: Eichmann in Jerusalem, Penguin, 1994, p. 235) LCC DD247.E5 P39
  • Gerald Steinacher (2008). Nazis auf der Flucht. Studienverlag GmbH. ISBN 3-7065-4026-6. 
  • Pierre de Villemarest, Untouchable: Who protected Bormann & Gestapo Müller after 1945..., Aquilion, 2005, ISBN 1-904997-02-3 (Heinrich "Gestapo" Müller was one of Adolf Eichmann's superiors.)
  • Rassinier, Paul (1962). Le Véritable Procès Eichmann ou les Vainqueurs incorrigibles. Paris: Les Sept Couleurs. 
  • Rassinier, Paul (1976). The Real Eichmann Trial or The Incorrigible Victors. Torrance: Institute for Historical Review. pp. 117. ISBN 0-911038-48-5. 
  • Yablonka, Hanna (2004). The State of Israel vs. Adolf Eichmann. New York: Schocken Books. ISBN 0-8052-4187-6. 
  • Bascomb, Neil (2009). Hunting Eichmann: How a Band of Survivors and a Young Spy Agency Chased Down the World's Most Notorious Nazi. Boston/New York: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt. ISBN 0-618-85867-9. 
  • Stein, Harry; Peter Z. Malkin (1990). Eichmann in My Hands. New York: Warner Books. ISBN 0-446-51418-7. 
  • Cesarani, David (2004). Eichmann: His Life and Crimes. Vintage Books. 

External links


Up to date as of January 14, 2010

From Wikiquote

To sum it all up, I must say that I regret nothing.

Otto Adolf Eichmann (19 March 19061 June 1962) was a high-ranking Nazi and SS-Obersturmbannführer (Lieutenant Colonel). Due to his organizational talents and ideological reliability, he was tasked by Obergruppenführer Reinhard Heydrich to facilitate and manage the logistics of mass deportation to ghettos and extermination camps in Nazi-occupied Eastern Europe and worked under Ernst Kaltenbrunner until the end of the war. He was captured by Israeli Mossad agents in Argentina and indicted by Israeli court on fifteen criminal charges, including charges of crimes against humanity and war crimes. He was convicted and hanged.



  • To sum it all up, I must say that I regret nothing.
    • While awaiting trial in Israel, as quoted in LIFE magazine (5 December 1960)
  • Adolf Hitler may have been wrong all down the line, but one thing is beyond dispute: the man was able to work his way up from lance corporal in the German Army to Führer of a people of almost eighty million. ... His success alone proved that I should subordinate myself to this man.
    • As quoted in "The Eichmann Memoir" in The Personalist Volume XLII (1961)
I was never an anti-Semite. ... I personally had nothing to do with this. My job was to observe and report on it.
  • Whether they were bank directors or mental cases, the people who were loaded on those trains meant nothing to me.
    It was really none of my business.
    • As quoted in Religion and Public Education (1967) by Nicholas Wolterstorf
  • I was never an anti-Semite. ... My sensitive nature revolted at the sight of corpses and blood... I personally had nothing to do with this. My job was to observe and report on it.
    • As quoted in Consensus and Controversy: Defending Pope Pius XII (2002) by Sister Margherita Marchione, p. 71
  • In einem kurzen Weilchen, meine Herren, sehen wir uns ohnehin alle wieder. Das ist das Los aller Menschen. Es lebe Deutschland. Es lebe Argentinien. Es lebe Österreich. … Ich werde sie nicht vergessen.
    • In a short while, gentlemen, we'll meet each other, anyway. That's every human's fortune. Long live Germany! Long live Argentinia! Long live Austria! … I won't forget you.
    • Before his execution in Jerusalem (1 June 1962); as quoted in Eichmann in Jerusalem (2004), S. 300
  • Hätten wir 10,3 Millionen Juden getötet, dann wäre ich befriedigt und würde sagen, gut, wir haben einen Feind vernichtet. ... Ich war kein normaler Befehlsempfänger, dann wäre ich ein Trottel gewesen, sondern ich habe mitgedacht, ich war ein Idealist gewesen.
    • If we would have killed 10.3 million Jews, then I would be satisfied and would say, good, we annihilated an enemy. ... I wasn't only issued orders, in this case I'd have been a moron, but I rather anticipated, I was an idealist.
    • Post-war correspondence with Willem Sassen om Eichmanns Memoiren. Ein kritischer Essay (Zuerst 2001) Frankfurt/M.: Fischer TB, 2004 ISBN 3-5961-5726-9

Eichmann Interrogated (1983)

