Adolf Eichmann was responsible for the persecution and murder of one-third of Europe's Jewish people during World War II.
In Austria, Adolf Eichmann was born into a religious middle-class Protestant family in Solingen in western Germany near the Rhine river on March 19, 1906. Adolf Eichmann attended the same high school as Adolf Hitler. Eichmann's mother died when he was ten. Unlike his three brothers and one sister, he was a poor student. Because of his dark looks, he was apparently chided as "the little Jew."Afterward, he worked for his father’s mining company and then as a traveling oil salesman, before returning to Germany.
He remained an aloof and lonely child and his parents worried about his lack of social skills. His dark complexion and distinctive nose and ears led to his schoolmates teasing him with the nickname “Der Klein Jude”(the little jew). Adolf proved to be a mediocre student at best.by the time he became a teenager he had a reputation as being difficult and moody, with his father had written him off as a no-hoper. with little promise of furthering education, he quit school at age 15 and began to train as a mechanic but at this too he proved a failure.
After two frustrating years, he gave up on this career and took a job as a sales agent for a mining company. this job also lasted for two years, after which he became a district agent for an oil company. By the age of 25, Eichmann was a sullen, withdrawn, socially inept little man who could still be mistaken for a jew. He had a stable but uninspiring job that saw him working around upper Austria and Salzburg. In 1932, despite never having shown any interest in political affairs, he joined the national socialist party. He associated with the party began at the urging of a friend by the name of Ernst Kaltenbrunner, who was a party official. For Eichmann, the party gave him an opportunity to belong to a group and to advance his station in life. More than anything he wanted to be somebody and to prove to the world that he had value as an individual.
In November 1932 he was accepted into the ranks of the SS with his duties involving forming part of the protection squad for speakers at party rallies and guarding the party headquarters at Linz. Meanwhile, he continued working for the oil company. A few weeks after Hitler became Chancellor of Germany in January 1933, Eichmann lost his job due to staff cutbacks. He immediately applied for active SS duty in Germany. This was accepted and he proved to be a diligent follower of orders, rising to the rank of Scharfuhrer in just a few months. In November he was appointed to the administrative staff of the Dachau concentration camp. At Dachau, Eichmann’s job was to keep a detailed catalog of all the items that were confiscated from incoming Jewish prisoners. He did the job well but found it to be exceedingly boring. Around this time, he began to set his mind to studying and inculcating the basic principles o Nazims.
In summer up what he had come to believe he said,
“If they had told me that my own father was a traitor and I had to kill him, I’d have done it”.
In an attempt to break out of his monotonous routine at Dachau, In 1934 Eichman applied to join the SD, Which was the security service of the SS. His application was successful and he was transferred to the Nazi party head office in Berlin. He was quickly promoted to the rank of Hauptscharfuhrer. Eichmann job was now to investigate and create reports on the activities of a Jewish organization in Germany. He threw himself into the work, learning the basics of the Hebrew language and establishing himself as the Nazi party expert on the culture and history of the Jews. Around this time, the perennially shy Eichmann met and fell in love with Veronika Liebl.
Around this time, the perennially shy Eichmann met and fell in love with Veronika Liebl. After the required vetting to ensure that she had no Jewish heritage, the couple were married on March 1st, 1935. They would go on to have four sons.
In 1937, Eichmann who now held the rank of SS Untersturmfuhrer (Second lieutenant) was sent on an important mission to the British Mandate of Palestine. Along with his officer, he was there to investigate the feasibility of German Jews being forcibly made to migrate to Palestine but the mission never got off the ground with the British refusing them entry into the country. In the wake of the annexation of Austria, Eichmann moved to Vienna with the joy of organizing the local SS.His efficiently in doing so earned him another promotion, this time to the rank of SS Obersturmführer(First lieutenant). He was also selected to initiate the central office for Jewish emigration, whose express purpose was to force the expulsion of all Jews from Austria.
Expelling the jews
Eichmann threw himself into this new role with his usual zeal. within eight months, he had stripped the vast majority of Jews in the country of all of their lands and possessions and forced forty-five thousand to get out. Ominously, a further one hundred and fifty thousand simply disappeared. His efficiency greatly impressed his superiors with the invasion of Poland on September 1st, 1939 and the subsequent outbreak of war, Hitler policy towards the jews changed. No longer would they be encouraged to leave Germany-from now on they would be forcibly deported. Jews were to be heard together and sent to concentration camps situated in newly acquired parts of the Reich. In October 1939, Eichman was posted to Berlin, where he worked directly under Gestapo chief, Heinrich Muller in establishing the nationwide central office for Jewish emigration. His first job was to clear specified areas of Poland of Jews. At the same time, he continued his pet project of riding his beloved Vienna of the Jewish.
