Adolf Eichmann

Adolf Eichmann

Overview
Adolf Otto Eichmann was a German Nazi
Nazism
Nazism, the common short form name of National Socialism was the ideology and practice of the Nazi Party and of Nazi Germany...

 and SS
Schutzstaffel
The Schutzstaffel |Sig runes]]) was a major paramilitary organization under Adolf Hitler and the Nazi Party. Built upon the Nazi ideology, the SS under Heinrich Himmler's command was responsible for many of the crimes against humanity during World War II...

-Obersturmbannführer
Obersturmbannführer
Obersturmbannführer was a paramilitary Nazi Party rank used by both the SA and the SS. It was created in May 1933 to fill the need for an additional field grade officer rank above Sturmbannführer as the SA expanded. It became an SS rank at the same time...

(equivalent to Lieutenant Colonel
Lieutenant colonel
Lieutenant colonel is a rank of commissioned officer in the armies and most marine forces and some air forces of the world, typically ranking above a major and below a colonel. The rank of lieutenant colonel is often shortened to simply "colonel" in conversation and in unofficial correspondence...

 in Wehrmacht
Wehrmacht
The Wehrmacht – from , to defend and , the might/power) were the unified armed forces of Nazi Germany from 1935 to 1945. It consisted of the Heer , the Kriegsmarine and the Luftwaffe .-Origin and use of the term:...

) and one of the major organizers of the Holocaust
The Holocaust
The Holocaust , also known as the Shoah , was the genocide of approximately six million European Jews and millions of others during World War II, a programme of systematic state-sponsored murder by Nazi...

. Because of his organizational talents and ideological reliability, Eichmann was charged by Obergruppenführer
Obergruppenführer
Obergruppenführer was a Nazi Party paramilitary rank that was first created in 1932 as a rank of the SA and until 1942 it was the highest SS rank inferior only to Reichsführer-SS...

(General) Reinhard Heydrich
Reinhard Heydrich
Reinhard Tristan Eugen Heydrich , also known as The Hangman, was a high-ranking German Nazi official.He was SS-Obergruppenführer and General der Polizei, chief of the Reich Main Security Office and Stellvertretender Reichsprotektor of Bohemia and Moravia...

 with the task of facilitating and managing the logistics of mass deportation
Deportation
Deportation means the expulsion of a person or group of people from a place or country. Today it often refers to the expulsion of foreign nationals whereas the expulsion of nationals is called banishment, exile, or penal transportation...

 of Jews to ghettos and extermination camps in German-occupied Eastern Europe
Eastern Europe
Eastern Europe is the eastern part of Europe. The term has widely disparate geopolitical, geographical, cultural and socioeconomic readings, which makes it highly context-dependent and even volatile, and there are "almost as many definitions of Eastern Europe as there are scholars of the region"...

.

After the war
World War II
World War II, or the Second World War , was a global conflict lasting from 1939 to 1945, involving most of the world's nations—including all of the great powers—eventually forming two opposing military alliances: the Allies and the Axis...

, he fled to Argentina
Argentina
Argentina , officially the Argentine Republic , is the second largest country in South America by land area, after Brazil. It is constituted as a federation of 23 provinces and an autonomous city, Buenos Aires...

 using a fraudulently obtained laissez-passer issued by the International Red Cross
International Committee of the Red Cross
The International Committee of the Red Cross is a private humanitarian institution based in Geneva, Switzerland. States parties to the four Geneva Conventions of 1949 and their Additional Protocols of 1977 and 2005, have given the ICRC a mandate to protect the victims of international and...

.
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Quotations

To sum it all up, I must say that I regret nothing.

While awaiting trial in Israel, as quoted in LIFE magazine (5 December 1960)

Whether they were bank directors or mental cases, the people who were loaded on those trains meant nothing to me. It was really none of my business.

As quoted in Religion and Public Education (1967) by Nicholas Wolterstorf

I was never an anti-Semite. ... My sensitive nature revolted at the sight of corpses and blood... I personally had nothing to do with this. My job was to observe and report on it.

As quoted in Consensus and Controversy: Defending Pope Pius XII (2002) by Sister Margherita Marchione, p. 71

In einem kurzen Weilchen, meine Herren, sehen wir uns ohnehin alle wieder. Das ist das Los aller Menschen. Es lebe Deutschland. Es lebe Argentinien. Es lebe Österreich. … Ich werde sie nicht vergessen.

In a short while, gentlemen, we'll meet each other, anyway. That's every human's fortune. Long live Germany! Long live Argentinia! Long live Austria! … I won't forget you.

Obeying an order was the most important thing to me. It could be that is in the nature of the German.

From my childhood, obedience was something I could not get out of my system. When I entered the armed services at the age of 27, I found being obedient not a bit more difficult than it had been during my life to that point. It was unthinkable that I would not follow orders.

Encyclopedia
Adolf Otto Eichmann was a German Nazi
Nazism
Nazism, the common short form name of National Socialism was the ideology and practice of the Nazi Party and of Nazi Germany...

 and SS
Schutzstaffel
The Schutzstaffel |Sig runes]]) was a major paramilitary organization under Adolf Hitler and the Nazi Party. Built upon the Nazi ideology, the SS under Heinrich Himmler's command was responsible for many of the crimes against humanity during World War II...

-Obersturmbannführer
Obersturmbannführer
Obersturmbannführer was a paramilitary Nazi Party rank used by both the SA and the SS. It was created in May 1933 to fill the need for an additional field grade officer rank above Sturmbannführer as the SA expanded. It became an SS rank at the same time...

(equivalent to Lieutenant Colonel
Lieutenant colonel
Lieutenant colonel is a rank of commissioned officer in the armies and most marine forces and some air forces of the world, typically ranking above a major and below a colonel. The rank of lieutenant colonel is often shortened to simply "colonel" in conversation and in unofficial correspondence...

 in Wehrmacht
Wehrmacht
The Wehrmacht – from , to defend and , the might/power) were the unified armed forces of Nazi Germany from 1935 to 1945. It consisted of the Heer , the Kriegsmarine and the Luftwaffe .-Origin and use of the term:...

) and one of the major organizers of the Holocaust
The Holocaust
The Holocaust , also known as the Shoah , was the genocide of approximately six million European Jews and millions of others during World War II, a programme of systematic state-sponsored murder by Nazi...

. Because of his organizational talents and ideological reliability, Eichmann was charged by Obergruppenführer
Obergruppenführer
Obergruppenführer was a Nazi Party paramilitary rank that was first created in 1932 as a rank of the SA and until 1942 it was the highest SS rank inferior only to Reichsführer-SS...

(General) Reinhard Heydrich
Reinhard Heydrich
Reinhard Tristan Eugen Heydrich , also known as The Hangman, was a high-ranking German Nazi official.He was SS-Obergruppenführer and General der Polizei, chief of the Reich Main Security Office and Stellvertretender Reichsprotektor of Bohemia and Moravia...

 with the task of facilitating and managing the logistics of mass deportation
Deportation
Deportation means the expulsion of a person or group of people from a place or country. Today it often refers to the expulsion of foreign nationals whereas the expulsion of nationals is called banishment, exile, or penal transportation...

 of Jews to ghettos and extermination camps in German-occupied Eastern Europe
Eastern Europe
Eastern Europe is the eastern part of Europe. The term has widely disparate geopolitical, geographical, cultural and socioeconomic readings, which makes it highly context-dependent and even volatile, and there are "almost as many definitions of Eastern Europe as there are scholars of the region"...

.

After the war
World War II
World War II, or the Second World War , was a global conflict lasting from 1939 to 1945, involving most of the world's nations—including all of the great powers—eventually forming two opposing military alliances: the Allies and the Axis...

, he fled to Argentina
Argentina
Argentina , officially the Argentine Republic , is the second largest country in South America by land area, after Brazil. It is constituted as a federation of 23 provinces and an autonomous city, Buenos Aires...

 using a fraudulently obtained laissez-passer issued by the International Red Cross
International Committee of the Red Cross
The International Committee of the Red Cross is a private humanitarian institution based in Geneva, Switzerland. States parties to the four Geneva Conventions of 1949 and their Additional Protocols of 1977 and 2005, have given the ICRC a mandate to protect the victims of international and...

. He lived in Argentina under a false identity, working for Mercedes-Benz
Mercedes-Benz
Mercedes-Benz is a German manufacturer of automobiles, buses, coaches, and trucks. Mercedes-Benz is a division of its parent company, Daimler AG...

 until 1960. He was captured by Mossad operatives
Mossad
The Mossad , short for HaMossad leModi'in uleTafkidim Meyuchadim , is the national intelligence agency of Israel....

 in Argentina and taken to Israel to face trial in an Israeli court on 15 criminal charges, including crimes against humanity
Crime against humanity
Crimes against humanity, as defined by the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court Explanatory Memorandum, "are particularly odious offenses in that they constitute a serious attack on human dignity or grave humiliation or a degradation of one or more human beings...

 and war crime
War crime
War crimes are serious violations of the laws applicable in armed conflict giving rise to individual criminal responsibility...

s. He was found guilty and executed by hanging
Hanging
Hanging is the lethal suspension of a person by a ligature. The Oxford English Dictionary states that hanging in this sense is "specifically to put to death by suspension by the neck", though it formerly also referred to crucifixion and death by impalement in which the body would remain...

 in 1962. He is the only person to have been executed in Israel on conviction by a civilian court.

Early life


Adolf Eichmann was born to a Lutheran family in Solingen
Solingen
Solingen is a city in North Rhine-Westphalia, Germany. It is located on the northern edge of the region called Bergisches Land, south of the Ruhr area, and with a 2009 population of 161,366 is the second largest city in the Bergisches Land...

, Germany
Germany
Germany , officially the Federal Republic of Germany , is a federal parliamentary republic in Europe. The country consists of 16 states while the capital and largest city is Berlin. Germany covers an area of 357,021 km2 and has a largely temperate seasonal climate...

. His parents were businessman and industrialist Adolf Karl Eichmann and Maria née Schefferling. After his mother died in 1914, his family moved to Linz
Linz
Linz is the third-largest city of Austria and capital of the state of Upper Austria . It is located in the north centre of Austria, approximately south of the Czech border, on both sides of the river Danube. The population of the city is , and that of the Greater Linz conurbation is about...

