Karl Adolf Eichmann (March 19, 1906 May 31, 1962) was a German Nazi SS-Obersturmbannf hrer (Lieutenant Colonel) and one of the major organizers of the Holocaust. Because of his organizational talents and ideological reliability, Eichmann was charged by Obergruppenf hrer (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. He lived in Argentina under a false identity, working for Mercedes-Benz until 1960. He was captured by Mossad operatives in Argentina and taken to Israel to face trial in an Israeli court on 15 criminal charges, including crimes against humanity and war crimes. He was found guilty and executed by hanging in 1962. He is the only person to have been executed in Israel on conviction by a civilian court.
Adolf Eichmann was born to a Lutheran family in Solingen, Germany. His parents were businessman and industrialist Adolf Karl Eichmann and Maria n e Schefferling. 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 moved the family back to Linz where he operated a business. 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 Ober sterreichische Elektrobau AG and then until spring 1933 Eichmann worked as district agent for the Vacuum Oil Company AG, a subsidiary of Standard Oil. During this time he was a member of the Jungfrontk mpfervereinigung, the youth section of Hermann Hiltl's right-wing veterans movement. In July 1933 he moved back to Germany.
Eichmann married Veronika Liebl (1909 1997) on March 21, 1935. 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).
Nazi Party and SS
curriculum vitae]]) for his application for promotion from SS-Hauptscharf hrer to SS-Untersturmf hrer in 1937 On the advice of family friend Ernst Kaltenbrunner, Eichmann joined the Austrian branch of the NSDAP member number 889,895 and the Schutzstaffel (SS). He enlisted on April 1, 1932, as an SS-Anw rter (Candidate). He was accepted as a full SS member that November, appointed an SS-Mann (Man), and assigned the SS number 45326.
For the next year, Eichmann was a member of the Allgemeine SS (General 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 Scharf hrer (Squad Leader) and assigned to the administrative staff of Dachau concentration camp.
By 1934, Eichmann requested transfer into the Sicherheitsdienst (Security Service) of the SS, to escape the "monotony" of military training in SS-Standarte Deutschland at Dachau. Eichmann was accepted into the Sicherheitsdienst (SD) and assigned to the sub-office on "Freemasons" that was run by SS-Sturmbannf hrer (Major) Prof. Schwarz-Bostowitsch. After a short time, Eichmann had a meeting in the Wilhelmstrasse with Leopold von Mildenstein, a fellow Austrian, and was invited to join Mildenstein's "Jews Section", or Section II/112, of the SD at its Berlin headquarters. He later came to see this as his "big break". Eichmann's transfer was granted in November 1934. In 1935, he was promoted to Hauptscharf hrer (Head Squad Leader) and later commissioned as an SS-Untersturmf hrer (Second Lieutenant) 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. 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.
In 1938, Eichmann was assigned to Austria to help organize SS Security Forces in Vienna after the Anschluss of Austria with Germany. Through this effort, Eichmann was promoted to SS-Obersturmf hrer (First Lieutenant) and by the end of 1938, was selected by the SS leadership to form the Central Office for Jewish Emigration. He served as an "expert on Jewish matters" for the Third Reich, overseeing the concentration camps, the expropriation of Jewish property, and the deportation of Jews to ghettos and death camps. He played a major role in implementing the Final Solution.
World War II
SS]] Bernhard Walter, with permission of Eichmann (Auschwitz Album).
At the start of World War II, Eichmann had been promoted to SS-Hauptsturmf hrer (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.
Eichmann returned to Berlin in 1939 after the formation of the Reichssicherheitshauptamt (Reich Main Security Office, RSHA). In December 1939, he was assigned to head RSHA Referat IV B4 (RSHA Sub-Department IV-B4), which dealt with Jewish affairs and evacuation, where he reported to Heinrich M ller. In August 1940, he released his Reichssicherheitshauptamt: Madagaskar Projekt (Reich Main Security Office: Madagascar Project), a plan for forced Jewish deportation that never materialized. He was promoted to the rank of SS-Sturmbannf hrer (Major) in late 1940, and less than a year later to Obersturmbannf hrer (Lieutenant Colonel).
Reinhard Heydrich disclosed to Eichmann in autumn 1941 that all the Jews in German-controlled Europe were to be murdered. 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 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 Hungarian Jews to their deaths in the gas chambers.
By 1945, Reichsf hrer-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 Untersturmf hrer in the Waffen-SS and was now being ordered to active combat duty.