Eichmann Interrogated: Transcripts from the Archives of the Israeli Police (1983) translated by Avner W. Less
I witnessed the gruesome workings of the machinery of death; gear meshed with gear, like clockwork. It was the biggest and most enormous dance of death of all times.
  • The war with the Soviet Union began in June 1941, I think. And I believe it was two months later, or maybe three, that Heydrich sent for me. I reported. He said to me: "The Führer has ordered physical extermination." These were his words. And as though wanting to test their effect on me, he made a long pause, which was not at all his way. I can still remember that. In the first moment, I didn't grasp the implications, because he chose his words so carefully. But then I understood. I didn't say anything, what could I say? Because I'd never thought of a ... of such a thing, of that sort of violent solution. ... Anyway, Heydrich said: "Go and see Globocnik, the Führer has already given him instructions. Take a look and see how he's getting on with his program. I believe he's using Russian anti-tank trenches for exterminating the Jews." As ordered, I went to Lublin, located the headquarters of SS and Police Commander Globocnik, and reported to the Gruppenführer. I told him Heydrich had sent me, because the Führer had ordered the physical extermination of the Jews. ... Globocnik sent for a certain SturmbannFührer Höfle, who must have been a member of his staff. We went from Lublin to, I don't remember what the place was called, I get them mixed up, I couldn't say if it was Treblinka or some other place. There were patches of woods, sort of, and the road passed through — a Polish highway. On the right side of the road there was an ordinary house, that's where the men who worked there lived. A captain of the (Ordnungspolizei) welcomed us. A few workmen were still there. The captain, which surprised me, had taken off his jacket and rolled up his sleeves, somehow he seemed to have joined in the work. They were building little wooden shacks, two, maybe three of them; they looked like two- or three-room cottages. Höfle told the police captain to explain the installation to me. And then he started in. He had a, well, let's say, a vulgar, uncultivated voice. Maybe he drank. He spoke some dialect from the southwestern corner of Germany, and he told me how he had made everything airtight. It seems they were going to hook up a Russian submarine engine and pipe the exhaust into the houses and the Jews inside would be poisoned.
    I was horrified. My nerves aren't strong enough ... I can't listen to such things... such things, without their affecting me. Even today, if I see someone with a deep cut, I have to look away. I could never have been a doctor. I still remember how I visualized the scene and began to tremble, as if I'd been through something, some terrible experience. The kind of thing that happens sometimes and afterwards you start to shake. Then I went to Berlin and reported to the head of the Security Police.
    • p. 75 - 76
  • I'd like to say something about this last, about this last point of this terrible, terrible business. I mean Treblinka. I was given orders. I went to see Globocnik in Treblinka. That was the second time. The installations were now in operation, and I had to report to Müller. I expected to see a wooden house on the right side of the road and a few more wooden houses on the left; that's what I remembered. Instead, again with the same SturmbannFührer Höfle, I came to a railroad station with a sign saying Treblinka, looking exactly like a German railroad station — anywhere in Germany — a replica, with signboards, etc. There I hung back as far as I could. I didn't push closer to see it all. I saw a footbridge enclosed in barbed wire and over that footbridge a file of naked Jews was being driven into a house, a big... no, not a house, a big, one-room structure, to be gassed. As I was told, they were gassed with ...what's it called? ... Potassium cyanide... or cyanic acid. In acid form it's called cyanic acid. I didn't look to see what happened. I reported to Müller and as usual he listened in silence, without a word of comment. Just his facial expression said: "There's nothing I can do about it." I am convinced, Herr Hauptmann, I know it sounds odd coming from me, but I'm convinced that if it had been up to Müller it wouldn't have happened.
    • p. 84

Die Welt memoirs (1999)

Quotes from Eichmann notes for a memoir to be titled The False Gods published in Die Welt (12 August 1999) as translated in "Why? New Eichmann Notes Try to Explain" by Roger Cohen in The New York Times (13 August 1999)
When I see the images before my eyes, it all comes back to me ... Corpses, corpses, corpses. Shot, gassed, decaying corpses...
  • Obeying an order was the most important thing to me. It could be that is in the nature of the German.
  • From my childhood, obedience was something I could not get out of my system. When I entered the armed services at the age of 27, I found being obedient not a bit more difficult than it had been during my life to that point. It was unthinkable that I would not follow orders.
  • Now that I look back, I realize that a life predicated on being obedient and taking orders is a very comfortable life indeed. Living in such a way reduces to a minimum one's own need to think.
  • I was sent to Treblinka, Minsk, Lemberg and Auschwitz. When I see the images before my eyes, it all comes back to me ... Corpses, corpses, corpses. Shot, gassed, decaying corpses. They seemed to pop out of the ground when a grave was opened. It was a delirium of blood. It was an inferno, a hell, and I felt I was going insane.
  • I am certain, however, that those responsible for the murder of millions of Germans will never be brought to justice.

