Adolf Eichmann was a person whose ordinary appearance would never fit the description of an extraordinary evil he came to personify. However, within such a nondescript personality resided a terrifying mass murderer responsible for the systematic genocide of six million Jews.
An Ordinary Man: Adolf Eichmann
Eichmann was born in 1906 to a middle-class family in Solingen, Germany. Later, his family moved to Linz, Austria. After his schooling, Eichmann worked as a clerk and salesman in various companies and led an uneventful life. This was a time when the Nazi party was gaining a decisive foothold in German politics. The influence of Nazi propaganda made him join the Nazi Party and Eichmann subsequently become a member of SS (a paramilitary wing of the Nazi party).
A Prominent Soldier Of The SS: Adolf Eichmann
The SS had been the most committed anti-Semitic and foremost among Hitler’s genocide machinery. His bureaucratic abilities and pathological hatred for Jews led to a rapid rise in the SS. He moved to Germany after the Nazi party came into power. Subsequently, he was transferred to Berlin where he became the prime architect of the Nazi Genocide.
Finding A Solution
Adolf Eichmann became the ground worker for Heinrich Himmler, the head of the SS. The Final Solution was a question on how to deal with the Jews. The Final solution developed over a period of time and it was not a one time answer. Initially, the solution changed from immigration to deportation of Jews and finally culminated in the annihilation of Jews.
The Final Solution
In the early days of the immigration solution, Eichmann traveled to Palestine to see the possibility of relocation of Jews. The fear of the creation of a Jewish state due to the large presence of immigrated Jews led to the disposal of this option. The relocation of Jews to the French colony of Madagascar was another discarded option. Finally, The Final Solution came to its conclusion of active chase and extermination of European Jews through imprisonment, slavery and systematic annihilation in concentration camps.
The Final Solution also extended to Jews in the territories under the control of the Germans. During his deputation in Vienna, Eichmann had overseen the immigration of over 1,00,000 Jews from Austria. In his time in Berlin, Eichmann deported more the 80,000 Jews of Poland. Jewish quarters or “Ghettos” were created for the eventual deportation of Jews and segregation from the German population. As the logistics and other considerations made deportation unviable, a large casualty of Jews occurred in these ghettos due to overflowing numbers and inhuman living conditions.
This led to the Final solution of transporting Jews to various German-controlled territories for work or death. Eichmann’s direct supervision during this phase led to the mass extermination of six million Jews. He identified the Jews in various areas and seized their properties before transporting them to extermination camps such as Auschwitz concentration camps.
Capture And Trail In Israel
Eichmann had fled to Argentina with his family after the war. He evaded capture till the year 1960. Eventually, the Israeli secret service “Mossad” kidnapped him from the street of Buenos Aires and tried him in a court in Jerusalem. His only defense was that he was a foot soldier of the Reich and was merely following orders. Nevertheless, Eichmann was hanged to death on June 1st, 1962 for war crimes and the Holocaust. His innocence defense did not mirror up to these words he had reportedly uttered, ” I would leap laughing into my grave because the feeling that I have five million people on my conscience would be for myself a source of extraordinary satisfaction”.