Adolf Eichmann, born March 19th 1906 in Solingen, Germany was a war criminal under the third “reich”. He was one of Hitler’s main co-workers and provided the logistics that was needed during holocaust; the Nazis attempt to exterminate the Jews. He organized identification of the ones that was being sent to the concentration camps.
Member of SS.
Ernst Kaltenbrunner was a close friend of the Eichmann family; he was also one of the Nazis that was accused in Nurnberg. Kaltenbrunner recommended Eichmann to become a member of Schutzstaffel also known as SS. Adolf became a member in April first, 1932 as a recruit in Austria.
One year after becoming a member, Hitler’s Nazi party came to power in Germany. Eichmann then returned to Germany where he wanted to join the working SS troops, he was promoted and was placed as staff in the concentration camp Dachau.
Working at Dachau wasn’t enough for Eichmann, he wanted to be a “Sicherheitspolizei”, the safety police, Hitler’s so called body guards. His applications was approved and he was transferred to their main quarter in Berlin in 1934.
Second World War
When the WW2 broke out, Eichmann was still in the SS and was the leader of the “Office of Jewish emigration”. He travelled to Palestine to study the possibilities for a Jewish country; he cooperated with the Zionist movement to speed up a possible migration from Germany. Towards the end of 1939, his office was expanded to cover all of the increasing Germany.
In 1940 Eichmann was transferred to Gestapo. The same year he was promoted at two occasions in the SS. He was rewarded the responsibility of the Jewish section in Gestapo’s department for religious questions, also known as “Reichssicherheitshauptamt” (RSHA). His position here was coded “IV-B4”.
Already towards the end of 1941 Reinhard Heydrich told Eichmann that all Jews in the German-controlled part of Europe were to be exterminated. Afterwards, in 1942 Heydrich inviter Adolf to the Wannasee-conference where the Nazis reached a complete policy towards the Jews, they decided on the “Endlösung”, in English “The Final Solution”, which was extermination. Eichmann got the job of organizing transport to the concentration camps in Poland. Over the next two years, Eichmann became very dedicated to this job and was telling people that he had sent five million Jews to death in the camps.
A telegram from vice commander Reinhard to Eichmann, it is a list of the number of people who arrived to four of the concentration camps in 1942.
The last 14 days of 1942
1942 in total
1 274 166
Eichmann’s work was noticed and in March 1944 he was sent to Hungary after Germany occupied the country. He immediately began deporting Hungarian Jews to the concentration camps, in total he sent 430 thousand Jews to their death.
|The Jews marching.|
October 18th 1944 Eichmann ordered 50 000 more Jews to Germany for labor, at the moment they didn’t have any form of transport available so they made the Jews walk the 170 km to the border. The Hungarian prime minister at the time, Ferenc Szalasi had earlier announced that no Jews were to be removed from Hungary, and Eichmann was pleased when he saw the Jews disappointment when Szalasi had to withdraw on the case.
At the time the Red Army had started to bomb Budapest, while some Hungarians that were on the German’s side began to attack the Jews. Houses were robbed and the women were raped. An example to show how brutal and terrible the Germans were in Hungary was that some of the Nazis in Budapest bounded six Jews at a time with a rope or a barbed wire, one or two of them were then shot, and they were pushed into Donau to drown.
The Germans were losing the war and in 1945 Heinrich Himmler ordered a stop in the Jew-exterminations and an attempt to destroy the evidence of Holocaust ever occurring. Eichmann crossed Himmler and continued his work in Hungary.
Eichmann’s escape from Hungary in 1945
When the Soviet troops entered Hungary, Eichmann escaped. On Christmas eve 1944 came the order to leave Budapest, and Eichmann’s terrain car just managed to make it through the remaining’s of the German troops. Of the 46 000 Germans that defended Budapest, only a few hundred came from it alive. SS-officers were shot on the spot. When Eichmann came back to Austria, he was wanted by the Allies.
Escape to Argentina
Towards the end of World War 2, Eichmann was captured by American forces. As a prisoner he presented himself as “Otto Eichmann” and the soldiers had no idea of his key role in Holocaust.
Early in 1946 he managed to flee and went undercover in different places in Germany.
In 1948 he gained access to enter Argentina under the name “Riccardo Klement”, but he chose not to go immediately.
By using his fake name and by impersonating himself as a soldier from Wehrmacht, he escaped in the beginning of 1950 from Germany to Italy. By lying he somehow got a humanitarian passport from the International Red Cross-committee in Geneve and an Argentinian visa. Both documents was made in the name “Riccardo Klement, technician”. Early in May 2007 his fake passport was discovered in Buenos Aires by a student covering the taking of Eichmann in 1960. The passport is now located in the Argentine Holocaust Museum in Buenos Aires.
Eichmann went by boat to Argentina the 14th of July 1950. In Buenos Aires he lived as Riccardo Klement. The next ten years he worked in Buenos Aires at a factory. He earned just enough to serve himself and his family which joined him on the escape.
Tracked by nazi hunters
In the 1950s several of the Holocaust survivors dedicated their lives to look for the ones behind that escaped the Nuremberg Trials. In 1953 the Nazi hunter Simon Wiesenthal had, from his house in Wien tracked down Eichmann in Argentina. In 1954 he received a post card from a co-worker in Buenos Aires with the following message: “Ich sah jenes schmutzige Schwein Eichmann... Er wonth beinahe in Buenos Aires und arbeitet für ein Wassergeschaft”, “I have seen the dirty bastard Eichmann... He lives close to Buenos Aires and works at a waterwork”.
The man was willing to identify Eichmann, but could not travel to Buenos Aires because he did not have the money for the plane ticket. Wiesenthal turned to the president of the Jewish Worls Congress, Nahum Goldmann.
At the same time, Mossad (The official Jewish investigators for Nazi war criminals) had tracked down Eichmann and Joseph Mengele in Argentina. Mossad leader at the time Isser Harel claimed in 1991 that Simon Wiesenthals work did not contribute to the arrest of Adolf Eichmann.¨
Arrest and Trial
Mossad found out that “Riccardo Klement” was Eichmann. With the approval of Israel’s government he was abducted May 11th 1960, brought to Jerusalem and put to trial.
Israel’s government at first denied to have been a part of the abduction and claimed that it was performed by voluntary Jews.
The trial began in Jerusalem the 11th of February 1961. There was 15 charges, including crimes against mankind itself, crimes against the Jewish people and the membership in an illegal organization. The trial was led by three judges, with no jury.
Death penalty for genocide
Eichmann was found guilty in all charges and sentenced to death the 15th of December 1961. He was hanged a few minutes after midnight 1st of June in 1962 in the Ramla prison. This was the only execution under law that has ever been performed in Israel.