Session 107-03, Eichmann Adolf

Q. What was your attitude to this National Socialist opinion
that the Jews had to be removed from Germany?

A. In 1934-1935 I had not yet thought anything at all about
this, it was not until 1937…

Q. Just a moment. Are you saying that, in these years when
your comrades spoke about this, you, of all people, did not
reflect about this at all?

A. At that time I reflected only on what occurred to me
while reading the book I mentioned, by Adolf Boehm. That
was in the year – it must have been – it may have been the
end of 1935, at least I think so.

Q. And until that time you did not think about it?

A. Until then I had not thought about it at all, because
when I joined the Head Office for Reich Security, I had to
put my nose to the card index. I had to do a very
subordinate job, and I was upset that I had finished up in
the wrong spot. But I could not leave there, and previously
I had been in the armed forces.

Q. The work which you did, which afterwards you yourself
did, the “forced emigration.”

A. Yes.

Q. What was your opinion of this? Was this something
positive, something negative?

A. At that time, in my opinion this was also a very positive
matter, and I was strengthened in this opinion by the desire
to emigrate, which I in fact saw daily on the part of the
Jews as well.

Q. But this desire, was it not the result of fear?

A. Yes, that is true. But I had not instilled this fear.
That was my advantage, I had not sown this fear, I would
say. Of course, on the other hand, I did not know that the
central authorities were also now advocating forced
emigration, and not only the Security Service Head Office.
So, at the time, I said to myself: For both parties this is
two birds with one stone.

Q. I asked you about your own mental attitude to this, about
this idea of forcing the Jews to emigrate by intimidating
them – your own mental attitude. A person has a mental
attitude to his work, either positive or negative or
indifferent, correct?

A. Yes, my mental attitude at that time was, in fact,
exactly what it is today: I saw Jews being forced out of all
areas of the German people’s life; I saw that things were
economically bad for them; I saw them being harassed and
oppressed. But I was able to say to myself, in order to put
my mind at rest, I have no part in this – in all of these
things – I have been placed here, and I am now to help in
emigration, and the expression of my mental attitude was
reflected, I would say, in the fact that I sat together with
the Jewish officials with whom I had to deal on an equal
footing, at the production line, as the phrase went, and
weighed up the possibilities of making the best of that

Q. But did you not reflect on the causes of this muddle?

A. No, I did not reflect on this. My contacts with the
Jewish officials were such – for example, after the
Kristallnacht, a young lawyer from the Jewish community said
to me: “Jewish impertinent lout attacks harmless lions.”
That was his description of the Kristallnacht. The only
reason I should like to make this point is because to some
extent it indicates what my personal relationship was with
those people, and how I spoke to them.

Q. This does not concern this matter. Now, we have heard a
great deal from you about your duty of fidelity, to which
you were bound as a soldier.

A. Yes.

Q. I want to ask you: Were you a soldier at all in the years
in which you were in the Head Office for Reich Security?

A. Yes, at least I was bound to a duty, and I also felt this
obligation within myself.

Q. The work you carried out there – was that military

A. That is what was said, yes. Of course it was not
service, not as one carrying arms. But, for example, in the
Security Service Head Office for a while, every morning
before we started work, we had to do our military exercises
– and we had to practice using weapons. All of this was a
part of it. Later this was abolished.

Q. In those years you were not in the Waffen-SS?

A. Previously I was, but…no, not in those years. I was
attached to it in the reserves.

Q. In the Waffen-SS?

A. No.

Q. I understood that you were a police officer.

A. Yes, that is also true, because I was, so to speak,
drafted into the Head Office for Reich Security with the Red

Q. What is this Red Form?

A. This was some red form or other, showing that one was
drafted for the duration of the War. One could not do
anything about it. The recruiting office was notified by
the personnel division, and then one was earmarked for the
duration of the War for the Head Office for Reich Security.
As far as I know, this applied to everyone in certain age

Q. You replied to the Attorney General that you could,
indeed, have left the Party and the SS, but not the
employment you had been given. I believe this is what you

A. Left the Party and the SS? Of my own free will? This
sounds odd to me, because as far as I am… even the…
otherwise one would not have been left at liberty.

Q. I do not wish now to waste any time on this – I shall
find this passage later and ask you about it subsequently.

A. Yes.

Q. You are now saying that you were not able to leave the
Party, having once joined it, is that your statement?

A. No, I would put it like this: As long as there was no
state of war, one could probably have left the Party and the
SS, but I in fact did not have any…I had been sworn into
the forces. During the War, in any case this did not exist.
I do not even need to explain this, because as of the
beginning of the War there was no leaving, nor any other
possibility of doing anything of one’s own free will. And
before that, there was first of all the swearing of the oath
to the forces, and the oath when I joined the Security
Service Head Office. I have already said that, instead of
my ending up in the Head Office for Reich Security, I in
fact came to the Security Service Head Office. These are
two different matters. But at that time it was not possible
to distinguish between them.

Q. Your statement is that you could not, for example, have
left your position in the Head Office for Reich Security and
reported for the front, without the consent of your

A. No, the reason why one could not do this, was because in
fact the recruiting office was simply unable to accept and
register and examine one, but…

Q. I am not talking so much about the formal aspects now.
If you had insisted, “I want to go to the front,” would
someone have been able to stop you from doing so?

