Judgment 67, Eichmann Adolf

226. The Attorney General submitted that, had the Accused
seriously tried to be released from his murderous task, he
could have found ways of attaining his desire. He could
have asked to be transferred to the front; he could have
made various excuses to get away as others did, or he could
have stated openly that his heart was not at one with the
task assigned to him. In the evidence before us, there is
ground for this submission. For instance, Justice Musmanno
stated that in his conversations with Schellenberg, he was
told that men were released from Operations Units when it
became clear that they were incapable of taking part in
murder (Session 39, Vol. II, pp. 725). Such a case
(concerning a man named Jost) is also mentioned in the
affidavit of Best, which was submitted in the Einsatzgruppen
Case (T/687), and in a affidavit made by Burmeister about
the release of the witness for the Defence, Six, from the
Operations Units (T/688, pp. 24-26; see also the evidence by
Six himself in the present case, p. 8). Himmler’s speech at
Poznan also hints that whoever showed signs of abhorrence at
the business of murder could obtain his release (T/1288, p.
151). But we do not intend to go into this problem in
depth, because, in our opinion, this whole discussion is not
to the point, since such a problem never troubled the
Accused. He never thought of giving up his important job
behind his desk at the RSHA, a position he had obtained
because of his being an expert on a problem which kept the
Third Reich and its heads busy. It is possible that he was
not at ease when watching bloody sights. Perhaps he even
spoke to Mueller about it, although this is difficult to
accept as a fact, because such a manifestation of weakness
was not appropriate for an SS man like him, for in the SS
toughness was one of the principal personal qualities
demanded. As we have shown, the Accused’s version is far
from clear in this matter. As far as he talked about a
troubled conscience, his words are not worthy of belief,
since they are altogether contrary to his actual attitude as
regards his work on the front against the Jews at every

227. With this, we reach the heart of our discussion of the
inner motives which prompted the Accused in his activities.
That he was merciless in all his deeds, is almost
undisputed. One illustration will suffice, in connection
with the transaction “goods for blood” in Hungary. When
asked why he regarded the idea of this transaction
favourably, he explained that he took this matter up because
he felt that Becher was his rival and had been poaching on
his preserves in the matter of Jewish emigration. Then he
is asked by his Counsel:

“In your negotiations with your superiors, did you also
speak of the sense of pity which had been aroused in you in
regard to the Jews, and say that this was an opportunity to
help them?”

And he answers:

“I am giving evidence under oath and I must tell the
truth. I did not approach the matter out of pity.
Also, I would have been fired, had I adopted such an
attitude.” (Session 86,Vol. IV, p. xxxx16)
And in answer to the Attorney General in the same matter:

“Q. “…You will perhaps agree with me that your heart
was not in this affair?

“A. I did not contend otherwise. I have already said
that this was done for reasons of utility. I did not
say that this was a rescue operation.” (Session 103,
Vol. IV, pp. xxxx18-19)

That is to say, it never entered his head that human beings
could possibly save their lives in this way. This reveals
to us the same block of ice, or block of marble, which Dr.
Grueber saw before him when he came to the Accused on the
humanitarian mission which he had taken upon himself.

228. But the Accused tried to convince us that only
obedience to orders motivated and guided him in all his
activities, that only blind obedience, “cadaver-like”
obedience (Kadavergehorsam) is what silenced his conscience.
That is why he presented himself as an insignificant
official, with no opinion of his own in all matters with
which he had to deal, and as lacking all initiative in his

We have already discussed this allegation in a different
context, when evaluating the Accused’s activities. Now we
repeat that, also regarding his inner feelings towards his
work, the picture which he has tried to draw for us is
entirely distorted. It is true that the Accused gave such
obedience as was demanded from a good National Socialist and
as an SS man in whom blind obedience was deeply inculcated.
But that does not mean that he fulfilled his task only
because he was ordered to do so. On the contrary, he
carried it out wholeheartedly and willingly, at every stage,
also because of an inner conviction. Let us review briefly
the evidence which has led us to this conclusion.