He selected Nisko, in the far north of Poland as the site for a transit camp where the expelled Jews would be gathered before sending them into the harsh Russian wilderness to fend for themselves. Meanwhile, ethnic Germans were being moved into the areas of Poland that the jews had been evicted from. On December 19th, 1939, Eichmann received yet another promotion. He was now the overall coordinator of Jewish affairs and evacuation for the entire German Reich. All deportations to camps in Poland were now under his ultimate control. Many thousands of Jews were also being sent to an area in the east of Poland known as the general government. Eichmann immediately drew up plans to send 600,000 jews into the general government but these plans were pushed back due to complaints by authorities in the east who were worried that too many Jews would ruin the economy. In the end, some 63,000 people were relocated to the area, with many others dying in transit. All over occupied Europe, Jews were crowded into ghettos as they waited to be sent away. The conditions in the ghettos were appealing, and many people died before they ever set foot on a train carriage.
In 1940, Eichmann released a plan to resettle a million people each year in Madagascar. His plan had relied on the Luftwaffe conquering the British in the battle of Britain, which would have enabled the Germans to take control of the skies over the Atlantic.when this failed to happen, the plans for operation Madagascar were shelved indefinitely.
Killing the jews
In September of 1941, Eichmann was called to a meeting with the head of the SD, Reinhard Heydrich in which he was informed that the Fuhrer had ordered that all Jews in countries occupied by Germany were to be put to death. The timeline for this was to swing into action after the conquest of the Soviet Union. however, the entry of united states into the war following the Japanese attack on pearl harbor forced a rethink. The extermination of the Jews was to be given maximum priority. In January 1942 Heydrich called a meeting of the major players in the Nazi organization at Wannsee on the outskirts of Berlin. It was during this meeting that an official policy of Jewish genocide was laid out. Heydrich called it the final solution to the Jewish question. Eichmann had prepared for the meeting by creating lists of the numbers of Jews in each country who had to eliminate. Heydrich then appointed him as his right-hand man, responsible for coordinating all of the trains that would be used to carry jews to polish concentration camps.
As a result of the constant supply of human fodder that Eichman was responsible for the death camps at Auschwitz Dachau, Treblinka and Buchenwald became 24-hour killing machines. Eichmann funneled jews and Gypsies from Austria, Holland, France, Holland, the Baltic states and Yugoslavia to their slaughter. Often they were sent first to Warsaw and other ghettoes in Poland for “resettlement” further east.
In a gross example of distorted perception, Eichmann wrote the folwing about his work "Jewry was grateful for the chance I gave it to learn community lift at the ghetto.it made an excellent school for the future in Israel, basically most Jews feel well and happy in their ghetto life".
As the months passed, the demands placed on Eichmann to speed up the killing machine increased.he was responsible for supplying victims to a total of 164 camps spread throughout eastern Europe. In attempts to make the process more efficient, he oversaw the enlargement of the death trains. still, he gave no thought to supplying those who were crammed into the carriages for weeks on end with food or water and many of them died on the way.
Eichmann organizational ability was also employed to improve the efficiency of the actual killing process. He designed the huge windowless rooms and suggested that they are disguised as shower units in order to allay panic. He also pushed for the replacement of the relatively inefficient carbon monoxide gas with the cyanide-based insecticide Zyklon-B.we can get an insight into Eichmann’s ruthless efficiency by an incident which occurred during a roundup of Jews in Paris in 1942. seven thousand people were rounded up, 4051 of them being children. However, the city powers objected to the deportation and managed to secure talks with Eichmann. The Jews were held up in a warehouse without food or water.for six days, Eichmann started down the French officials, insisting that every single Jew had to be sent to their deaths.
In 1944, Eichmann was transferred to Hungary, which had recently been overrun by the Nazis. He was tasked with fast-tracking the transportation of Hungarian Jews to the death camps, which he did with ruthless efficiency.in just a few months he had condemned more than 400,000 of them.
By early in 1945 it was obvious to many in the Nazi hierarchy that the game was up. with the Russians coming at them from one side and the Allies closing in from the other, the priority for many became personal survival. Reinhard Heydrich decided that the time had come to put an end to the mass extermination of the jews and to set about destroying any evidence of the crimes against humanity that he had authorized. when Eichmann head about this, however, he was not happy. He decided of his own volition to continue and even speed up the killings but finally, even he saw the writing on the wall. His biggest fear seemed to be the prospect that he having been commissioned as a reserveUntersturmführer in the wafer-SS which made him eligible for combat duty would be sent out to the front lines to fight the Russians or Americans. In March, with the Russians pouring into Hungary, he fled to Austria where he tried to get his old friend Ernst Kaltenbrunner to help him evade capture by the Allies but the intimate involvement that Eichmann had with the Jewish slaughter had made him a dangerous man to associate with and Kaltenbrunner, who was trying to save his own skin, wanted nothing to do with him. Shortly thereafter, Eichmann was captured by the US army. Having given a false name, he was transferred between several POW camps. He was part of a work detail in Cham, Germany when he escaped. Managing to secure new identity papers, he took on the identity of Otto Heninger and relocated to Luneburg Heath in Lower Saxony. He found work in the forestry sector. other members of the Nazi hierarchy were not as fortunate as Eichmann in their attempts to evade justice.