In 1945, Eichmann fled Hungary as the Soviets entered. 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
Red Cross]] issued passport At the end of World War II, Eichmann was captured by the U.S. Army, which was not aware of Eichmann's true identity as he presented himself as "Otto Eckmann." Early in 1946, he escaped from U.S. custody and hid in Altensalzkoth, an obscure hamlet on the L neburg Heath, 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 to 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, issued in Genoa, and an Argentine visa. Both of these issued to "Ricardo Klement, technician." However, Hannah Arendt claims that Eichmann was assisted in his escape by ODESSA, "a clandestine organization of SS veterans". In May 2007, this passport was discovered in court archives in Argentina by a student doing research on Eichmann's capture. Eichmann 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.
BND and 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". 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. 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.
At the request of the West German government the CIA persuaded Life magazine to delete any reference to Globke from Eichmann's memoirs, which it had bought from his family. 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. In the 1950s, neither the CIA nor the US government as a whole had a policy of pursuing Nazi war criminals. In addition to protecting Eichmann's and Globke's past, the CIA also protected Reinhard Gehlen, who recruited hundreds of former German spies for the CIA.
Capture in Argentina
"Telegram that was sent to Israel's diplomatic missions around the world with instructions relating to the capture operation." In 1948, the State of Israel was established. In 1949, its official intelligence agency, Mossad, was formed. One of Mossad's principal assigned tasks was to hunt down accused Nazi war criminals. Throughout the 1950s, many Jews and other victims of the Holocaust also dedicated themselves to finding Eichmann and other notorious Nazis. Among them was the Jewish Nazi hunter Simon Wiesenthal. In 1954, Wiesenthal saw a letter received by an Austrian Baron 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 filthy pig Eichmann.") Er wohnt in der N he von Buenos Aires und arbeitet f r ein Wassergesch ft. ("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 Mossad, later claimed that Wiesenthal played no role in Eichmann's apprehension.
Eichmann changed his name but not those of his wife and sons. It was this that led to his capture.
Also instrumental in exposing Eichmann's identity was Lothar Hermann, a German Jewish lawyer who had fled to Argentina after escaping from Dachau concentration camp, where Eichmann had been an administrative officer at one time. When Hermann's daughter Sylvia began dating a man named Eichmann who boasted about his father's Nazi exploits, Hermann alerted Fritz Bauer, the Hessen district attorney, who passed on the information to a Mossad operative, Shlomo Cohen Abarbanel. In her book about the Eichmann Trial, Deborah Lipstadt describes how Sylvia, sent on a fact-finding mission, was met at the door by Eichmann himself who said he was Klaus' uncle. Informed that Klaus was not home, she sat down to wait and made small talk with the man. When Klaus returned, he addressed Eichmann as 'Father.'
In 1959, the Mossad was informed that Eichmann was in Buenos Aires under the name Ricardo Klement (Clement) and then began an effort to locate his exact whereabouts. When surveillance affirmed that Ricardo Klement was Eichmann, the Israeli government approved a covert operation to bring him to Jerusalem for trial as a war criminal. It was to be a joint operation, carried out by the Mossad and Shin Bet, the Israel Security Agency. The Israelis continued their surveillance of Eichmann in 1960 until it was judged safe to take him. A key figure was Yitzhak Elron, the IDF attache in Argentina, who trailed Eichmann with his wife, Sarah, before the abduction.
Eichmann was captured by a team of Mossad and Shin Bet agents in San Fernando, Buenos Aires, an industrial community 20 km north of the center of Buenos Aires.a suburb of Buenos Aires on May 11, 1960. The Mossad agents had arrived in Buenos Aires in April 1960 after Eichmann's identity was confirmed. After observing the suspect's routine for many days, they determined that he usually arrived home by bus from his work as foreman at a Mercedes Benz factory around the same time every evening and planned to seize him when he was walking beside an open field from the bus stop to his house at 14 Garibaldi St (now 4261 Garibaldi Street). The plan was almost abandoned when Eichmann on the designated day was not present on the bus he usually took home. Tension rose when a passerby offered to assist the agents who pretended to be fixing the broken-down Mossad vehicle. Finally, almost a half hour later, Eichmann got off a bus. A Mossad agent engaged him, asking him in Spanish ("un momentito, senor") if he had a moment. Eichmann was frightened and attempted to leave while blinded by Mossad headlights. Two Mossad men wrestled him to the ground and after a struggle, he was brought to the car and hidden down on the floor. Eichmann told his captors later that as soon as they told him to keep quiet or they would shoot him, he knew he had been captured by Israelis. The Mossad agents ran into a police checkpoint, but managed to pass a license-plate check.