, Austria
Austria
Austria , officially the Republic of Austria , is a landlocked country of roughly 8.4 million people in Central Europe. It is bordered by the Czech Republic and Germany to the north, Slovakia and Hungary to the east, Slovenia and Italy to the south, and Switzerland and Liechtenstein to the...

. During the First World War
World War I
World War I , which was predominantly called the World War or the Great War from its occurrence until 1939, and the First World War or World War I thereafter, was a major war centred in Europe that began on 28 July 1914 and lasted until 11 November 1918...

, Eichmann's father served in the Austro-Hungarian Army
Austro-Hungarian Army
The Austro-Hungarian Army was the ground force of the Austro-Hungarian Dual Monarchy from 1867 to 1918. It was composed of three parts: the joint army , the Austrian Landwehr , and the Hungarian Honvédség .In the wake of fighting between the...

. At the war's conclusion, Eichmann's father moved the family back to Linz where he operated a business. Eichmann left high school—Realschule
Realschule
The Realschule is a type of secondary school in Germany, Austria, Switzerland, and Liechtenstein. It has also existed in Croatia , Denmark , Sweden , Hungary and in the Russian Empire .-History:The Realschule was an outgrowth of the rationalism and empiricism of the seventeenth and...

—without having graduated and began training to become a mechanic, which he also discontinued. In 1923, he started working in the mining company of his father. From 1925 to 1927 he worked as a sales clerk for the Oberösterreichische Elektrobau AG and then until spring 1933 Eichmann worked as district agent for the Vacuum Oil Company AG, a subsidiary of Standard Oil
Standard Oil
Standard Oil was a predominant American integrated oil producing, transporting, refining, and marketing company. Established in 1870 as a corporation in Ohio, it was the largest oil refiner in the world and operated as a major company trust and was one of the world's first and largest multinational...

. During this time he was a member of the Jungfrontkämpfervereinigung, the youth section of Hermann Hiltl
Hermann Hiltl
Hermann Hiltl was an Austrian officer who became leader of his own right wing militia, the Frontkämpfervereinigung , after the First World War...

's right-wing veterans movement. In July 1933 he moved back to Germany.

Eichmann married Veronika Liebl (1909–1997) on March 21, 1935. The couple had four sons: Klaus Eichmann (b. 1936 in Berlin
Berlin
Berlin is the capital city of Germany and is one of the 16 states of Germany. With a population of 3.45 million people, Berlin is Germany's largest city. It is the second most populous city proper and the seventh most populous urban area in the European Union...

), Horst Adolf Eichmann (b. 1940 in Vienna
Vienna
Vienna is the capital and largest city of the Republic of Austria and one of the nine states of Austria. Vienna is Austria's primary city, with a population of about 1.723 million , and is by far the largest city in Austria, as well as its cultural, economic, and political centre...

), Dieter Helmut Eichmann (b. 1942 in Prague
Prague
Prague is the capital and largest city of the Czech Republic. Situated in the north-west of the country on the Vltava river, the city is home to about 1.3 million people, while its metropolitan area is estimated to have a population of over 2.3 million...

) and Ricardo Francisco Eichmann (b. 1955 in Buenos Aires
Buenos Aires
Buenos Aires is the capital and largest city of Argentina, and the second-largest metropolitan area in South America, after São Paulo. It is located on the western shore of the estuary of the Río de la Plata, on the southeastern coast of the South American continent...

).

Work with the Nazi Party and the SS



On the advice of family friend Ernst Kaltenbrunner
Ernst Kaltenbrunner
Ernst Kaltenbrunner was an Austrian-born senior official of Nazi Germany during World War II. Between January 1943 and May 1945, he held the offices of Chief of the Reichssicherheitshauptamt , President of Interpol and, as a Obergruppenführer und General der Polizei und Waffen-SS, he was the...

, Eichmann joined the Austrian branch of the NSDAP—member number 889,895—and the Schutzstaffel
Schutzstaffel
The Schutzstaffel |Sig runes]]) was a major paramilitary organization under Adolf Hitler and the Nazi Party. Built upon the Nazi ideology, the SS under Heinrich Himmler's command was responsible for many of the crimes against humanity during World War II...

(SS). He enlisted on April 1, 1932, as an SS-Anwärter
Anwärter
Anwärter is a German title which translates as “Candidate”. In modern day Germany, the title of Anwärter is typically used by those applying for employment and also as a designation for members of the Bundeswehr who are under consideration for a leadership assignment.During the Third Reich,...

(Candidate). He was accepted as a full SS member that November, appointed an SS-Mann
Mann (military rank)
Mann , was a paramilitary rank used by several Nazi Party paramilitary organizations between 1925 and 1945. The rank is most often associated with the SS, and also as a rank of the SA where Mann was the lowest enlisted rank and was the equivalent of a Private.In 1938, with the rise of the...

(Man), and assigned the SS number 45326.

For the next year, Eichmann was a member of the Allgemeine SS
Allgemeine SS
The Allgemeine SS was the most numerous branch of the Schutzstaffel paramilitary forces of Nazi Germany. It was managed by the SS-Hauptamt...

(General SS) and served in a mustering formation operating from Salzburg
Salzburg
-Population development:In 1935, the population significantly increased when Salzburg absorbed adjacent municipalities. After World War II, numerous refugees found a new home in the city. New residential space was created for American soldiers of the postwar Occupation, and could be used for...

. In 1933 when the Nazis came to power, Eichmann returned to Germany and submitted an application to join the active duty SS regiments. He was accepted, and in November 1933, was promoted to Scharführer
Scharführer
Scharführer was a Nazi Party title that was used by several paramilitary organizations from 1925 to 1945. Translated as “Squad Leader”, the title of Scharführer can trace its origins to the First World War, where a Scharführer was often a Sergeant or Corporal who commanded special action or shock...

(Squad Leader) and assigned to the administrative staff of Dachau concentration camp.

By 1934, Eichmann requested transfer into the Sicherheitsdienst
Sicherheitsdienst
Sicherheitsdienst , full title Sicherheitsdienst des Reichsführers-SS, or SD, was the intelligence agency of the SS and the Nazi Party in Nazi Germany. The organization was the first Nazi Party intelligence organization to be established and was often considered a "sister organization" with the...

(Security Service) of the SS, to escape the "monotony" of military training in SS-Standarte Deutschland at Dachau. Eichmann was accepted into the Sicherheitsdienst (SD) and assigned to the sub-office on "Freemasons" that was run by SS-Sturmbannführer
Sturmbannführer
Sturmbannführer was a paramilitary rank of the Nazi Party equivalent to major, used both in the Sturmabteilung and the Schutzstaffel...

(equivalent to major) Prof. Schwarz-Bostowitsch. After a short time, Eichmann had a meeting in the Wilhelmstrasse with Leopold von Mildenstein
Leopold von Mildenstein
Leopold Itz, Edler von Mildenstein was a German writer and SS officer of the 1930s and 1940s who is remembered as a leader of the Nazi Party's support during the 1930s for the aims of Zionism. As a writer, he sometimes used the pen name LIM, his initials...

, a fellow Austrian, and was invited to join Mildenstein's "Jews Section", or Section II/112, of the SD at its Berlin
Berlin
Berlin is the capital city of Germany and is one of the 16 states of Germany. With a population of 3.45 million people, Berlin is Germany's largest city. It is the second most populous city proper and the seventh most populous urban area in the European Union...

 headquarters. He later came to see this as his "big break". Eichmann's transfer was granted in November 1934. In 1935, he was promoted to Hauptscharführer
Hauptscharführer
Hauptscharführer was a Nazi paramilitary rank which was used by the Schutzstaffel between the years of 1934 and 1945. The rank was the highest enlisted rank of the SS, with the exception of the special Waffen-SS rank of Sturmscharführer....

(Head Squad Leader) and later commissioned as an SS-Untersturmführer
Untersturmführer
Untersturmführer was a paramilitary rank of the German Schutzstaffel first created in July 1934. The rank can trace its origins to the older SA rank of Sturmführer which had existed since the founding of the SA in 1921...

(equivalent to second lieutenant) in 1937.

In 1937, Eichmann was sent to the British Mandate of Palestine with his superior Herbert Hagen to assess the possibilities of massive Jewish emigration from Germany to Palestine
Palestine
Palestine is a conventional name, among others, used to describe the geographic region between the Mediterranean Sea and the Jordan River, and various adjoining lands....

. They landed in Haifa
Haifa
Haifa is the largest city in northern Israel, and the third-largest city in the country, with a population of over 268,000. Another 300,000 people live in towns directly adjacent to the city including the cities of the Krayot, as well as, Tirat Carmel, Daliyat al-Karmel and Nesher...

 but could obtain only a transit visa
Visa (document)
A visa is a document showing that a person is authorized to enter the territory for which it was issued, subject to permission of an immigration official at the time of actual entry. The authorization may be a document, but more commonly it is a stamp endorsed in the applicant's passport...

 so they went on to Cairo
Cairo
Cairo , is the capital of Egypt and the largest city in the Arab world and Africa, and the 16th largest metropolitan area in the world. Nicknamed "The City of a Thousand Minarets" for its preponderance of Islamic architecture, Cairo has long been a centre of the region's political and cultural life...

. There they met Feival Polkes, an agent of the Haganah
Haganah
Haganah was a Jewish paramilitary organization in what was then the British Mandate of Palestine from 1920 to 1948, which later became the core of the Israel Defense Forces.- Origins :...

, who discussed with them the plans of the Zionists
Zionism
Zionism is a Jewish political movement that, in its broadest sense, has supported the self-determination of the Jewish people in a sovereign Jewish national homeland. Since the establishment of the State of Israel, the Zionist movement continues primarily to advocate on behalf of the Jewish state...

 and tried to enlist their assistance in facilitating Jewish emigration from Europe
Europe
Europe is, by convention, one of the world's seven continents. Comprising the westernmost peninsula of Eurasia, Europe is generally 'divided' from Asia to its east by the watershed divides of the Ural and Caucasus Mountains, the Ural River, the Caspian and Black Seas, and the waterways connecting...

. According to an answer Eichmann gave at his trial, he had also planned to meet Arab
Arab
Arab people, also known as Arabs , are a panethnicity primarily living in the Arab world, which is located in Western Asia and North Africa. They are identified as such on one or more of genealogical, linguistic, or cultural grounds, with tribal affiliations, and intra-tribal relationships playing...

 leaders in Palestine, but this never happened because entry to Palestine was refused by the British
United Kingdom
The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern IrelandIn the United Kingdom and Dependencies, other languages have been officially recognised as legitimate autochthonous languages under the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages...

 authorities.

