The Nizkor Project: Remembering the Holocaust (Shoah)

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The Accused

Now for a few personal details concerning the Accused. He
was born on 19 March 1906, in Solingen, and as a child moved
with his parents to Linz, Austria. After graduating from
primary school, he studied in a secondary school and a
technical college. As early as 1927, we find him marching in
the ranks of the German-Austrian Front Fighters, and in 1932
he became a member of the Nazi Party and the SS. He was
introduced into the Party by his boyhood friend, later his
chief, the bloodstained Ernst Kaltenbrunner, whom the
International Military Tribunal later stigmatized as the
effective supervisor and commander over all the criminal
activities of the RSHA. Of course, Eichmann joined the SS
and remained in the organization of his own free will. Like
his master, Hitler, he left Austria and settled in the
Reich. Hitler did so in order to evade military service in
the Austrian army; Eichmann because he was attracted by the
rising power of National Socialism in Germany. In 1933 we
find him receiving his military training in the SS camp at
Lachfeld, and later at Passau. In 1934 we meet him, with the
rank of Unterscharfuehrer, in the concentration camp at
Dachau, which served as a school for all promising SS men.
The first commander of this camp, Theodor Eicke, laid down
at the outset this principle:

     "Tolerance means weakness. Knowing this, one must act
     without mercy when the interests of the homeland appear
     to demand it. As for political agitators and
     intellectuals, of whatever complexion, they must be
     told: Beware...or you will be grabbed by the throats

Dachau was the refining crucible, the school of violence and
horrors, through which future Nazi leaders had to pass; it
was there that they were taught the doctrine of hate, were
compelled to beat prisoners and put them to death.

Armed with this experience, Adolf Eichmann went over in
September 1934 to serve in the SD, already now a
Scharfuehrer. A year later, we find him in the Jewish
Section of the SD, which worked in close cooperation with
the Jewish Section of the Secret State Police, the Gestapo.
During the early years of his work there, he met a number of
those who were later to be among his faithful assistants:
Wisliceny, Dannecker, the brothers Guenther and Alois

Eichmann's main employment at this stage was in the field of
intelligence. He was sent to the Near East, and presented a
detailed report of his trip, while Wisliceny was sent to the
20th Zionist Congress to follow its debates.

Eichmann continued to rise in the ranks of the SD, and was
commissioned in 1937. During this period we shall meet him
in the company of his second sponsor, the infamous Julius
Streicher who was branded by the International Military
Tribunal, the voice of the world's conscience, as an inciter
and instigator of murder and extermination.

Streicher and his subordinates befriended Eichmann and
brought him to the congress of the National Socialist Party
in Nuremberg in 1937. There he met all those from abroad who
were anxious for Nazi victory, and there he made contact
with the leaders of the anti-Semitic agitation.

With the conquest of Austria in March 1938, Eichmann was
sent back to the country of his childhood. By this time he
was already known as an expert with practical experience in
Jewish affairs. Vienna was his training-ground for
independent work, where he first began to assume
responsibility as an organizer. At that time Nazi policy
concentrated on compelling Jews to emigrate, and Eichmann
devoted himself to furthering this policy with great zeal,
so that after a short while his work was brought to the
notice of the Ministers of the Reich as the model to follow
in the liquidation of the Jews. In Vienna the process was
organized on the assembly-line principle: a man came into
the office still a citizen, with a status in society, a job,
a home and property. After being thoroughly processed, he
came out an emigrant, his property gone - in part
confiscated and in part invested by government order in
frozen currency of little value - his apartment registered
for confiscation, no longer employed, his children no longer
pupils in school, the only thing in his posSession a travel
certificate marked Jude , which granted him permission to
leave Austria by a certain date, never to return.

The pressure for Jewish emigration continued by all possible
means. Foreign and stateless Jews were ordered to leave the
country within twenty-four hours. Jews from the provinces
were brought to Vienna destitute and the Jews of the capital
were ordered to house and look after them until their
emigration. Those who refused were arrested. In the
meantime, Jewish hospitals, schools and convalescent homes
were taken over.

It is no wonder, then, that the representatives of Berlin
Jewry, who were ordered to come to Vienna to witness
Eichmann's remarkable achievements and learn their lesson,
stood awestricken at this "mass-production emigration."