Eichmann was brought to a Mossad safe house, Tira, where he was kept for nine days, during which time his identity was double checked and confirmed.
Eichmann was drugged to appear drunk by an Israeli doctor included in the Mossad team and dressed as a flight attendant. He was smuggled out of Argentina on board an El Al Bristol Britannia plane which a few days before had transported an Israeli delegation to the 150th anniversary celebration of Argentina's independence from Spain. After some tense delay at the airport over getting its flight plan approved, the plane took off from Buenos Aires to Dakar, Senegal and then to Israel on May 21, 1960. He arrived heavily sedated, and like the agents, disguised in the uniform of the El Al crew.
There had been 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 authorities. Negotiations followed between Prime Minister David Ben-Gurion and Argentine president Arturo Frondizi, while the abduction was met from radical right sectors in Argentina with a violent wave of antisemitism, carried on the streets by the Tacuara Nationalist Movement including assaults, torture and bombings.
Ben-Gurion 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, which was made into the 1979 American television movie of the same name.
When Eichmann was brought to Israel for trial, the Israeli police officer Avner Less was Eichmann's interrogator. Extracts from Less's interrogation of Eichmann have been published in the book Eichmann Interrogated (ISBN 0-88619-017-7).
Heavily edited parts of the interrogation, now available freely and in full from the Israeli archives, have been incorporated in the 2007 film Eichmann, dramatizing Eichmann's interrogation, and downplaying his role in the Holocaust and admission to his planning and determination to complete his planned task.
Some years later, Peter Malkin, the member of the kidnapping team actually assigned to seize the suspect, wrote Eichmann in My Hands, which describes the preparation for and details of the capture, while exploring Eichmann's character and motivations, but its veracity has been questioned.
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". In the ensuing debate, Israeli representative Golda Meir claimed that the abductors were not Israeli agents but private individuals, so that the incident was only an "isolated violation of Argentine law". 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."
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."
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."
Eichmann in Jerusalem court, 1961. See video Adolf Eichman's trial judges Eichmann's trial in Jerusalem before the Jerusalem District Court began on April 11, 1961. He was indicted on 15 criminal charges, including crimes against humanity, war crimes, 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 Halevy 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 today known as the Gerard Behar Center an 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".
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. Musmanno had questioned the Nuremberg defendants and would later go on to become a Justice of the Pennsylvania Supreme Court. He testified that the late Hermann G ring "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 F hrerprinzip. 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. However, almost 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 security 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. 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." A large number of prominent persons sent requests for clemency. On May 31, Israeli President Yitzhak Ben-Zvi turned down Eichmann's petition for mercy. On the telegram that Eichmann's wife, Vera, sent in support of the clemency, Ben-Zvi added in his handwriting a passage from the First Book of Samuel: "As your sword bereaved women, so will your mother be bereaved among women." (1 Samuel 15:33, Samuel's words to Agag, king of the Amalekites).
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 sp cialiste (The Specialist in the US). The title is related to Eichmann's wartime reputation as a "specialist" in logistics regarding the expatriation, expropriation, and deportation of Jewish people.
West German government attempts to influence the trial
Secret German documents made available in 2011 to the German periodical Der Spiegel indicate that the Adenauer government was in a panic after the arrest of Eichmann. There was fear that a trial would highlight a number of former high level government officials who had served the Nazis, particularly Hans Globke who was the Chancellery Chief of Staff and a close advisor to Chancellor Adenauer. An agent from the German Intelligence Service, Rolf Vogel, was sent to the trial in the guise of a reporter for the German newspaper, Deutsche Zeitung. Vogel worked closely with the Israeli prosecutors, making sure that there would be no implication of Globke and other former Nazis. He even arranged a meeting with David Ben-Gurion, the Israeli Prime Minister where he expressed the German concern. Vogel came away with the impression that the names of people like Globke would not be raised at the trial. At the same time, negotiations for a large arms purchase by Israel from the FRG were taking place. In the end, no mention was made during the trial nor were there any reference which were made public from the interrogations of Eichmann to former Nazi German officials. In 1962, military aid worth some 240 million DM was approved by the German government.
