The Trial of Adolf Eichmann: Judgment
(Part 69 of 70)

239. In our opinion, this explanation is nothing but a lie. The Accused explicitly mentioned to Superintendent Less, and then again in his evidence in Court (Session 105, Vol. IV, pp. xxxx19-22), the five million Jews killed, according to his estimate, in one breath with his readiness to "jump into the pit." It was not explained to us on what ground the Accused could have estimated at that time the number of victims of the Allies as exactly five million. It stands to reason, that the Accused spoke at the time about the front on which he was active and where his listeners were active, i.e., the battlefront against the Jews. This was likely to raise their spirits. And we know that the Jews were considered enemies of the Reich, in the language of the Nazi propagandists, which the Accused adopted in its entirety.

This was not the only occasion on which the Accused voiced such sentiments. The witness Grell, who in the year 1944 was in charge of Jewish affairs at the German Embassy in Budapest, and who, in this capacity, was in continuous contact with the Accused, says in his evidence in this case (pp. 7-8):

"At the end of autumn of 1944, Eichmann once told me that the enemy powers regarded him as war criminal No. 1, and that he had on his conscience some six million people. In this connection, he did not speak of enemies of the Reich. I interpreted this statement made by Eichmann as `the more enemies, the greater the honour.' I remembered these words only when the American prosecution brought them up before me. As far as I was concerned, this statement was part of his effort to stress his status or his personality."
According to the affidavit by Dr. Wilhelm Hoettl (T/157), which served as evidence at Nuremberg, the Accused spoke to him in Budapest at the end of August 1944 and told him as well that,
"He knows that the United Nations regard him as one of the main war criminals, because millions of Jewish lives are on his conscience."
And when Hoettl asked the Accused what was the exact number, the latter revealed that four million had been killed in extermination camps and additional two million in other ways, most of them by the Operations Units.

In his evidence in this trial, Hoettl repeated that the Accused mentioned the number of six million victims, but retreated from his above-mentioned affidavit, saying that the Accused did not tell him that he felt guilty of the death of those six million Jews (p. 61). The gravest version of this statement we find in the affidavit made by Wisliceny at Nuremberg on 24 November 1945 (T/56, paragraph 10 of the affidavit):

"He [the Accused] told me on the occasion of our last meeting in February 1945, at which time we were discussing our fates upon losing the War: `I will laugh when I jump into the grave, because of the feeling that I killed five million Jews. This gives me great satisfaction and gratification'." (See also the evidence of Wisliceny at Nuremberg, T/58, p. 22)
. Out of caution, let us assume for the benefit of the Accused that he did not at the time confess his personal responsibility for the death of five or six million Jews. But the fact remains - undisputed in our opinion - that at the end of the War he expressed satisfaction at the death of millions of Jews, and declared that the very thought would make it easier for him to "jump into the pit." This was satisfaction at the terrible blow delivered to "the enemy of the Reich" on the front, where the Accused had been active during the War years and before. This "soul-searching" by the Accused at a time of general despair, is sufficient to indicate his true attitude to the business of murder in which he had been engaged.

240. From all that has been said, a very clear picture emerges - a picture matching, in our opinion, the evaluation given by Hoess, who wrote about the Accused (T/88):

"Eichmann was a man full of life, always active... He always had new plans and always sought innovations and improvements. He never knew rest. He was wholly and compulsively obsessed with the Jewish Question and with the `Final Solution' which had been ordered" (Von der Judenfrage und der befohlenen "Endloesung" war er besessen)..."Eichmann was totally obsessed by his mission and convinced that the campaign of extermination was essential in order to rescue the German nation in future from the desire of the Jews to destroy it." (page 4)
We shall add here that the Accused never alleged that Hoess bore him any grudge (see, for instance, T/37, p. 391).

Of course, this attitude contradicts all readiness on the Accused's part "to do his best to reduce the gravity of the consequences of the offence," under Section 11(a) of the Law. There is no desire here to alleviate matters, but a determined effort to aggravate matters in every respect.