CBC report (2000)

Quotes from "Eichmann memoirs describe Nazi death machine" (11 November 2000)
  • I witnessed the gruesome workings of the machinery of death; gear meshed with gear, like clockwork. It was the biggest and most enormous dance of death of all times.
  • When I arrived at the place of the execution, the gunmen fired into a pit the size of several rooms. They fired from small submachine guns. As I arrived, I saw a Jewish woman and a small child in her arms in the pit. I wanted to pull out the child, but then a bullet smashed the skull of the child. My driver wiped brain particles from my leather coat.
  • Because I have seen hell, death and the devil, because I had to watch the madness of destruction, because I was one of the many horses pulling the wagon and couldn't escape left or right because of the will of the driver, I now feel called upon and have the desire, to tell what happened.


  • We shall meet again. I have believed in God. I obeyed the laws of war and was loyal to my flag.
  • About this occurrence, I will jump to my death laughing, because the knowledge of having five million Jews on my conscience gives me a sense of great satisfaction.

About Eichmann

  • The fearsome, word-and-thought-defying banality of evil.
  • Adolf Eichmann, the sinister figure who had charge of the extermination program, has estimated that the anti-Jewish activities resulted in the killing of 6 million Jews. Of these, 4 million were killed in extermination institutions, and 2 million were killed by Einsatzgruppen, mobile units of the Security Police and SD which pursued Jews in the ghettos and in their homes and slaughtered them by gas wagons, by mass shooting in antitank ditches, and by every device which Nazi ingenuity could conceive. So thorough and uncompromising was this program that the Jews of Europe as a race no longer exist, thus fulfilling the diabolic "prophecy" of Adolf Hitler at the beginning of the war. . . .
    • Robert H. Jackson
  • This is a sane man, and a sane man is capable of unrepentant, unlimited, planned evil. He was the genius bureaucrat, he was the powerful frozen mind which directed a gigantic organization; he is the perfect model of inhumanness; but he was not alone. Eager thousands obeyed him. Everyone could not have his special talents; many people were needed to smash a baby's head against the pavement before the mother's eyes, to urge a sick old man to rest and shoot him in the back of the head; there was endless work for willing hands. How many more like these exist everywhere?
    • Martha Gellhorn in Eichmann and the Private Conscience, Atlantic Monthly, 1962
  • The trouble with Eichmann was precisely that so many were like him, and that the many were neither perverted nor sadistic, that they were, and still are, terribly and terrifyingly normal. From the viewpoint of our legal institutions and of our moral standards of judgment, this normality was much more terrifying than all the atrocities put together, for it implied — as had been said at Nuremberg over and over again by the defendants and their counsels — that this new type of criminal, who is in actual fact hostis generis humani, commits his crimes under circumstances that make it well-nigh impossible for him to know or to feel that he is doing wrong.
  • He complained regularly about death-camp quotas not being fulfilled, about the problems of getting all French Jews to the death camps, and about the intermittent failure of the Italians to cooperate.
    As late as 1944, he played a leading, and open, role in the killing of Hungarian Jews, and in August of that year he reported that four million Jews had died in the death camps and another two million at the hands of the Nazis' mobile extermination units in Eastern Europe. At no point did he show the least compunction over the planning, organization and execution of what became known as the Holocaust.
    • Roger Cohen in "Why? New Eichmann Notes Try to Explain" in The New York Times (13 August 1999)
  • He is responsible because of the conspiracy and the plots for all that happened to the Jewish people — from the shores of the Arctic Ocean to the Aegean Sea, from the Pyrenees to the Urals.
  • Mister death who signs papers
    then eats
    telegraphs simply: Shoot them
    then eats
  • Eichmann is thirty-four or thirty-five years old, a very active, adventurous man. He felt that this act against Jews was necessary and was fully convinced of its necessity and correctness, as I was.
    • Rudolf Höss
    • [to Leon Goldensohn, April 9, 1946]
  • Nearly four decades after being buried in Israel's state archives, a rambling manuscript by Adolf Eichmann, the chief transport technician behind the Nazi death machine, was finally released to the public yesterday, reeking of mendacity, self-interest, and delusion.
    Penned in jail as he awaited his execution, the man who dispatched hundreds of thousands of Jews to their deaths in the gas chambers ended his days trying to convince the world he was a mere Nazi underling, a lickspittle who was only obeying orders and who went to the gallows tortured by regret at having been dazzled and led astray by the Third Reich's leaders. ... time and again, he absolves himself of responsibility for the Nazi regime's horrendous crimes, painting a picture of himself as a nature-loving, simple, practical figure, who was brought up (in Austria, though he was German-born) to believe in discipline. He casts himself as a man who could not understand why his superiors kept embroiling him in death, instead of giving him the desk job he so coveted and clamoured for. A man who was horrified to witness the gassing of Jews in a mobile execution van. A man who loved his family, who made friends before the war with Jews and dissidents. ... Almost every chapter contains an explanation of how little authority that he — the head of the Gestapo section in Berlin whose job it was to locate, deport, and exterminate Jews — actually held.

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