In 1938, Eichmann was assigned to Austria to help organize SS Security Forces in Vienna
Vienna
Vienna is the capital and largest city of the Republic of Austria and one of the nine states of Austria. Vienna is Austria's primary city, with a population of about 1.723 million , and is by far the largest city in Austria, as well as its cultural, economic, and political centre...

 after the Anschluss
Anschluss
The Anschluss , also known as the ', was the occupation and annexation of Austria into Nazi Germany in 1938....

 of Austria with Germany. Through this effort, Eichmann was promoted to SS-Obersturmführer
Obersturmführer
Obersturmführer was a paramilitary rank of the Nazi party that was used by the SS and also as a rank of the SA. Translated as “Senior Assault Leader”, the rank of Obersturmführer was first created in 1932 as the result of an expansion of the Sturmabteilung and the need for an additional rank in...

(equivalent to first lieutenant) and, by the end of 1938, Eichmann had been selected by the SS leadership to form the Central Office for Jewish Emigration
Central Office for Jewish Emigration
The Central Office for Jewish Emigration was a designation of Nazi institutions in Vienna, Prague and Amsterdam. Its purpose was to expel Jews from Nazi-controlled areas.- History :...

, charged with forcibly deporting and expelling Jews from Austria.

World War II


At the start of World War II
World War II
World War II, or the Second World War , was a global conflict lasting from 1939 to 1945, involving most of the world's nations—including all of the great powers—eventually forming two opposing military alliances: the Allies and the Axis...

, Eichmann had been promoted to SS-Hauptsturmführer
Hauptsturmführer
Hauptsturmführer was a Nazi rank of the SS which was used between the years of 1934 and 1945. The rank of Hauptsturmführer was a mid-grade company level officer and was the equivalent of a Captain in the German Army and also the equivalent of captain in foreign armies...

(captain) and had made a name for himself with his Office for Jewish Emigration. Through this work Eichmann made several contacts in the Zionist movement
Zionism
Zionism is a Jewish political movement that, in its broadest sense, has supported the self-determination of the Jewish people in a sovereign Jewish national homeland. Since the establishment of the State of Israel, the Zionist movement continues primarily to advocate on behalf of the Jewish state...

, which he worked with to speed up Jewish emigration from the Third Reich
Nazi Germany
Nazi Germany , also known as the Third Reich , but officially called German Reich from 1933 to 1943 and Greater German Reich from 26 June 1943 onward, is the name commonly used to refer to the state of Germany from 1933 to 1945, when it was a totalitarian dictatorship ruled by...

.

Eichmann returned to Berlin in 1939 after the formation of the Reichssicherheitshauptamt
RSHA
The RSHA, or Reichssicherheitshauptamt was an organization subordinate to Heinrich Himmler in his dual capacities as Chef der Deutschen Polizei and Reichsführer-SS...

(Reich Main Security Office, RSHA). In December 1939, he was assigned to head RSHA Referat IV B4 (RSHA Sub-Department IV-B4), which dealt with Jewish affairs and evacuation, where he reported to Heinrich Müller. In August 1940, he released his Reichssicherheitshauptamt: Madagaskar Projekt
Madagascar Plan
The Madagascar Plan was a suggested policy of the Nazi government of Germany to relocate the Jewish population of Europe to the island of Madagascar.-Origins:The evacuation of European Jews to the island of Madagascar was not a new concept...

(Reich Main Security Office: Madagascar Project), a plan for forced Jewish deportation that never materialized. He was promoted to the rank of SS-Sturmbannführer
Sturmbannführer
Sturmbannführer was a paramilitary rank of the Nazi Party equivalent to major, used both in the Sturmabteilung and the Schutzstaffel...

(Major) in late 1940, and less than a year later to Obersturmbannführer
Obersturmbannführer
Obersturmbannführer was a paramilitary Nazi Party rank used by both the SA and the SS. It was created in May 1933 to fill the need for an additional field grade officer rank above Sturmbannführer as the SA expanded. It became an SS rank at the same time...

(Lieutenant Colonel).

Reinhard Heydrich
Reinhard Heydrich
Reinhard Tristan Eugen Heydrich , also known as The Hangman, was a high-ranking German Nazi official.He was SS-Obergruppenführer and General der Polizei, chief of the Reich Main Security Office and Stellvertretender Reichsprotektor of Bohemia and Moravia...

 disclosed to Eichmann in autumn 1941 that all the Jews in German-controlled Europe were to be murdered. In 1942, Heydrich ordered Eichmann to attend the Wannsee Conference
Wannsee Conference
The Wannsee Conference was a meeting of senior officials of the Nazi German regime, held in the Berlin suburb of Wannsee on 20 January 1942. The purpose of the conference was to inform administrative leaders of Departments responsible for various policies relating to Jews, that Reinhard Heydrich...

 as recording secretary, where Germany's anti-Semitic measures were set down into an official policy of genocide
Genocide
Genocide is defined as "the deliberate and systematic destruction, in whole or in part, of an ethnic, racial, religious, or national group", though what constitutes enough of a "part" to qualify as genocide has been subject to much debate by legal scholars...

. Eichmann was given the position of Transportation Administrator of the "Final Solution to the Jewish Question
Final Solution
The Final Solution was Nazi Germany's plan and execution of the systematic genocide of European Jews during World War II, resulting in the most deadly phase of the Holocaust...

", which put him in charge of all the trains that would carry Jews to the death camps in the territory of occupied Poland
General Government
The General Government was an area of Second Republic of Poland under Nazi German rule during World War II; designated as a separate region of the Third Reich between 1939–1945...

.

In 1944, he was sent to Hungary
Hungary
Hungary , officially the Republic of Hungary , is a landlocked country in Central Europe. It is situated in the Carpathian Basin and is bordered by Slovakia to the north, Ukraine and Romania to the east, Serbia and Croatia to the south, Slovenia to the southwest and Austria to the west. The...

 after Germany had occupied that country prior to a Soviet
Soviet Union
The Soviet Union , officially the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics , was a constitutionally socialist state that existed in Eurasia between 1922 and 1991....

 invasion. Eichmann at first made an offer through Joel Brand
Joel Brand
Joel Brand was a Hungarian sailor and odd-job man who became known for his role during the Holocaust in trying to save the Hungarian-Jewish community from deportation to the Auschwitz concentration camp....

 (who was to act as an intermediary) to trade captive European Jews to the Western Allies
Western Allies
The Western Allies were a political and geographic grouping among the Allied Powers of the Second World War. It generally includes the United Kingdom and British Commonwealth, the United States, France and various other European and Latin American countries, but excludes China, the Soviet Union,...

 for trucks and other goods (see Blood for goods). When there was no positive response to this offer, Eichmann started deporting Jews, sending 430,000 Hungarians to their deaths in the gas chamber
Gas chamber
A gas chamber is an apparatus for killing humans or animals with gas, consisting of a sealed chamber into which a poisonous or asphyxiant gas is introduced. The most commonly used poisonous agent is hydrogen cyanide; carbon dioxide and carbon monoxide have also been used...

s.

By 1945, Reichsführer-SS
Reichsführer-SS
was a special SS rank that existed between the years of 1925 and 1945. Reichsführer-SS was a title from 1925 to 1933 and, after 1934, the highest rank of the German Schutzstaffel .-Definition:...

Heinrich Himmler
Heinrich Himmler
Heinrich Luitpold Himmler was Reichsführer of the SS, a military commander, and a leading member of the Nazi Party. As Chief of the German Police and the Minister of the Interior from 1943, Himmler oversaw all internal and external police and security forces, including the Gestapo...

 had ordered Jewish extermination to be halted and evidence of the Final Solution to be destroyed. Eichmann was appalled by Himmler's turnabout, and continued his work in Hungary against official orders. Eichmann was also working to avoid being called up in the last-ditch German military effort, since a year before he had been commissioned as a Reserve Untersturmführer
Untersturmführer
Untersturmführer was a paramilitary rank of the German Schutzstaffel first created in July 1934. The rank can trace its origins to the older SA rank of Sturmführer which had existed since the founding of the SA in 1921...

in the Waffen-SS
Waffen-SS
The Waffen-SS was a multi-ethnic and multi-national military force of the Third Reich. It constituted the armed wing of the Schutzstaffel or SS, an organ of the Nazi Party. The Waffen-SS saw action throughout World War II and grew from three regiments to over 38 divisions, and served alongside...

and was now being ordered to active combat duty.

Eichmann fled Hungary in 1945 as the Soviets entered, and he returned to Austria, where he met up with his old friend Ernst Kaltenbrunner
Ernst Kaltenbrunner
Ernst Kaltenbrunner was an Austrian-born senior official of Nazi Germany during World War II. Between January 1943 and May 1945, he held the offices of Chief of the Reichssicherheitshauptamt , President of Interpol and, as a Obergruppenführer und General der Polizei und Waffen-SS, he was the...

. Kaltenbrunner, however, refused to associate with Eichmann since Eichmann's duties as an extermination administrator had left him a marked man by the Allies
Allies of World War II
The Allies of World War II were the countries that opposed the Axis powers during the Second World War . Former Axis states contributing to the Allied victory are not considered Allied states...

.

After World War II



At the end of World War II, Eichmann was captured by the U.S. Army
United States Army
The United States Army is the main branch of the United States Armed Forces responsible for land-based military operations. It is the largest and oldest established branch of the U.S. military, and is one of seven U.S. uniformed services...

, which was not aware of Eichmann's true identity as he presented himself as "Otto Eckmann." Early in 1946, he escaped from U.S. custody and hid in Altensalzkoth
Altensalzkoth
Altensalzkoth is a village in the Lower Saxon town of Bergen in north Germany. It belongs to the parish of Eversen in the district of Celle on the Lüneburg Heath. It lies 13 km north of Celle on the Landesstraße L 240 and currently has 65 inhabitants....

, an obscure hamlet on the Lüneburg Heath
Lüneburg Heath
The Lüneburg Heath is a large area of heath, geest and woodland in northeastern part of the state of Lower Saxony in northern Germany. It forms part of the hinterland for the cities of Hamburg, Hanover, and Bremen and is named after the town of Lüneburg. Most of the area is a nature reserve...

, for a few years. In 1948 he obtained a landing permit for Argentina, but did not use it immediately.