241. To summarize this chapter, we shall state that the Accused closed his ears to the voice of his conscience, as was demanded of him by the regime to which he was wholeheartedly devoted, and to which he had sold himself body and soul. Thus far, Dr. Grueber's description of the Landsknecht suits the Accused. Thus, he sank from one depth to another until, in the implementation of the "Final Solution," he reached the nethermost depths. But it is not to be said of him that his mind also ceased to function, or that it functioned only out of blind obedience. He believed wholeheartedly in the National Socialists' bogus ideology that the Jews were the enemies of the Reich, and that they were to be destroyed without mercy. His hatred was cold and calculated, aimed rather against the Jewish People as a whole, than against the individual Jew, and for this very reason, it was so poisonous and destructive in all its manifestations.

To this task he devoted his alert mind, his great cunning and his organizing skill. He acted within the general framework of the orders which were given to him. But within this framework, he went to every extreme to bring about the speedy and complete extermination of all Jews in t

he territories under German rule and influence. 242. In saying all this, we do not mean that the Accused's viciousness was unusual within the regime which had raised him. He was a loyal disciple of a regime which was wholly evil and malicious.

Counsel for the Defence devoted great efforts to proving the part played by others in the commission of crimes with which the Accused is charged. In fact, it is not disputed that in all his activities the Accused always acted together with others, and this is how he was charged in the indictment. We shall not see the complete picture if we place the responsibility for the entire extermination campaign upon the Accused alone. Above him, there were the men at the top, beginning with Hitler himself - those who were the initiators of the Final Solution, and who gave the basic orders which guided the Accused; and alongside the Accused and his Section, many others were active, all of them determined to carry out the Fuehrer's order, each one of them in his own particular field of action:

The Ministries of the Interior and Justice, which laid the main formal groundwork for the persecution of the Jews, by drafting definitions which determined precisely who was a Jew, who was a descendant of mixed marriage and who was an Aryan, thereby setting up barriers which segregated the Jews from the rest of the population - by promulgating laws and regulations aimed at putting the Jews beyond the pale of the law; the Foreign Ministry, which laboured unceasingly to spread the poison of anti-Semitism all over the world, and to create conditions for the delivery of the Jews of other countries into German hands, in order to deport them to their slaughter; the Ministry of Finance and the Reichsbank, which took part in plundering the property of the victims; the Fuehrer's Chancellery, which was active in the introduction of the method of killing by gas; and also the German Army Command, which tainted itself by acting in partnership with the SS in the extermination of the Jews in the East, in Greece, and in other countries.

Not only these, but all the authorities of the Reich and of the National Socialist Party, whose sphere of activity touched upon Jewish affairs - they all competed with one another to excel in furthering the common end - the complete extermination of the Jews, the enemies of the Reich, by every means in their power, efficiently and speedily.

But all this does not detract from the fact that the Accused's Section in the RSHA stood at the very centre of the Final Solution; and the guilt of the others does not lessen by one iota the personal guilt of the Accused.

243. The Accused's evidence in this case was not truthful evidence, in spite of his repeated declarations that he was reconciled to his fate, knowing the gravity of the activities to which he had confessed of his own will, and now his only desire was to reveal the truth, to correct the wrong impression which had been created in the course of time in regard to his activities in the eyes of his people and of the whole world. In various sections of this Judgment, we have pointed out where the Accused was found to be lying in his evidence.

We now add that his entire testimony was nothing but one consistent attempt to deny the truth and to conceal his real share of responsibility, or at least to reduce it to a minimum. His attempt was not unskilful, due to those qualities which he had shown at the time of his actions - an alert mind; the ability to adapt himself to any difficult situation; cunning and a glib tongue. But he did not have the courage to confess to the truth, not about how things actually happened, nor about his inner convictions to the acts he committed.

We saw him again and again winding his way under the impact of the cross-examination, retreating from complete to partial denial, and only when left no alternative, to admission; but of course always taking refuge in the plea that in all matters, great or small, he was acting on explicit orders.

The question which arises is: Why did the Accused confess before Superintendent Less to a number of incriminating details of which, on the face of it, there could be no proof but for his confession, in particular to his journeys to the East, where he saw the atrocities with his own eyes. We cannot search the depth of the Accused's soul now, while he is under arrest, to discover what caused him to do so. Various theories may be put forward to explain these partial confessions, but this would be futile for the purpose of a legal evaluation of his evidence. Suffice it to say that in our view these confessions did not add credibility to his evidence before us, as regards all those matters in which he was found to be lying.

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