Early in 1939, Eichmann's system of Jewish expulsion by
emigration was copied by the office of the central German
authority for Jewish emigration set up in Berlin, as well as
by a similar office created in Prague after the German

As I have already mentioned, in September 1939 Himmler
unified the national Security Police (SIPO -
Sicherheitspolizei) and the Party intelligence service (SD).
It was around this time that the Accused returned to Berlin
and was appointed chief of the central authority for Jewish
emigration - a post officially occupied by Heydrich, though
the Accused had already been doing the actual work
We shall bring evidence of Eichmann's methods of work in
Vienna and in Prague; we shall show how he treated and spoke
with Jews in the best tradition of Nazi duplicity. There was
oppression, terror and intimidation - and at the same time
the deliberate cultivation of the impression that "perhaps
the Devil is not so bad, after all" - that perhaps it might
be possible somehow to come to terms with him, to conduct
negotiations, and even at times to detect in his voice a
note of politeness. On the one hand, a slap in the face for
Dr. Loewenherz, one of the leaders of the Vienna Jewish
community, at their first meeting; arrogant invective for
Stahl, head of the Berlin community in 1939 in the style of:
"You wretch, you sack of dung - it's a long time since you
were in a concentration camp!"; for Sebestyen, venerable
leader of Bratislavan Jewry, who had dared to offer him a
cigarette, a yell: Weg mit dem Zeug! - "Take the thing
away!" All this, side by side with the hypocritical pretence
that he was interested in Jewish problems and would give a
favourable response to certain requests, usually concerning
trivial matters.
Some Jewish leaders still thought it necessary to make some
attempt at negotiating with him, and indeed, there was no
other way, for he had become the master of life and death
for the Jews. When the road was still long to the furnaces
of Auschwitz and the brutal suppression of Hungarian Jewry,
we find this Adolf Eichmann daring to use to Baron
Freudiger, a man of rare distinction and leader of Budapest
Jewry, who had come to plead for Jewish lives, the insulting
expression: "Ich werde mit Ihnen Schlitten fahren."
[Literally: "I'll ride on you like a sledge," or -
figuratively: "I'll have you on the carpet."] Eichmann was
well on the way to his goal. He was in fact the lord and
master of the Jews, who gave them orders and determined
their destiny as will be clear from all the reports of the
Jewish communities in Vienna and Prague that will be
presented to the Court. Meanwhile, his success in
persecuting the Jews had brought him promotion and greater

At the end of 1939 we meet Eichmann in Berlin. Now he
summons the representatives of the Vienna community, to
report to him on the progress of Jewish emigration and
receive other instructions concerning the community's
affairs. Henceforth, he notifies them, he will be dividing
his time between Berlin, Vienna, Prague and occupied Poland.
At the same time, thanks to his experience in uprooting
populations, he is given the additional responsibility of
putting into execution the enormous expulsion of the Jewish
and Polish population from the western zones of Poland
annexed to the Reich - including the districts of Warthegau,
Upper Silesia and the Polish corridor with the city of
Danzig. He is already chief of a section in the RSHA -
namely IVD4. At that time, he is also occupied with the
tragic expulsion of the Jews to the region of Nisko. In 1940
he continued to deal with the same matters.

In March 1941, we meet Eichmann as head of Section IVB4  of
the Gestapo, concerned with Jewish affairs and the expulsion
of populations. This was the office he continued to hold
until the tragic end of European Jewry. But he was also
Heydrich's special plenipotentiary for the final "solution
of the Jewish question." As a consequence of this
combination of functions, to which we shall return, Eichmann
was the official executor of the extermination programme,
with enormous authority in the Reich, which now included
Austria and the Protectorate, and all the occupied
countries. In the Reich itself, he did his work by means of
the local police headquarters - Stapoleitstellen and
Stapostellen  - in each of which there was an officer for
Jewish affairs taking his orders direct from Eichmann.

In the occupied countries - France, Norway, Belgium, Italy,
Holland and Luxembourg- he had special envoys under his
orders attached to police headquarters who had the authority
to deal with Jewish matters. In the satellite countries such
as Rumania, Bulgaria and Slovakia, he worked through special
representatives attached to the German legations who
procured the deportation of Jews with the aid of the local
authorities, usually misleading them as to the destination
of the convoys.

In Serbia, Eichmann used special envoys; in Croatia, through
his representatives in the German embassy; to occupied
Greece and Denmark he sent special units for the deportation
of Jews to the extermination centres. In the area of the
Generalgouvernement of Poland his tools were officers of the
Security Police; and in the eastern occupied territories he
also used the Einsatzgruppen.