A. One would not have received any approval at all, but
would have been punished, because I was not in fact able to
do what I wanted. For everything I did, I had to obtain the
permission of my superior. In addition, there is the fact –
as I have said repeatedly – that I did apply. Not only did
I apply, but probably most members of the Head Office for
Reich Security applied.

Q. But if there was a bad official, an incompetent official,
then they would have been interested in getting rid of him?

A. In most cases they would put them in the Operations
Commandos, but not in the Waffen-SS, where people wanted to

Q. Now, you have told us that you were irresolute, and were
just not keen on taking decisions.

A. Yes.

Q. Was that known to Mueller – your superior?

A. Yes, that was known. There were in fact a few people
like this with us.

Q. An official, particularly a highly placed official in
this office, that in reality was the Gestapo, had to be keen
to take decisions, and tough, is that correct?

A. I noticed that this was not necessarily correct, because
I came there overnight, without having ever before worked in
an office of that kind.

Q. Excuse me – so that is not correct?

A. It is not necessarily correct. I would say that I
noticed this in my own case.

Q. Was Mueller himself tough?

A. Not always, he was precisely…he was the type of a
fossilized civil servant, I would say, he was an old civil
servant following his rules and regulations strictly.
Heydrich was tough, but Mueller…

Q. That will do. I did not now ask about Heydrich.

A. I only wanted somehow to illustrate the difference in

Q. The Chief of the Gestapo was not tough?

A. Naturally there was a certain toughness, but not what one
would understand by toughness, that is why I took Heydrich.
Heydrich was like ice.

Q. Leave Heydrich aside.

A. I cannot describe Mueller in any other fashion, it is

Q. Why?

A. It is difficult to describe Mueller.

Q. Only in comparison with Heydrich? Very well. And your
permanent deputy, Guenther, was he tough?

A. Guenther was tough, yes.

Q. Besides, this was a characteristic required of every SS
man, to be tough.

A. That was required, of course. But as I have said…

Q. But you did not satisfy the requirement?

A. There is toughness and there is toughness, is there not?
One can be tough on oneself, and one does not necessarily
have to be tough on other people. One can pamper and coddle
oneself, but be brutal to others. There were all sorts of

Q. But the toughness required of an SS man was toughness to

A. It was primarily toughness on oneself. For reasons of
self-discipline and subordination – everything connected
with that. That is how the term toughness is to be
understood, not toughness to others. It is not the right

Q. Yes, yes. In this context I wish to return to a question
already asked by my colleague, Judge Halevi, but I did not
hear a reply to it. If that was the case, why did Mueller
not remove you from your job?
A. I cannot say why, I myself really would have welcomed it,
but possibly, I was very meticulous, very meticulous, and I
obeyed according to the regulations and orders, and there is
no doubt, Mueller was also a – he was a civil servant who
had reached a high position through order and accuracy, and
possibly this was precisely one of the reasons…and also my
personal way with people was not aggressive, nor did I
incline to considerations of ambition and personal advantage
and other characteristics of such a group of civil
servants…there are people who bring the apparatus into
disarray as a result of their personal ambitions by…I was
just obedient and quiet and did not make myself too
conspicuous. Perhaps that was to his liking.

Q. But according to what you yourself have said, you were
not even a good bureaucrat, because you did not fully
exploit your bureaucratic powers.

A. Yes, in that I was the image of Mueller, I would say,
because Mueller himself did not take decisions either;
rather, he in turn obtained his decisions from his Chief.
Possibly that also played a role, I do not know. In any
case, it is a fact that he had more work with me than with
the others – it is not because I am saying this now in 1961,
but because that was well-known, was already known at that
time. My own people had far more work as a result of this
fact, because they had to write a memo for every petty thing
and they had to open a file, while others just put it down
on a piece of paper and simply made a suggestion, and came
back within ten minutes, and then gave orders to their
expert staff on what to do. Things proceeded more or less
by leaps and bounds. I was not used to this approach.

Q. And also Heydrich, the tough one, who was familiar with
your work, he also did not find it necessary throughout all
those years to remove you from your office?

A. No. In fact I had relatively little to do with Heydrich,
there were only a few matters at high level, and otherwise
one did not see one another for months on end.

Q. In the meanwhile, I have found the passage to which I
referred earlier. My colleague has found it for me. It
says here:

“Attorney General: Very well, I wish to know whether you
tried to leave the Nazi Party and the SS.

Accused: I did not try to leave the SS and the Party.

Attorney General: And you remained in them of your own free
will and free choice?

Accused: A member of the SS and the Party, yes, but not in
my post to which I was assigned.”

A. Yes, that is correct.

Q. I thought that you remained in the SS throughout the
years of the War, despite your pangs of conscience, because
you knew perfectly well that there was no possibility of
getting out of the SS. Now I read your words here, and that
must be interpreted as follows: “I remained a member of the
SS and the Party of my own free will.”

A. Yes, well, I could not have done this even if I had
wanted to. Until 1939, until before the War, some people
did manage this; for example, von Mildenstein did get out.

Last-Modified: 1999/06/14