The Accused admits that he was a zealous National Socialist,
devoted to his Fuehrer (T/37, p. 325), but he contends that
he was not an anti-Semite. The answer to this contention is
found in the words of Dr. Grueber (Session 42, Vol. II, p.

“Q. Did you find that the Accused showed personal
hatred of the Jews, acute anti-Semitism or National
Socialist fanaticism?

“A. These are hard to separate. National Socialist
fanaticism was organically bound up with anti-Semitism,
was it not? They went hand in hand, to my knowledge.”

Indeed, this is common knowledge: In Hitler’s bogus
ideology, the elevation of the German nation to the position
of “master-race” is bound up with hatred of the Jews and
their degradation to the rank of “subhuman.”

229. It is possible that the Accused did not believe in
Streicher’s crude methods of incitement, for he considered
himself an expert in the fight against Jewry, as one who had
studied the problem thoroughly, and he was thus regarded by
his superiors. As an expert, he understood that it is not
always the crude methods which are efficient. However, his
attempt to argue that he – the Specialist on Jewish Affairs
in the Head Office for Reich Security – he, of all people –
was that “white raven,” the National Socialist who did not
hate Jews, is unbelievable. Had a man of his kind, a man
who stood in the thick of the fight against the Jews – first
in the field of ideology and afterwards in the actual fight
– shown the slightest deviation from the anti-Semitic
orthodoxy which was demanded from every member of the Party,
however lowly, he could not have remained there for even one
day. The heads of the SD and the Gestapo with whom he
worked would certainly soon have detected any such
deviation. But let us quote the words of the Defence
witness Six, who knew the Accused closely from the time of
his work in the SD Head Office, when Six was head of the
branch in which the Accused worked. In his evidence taken
in Germany, he says (p. 6):

“Eichmann believed wholeheartedly in National Socialism
…I believe that, when in doubt, Eichmann invariably
acted according to the doctrine of the Party in its
most extreme interpretation.”

230. The evidence before us fully confirms these words.
Even today, when he makes his remarks on the article in
Life, the Accused explains to Sassen, why Hitler
disappointed him (T/48, p. 8):

“I said that the real agitators for war were the
infernal high finance (die infernalische Hochfinanz)
circles of the Western hemisphere, whose servants are
Churchill and Roosevelt, and the puppets, the pawns in
this game of theirs, are Hitler, Mussolini, Daladier,

The “infernal finance circles” are, of course, the Jews
according to the concepts of the “Protocols of the Elders of
Zion,” that “International Finance Jewry” about whom Hitler
spoke in his speech in January 1939 and whom he threatened
to exterminate. This is the style used by the Accused even
in 1957, so deep was his conviction from the past that the
Jews are the enemies of mankind, and he reaches a new peak
in the development of the Nazi mythology: Hitler himself was
a plaything into the hands of the Jews. Thus he also
unhesitatingly adopted the official Nazi doctrine, that the
Jews, being enemies who have declared war upon the German
Reich, must be exterminated. As Himmler said in his speech
in Posen on 4 October 1943:

“We had a moral duty towards our own people – it was
our duty to exterminate this nation which wanted to
exterminate ours.” (T/1288, p. 2)

This hatred is echoed in the Accused’s words in the Sassen
Document, in the part (File 17) written in his own
handwriting, and to which he confessed (supra, p. 735):

“The slogan of both sides was: The enemy must be
exterminated! And world Jewry…obviously declared war
upon the German Reich.”

A couple of lines before that, he makes it clear that the
Jews had always been the enemies of the German people, not
only after the outbreak of war, and that Hitler had already
declared war upon them years earlier (supra, p. 734).

And again, he has a ready excuse: The intention was not
actual extermination, for neither the British nation, nor
the French nation, were exterminated during the War (Session
96, Vol. IV, pp. xxxx9-10) – a hollow excuse.

Last-Modified: 1999/05/27