Many of them ended up at the Nuremberg War trails where they gave detailed evidence about the role that Eichmann had played in the systematic planning and execution of the extermination of the jew of Europe. As a result, he became one of the most sought after Nazi war criminals.
In 1950, Eichmann relocated to Italy. Here he received the assistance of Alois Hudal, a roman catholic bishop who was a Nazi sympathizer and had already helped many to get out of Europe. Hudal helped Eichmann obtain a humanitarian passport from the International Committee of the red cross, along with with with fake identification and landing permit for Argentina.with these documents he was able to secure an international passport from the Red Cross. He had everything needed to sail for South America. He departed from Genoa on June 17th, 1950 and arrived in Buenos Aires on July 14th.
For the next two years, under the name of Ricardo Klement, Eichmann worked for a government contractor in Tucuman province. After two years he felt secure enough to bring over his wife and sons. They moved to Buenos Aires, where Eichmann worked in a series of menial jobs before finding employment with Mercedes Benz.over the next few years he would employ his natural organizational skills to rise to the position of department head.
Beginning in 1956, a neo-Nazi fanatic began interviewing Eichmann at his home with the goal of writing a fawning biography. For this project, a large and damning collection of tapes, transcripts, and notes were produced. Meanwhile, a handful of determined Nazi-hunters were hot on Eichmann's trial. Prominent among them was former concentration camp inmate Simon Wiesenthal. In 1953, Wiesenthal had found a postcard in which a former Nazi victim had mentioned seeing “that pig Eichmann” in Buenos Aires. He passed this information on to the Israeli consulate in Vienna. The American CIA was also aware that Eichmann was in South America. However, they were unwilling to act on the information for fear of embarrassing themselves. In the post-war years, the American had employed a number of Nazis to work on the Manhattan atomic bomb project. They didn’t want to go near anything that would allow that information to leak to the public. meanwhile, Wiesenthal was working with the Israeli intelligence service, MOSSAD, to b built a picture of Eichmann’s life in Argentina. A break came when Eichmann’s son got involved with the daughter of a Holocaust survivor who had relocated to Argentina. The boy began to boast that his father had worked for Hitler and was, in fact, the brains behind the final solution of the Jewish question. The girl promptly reported this information back to her father, who in turn informed the Israeli authorities.MOSSAD sent an operative to Buenos Aires to confirm Eichmann’s location and identity.it was now up to Israeli prime minister David Ben Gurion to decide whether to proceed diplomatically or to simply seize Eichmann and bring him back to Israel to face the music.
Knowing that the Argentinians had a record of declining extradition requests involving FORMER Nazis, Ben Gurion decided to take Eichmann by force.an eight-man team of MOSSAD operatives was sent to Argentina to carry out the mission. The operation was carried out on May 11th, 1960 as Eichmann was walking home from work. Two agents pretended to be working on a car as he walked past. a third agent approached and asked him for a cigarette. Eichmann eyed man nervously and at that moment, all three agents sprang upon him. One of them, a karate black belt, delivered a blow to his neck which rendered him unconscious.
Eichmann was bundled into a car and taken to a safe house where he was stripped naked and examined. Under his right armpit, the agents found a partially removed tattoo which confirmed that he was a member of the SS.on May 21st, a heavily sedated Eichmann was smuggled out of Argentina on a commercial. the flight bound for Israel.
When prime minister Ben Gurion announced that the most wanted Nazi in the world had been captured it caused an international sensation. The Argentinians strongly protested the manner of the abduction, claiming that it had been a violation of Argentinians sovereignty. Ben Gurion replied that Eichmann had been captured not by agents of the Israeli government, but by individual citizens. The trial of Adolf Eichmann began on April 11th 1961in Israel’s Beth Ha’am(House of the people).15 charges were leveled against him, including crimes against humanity. The charges encompassed the view that he was the man in direct control of the entire Nazi bureaucratic structure responsible for the deaths of millions of people before and during the war.
Eichmann’s trial was broadcast live on Tv stations around the globe. After listening to the emotional testimony of Holocaust survivor and others, Eichmann didn’t try to deny the facts. His sole defense was that he was simply carrying out orders.
He said that he
“never did anything great or small, without obtaining in advance express instructions from Adolf Hitler or any of my superiors”
The trial took 14 weeks, at the end of which Eichmann was convicted on all counts. The sentence was death by hanging. His defense team made an unsuccessful appeal for clemency which was turned down by new Israeli Prime Minister Yizhak Ben-Zvi. The execution was carried out on June 1st, 1962 at Israel’s Ramla prison. Eichmann refused the black hood that was offered to him on the gallows.
His Final words were
“Long Live Germany. Long Live Austria. Long Live Argentina. These are the countries with who 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”
Eichmann’s body was cremated and his ashes scattered in international waters.