Judgment 69, Eichmann Adolf

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
the 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.

Last-Modified: 1999/05/27