At the beginning of 1950, Eichmann went to Italy
Italy
Italy , officially the Italian Republic languages]] under the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages. In each of these, Italy's official name is as follows:;;;;;;;;), is a unitary parliamentary republic in South-Central Europe. To the north it borders France, Switzerland, Austria and...

, where he posed as a refugee
Refugee
A refugee is a person who outside her country of origin or habitual residence because she has suffered persecution on account of race, religion, nationality, political opinion, or because she is a member of a persecuted 'social group'. Such a person may be referred to as an 'asylum seeker' until...

 named Riccardo Klement. With the help of a Franciscan
Franciscan
Most Franciscans are members of Roman Catholic religious orders founded by Saint Francis of Assisi. Besides Roman Catholic communities, there are also Old Catholic, Anglican, Lutheran, ecumenical and Non-denominational Franciscan communities....

 friar who had connections to Bishop Alois Hudal
Alois Hudal
Alois Hudal was a Rome-based bishop of Austrian descent. He was for thirty years head of the small Austrian-German congregation of Santa Maria dell'Anima in Rome and until 1937, an influential representative of the Austrian Church...

, who organized one of the first postwar escape routes for Axis personnel
Axis Powers
The Axis powers , also known as the Axis alliance, Axis nations, Axis countries, or just the Axis, was an alignment of great powers during the mid-20th century that fought World War II against the Allies. It began in 1936 with treaties of friendship between Germany and Italy and between Germany and...

, Eichmann obtained an International Committee of the Red Cross
International Committee of the Red Cross
The International Committee of the Red Cross is a private humanitarian institution based in Geneva, Switzerland. States parties to the four Geneva Conventions of 1949 and their Additional Protocols of 1977 and 2005, have given the ICRC a mandate to protect the victims of international and...

 humanitarian passport, issued in Genoa
Genoa
Genoa |Ligurian]] Zena ; Latin and, archaically, English Genua) is a city and an important seaport in northern Italy, the capital of the Province of Genoa and of the region of Liguria....

, and an Argentine visa. Both of these issued to "Ricardo Klement, technician." However, Hannah Arendt
Hannah Arendt
Hannah Arendt was a German American political theorist. She has often been described as a philosopher, although she refused that label on the grounds that philosophy is concerned with "man in the singular." She described herself instead as a political theorist because her work centers on the fact...

 claims that Eichmann was assisted in his escape by ODESSA
ODESSA
The ODESSA, from the German Organisation der ehemaligen SS-Angehörigen, meaning “Organization of Former SS Members,” is believed to have been an international Nazi network set up toward the end of World War II by a group of SS officers...

, "a clandestine organization of SS veterans". In early May 2007, this passport was discovered in court archives in Argentina by a student doing research on Eichmann's capture. Eichmann boarded a ship heading for Argentina on July 14, 1950. For the next 10 years, he worked in several odd jobs in the Buenos Aires area—from factory foreman, to junior water engineer and professional rabbit
Rabbit
Rabbits are small mammals in the family Leporidae of the order Lagomorpha, found in several parts of the world...

 farmer. Eichmann also brought his family to Argentina
Argentina
Argentina , officially the Argentine Republic , is the second largest country in South America by land area, after Brazil. It is constituted as a federation of 23 provinces and an autonomous city, Buenos Aires...

.

BND and CIA inaction


In June 2006, old CIA
Central Intelligence Agency
The Central Intelligence Agency is a civilian intelligence agency of the United States government. It is an executive agency and reports directly to the Director of National Intelligence, responsible for providing national security intelligence assessment to senior United States policymakers...

 documents about Nazis and stay-behind
Stay-behind
In a stay-behind operation, a country places secret operatives or organisations in its own territory, for use in the event that the territory is overrun by an enemy. If this occurs, the operatives would then form the basis of a resistance movement, or would act as spies from behind enemy lines...

 networks dedicated to anti-communism
Anti-communism
Anti-communism is opposition to communism. Organized anti-communism developed in reaction to the rise of communism, especially after the 1917 October Revolution in Russia and the beginning of the Cold War in 1947.-Objections to communist theory:...

 were released. Among the 27,000 documents was a March 1958 memo from the German BND
Bundesnachrichtendienst
The Bundesnachrichtendienst [ˌbʊndəsˈnaːχʁɪçtnˌdiːnst] is the foreign intelligence agency of Germany, directly subordinated to the Chancellor's Office. Its headquarters are in Pullach near Munich, and Berlin . The BND has 300 locations in Germany and foreign countries...

 agency to the CIA, which stated that Eichmann was reported to have lived in Argentina since 1952 using the alias "Clemens". The CIA took no action on this information, because Eichmann's arrest could embarrass the US and Germany by turning public attention to the former Nazis they had recruited after World War II. For example, the West German
West Germany
West Germany is the common English, but not official, name for the Federal Republic of Germany or FRG in the period between its creation in May 1949 to German reunification on 3 October 1990....

 government, headed by Konrad Adenauer
Konrad Adenauer
Konrad Hermann Joseph Adenauer was a German statesman. He was the chancellor of the West Germany from 1949 to 1963. He is widely recognised as a person who led his country from the ruins of World War II to a powerful and prosperous nation that had forged close relations with old enemies France,...

, was worried about what Eichmann might say, especially about the past of Hans Globke
Hans Globke
- See also :* Theodor Oberländer* Rudolf Christoph Freiherr von Gersdorff- Bibliography :* Tetens, T.H. The New Germany and the Old Nazis. Random House/Marzani & Munsel, New York, 1961. LCN 61-7240....

, Adenauer's national security adviser, who had worked with Eichmann in the Jewish Affairs department and helped draft the 1935 Nuremberg Laws
Nuremberg Laws
The Nuremberg Laws of 1935 were antisemitic laws in Nazi Germany introduced at the annual Nuremberg Rally of the Nazi Party. After the takeover of power in 1933 by Hitler, Nazism became an official ideology incorporating scientific racism and antisemitism...

.

At the request of the West German government the CIA persuaded Life
Life (magazine)
Life generally refers to three American magazines:*A humor and general interest magazine published from 1883 to 1936. Time founder Henry Luce bought the magazine in 1936 solely so that he could acquire the rights to its name....

 magazine to delete any reference to Globke from Eichmann's memoirs, which it had bought from his family. By the time the CIA and the BND had this information, Israel had temporarily given up looking for Eichmann in Argentina because they could not discover his alias. Neither the CIA nor the US government as a whole at that time had a policy of pursuing Nazi war criminals. In addition to protecting Eichmann's and Globke's past, the CIA also protected Reinhard Gehlen
Reinhard Gehlen
Reinhard Gehlen was a General in the German Army during World War II, who served as chief of intelligence-gathering on the Eastern Front. After the war, he was recruited by the United States military to set up a spy ring directed against the Soviet Union , and eventually became head of the West...

, who recruited hundreds of former German spies
Espionage
Espionage or spying involves an individual obtaining information that is considered secret or confidential without the permission of the holder of the information. Espionage is inherently clandestine, lest the legitimate holder of the information change plans or take other countermeasures once it...

 for the CIA.

Capture



In 1948, the State of Israel
Israel
The State of Israel is a parliamentary republic located in the Middle East, along the eastern shore of the Mediterranean Sea...

 was established. In 1949, its official intelligence agency
Intelligence agency
An intelligence agency is a governmental agency that is devoted to information gathering for purposes of national security and defence. Means of information gathering may include espionage, communication interception, cryptanalysis, cooperation with other institutions, and evaluation of public...

, Mossad
Mossad
The Mossad , short for HaMossad leModi'in uleTafkidim Meyuchadim , is the national intelligence agency of Israel....

, was formed. One of Mossad's principal assigned tasks was to hunt down accused Nazi war criminals. Throughout the 1950s, many Jews and other victims of the Holocaust
The Holocaust
The Holocaust , also known as the Shoah , was the genocide of approximately six million European Jews and millions of others during World War II, a programme of systematic state-sponsored murder by Nazi...

 also dedicated themselves to finding Eichmann and other notorious Nazis. Among them was the Jewish Nazi hunter
Nazi hunter
A Nazi-hunter is a private individual who tracks down and gathers information on alleged former Nazis, SS members and Nazi collaborators involved in the Holocaust, typically for use at trial on charges of war crimes and crimes against humanity...

 Simon Wiesenthal
Simon Wiesenthal
Simon Wiesenthal KBE was an Austrian Holocaust survivor who became famous after World War II for his work as a Nazi hunter....

. In 1954, Wiesenthal received a postcard from an associate living in Buenos Aires, saying Eichmann was in Argentina. The message read in part:

Ich sah jenes schmutzige Schwein Eichmann. ("I saw that filthy pig Eichmann.") Er wohnt in der Nähe von Buenos Aires und arbeitet für ein Wassergeschäft. ("He lives near Buenos Aires and works for a water company.")

With this and other information collected by Wiesenthal, Israel had solid leads about Eichmann's whereabouts. However, Isser Harel
Isser Harel
Isser Harel was spymaster of the intelligence and the security services of Israel and the Director of the Mossad . In his capacity as Mossad director he oversaw the abduction, and secret transport to Israel, of Holocaust organizer Adolph Eichmann....

, the head of Mossad, later claimed in an unpublished manuscript that Wiesenthal "had no role whatsoever" in Eichmann's apprehension but in fact had endangered the entire Eichmann operation and aborted the planned capture of Auschwitz
Auschwitz concentration camp
Concentration camp Auschwitz was a network of Nazi concentration and extermination camps built and operated by the Third Reich in Polish areas annexed by Nazi Germany during World War II...

 doctor Josef Mengele
Josef Mengele
Josef Rudolf Mengele , also known as the Angel of Death was a German SS officer and a physician in the Nazi concentration camp Auschwitz-Birkenau. He earned doctorates in anthropology from Munich University and in medicine from Frankfurt University...

.

Eichmann changed his name but never changed those of his wife and sons. It was this that led to his capture.

Also instrumental in exposing Eichmann's identity was Lothar Hermann. He was a worker of Jewish descent who fled from Germany to Argentina following his incarceration in the Dachau concentration camp, where Eichmann had served at one time on the administrative staff. By the 1950s, Hermann had settled into life in Buenos Aires with his family. His daughter Sylvia became acquainted with Eichmann's family and romantically involved with Eichmann's son, Klaus Eichmann. Klaus made boastful remarks about his father's life as a Nazi and direct responsibility for the Holocaust. In 1957, Hermann realized who Eichmann was after reading a newspaper report about German war criminals—of whom Eichmann was one.