Eichmann himself, in person, as the specialist in
extermination, was sent to Hungary, where he appeared
leading a band of confederates, intent on completing their
mission of butchery in the shortest time possible.

In short, he reached out to every corner to carry out "the
final solution," using the methods he found most effective,
convenient and suitable to local conditions. With the
satellite and occupied authorities, he would sometimes use
persuasion, sometimes threats, but always pressure, and
always with one goal in mind: to get hold of the Jews and to
send them to the camps in the East.

He lorded it over the ghettoes and extermination centres;
his position in the RSHA was unique. He could pass over the
heads of his superiors and deal directly with Himmler. His
nominally humble status as the chief of a subordinate
department did not reflect his powerful position. Through
his concern with Jewish matters, he was granted
comprehensive and potent authority which brought him into
contact with Ministers of the Reich and heads of the
governments of the occupied territories, with the higher
commanders of the German Army and the top men of the Foreign
Ministry. In all that pertained to Jewish affairs he
operated with all the power and authority of Himmler and
Heydrich behind him. We shall present documents proving that
in Jewish matters, the RSHA, the Central Security Office of
the German Reich, was in fact Adolf Eichmann.

It need not surprise us, therefore, that on Jewish matters
he gave orders to men of higher rank than his own. As early
as 1940 he took part in a meeting to which the Minister
Seyss-Inquart was also invited. His authority and power
steadily increased, despite his inconspicuous nominal rank,
as his assistant Wisliceny bore witness:

     "Goering's order laid it down that the authority in
     Jewish matters passed to the chiefs of the RSHA and the
     SD and as a result Eichmann's power increased
     immeasurably. On the basis of that order, which as I
     recall was issued in the summer of 1941, he could annul
     or overrule measures taken by all the ministries and
     institutions of the government."

We shall see him preparing and organizing the well-known
Wannsee conference, and being appointed to carry out its
decision on the "final solution"; we shall find him acting
in Himmler's name and giving instructions concerning
executions in the concentration camps. Where Jews were
concerned, Eichmann even gave orders to the German Army.

His powers grew and were solidly entrenched after the death
of Heydrich; for half a year, until the appointment of
Kaltenbrunner, the RSHA had no commander-in-chief, and
during this period the power of department heads increased.
And when the new chief turned out to be Kaltenbrunner, his
boyhood friend, Eichmann came to enjoy a privileged position
of great power.

When I develop further the history of the Holocaust, I shall
present to the Court more details of the part Eichmann
played in the work of extermination. At present, I shall
only mention that in October 1941 the head of the personnel
section of the SS recommended that he be promoted to the
rank of Lieutenant-Colonel (Obersturmbannfuehrer) in these

     "I am proposing this promotion on the ground of the
     exceptionally fine services rendered by Eichmann, who
     has already achieved excellent results in the
     dejudaization of Austria, in his capacity as head of
     the central authority for Jewish emigration. Through
     Eichmann's work, enormous properties were secured for
     the German Reich. His work in the Protectorate, which
     was carried out with commendable initiative and the
     necessary firmness, was likewise distinguished. It
     should be added that Eichmann is an exemplary SS
     officer who was active for many years in Austria for
     the benefit of the National Socialist movement, losing
     his post there because of his political activities. At
     this time, Eichmann is working on important problems of
     the evacuation and transfer of populations. In view of
     the importance of his work, I also regard Eichmann's
     promotion as desirable in the interest of the service."

It need hardly be added that this recommendation was
accepted and Eichmann became an Obersturmbannfuehrer. He
received for his work a number of medals for distinguished
service in the SS. In December 1944 he became head of
Section IVA4, which dealt with the Jews and with political
problems relating to the Christian churches.

Adolf Eichmann will tell you that he carried out the orders
of his superiors. But the conscience of the world, speaking
with the voice of the International Military Tribunal, has
declared that orders contrary to the principles of
conscience and morality, orders that violate the essential
imperatives on which human society is based and negate the
basic rules without which men cannot live together - such
orders constitute no defence, legal or moral. Therefore, in
the light of this ruling, our own law in Israel has denied
the Accused the right to submit such a defence.