Eichmann was hanged shortly before midnight on May 31, 1962, at a prison in Ramla, Israel. His executioner was Shalom Nagar, an Israeli Jew of Yemenite origin. This remains the only civil execution ever carried out in Israel, which has a general policy of not enforcing the death penalty. Eichmann allegedly refused a last meal, preferring instead a bottle of Carmel, a dry red Israeli wine, consuming about half the bottle. He also refused to don the traditional black hood for his execution.
There is some dispute over Eichmann's last words. One account states that these were:
According to David Cesarani, a leading Holocaust historian and Research Professor in History of the Royal Holloway, University of London, Eichmann is quoted thus:
Shortly after the execution, Eichmann's body was cremated in a specially designed furnace, and a stretcher on tracks was used to place the body into it. The next morning, June 1, his ashes were scattered at sea over the Mediterranean, beyond the territorial waters of Israel by an Israeli Navy patrol boat. This was to ensure that there could be no future memorial and that no country would serve as his final resting place.
Political theorist Hannah Arendt, a Jew who fled Germany after 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 details the conclusion of several Israeli psychiatrists that Eichmann was "normal." 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 with its ethos, but to build a career.
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." 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. 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 F hrerprinzip).
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.
In tapes recorded in the 1950s, that have recently been made available by the German Federal Archive in Koblenz, Eichmann was recorded as stating he "was no ordinary recipient of orders" and that he "was part of the thinking process; an idealist". The tapes are reported to contradict Eichmann's defense during his 1961 Jerusalem trial for crimes against humanity that he was only "following orders".
Eichmann's son, Ricardo, who was born after World War II, says he harbours no resentment toward Israel for executing his father. He explained that his father's lack of remorse caused "difficult emotions" for the Eichmann family, and that he was unable to grasp his father's "following orders" argument to excuse his actions. Ricardo is now a professor of archaeology at the German Archaeological Institute.
Summary of SS career
- SS number: 45,326
- Nazi Party number: 899,895
- Primary positions: Sub-Department IV-B4 (Gestapo), RSHA
- Waffen-SS service: SS-Untersturmf hrer der Reserve (November 9, 1944)
Dates of rank
- SS-Anw rter: April 1, 1932 (Candidate)
- SS-Mann: November 9, 1933 (Private)
- SS-Scharf hrer: December 24, 1933 (Sergeant)
- SS-Oberscharf hrer: May 1, 1934 (Staff Sergeant)
- SS-Scharf hrer: July 1, 1934
- SS-Oberscharf hrer: September 1, 1935
- SS-Hauptscharf hrer: September 13, 1936 (Sergeant First Class)
- SS-Untersturmf hrer: November 9, 1937 (Second Lieutenant)
- SS-Obersturmf hrer: September 11, 1938 (First Lieutenant)
- SS-Hauptsturmf hrer: January 30, 1939 (Captain)
- SS-Sturmbannf hrer: August 1, 1940 (Major)
- SS-Obersturmbannf hrer: November 9, 1941 (Lieutenant Colonel)
Nazi awards and decorations
- War Merit Cross (1st & 2nd Classes with Swords)
- Anschluss Medal
- SA Sports Badge (in Bronze)
- SS Honour Ring
- Honour Chevron for the Old Guard
- SS Julleuchter
- SS Zivilabzeichen (SS-Z.A. #6,375)
- Eichmann Interrogated
- Eichmann (film)
- Glossary of Nazi Germany
- List of Nazi Party leaders and officials
- List of SS personnel
- History of the Jews in Hungary
- Rudolf Kastner
- Emanuel Sch fer
- Rudolf Vrba
- Zvi Aharoni, Wilhelm Dietl: Der J ger Operation Eichmann, DVA GmbH, 1996, ISBN 3-421-05031-7
My Role in Operation Eichmann. Tuviah Friedman Institute of Documentation. Israel
- Jochen von Lang, Eichmann Interrogated (1982) ISBN 0-88619-017-7
- Moshe Pearlman, The Capture of Adolf Eichmann, 1961. (cited in Hannah Arendt: Eichmann in Jerusalem, Penguin, 1994, p. 235)
- Pierre de Villemarest, Untouchable: Who protected Bormann & Gestapo M ller after 1945..., Aquilion, 2005, ISBN 1-904997-02-3 (Heinrich "Gestapo" M ller was one of Adolf Eichmann's superiors.)
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