Judgment 68, Eichmann Adolf

231. Out of this soil of hatred for the Jews grew the
actions of the Accused, and it is clear that mere blind
obedience could never have brought him to commit the crimes
which he committed with such efficiency and devotion as he
evinced, were it not for his zealous belief that he was
thereby fulfilling an important national mission. We have
already seen the Accused’s position within the RSHA
apparatus, which was a key position in the implementation of
the Final Solution. It is true that in matters of principle
he received orders from above, and these orders decided for
him the various stages of implementation. But within this
general framework he still had much scope left, in working
out the details of implementation which were entrusted to
him. This, too, was a considerable, and ramified task when
taking into account the manifold activities needed to round
up the Jews in their countries, to deport them for
extermination, and to remove all obstacles which stood in
the way of these activities. The Accused also headed of a
widespread establishment of officials, who obeyed his orders
and whom he set to work, constantly supervising them and
spurring them on. All this required a great deal of
initiative, continuous thought and consistent striving
towards the end in view.

232. Here, we shall mention another of the Accused’s
arguments, which is also entirely devoid of foundation: that
the Nazi apparatus was, as it were, divided into two
sections – one consisting of those who gave orders, bearing
full responsibility; and the other of those who received
orders, who were supposed only to obey, and carried no
burden of responsibility. It is a well-known fact that in
the Nazi regime, which was based on the principle of
leadership, every rank, except Hitler himself, both received
and gave orders. And, as is customary in any hierarchical
regime, an order becomes more and more detailed and takes on
flesh and blood as it is passed down from one level to the
next. Certainly the Accused was not only a channel for the
passing on of an order as received, without change of form
and content. Had it been as he says, had he done his work
in a purely routine manner, he would have been removed from
office, and someone else would have been put in his place,
because the activities of Section IVB4 were far from being
routine. But it was not so, for the Accused was praised by
his direct superior, Mueller, who said of him: “If we had
had fifty Eichmanns, we should automatically have won the
War” (Session 98, Vol. IV, pp. xxxx17-18; T/1432 (6)). We
do not believe the Accused that this statement referred only
to his last activities, namely the preparation of his office
building in readiness for the Battle of Berlin, but that it
was a concise evaluation of all his activities carried out
under Mueller.

233. There is a great deal of evidence indicative of this
attitude of the Accused, in his very acts and in his
declarations on various occasions, as has been proved to us.

No single case brought to our notice, revealed the Accused
as showing any sign of human feelings in his dealings with
Jewish affairs, except when, according to his own words, he
helped the daughter of his uncle (his stepmother’s brother),
who was half-Jewish, and one more Jewish couple, on whose
behalf this same uncle intervened (T/37, pp. 114-115). In
all his activities the Accused displayed indefatigable
energy, verging on overeagerness towards advancing the Final
Solution, both in his general decisions and in his treatment
of individual cases of Jews who sought to escape death.

Many illustrations of this attitude have already been
mentioned in this Judgment, in the course of the description
of events. We shall add here a few more remarks on this
same point.

234. Von Thadden gives evidence (p. 9) that the Accused
invariably refused applications for the granting of
exceptions. He remembers that, when he once requested the
grant of an exception in a certain case, the Accused
described his (von Thadden’s) approach as “weak-kneed”
(knieweich). And in his statement, made in defence of the
State Secretary, Steengracht, at Nuremberg (exhibit T/584),
von Thadden said that in the opinion of the German Foreign
Ministry the immediate deportation of the Jews of Denmark
was impossible for political reasons, but the Accused
`ironically’ informed him that pressure would be brought to
bear upon the Foreign Ministry to reconsider its attitude.
And after the failure of the action in Denmark – von Thadden
continues – Guenther, the Accused’s deputy, told him that
this was a case of sabotage, seemingly on the part of the
German Embassy in Copenhagen, and that the Accused had
already reported the matter to the Reichsfuehrer (Himmler)
and that he, Eichmann, would demand the head of the
saboteur. (Today, von Thadden claims that he can no longer
remember the details, but he does not go back on his
declaration – p. 13 of his evidence).

235. To make his version of the transaction of “goods for
blood” stronger, the Accused relinquishes his argument that
he acted only out of routine. Here, he suddenly turns into
a man of initiative, who `ponders’ things and who conceives
a far-reaching plan entirely on his own (Session 86, Vol.
IV, p. xxxx12). This version is not worthy of belief, as we
have already found above when speaking about the chapter on
Hungary, but the very description of matters in this light
contradicts that of the colourless figure which the Accused
tries to assume. Thus he tells Sassen in a passage
submitted by his Counsel (N/100):

“I have always worked one hundred per cent, and above
all I have thought over matters” (ich habe die Sache
durchgedacht) “and when giving orders, I was certainly
not lukewarm.”