Soon after, he sent Sylvia to the Eichmanns' home on a fact-finding mission. She was met at the door by Eichmann himself who identified himself as Klaus' uncle. Sylvia asked for Klaus, and, after learning that he was not home, sat down to wait and made small talk with the man. On Klaus' return home, he immediately took Sylvia to the bus stop, but upon leaving his home, he addressed Eichmann as 'Father'. Hermann soon began a correspondence with Fritz Bauer
Fritz Bauer
Fritz Bauer was a German judge and prosecutor.-Life:Bauer was born in Stuttgart, Kingdom of Württemberg, German Empire to Jewish parents. He attended Eberhard-Ludwigs-Gymnasium and studied business and law at the Universities of Heidelberg, Munich and Tübingen. After receiving his Doctorate of...

, chief prosecutor
Prosecutor
The prosecutor is the chief legal representative of the prosecution in countries with either the common law adversarial system, or the civil law inquisitorial system...

 for the West German state of Hessen, and provided details about Eichmann's person and life. Bauer contacted Israeli officials, who worked sporadically with Hermann over the next several years trying to discover if this was really Eichmann.

In 1959, the Mossad was informed that Eichmann was in Buenos Aires under the name Ricardo Klement (Clement) and then began an effort to locate his exact whereabouts. Through relentless surveillance
Surveillance
Surveillance is the monitoring of the behavior, activities, or other changing information, usually of people. It is sometimes done in a surreptitious manner...

, it was concluded that Ricardo Klement was, in fact, Adolf Eichmann. The Israeli government then approved a covert operation
Covert operation
A covert operation is a military, intelligence or law enforcement operation that is carried clandestinely and, often, outside of official channels. Covert operations aim to fulfill their mission objectives without any parties knowing who sponsored or carried out the operation...

 to capture Eichmann and bring him to Jerusalem for trial as a war criminal
War crime
War crimes are serious violations of the laws applicable in armed conflict giving rise to individual criminal responsibility...

. It was to be a joint operation, carried out by the Mossad and Shin Bet, the Israel Security Agency. The Israelis continued their surveillance of Eichmann through the first months of 1960 until it was judged safe to take him.

Eichmann was captured by a team of Mossad and Shin Bet agents in a suburb of Buenos Aires on May 11, 1960. The Mossad agents had arrived in Buenos Aires in April 1960 after Eichmann's identity was confirmed. After observing Eichmann extensively, a team of Mossad agents waited for him as he arrived home from his work as foreman at a Mercedes Benz
Mercedes-Benz
Mercedes-Benz is a German manufacturer of automobiles, buses, coaches, and trucks. Mercedes-Benz is a division of its parent company, Daimler AG...

 factory.

The Mossad developed a strategy (practiced in their hideout) that they would ambush Eichmann when he was walking from the bus stop to his house at 14 Garibaldi St (now 4261 Garibaldi Street) in San Fernando, Buenos Aires
San Fernando, Buenos Aires
San Fernando de la Buena Vista is a city in the Gran Buenos Aires, in Argentina, and capital of the San Fernando Partido, north of the city of Buenos Aires.- Geographic Data:...

, an industrial community 20 km north of the center of Buenos Aires. A backup car was involved, should their primary transportation break down. The Israelis also had forged license plates attached to their car. It was crucial that Eichmann couldn't be tipped off; otherwise he might vanish again.

The plan was almost abandoned when Eichmann was not present on the bus he usually took home. Tension rose when many passers-by inquired of the disguised Mossad agent who pretended to be fixing their broken down vehicle. Finally, almost a half hour later, Eichmann got off a bus. A Mossad agent engaged him, asking him in Spanish if he had a moment. Eichmann was frightened and attempted to leave while blinded by Mossad headlights. Two Mossad men wrestled him to the ground and he was brought to the car. While in the car he reportedly told the Mossad, "I have already surrendered to my fate".

Then the Mossad agents ran into a police checkpoint and managed to evade the police when they checked their license plates. He was then brought to the Mossad safe house. There, he was tied to a chair, ungagged, and interrogated. It was concluded that Klement (Clement) was undoubtedly Eichmann. Eichmann was given a choice between instant death or trial in Israel. He chose to stand trial. The agents kept him in a safe house until they judged that he could be taken to Israel without being detected by Argentine authorities.

Eichmann was drugged to make him appear drunk and dressed as a flight attendant. They smuggled Eichmann out of Argentina on board an El Al
El Al
El Al Israel Airlines Ltd , trading as El Al , is the flag carrier of Israel. It operates scheduled domestic and international services and cargo flights to Europe, North America, Africa and the Far East from its main base in Ben Gurion International Airport...

 Bristol Britannia
Bristol Britannia
The Bristol Type 175 Britannia was a British medium-to-long-range airliner built by the Bristol Aeroplane Company in 1952 to fly across the British Empire...

 flight from Argentina to Dakar
Dakar
Dakar is the capital city and largest city of Senegal. It is located on the Cap-Vert Peninsula on the Atlantic coast and is the westernmost city on the African mainland...

 and then to Israel on May 21, 1960. Eichmann arrived heavily sedated, and like the agents, disguised in the uniform of the El Al crew.

There had been a backup plan in case the apprehension did not go as planned. If the police happened to intervene, one of the agents was to handcuff himself to Eichmann and make full explanations and disclosure.

For some time the Israeli government denied involvement in Eichmann's capture, claiming that he had been taken by Jewish volunteers who eagerly turned him over to Israeli authorities. Negotiations followed between Prime Minister David Ben-Gurion
David Ben-Gurion
' was the first Prime Minister of Israel.Ben-Gurion's passion for Zionism, which began early in life, led him to become a major Zionist leader and Executive Head of the World Zionist Organization in 1946...

 and Argentine president Arturo Frondizi
Arturo Frondizi
Arturo Frondizi Ercoli was the President of Argentina between May 1, 1958, and March 29, 1962, for the Intransigent Radical Civic Union.-Early life:Frondizi was born in Paso de los Libres, Corrientes Province...

, while the abduction was met from radical right
Far right
Far-right, extreme right, hard right, radical right, and ultra-right are terms used to discuss the qualitative or quantitative position a group or person occupies within right-wing politics. Far-right politics may involve anti-immigration and anti-integration stances towards groups that are...

 sectors in Argentina with a violent wave of antisemitism, carried on the streets by the Tacuara Nationalist Movement—including assaults, torture
Torture
Torture is the act of inflicting severe pain as a means of punishment, revenge, forcing information or a confession, or simply as an act of cruelty. Throughout history, torture has often been used as a method of political re-education, interrogation, punishment, and coercion...

 and bombings.

Ben-Gurion then announced Eichmann's capture to the Knesset
Knesset
The Knesset is the unicameral legislature of Israel, located in Givat Ram, Jerusalem.-Role in Israeli Government :The legislative branch of the Israeli government, the Knesset passes all laws, elects the President and Prime Minister , approves the cabinet, and supervises the work of the government...

—Israel's parliament
Parliament
A parliament is a legislature, especially in those countries whose system of government is based on the Westminster system modeled after that of the United Kingdom. The name is derived from the French , the action of parler : a parlement is a discussion. The term came to mean a meeting at which...

—on May 23, receiving a standing ovation in return. Isser Harel, head of the Mossad at the time of the operation, wrote the book The House on Garibaldi Street about Eichmann's capture, which was made into the 1979 American
United States
The United States of America is a federal constitutional republic comprising fifty states and a federal district...

 television movie of the same name.

When Eichmann was brought to Israel for trial
Trial
A trial is, in the most general sense, a test, usually a test to see whether something does or does not meet a given standard.It may refer to:*Trial , the presentation of information in a formal setting, usually a court...

, the Israeli police
Israel Police
The Israel Police is the civilian police force of Israel. As with most other police forces in the world, its duties include crime fighting, traffic control, maintaining public safety, and counter-terrorism...

 officer Avner Less, was Eichmann's interrogator
Interrogation
Interrogation is interviewing as commonly employed by officers of the police, military, and Intelligence agencies with the goal of extracting a confession or obtaining information. Subjects of interrogation are often the suspects, victims, or witnesses of a crime...

. Extracts from Less's interrogation of Eichmann have been published in the book Eichmann Interrogated
Eichmann Interrogated
Eichmann Interrogated is a book containing selections from the pre-trial interrogation of high-ranking former Nazi official Adolf Eichmann.-Synopsis:...

(ISBN 0-88619-017-7), and the 2007 film Eichmann
Eichmann (film)
Eichmann is a biographical film detailing the interrogation of Otto Adolf Eichmann. Directed by Robert Young, the film stars Thomas Kretschmann as Eichmann and Troy Garity as Eichmann's Israeli interrogator, Avner Less...

dramatizes Eichmann's interrogation.

Some years later, Peter Malkin
Peter Malkin
Peter Zvi Malkin , , was an Israeli secret agent, and member of the Mossad intelligence agency. Malkin was part of the team that captured Adolf Eichmann in Argentina in 1960 and brought him to Israel to stand trial....

, a member of the kidnapping team, wrote Eichmann in My Hands, which explores Eichmann's character and motivations, but its veracity has been questioned.

International dispute over capture


In June 1960, after unsuccessful secret negotiations with Israel, Argentina requested an urgent meeting of the United Nations Security Council
United Nations Security Council
The United Nations Security Council is one of the principal organs of the United Nations and is charged with the maintenance of international peace and security. Its powers, outlined in the United Nations Charter, include the establishment of peacekeeping operations, the establishment of...

, to protest what Argentina regarded as the "violation of the sovereign rights of the Argentine Republic". In the ensuing debate, Israeli representative Golda Meir
Golda Meir
Golda Meir ; May 3, 1898 – December 8, 1978) was a teacher, kibbutznik and politician who became the fourth Prime Minister of the State of Israel....

 claimed that the abductors were not Israeli agents but private individuals and so the incident was only an "isolated violation of Argentine law". Eventually the Council passed Resolution 138
United Nations Security Council Resolution 138
United Nations Security Council Resolution 138, adopted on June 23, 1960, after a complaint that the transfer of Adolf Eichmann to Israel from Argentina constituted a violation of the latter's sovereignty, the Council declared that such acts, if repeated, could endanger international peace and...