But that is by no means all. We shall prove to the Court
that he went far beyond his actual orders, that he took the
initiative in extermination operations for which he had been
given no orders whatsoever, and carried them out only
because of his devotion to his task in which he saw his
life's mission. When, in the summer of 1944, Horthy in
Hungary did not want to cooperate with the exterminators,
Eichmann managed by stealth to push through another death-
train from Kistarcsa to Auschwitz. He even used the cunning
stratagem of convening a meeting of the leaders of Budapest
Jewry at his headquarters so that they should be unable, at
the last moment, to plead with Horthy for the frustration of
Eichmann's designs. And when Himmler issued a final order to
discontinue the extermination in October 1944, Eichmann
still managed to organize the transportation of the Jews, on
foot, from Hungary to Austria, by methods that made it
certain that the journey would be a death-march. Later, he
planned to poison the survivors in Theresienstadt, and
sought to kill Jews wherever he could lay his hands on them.

His independent initiative, his burning devotion to the
utter destruction of Jewry, also shown by his ardour in
frustrating every attempt at escape or flight by any
individual Jew, when even his own authorities were prepared
to allow these unfortunates to break trough the man-hunt
network - and we shall present evidence of such instances by
the score. He did not rest or relax his efforts until he had
driven into the gas chamber every Jewish group and
individual - including such as, in full obedience to his
orders, he might have allowed to survive.

After the War, a number of people who collaborated with
Eichmann were to provide general descriptions of the man and
his work. Two of these had already been sentenced to death
when they wrote: Dieter Wisliceny, in prison in Bratislava,
who had been Eichmann's superior and later became his
subordinate and loyal assistant; and Rudolf Hoess,
Commandant of Auschwitz who wrote his diary in Cracow Prison
on the eve of his execution. Each wrote with complete
independence of the other. Both were criminals. Both might
have erred in details, but it would seem that their words
provide a true picture of the man. This is what Hoess wrote:

     "Eichmann was absolutely devoted to his mission, and
     was certain that the extermination was necessary in
     order to save the German people in the future from the
     destructive intentions of the Jews. That was how he
     understood his mission and he devoted all his energies
     to carry out the extermination plans of the
     Reichsfuehrer. Eichmann was sharply opposed to every
     suggestion to sift out the Jews capable of work from
     those deported. He regarded this as a constant danger
     to his plans for the 'final solution,' in view of the
     possibility of mass-escapes or some other event that
     might permit the Jews to remain alive."

2Wisliceny gave a detailed description of Eichmann's career,
his intimate affairs, his methods of dealing with superiors
and subordinates. Among other things he wrote:

     "In 1942, he was opposed to any relaxation, even the
     very slightest. He endeavoured to get Himmler's
     consent, but at the same time he went to great pains to
     carry out the deportations in such a way as to
     frustrate every possibility of settlement."

And in another statement, also in the death-cell of the
Bratislava Prison, Wisliceny wrote:

     "On the basis of my personal experience, I reaffirm
     that, though Eichmann was covered by orders from Hitler
     and Himmler, his personal share in this act, the
     decimation of European Jewry, was decisive, and he must
     be regarded as fully responsible for it, as there were
     other possible ways of circumventing Hitler's order."
Another man, Kurt Becher, who had been appointed by Himmler
to carry out the attempt at extortion from Hungarian Jewry
in the well-known "Blood Against Merchandise" deal, and who
worked a long while in personal contact with Eichmann,
summed up his role in the extermination as follows:

     "Eichmann was not the spiritual father of the
     programme, but he was its zealous executor."

Eichmann engaged in the work of slaughter not in apathy but
with a clear mind, was fully conscious and aware of what he
was doing, and believing that it was the right and proper
thing to do; that was why he acted with all his heart and
soul. We shall prove that even after the downfall of the
Nazi monster, when the entire world had expressed its shock
and horror at what had happened, when a number of the Nazi
leaders themselves had begun, in panic-stricken haste and
ostensible penitence, to expose and accuse one another -
even then he, Adolf Eichmann, remained faithful to his ideas
and principles. He did not repent. He still believes that he
did what was right and proper in destroying millions.

He knows that today it is regarded as a crime, and he will
therefore be ready to give verbal and insincere expression
to this view; at times he may even clothe it with a mantle
of grandiloquent phrases. But we have every reason to
believe, that if the swastika flag were again to be raised
with shouts of "Sieg Heil!," if there were again to resound
the hysterical screams of a Fuerer, if again the high-
tension barbed wires of extermination centres were set up -
Adolf Eichmann would rise, salute, and go back to his work
of oppression and butchery.

And now let us examine in detail the murderous project to
which the Nazis gave the name of "the final solution of the
Jewish problem."

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