Certainly, he was not lukewarm in giving his orders nor in
his deeds, but energetic, full of initiative and active to
the extreme in his efforts to carry out the Final Solution.
He appears thus in September 1941, when his advice was “to
kill by shooting” the thousands of Jews of Belgrade, and
continued in this manner until the last days of the Third
Reich. The representative of the International Red Cross
reports these words as coming from the Accused in April

“Concerning the general Jewish problem, Eichmann was of the
opinion that Himmler was at that moment about to consider
humane methods. Eichmann personally did not entirely
approve of these methods, but as a good soldier, he was, of
course, blindly following the orders of the Reichsfuehrer.”
(T/865, p. 3)

236. In this same matter, we shall cite one more episode,
described by Justice Musmanno, who heard an account of it
from General Koller, of Hitler’s entourage. We see no
ground to doubt these words of Koller, and were given no
reason why Koller should wish to place unjustified blame
upon the Accused. This is what happened (Session 39, Vol.
II, p. 723-724): In his last days, Hitler ordered the
execution of imprisoned Allied airmen. Koller tried to
circumvent this order and turned to Kaltenbrunner, because
the order was that the airmen be handed over to the SD.
Kaltenbrunner granted his request, but then he met with a
difficulty because of the attitude of the Accused, who
demanded that the Jews from amongst the airmen be executed
according to Hitler’s order, and he refused to budge from
this position. Koller rescued these Jews by mixing them
with thousands of other prisoners in the prisoners of war
camps, so that it was difficult to identify them.

237. When carrying out the Final Solution, the Accused
resorted to the psychological warfare tactics of misleading
and confusing the enemy. In this connection, we shall here
add only one of many illustrations. At his first meeting
with the heads of Hungarian Jewry on 31 March 1944, the
Accused gives certain instructions concerning the
administration of Jewish institutions, etc. Then he
addresses the scared Jews in these glib words:

“He emphasized that these instructions would be
enforced only for the duration of the War. Later the
Jews would be free and could do as they pleased.

“Everything happening to the Jews was only for the
duration of the War. When the War was over, the
Germans would once again be as pleasant (gemuetlich) as
before… “He emphasizes that he appreciates frankness
and that we, too, must be outspoken with him. He will
also be frank with us.”

This description, from the book by Munczi Ernoe, was
confirmed by the Accused himself (Session 103, Vol. III, p.
xxxx6; see also the declaration by Dr. Ernoe Petoe – T/1157,
p. 3).

This, then, is the frank language used by the Accused,
whilst the order for the deportation of Hungarian Jewry to
Auschwitz is already in his pocket. Such a measure of
viciousness can only be shown by a man who does his criminal
job wholeheartedly and with all his being.

238. To conclude this chapter, in which we are concerned
with the Accused’s attitude to his work, we shall mention
further utterances by him on various occasions, which reveal
his feelings:

(a) In answer to a question by the Attorney General during
cross-examination about an excerpt from the Sassen Document,
wherein the pace of deportation from various countries is
discussed, he stated as follows:

“I speak of all countries. The same thing happened to
us in Slovakia and in France, although there things
began in a very hopeful manner (sehr hoffnungsvoll).
The same thing happened to us in Holland where, at
first, the transports rolled, until one could say that
it was marvellous (es war eine Pracht). Only later
were difficulties heaped upon difficulties.” (T/1432

And this is the Accused’s reaction to this quotation and to
what was said there further on:

“I cannot say that these things are correct word for
word. Many words have no meaning at all… But I must
say that these are substantially correct. I cannot say
otherwise.” (Session 104, Vol. IV, p. xxxx12)

Thus, “substantially” this attitude of complete
identification with his work is correct – his joy in
deporting Jews to their death. This is not the way in which
a person who did this horrible work with any inner
compunction, or even indifference, would have spoken.

(b) While under arrest in Israel, he wrote in his memoirs
what he had told Mueller, his superior, at the time:

“I was considering the subject of `victory.’ I said
that I believed that in this way we must lose the War,
since by what right were the Jews killed, whilst
hundreds of thousands of German scoundrels, criminal
and political, were not killed. Such wrongdoing will
necessarily avenge itself.” (T/44, p. 108)

Therefore, his proposal when speaking to Mueller was to
resort to the trusted remedy of the Gestapo: “To put 100,000
Germans against the wall.” (Session 95, Vol. IV, pp.

We quote these words here, only to point out the Accused’s
trend of thought in regard to the extermination of the Jews.
He had no inner reservations about the act itself, but only
regrets that, together with the Jews, 100,000 Germans were
not also exterminated, whose only crime was their opposition
to the Nazi regime. The failure to kill these Germans, he
believed, would avenge itself.

(c) And finally, the Accused’s words at the end of the War,
that he is ready to “jump into the pit.” In this matter,
the exact wording must be decided upon first, because there
is a serious difference of opinion about it.

In his Statement to Superintendent Less, the Accused
describes the matter in the following way:

During the last days of the War, the men of his Section were
depressed. In order to improve their morale, he told them
that he was looking forward joyfully to the last battle over
Berlin, because what he had in mind was, “if death does not
find me, I at least will seek death,” and here he quotes his
own words:

“Millions of German women, children and old people lost
their lives in this way, this I said to the men and to
the soldiers. For five years millions of the enemy
attacked Germany. Millions of enemies were also
annihilated, and according to my estimate, the War also
cost five million Jews. Now all this is over, the
Reich is lost. And should the end come now, I said, I
shall also jump into the pit.” (T/37, p. 308)

And in his evidence before us, in answer to his Counsel
(Session 88, Vol. IV, p. xxxx8), his version is:

“I told my officers: The end has come, it is all over.
The collapse is imminent…therefore, if this is the
end of the Reich, then I shall gladly jump into the
pit, knowing that in that same pit there are five
million enemies of the state.”

He states categorically that, when mentioning at the time
“the enemies of the state,” he did not have the Jews in
mind, but “the enemy knocking at the gates of the state –
the Russians and the fleets of Allied bombers, because they
were the enemies of the state.”

This is also how he explains his words in his remarks on the
article in Life magazine (T/51, passage 1).

Last-Modified: 1999/05/27