, which requested Israel "to make appropriate reparation", while stating that "Eichmann should be brought to appropriate justice for the crimes of which he is accused" and that "this resolution should in no way be interpreted as condoning the odious crimes of which Eichmann is accused."

After further negotiations, on August 3, Israel and Argentina agreed to end their dispute with a joint statement that "the Governments of Israel and the Republic of the Argentine, imbued with the wish to give effect to the resolution of the Security Council of June 23, 1960, in which the hope was expressed that the traditionally friendly relations between the two countries will be advanced, have decided to regard as closed the incident that arose out of the action taken by Israel nationals which infringed fundamental rights of the State of Argentina."

In the subsequent trial and appeal, the Israeli courts avoided the issue of the legality of Eichmann's capture, relying instead on legal precedents that the circumstances of his capture had no bearing on the legality of his trial. The Israeli Court also determined that because "Argentina has condoned the violation of her sovereignty and has waived her claims, including that for the return of the Appellant, any violation of international law that may have been involved in this incident has thus been remedied."

Josef Mengele


Isser Harel
Isser Harel
Isser Harel was spymaster of the intelligence and the security services of Israel and the Director of the Mossad . In his capacity as Mossad director he oversaw the abduction, and secret transport to Israel, of Holocaust organizer Adolph Eichmann....

, Chief Executive of the Secret Services of Israel (1952–1963), who headed the successful capture of Eichmann in Buenos Aires
Buenos Aires
Buenos Aires is the capital and largest city of Argentina, and the second-largest metropolitan area in South America, after São Paulo. It is located on the western shore of the estuary of the Río de la Plata, on the southeastern coast of the South American continent...

 in 1960, feels they almost apprehended Josef Mengele
Josef Mengele
Josef Rudolf Mengele , also known as the Angel of Death was a German SS officer and a physician in the Nazi concentration camp Auschwitz-Birkenau. He earned doctorates in anthropology from Munich University and in medicine from Frankfurt University...

. As he claims to have told the co-pilot that transported Eichmann at the time: "had it been possible to start the operation several weeks earlier Mengele might also have been on the plane." When they checked on the last known location for the "murderous doctor" in Argentina, he had apparently moved on just two weeks earlier.

Trial



Eichmann's trial in Jerusalem before the Jerusalem District Court began on April 11, 1961. He was indicted on 15 criminal charges, including crimes against humanity, war crimes, crimes against the Jewish people, and membership in an outlawed organization. In accordance with Israeli criminal procedure, the trial was presided over by three judges: Moshe Landau
Moshe Landau
Moshe Landau was an Israeli jurist. He was the fifth President of the Supreme Court of Israel.-Biography:Landau was born in Danzig, Germany to Dr. Isaac Landau and Betty née Eisenstädt...

, Benjamin Halevy
Benjamin Halevy
-Biography:Halevy was born Ernst Levi in Weissenfels, Germany and educated at the Universities of Freiburg, Göttingen and Berlin. He immigrated to what was then the British Mandate of Palestine in 1933 after Adolf Hitler became Chancellor of Germany, and studied at the Hebrew University of...

 and Yitzhak Raveh
Yitzhak Raveh
Yitzhak Raveh was a German-born Israeli judge who was one of the panel of three judges presiding over the trial of Adolf Eichmann.The other two judges were Moshe Landau and Benjamin Halevi.- Biography :...

. The chief prosecutor was Gideon Hausner
Gideon Hausner
Gideon Hausner was an Israeli jurist and politician. Between 1960 and 1963 he served as Attorney General, and was later elected to the Knesset and served in the cabinet....

, the Israeli Attorney General
Attorney General of Israel
The Attorney General of Israel stands at the head of the legal system of the executive branch and the head of the public legal establishment, in charge of protecting the rule of law and as such entrusted with protecting the public interest from possible harm by government authorities...

. The three judges sat high atop a plain dais. The trial was held at the Beit Ha'am—today known as the Gerard Behar Center—an auditorium in downtown Jerusalem. Eichmann sat inside a bulletproof glass
Bulletproof glass
Bulletproof glass is a type of strong but optically transparent material that is particularly resistant to being penetrated when struck by bullets, but is not completely impenetrable. It is usually made from a combination of two or more types of glass, one hard and one soft...

 booth to protect him from victims' families. This image inspired the novel, stage play, and film The Man in the Glass Booth
The Man in the Glass Booth
The Man in the Glass Booth is a 1975 American drama film directed by Arthur Hiller. The screenplay was adapted from Robert Shaw's 1967 novel and 1968 stage play, both of the same name. The plot was inspired by images of the trial of Adolf Eichmann....

, although the plot of the drama has nothing to do with the actual events of the Eichmann trial.

The legal basis of the charges against Eichmann was the 1950 "Nazi and Nazi Collaborators (Punishment) Law".

The trial caused huge international controversy, as well as an international sensation. The Israeli government allowed news programs all over the world to broadcast the trial live with few restrictions. The trial began with various witnesses, including many Holocaust survivors, who testified against Eichmann and his role in transporting victims to the extermination camps. One key witness for the prosecution was an American judge named Michael A. Musmanno
Michael Musmanno
Michael Angelo Musmanno was an American jurist, politician, and naval officer of Italian heritage.Musmanno was born in Stowe Township, in Allegheny County, Pennsylvania, an industrial neighborhood a few miles west of Pittsburgh.Musmanno rose to the rank of Rear Admiral in the United States Navy...

, who was a U.S. naval
United States Navy
The United States Navy is the naval warfare service branch of the United States Armed Forces and one of the seven uniformed services of the United States. The U.S. Navy is the largest in the world; its battle fleet tonnage is greater than that of the next 13 largest navies combined. The U.S...

 officer in 1945. Musmanno had questioned the Nuremberg defendants and would later go on to become a Justice of the Pennsylvania Supreme Court. He testified that the late Hermann Göring
Hermann Göring
Hermann Wilhelm Göring, was a German politician, military leader, and a leading member of the Nazi Party. He was a veteran of World War I as an ace fighter pilot, and a recipient of the coveted Pour le Mérite, also known as "The Blue Max"...

 "made it very clear that Eichmann was the man to determine, in what order, in what countries, the Jews were to die."

When the prosecution rested, Eichmann's defense lawyers, Robert Servatius
Robert Servatius
Robert Servatius was a German lawyer, prominent in his profession in Cologne.-Life:Servatius was born in Cologne on 31 October 1894. In the First World War he served as an artillery officer, and during the Second World War returned to military service, rising to the rank of Major...

 and Dieter Wechtenbruch, opened up the defense by explaining why they did not cross-examine
Cross-examination
In law, cross-examination is the interrogation of a witness called by one's opponent. It is preceded by direct examination and may be followed by a redirect .- Variations by Jurisdiction :In...

 any of the prosecution witnesses. Eichmann, speaking in his own defense, said that he did not dispute the facts of what happened during the Holocaust. During the whole trial, Eichmann insisted that he was only "following orders"—the same Nuremberg Defense
Superior Orders
Superior orders is a plea in a court of law that a soldier not be held guilty for actions which were ordered by a superior office...

 used by some of the Nazi war criminals during the 1945–1946 Nuremberg Trials
Nuremberg Trials
The Nuremberg Trials were a series of military tribunals, held by the victorious Allied forces of World War II, most notable for the prosecution of prominent members of the political, military, and economic leadership of the defeated Nazi Germany....

. He explicitly declared that he had abdicated his conscience
Conscience
Conscience is an aptitude, faculty, intuition or judgment of the intellect that distinguishes right from wrong. Moral judgement may derive from values or norms...

 in order to follow the Führerprinzip
Führerprinzip
The Führerprinzip , German for "leader principle", prescribes the fundamental basis of political authority in the governmental structures of the Third Reich...

. Eichmann claimed that he was merely a "transmitter" with very little power. He testified that: "I never did anything, great or small, without obtaining in advance express instructions from Adolf Hitler
Adolf Hitler
Adolf Hitler was an Austrian-born German politician and the leader of the National Socialist German Workers Party , commonly referred to as the Nazi Party). He was Chancellor of Germany from 1933 to 1945, and head of state from 1934 to 1945...

 or any of my superiors."

During cross-examination, prosecutor Hausner asked Eichmann if he considered himself guilty of the murder of millions of Jews. Eichmann replied: "Legally not, but in the human sense ... yes, for I am guilty of having deported them". When Hausner produced as evidence a quote by Eichmann in 1945 stating: "I will leap into my grave laughing because the feeling that I have five million human beings on my conscience is for me a source of extraordinary satisfaction." Eichmann countered the claim saying that he was referring only to "enemies of the Reich".

Witnesses for the defense, all of them former high-ranking Nazis, were promised immunity and safe conduct from their German and Austrian homes to testify in Jerusalem on Eichmann's behalf. All of them refused to travel to Israel, but they sent the court depositions
Deposition (law)
In the law of the United States, a deposition is the out-of-court oral testimony of a witness that is reduced to writing for later use in court or for discovery purposes. It is commonly used in litigation in the United States and Canada and is almost always conducted outside of court by the...

. However, almost none of the depositions supported Eichmann's "following orders" defense. One deposition was from Otto Winkelmann, a former senior SS police leader in Budapest
Budapest
Budapest is the capital of Hungary. As the largest city of Hungary, it is the country's principal political, cultural, commercial, industrial, and transportation centre. In 2011, Budapest had 1,733,685 inhabitants, down from its 1989 peak of 2,113,645 due to suburbanization. The Budapest Commuter...

 in 1944. His memo stated that "(Eichmann) had the nature of a subaltern, which means a fellow who uses his power recklessly, without moral restraints. He would certainly overstep his authority if he thought he was acting in the spirit of his commander [Adolf Hitler]". Franz Six
Franz Six
Dr. Franz Alfred Six was a Nazi official who rose to the rank of SS-Brigadeführer. He was appointed by Reinhard Heydrich to head department Amt VII, Written Records of the Reichssicherheitshauptamt...

, a former SS brigadier general
Brigadeführer
SS-Brigadeführer was an SS rank that was used in Nazi Germany between the years of 1932 and 1945. Brigadeführer was also an SA rank....

 in the German security service
RSHA
The RSHA, or Reichssicherheitshauptamt was an organization subordinate to Heinrich Himmler in his dual capacities as Chef der Deutschen Polizei and Reichsführer-SS...

, who was assigned the supervision of the occupation of the United Kingdom had Operation Sea Lion been successful, said in his deposition that Eichmann was an absolute believer in National Socialism and would act to the most extreme of the party doctrine, and that Eichmann had greater power than other department chiefs.

After 14 weeks of testimony with more than 1,500 documents, 100 prosecution witnesses (90 of whom were Nazi concentration camp survivors) and dozens of defense depositions delivered by diplomatic couriers from 16 different countries, the Eichmann trial ended on August 14. At that point, the judges began deliberations in seclusion. On December 11, the three judges announced their verdict: Eichmann was convicted on all counts. Eichmann had said to the court that he expected the death penalty. On December 15, the court imposed a death sentence
Capital punishment
Capital punishment, the death penalty, or execution is the sentence of death upon a person by the state as a punishment for an offence. Crimes that can result in a death penalty are known as capital crimes or capital offences. The term capital originates from the Latin capitalis, literally...

. Eichmann appeal
Appeal
An appeal is a petition for review of a case that has been decided by a court of law. The petition is made to a higher court for the purpose of overturning the lower court's decision....

ed the verdict, mostly relying on legal arguments about Israel's jurisdiction and the legality of the laws under which he was charged. He also claimed that he was protected by the principle of "Acts of State" and repeated his "following orders" defense.

On May 29, 1962 Israel's Supreme Court, sitting as a Court of Criminal Appeal, rejected the appeal and upheld the District Court's judgment on all counts. In rejecting his appeal again claiming that he was only "following orders", the court stated that, "Eichmann received no superior orders at all. He was his own superior and he gave all orders in matters that concerned Jewish affairs ... the so-called Final Solution would never have assumed the infernal forms of the flayed skin and tortured flesh of millions of Jews without the fanatical zeal and the unquenchable blood thirst of the appellant and his associates." A large number of prominent persons sent requests for clemency. On May 31, Israeli President Yitzhak Ben-Zvi
Yitzhak Ben-Zvi
Yitzhak Ben-Zvi was a historian, Labor Zionist leader, the second and longest-serving President of Israel.-Biography:...

 turned down Eichmann's petition for mercy. On the telegram that Eichmann's wife, Vera, sent in support of the clemency, Ben-Zvi added in his handwriting a passage from the First Book of Samuel
Books of Samuel
The Books of Samuel in the Jewish bible are part of the Former Prophets, , a theological history of the Israelites affirming and explaining the Torah under the guidance of the prophets.Samuel begins by telling how the prophet Samuel is chosen by...

: "As your sword bereaved women, so will your mother be bereaved among women." (1 Samuel 15:33, Samuel's words to Agag
Agag
Agag was the name of two kings of the Amalekites mentioned in the Hebrew Bible. It has been conjectured that the name was a standing title of the kings of the Amalekites...

, king of the Amalek
Amalek
The Amalekites are a people mentioned a number of times in the Hebrew Bible. They are considered to be descended from an ancestor Amalek....

ites).

In 1999, 128 minutes of the original video recordings made during court sessions of the Eichmann trial were released to cinemas and later to home video under the title Un spécialiste (The Specialist in the US). The title is related to Eichmann's wartime reputation as a "specialist" in logistics regarding the expatriation, expropriation, and deportation of Jewish people.

In 2011 Yad Vashem
Yad Vashem
Yad Vashem is Israel's official memorial to the Jewish victims of the Holocaust, established in 1953 through the Yad Vashem Law passed by the Knesset, Israel's parliament....

 has uploaded the entire trial to YouTube
YouTube
YouTube is a video-sharing website, created by three former PayPal employees in February 2005, on which users can upload, view and share videos....

 (link).

West German government attempts to influence the trial


Secret German documents made available in 2011 to the German periodical Der Spiegel
Der Spiegel
Der Spiegel is a German weekly news magazine published in Hamburg. It is one of Europe's largest publications of its kind, with a weekly circulation of more than one million.-Overview:...

 indicate that the Adenauer government was in a panic after the arrest of Eichmann. There was fear that a trial would highlight a number of former high level government officials who had served the Nazis, particularly Hans Globke
Hans Globke
- See also :* Theodor Oberländer* Rudolf Christoph Freiherr von Gersdorff- Bibliography :* Tetens, T.H. The New Germany and the Old Nazis. Random House/Marzani & Munsel, New York, 1961. LCN 61-7240....

 who was the Chancellery Chief of Staff and a close advisor to Chancellor Adenauer. An agent from the German Intelligence Service, Rolf Vogel, was sent to the trial in the guise of a reporter for the German newspaper, Deutsche Zeitung. Vogel worked closely with the Israeli prosecutors, making sure that there would be no implication of Globke and other former Nazis. He even arranged a meeting with David Ben-Gurion, the Israeli Prime Minister where he expressed the German concern. Vogel came away with the impression that the names of people like Globke would not be raised at the trial. At the same time, negotiations for a large arms purchase by Israel from the FRG were taking place. In the event, no mention was made during the trial nor were there any reference which were made public from the interrogations of Eichmann to former Nazi German officials. In 1962, military aid worth some 240 million DM was approved by the German government.

Execution


Eichmann was hanged shortly before midnight on May 31, 1962, at a prison in Ramla
Ramla
Ramla , is a city in central Israel. The city is predominantly Jewish with a significant Arab minority. Ramla was founded circa 705–715 AD by the Umayyad Caliph Suleiman ibn Abed al-Malik after the Arab conquest of the region...

, Israel. This remains the only civil execution ever carried out in Israel, which has a general policy of not enforcing the death penalty. Eichmann allegedly refused a last meal
Last meal
The last meal is a customary part of a condemned prisoner's last day. Often, the day of, or before, the appointed time of execution, the prisoner receives a last meal, as well as religious rites, if they desire. In the United States, inmates generally may not ask for an alcoholic drink...

, preferring instead a bottle of Carmel
Carmel Winery
Carmel Winery is a vineyard and winery in Israel. Founded in 1882 by Edmond James de Rothschild, its products are exported to over 40 countries.- Overview :...

, a dry red Israeli wine
Israeli wine
Israeli wine is produced by hundreds of wineries, ranging in size from small boutique enterprises to large companies producing over ten million bottles per year. Wine has been produced in the Land of Israel since biblical times. In 2009, Israeli wine exports totaled over $22 million...

, consuming about half the bottle. He also refused to don the traditional black hood for his execution.

There is some dispute over Eichmann's last words. One account states that these were:
According to David Cesarani
David Cesarani
David Cesarani OBE is an English historian who specialises in Jewish history, especially the Holocaust. He has also written several biographies, notably Arthur Koestler: The Homeless Mind.-Early life:...

, a leading Holocaust historian and Research Professor in History of the Royal Holloway, University of London
University of London
-20th century:Shortly after 6 Burlington Gardens was vacated, the University went through a period of rapid expansion. Bedford College, Royal Holloway and the London School of Economics all joined in 1900, Regent's Park College, which had affiliated in 1841 became an official divinity school of the...

, Eichmann is quoted thus:
Shortly after the execution, Eichmann's body was cremated
Cremation
Cremation is the process of reducing bodies to basic chemical compounds such as gasses and bone fragments. This is accomplished through high-temperature burning, vaporization and oxidation....

 in a specially designed furnace, and a stretcher on tracks was used to place the body into it. The next morning, June 1, his ashes were scattered at sea over the Mediterranean
Mediterranean Sea
The Mediterranean Sea is a sea connected to the Atlantic Ocean surrounded by the Mediterranean region and almost completely enclosed by land: on the north by Anatolia and Europe, on the south by North Africa, and on the east by the Levant...

, beyond the territorial waters
International waters
The terms international waters or trans-boundary waters apply where any of the following types of bodies of water transcend international boundaries: oceans, large marine ecosystems, enclosed or semi-enclosed regional seas and estuaries, rivers, lakes, groundwater systems , and wetlands.Oceans,...

 of Israel by an Israeli Navy patrol boat. This was to ensure that there could be no future memorial and that no country would serve as his final resting place.

Analysis


Political theorist Hannah Arendt
Hannah Arendt
Hannah Arendt was a German American political theorist. She has often been described as a philosopher, although she refused that label on the grounds that philosophy is concerned with "man in the singular." She described herself instead as a political theorist because her work centers on the fact...

, a Jew who fled Germany after Hitler's rise to power, reported on Eichmann's trial for The New Yorker
The New Yorker
The New Yorker is an American magazine of reportage, commentary, criticism, essays, fiction, satire, cartoons and poetry published by Condé Nast...

. In Eichmann in Jerusalem
Eichmann in Jerusalem
Eichmann in Jerusalem: A Report on the Banality of Evil is a book written by political theorist Hannah Arendt, originally published in 1963...

, a book formed by this reporting, Arendt concluded that, aside from a desire for improving his career, Eichmann showed no trace of an antisemitic personality or of any psychological damage to his character. She called him the embodiment of the "Banality of Evil
Banality of Evil
Banality of evil is a phrase coined by Hannah Arendt and incorporated in the title of her 1963 work Eichmann in Jerusalem: A Report on the Banality of Evil. It describes the thesis that the great evils in history generally, and the Holocaust in particular, were not executed by fanatics or...

", as he appeared at his trial to have an ordinary and common personality, displaying neither guilt nor hatred. She suggested that this most strikingly discredits the idea that the Nazi criminals were manifestly psychopathic
Psychopathy
Psychopathy is a mental disorder characterized primarily by a lack of empathy and remorse, shallow emotions, egocentricity, and deceptiveness. Psychopaths are highly prone to antisocial behavior and abusive treatment of others, and are very disproportionately responsible for violent crime...

 and different from ordinary people. Eichmann himself said he joined the SS not because he agreed with its ethos, but because he needed to build a career.

Stanley Milgram
Stanley Milgram
Stanley Milgram was an American social psychologist most notable for his controversial study known as the Milgram Experiment. The study was conducted in the 1960s during Milgram's professorship at Yale...

 interpreted Arendt's work as stating that even the most ordinary of people can commit horrendous crimes if placed in certain situations and given certain incentives. He wrote: "I must conclude that Arendt's conception of the banality of evil comes closer to the truth than one might dare imagine." However, Arendt did not suggest that Eichmann was normal or that any person placed in his situation would have done as he did. According to her account, Eichmann had abdicated his will
Will (philosophy)
Will, in philosophical discussions, consonant with a common English usage, refers to a property of the mind, and an attribute of acts intentionally performed. Actions made according to a person's will are called "willing" or "voluntary" and sometimes pejoratively "willful"...

 to make moral choices, and thus his autonomy
Autonomy
Autonomy is a concept found in moral, political and bioethical philosophy. Within these contexts, it is the capacity of a rational individual to make an informed, un-coerced decision...

. Eichmann claimed he was just following orders, and that he was therefore respecting the duties of a "bureaucrat". Arendt thus argued that he had essentially forsaken the conditions of morality, autonomy and the ability to question orders (see Führerprinzip
Führerprinzip
The Führerprinzip , German for "leader principle", prescribes the fundamental basis of political authority in the governmental structures of the Third Reich...

).

In Becoming Eichmann, David Cesarani
David Cesarani
David Cesarani OBE is an English historian who specialises in Jewish history, especially the Holocaust. He has also written several biographies, notably Arthur Koestler: The Homeless Mind.-Early life:...

 claimed that Eichmann was in fact extremely anti-Semitic, and that these feelings were important motivators of his genocidal actions.

In tapes recorded in the 1950s, that have recently been made available by the German Federal Archive in Koblenz, Eichmann was recorded as stating he "was no ordinary recipient of orders" and that he "was part of the thinking process; an idealist". The tapes are reported to contradict Eichmann's defence during his 1961 Jerusalem trial for crimes against humanity that he was only "following orders".

Eichmann's son, Ricardo, who was born after World War II, says he harbours no resentment toward Israel for executing his father. He explained that his father's lack of remorse caused "difficult emotions" for the Eichmann family, and that he was unable to grasp his father's "following orders" argument to excuse his actions. Ricardo is now a professor of archaeology at the German Archaeological Institute
German Archaeological Institute
The German Archaeological Institute is an institution of research within the field of archaeology , and a "scientific corporation", with parentage of the federal Foreign Office of Germany-Origin:...

.

In the 2001 film Conspiracy, Adolf Eichmann was portrayed by actor Stanley Tucci
Stanley Tucci
Stanley Tucci is an American actor, writer, film producer and film director. He has been nominated for several notable film awards, including an Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor, for his performance in The Lovely Bones...

.

Summary of SS career

  • SS number: 45,326
  • Nazi Party number: 899,895
  • Primary positions: Sub-Department IV-B4 (Gestapo
    Gestapo
    The Gestapo was the official secret police of Nazi Germany. Beginning on 20 April 1934, it was under the administration of the SS leader Heinrich Himmler in his position as Chief of German Police...

    ), RSHA
    RSHA
    The RSHA, or Reichssicherheitshauptamt was an organization subordinate to Heinrich Himmler in his dual capacities as Chef der Deutschen Polizei and Reichsführer-SS...

  • Waffen-SS service: SS-Untersturmführer
    Untersturmführer
    Untersturmführer was a paramilitary rank of the German Schutzstaffel first created in July 1934. The rank can trace its origins to the older SA rank of Sturmführer which had existed since the founding of the SA in 1921...

     der Reserve (November 9, 1944)

Dates of rank

  • SS-Anwärter
    Anwärter
    Anwärter is a German title which translates as “Candidate”. In modern day Germany, the title of Anwärter is typically used by those applying for employment and also as a designation for members of the Bundeswehr who are under consideration for a leadership assignment.During the Third Reich,...

    : April 1, 1932
  • SS-Mann
    Mann (military rank)
    Mann , was a paramilitary rank used by several Nazi Party paramilitary organizations between 1925 and 1945. The rank is most often associated with the SS, and also as a rank of the SA where Mann was the lowest enlisted rank and was the equivalent of a Private.In 1938, with the rise of the...

    : November 9, 1933
  • SS-Scharführer
    Scharführer
    Scharführer was a Nazi Party title that was used by several paramilitary organizations from 1925 to 1945. Translated as “Squad Leader”, the title of Scharführer can trace its origins to the First World War, where a Scharführer was often a Sergeant or Corporal who commanded special action or shock...

    : December 24, 1933
  • SS-Oberscharführer
    Oberscharführer
    Oberscharführer was a Nazi Party paramilitary rank that existed between the years of 1932 and 1945. Translated as “Senior Squad Leader”, Oberscharführer was first used as a rank of the Sturmabteilung and was created due to an expansion of the enlisted positions required by growing SA membership...

    : May 1, 1934
  • SS-Scharführer
    Scharführer
    Scharführer was a Nazi Party title that was used by several paramilitary organizations from 1925 to 1945. Translated as “Squad Leader”, the title of Scharführer can trace its origins to the First World War, where a Scharführer was often a Sergeant or Corporal who commanded special action or shock...

    : July 1, 1934
  • SS-Oberscharführer
    Oberscharführer
    Oberscharführer was a Nazi Party paramilitary rank that existed between the years of 1932 and 1945. Translated as “Senior Squad Leader”, Oberscharführer was first used as a rank of the Sturmabteilung and was created due to an expansion of the enlisted positions required by growing SA membership...

    : September 1, 1935
  • SS-Hauptscharführer
    Hauptscharführer
    Hauptscharführer was a Nazi paramilitary rank which was used by the Schutzstaffel between the years of 1934 and 1945. The rank was the highest enlisted rank of the SS, with the exception of the special Waffen-SS rank of Sturmscharführer....

    : September 13, 1936
  • SS-Untersturmführer
    Untersturmführer
    Untersturmführer was a paramilitary rank of the German Schutzstaffel first created in July 1934. The rank can trace its origins to the older SA rank of Sturmführer which had existed since the founding of the SA in 1921...

    : November 9, 1937
  • SS-Obersturmführer
    Obersturmführer
    Obersturmführer was a paramilitary rank of the Nazi party that was used by the SS and also as a rank of the SA. Translated as “Senior Assault Leader”, the rank of Obersturmführer was first created in 1932 as the result of an expansion of the Sturmabteilung and the need for an additional rank in...

    : September 11, 1938
  • SS-Hauptsturmführer
    Hauptsturmführer
    Hauptsturmführer was a Nazi rank of the SS which was used between the years of 1934 and 1945. The rank of Hauptsturmführer was a mid-grade company level officer and was the equivalent of a Captain in the German Army and also the equivalent of captain in foreign armies...

    : January 30, 1939
  • SS-Sturmbannführer
    Sturmbannführer
    Sturmbannführer was a paramilitary rank of the Nazi Party equivalent to major, used both in the Sturmabteilung and the Schutzstaffel...

    : August 1, 1940
  • SS-Obersturmbannführer
    Obersturmbannführer
    Obersturmbannführer was a paramilitary Nazi Party rank used by both the SA and the SS. It was created in May 1933 to fill the need for an additional field grade officer rank above Sturmbannführer as the SA expanded. It became an SS rank at the same time...

    : November 9, 1941

Nazi awards and decorations

  • War Merit Cross
    War Merit Cross
    The War Merit Cross was a decoration of Nazi Germany during the Second World War, which could be awarded to civilians as well as military personnel...

     (1st & 2nd Classes with Swords)
  • Anschluss Medal
    Anschluss Medal
    The Anschluss Commemorative Medal was a decoration of Nazi Germany awarded in the interwar period.-Description:Instituted on May 1, 1938, the medal commemorated the return of Austria to the German Reich...

  • SA Sports Badge
    SA Sports Badge
    The SA Sports Badge was a decoration of Nazi Germany that was issued between the years 1933 and 1945. It was a political version of the much more generic German Sports Badge which was also issued in great numbers by the Nazis....

     (in Bronze)
  • SS Honour Ring
    SS-Ehrenring
    The SS-Ehrenring , unofficially called Totenkopfring , was an award of Heinrich Himmler's Schutzstaffel . It was not a state decoration, but rather a personal gift bestowed by Himmler...

  • Honour Chevron for the Old Guard
    Honour Chevron for the Old Guard
    The Honour Chevron for the Old Guard, or in German Ehrenwinkel für Alte Kämpfer, was a political decoration of the Nazi Party in Germany. It was authorised in February 1934, as a silver chevron to be worn on the upper right arm, by all members of the SS, who had joined the SS, NSDAP or any other...

  • SS Julleuchter
    SS Julleuchter
    The SS-Julleuchter was both an award and trophy of the German Schutzstaffel that was presented to members of the SS from approximately 1936 until 1944...

  • SS Zivilabzeichen
    SS Zivilabzeichen
    The SS Zivilabzeichen , was a badge of the SS issued between the years of 1933 and 1938 to certain SS officers.Translated as "SS-Civil Badge", the SS Zivilabzeichen was a small lapel pin worn on civilian clothing to denote membership in the SS. The badge was most commonly awarded to members of the...

     (SS-Z.A. #6,375)

See also


  • Glossary of Nazi Germany
  • List of Nazi Party leaders and officials
  • List of SS personnel
  • Command responsibility
    Command responsibility
    Command responsibility, sometimes referred to as the Yamashita standard or the Medina standard, and also known as superior responsibility, is the doctrine of hierarchical accountability in cases of war crimes....

  • History of the Jews in Hungary
    History of the Jews in Hungary
    Hungarian Jews have existed since at least the 11th century. After struggling against discrimination throughout the Middle Ages, by the early 20th century the community grew to be 5% of Hungary's population , and were prominent in science, the arts and business...

  • Rudolf Kastner
    Rudolf Kastner
    Rudolf Israel Kastner was a Jewish-Hungarian journalist and lawyer who became known for facilitating the departure of Jews out of Nazi-occupied Hungary during the Holocaust...

  • Emanuel Schäfer
    Emanuel Schäfer
    Emanuel Schäfer was an SS-Oberführer and a protégé of Reinhard Heydrich in Nazi Germany....

  • Rudolf Vrba
    Rudolf Vrba
    Rudolf "Rudi" Vrba, born Walter Rosenberg was a Slovak-Canadian professor of pharmacology at the University of British Columbia, who came to public attention during the Second World War when, in April 1944, he escaped from the Auschwitz concentration camp in German-occupied Poland with the first...

  • Eichmann (film)
    Eichmann (film)
    Eichmann is a biographical film detailing the interrogation of Otto Adolf Eichmann. Directed by Robert Young, the film stars Thomas Kretschmann as Eichmann and Troy Garity as Eichmann's Israeli interrogator, Avner Less...

  • Eichmann Interrogated
    Eichmann Interrogated
    Eichmann Interrogated is a book containing selections from the pre-trial interrogation of high-ranking former Nazi official Adolf Eichmann.-Synopsis:...



External links