2nd World War History ~ Key Players

Objectives: To look into the backgrounds of as many of the key players in the Second World War as time permits. To try to convey the history of the 2nd World War in a concise and easy - to - read way as possible and how such War Crimes came about and the men responsible for those War Crimes.

Header Photo: Eichmann on trial before the Jerusalem District Court, Israel, 1961.

Adolf Eichmann: Biography >> Facts

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Adolf Eichmann ~ Biography (1906 - 1962)

SS-Obersturmbannfuehrer Karl Adolf Eichmann (1906-1962) was head of the Department for Jewish Affairs in the Gestapo from 1941 to 1945 and was chief of operations in the deportation of three million Jews to extermination camps.

He joined the Austrian Nazi party in 1932 and later became a member of the SS. In 1934 he served as an SS corporal in the Dachau concentration camp. That same year he joined the SD and attracted the attention of Heinrich Himmler and Reinhard Heydrich. By 1935 Eichmann was already working in the Jewish section, where he was investigating possible "solutions to the Jewish question." He was even sent to Palestine to discuss the viability of large scale immigration to the Middle East with Arab leaders. British authorities, however, forced him to leave.

With the takeover of Austria in March 1938, Eichmann was sent to Vienna to promote Jewish emigration. He set up the Zentralstelle fuer juedische Auswanderung [Center for Jewish Emigration], which was so successful that similar offices were soon established in Prague and Berlin.

In 1939 Eichmann returned to Berlin, where he assumed the directorship of Section IV B4, Jewish affairs and evacuation, in the Reich Security Main Office. It was Eichmann who organized the Wannsee Conference of January 1942, which focused on issues related to the "final solution of the Jewish question." From this point Eichmann assumed the leading role in the deportation of European Jews to the death camps, as well as in the plunder of their property.

At the end of the war, Eichmann was arrested and confined to an American internment camp, but he was able to escape unrecognized. He fled to Argentina and lived under the assumed name of Ricardo Klement for ten years until Israeli Mossad agents abducted him in 1960 to stand trial in Jerusalem. The controversial and highly publicized trial lasted from April 2 to August 14, 1961. Eichmann was sentenced to death and executed in Ramleh Prison on May 31, 1962.

Adolf Eichmann
Adolf Eichmann

Adolf Eichmann ~ Facts

01/ As far as I can remember, while living in Buenos Aires after the war he met Josef Mengele twice. There wasn't a close relationship as the two men didn't get on. Effectively, he was Mengele's overall boss during the war and yet, through family connections, it was Mengele who was far better off, financially, in South America.

02/ Mossad considered snatching Mengele in the same operation as that of Eichmann's but it would have complicated matters more and Mengele gave them the slip anyway just before they captured Eichmann.

03/ He was 56 when he was executed.

04/ His trial in Israel in 1961 captured the world's attention. My parents, for one, followed it avidly as did millions of people around the world. This wasn't idle curiosity: the Israeli government arranged for the trial to have prominent media coverage. Major newspapers from all over the globe sent reporters and published front-page coverage of the story as t unfolded. The trial, held at the Beit Ha'am was an auditorium in downtown b>Jerusalem and b>Eichmann was sat inside a bulletproof glass booth to protect him from assassination attempts. Israelis had the opportunity to watch live television broadcasts of the proceedings, and film was flown daily around the world for broadcast the following day.

05/ It does seem that once in a generation a trial captures the world's attention. O.J. Simpson in the 1990s; Michael Jackson in the 2000s. But in terms of historical importance if there was one trial which could lay claim to the trial of the century then this was it.

06/ Eichmann fled Budapest on 24 December 1944 just before the Soviets completed their encirclement of the capital.

07/ He attended the infamous Wannsee Conference on 20 January 1942 organised by Reinhard Heydrich.

09/ Buenos Aires, the evening of May 11th 1960, was the place and date of his capture by Mossad.

10/ The trial didn't take place for a year after his abduction.

11/ There are recordings from 1956 of Eichmann talking to a fellow SS Officer praising the extermination of the Jews.

12/ Vienna was his home city. Hitler annexed the country in 1938. For the 200,000 Jews in the city there was 'the fear'. The fear that it was coming. In the dark shadows, as night fell, a fear that could at times be palpable whilst at other times remained a shadowy thing. A whisper to some; a scream to others. 'The fear'. Inexorably coming: they knew that. And it came.

13/ He was part of Himmler's entourage.

14/ Left school without a leaving certificate.

15/ First job was a travelling salesman for an oil firm. He was sacked when the Depression came.

16/ Made a paid visit to Palestine under cover of being a journalist.

17/ Organised the Central Office of Jewish Emigration in Vienna in 1938. People got their papers in record time but at an absolute fortune. At its height they were processing papers for 1,000 Jews every day. 45,000 people were processed in eight months. The staff were Jews; Eichmann used his victims as assistants.

18/ He allowed 3,000 Jewish children to leave Vienna for England. Not for any altruistic reasons; having 3,000 less Jews was a success.

19/ In Vienna, had a personal chauffer and Rothschilds limousine.

20/ Heydrich recommended Eichmann's Vienna model for all Germany.

21/ Sent to Berlin and made Officer in charge for Jewish Affairs for the whole Third Reich

22/ He organised the special trains to take Jews to the Death Squads. At this point they were still shooting Jews; something Eichmann himself in 1956 conceded was disturbing. He himself had witnessed a mother holding her child as she was shot. His worry wasn't for the Jewish people; rather he was concerned the shootings were turning German soldiers into sadists.

23/ Eichmann's name was mentioned at the Nuremburg Trials.

24/ In the 2001 Kenneth Branagh TV movie, Conspiracy , an astonishing drama on the Wannsee Conference, Eichmann is played by Stanley Tucci. Eichmann is a shadowy figure, keeping the minutes and everything in order. Almost as chilling in his aloof, methodical way as the arrogance of Heydrich. It is 'astonishing' as it keeps to the transcript of, I think, the only record that was made of the conference and through the whole 90 minutes all they are concerned about is how to murder as many Jews as possible in the most efficient way. There isn't, that I can see, one moment of thought or concern about what they are doing and the destruction of a race that it would mean.

25/ Feb. 15 Eichmann's name is synonymous with Auschwitz and The Final Solution and I've just seen the most powerful film by a distance on the Holocaust I know I will ever see. Shoah (and 4 Films After Shoah) [Masters of Cinema] [Blu-ray]. It's long, really long, but that is part of its power. For me, the power also comes not only in the interviews but in the camerawork. For example, while survivors are talking you get moving imagery of Auschwitz in winter and the camera takes you, slowly, around the Concentration Camp, so you get a feel for just how BIG the place is. I have never felt that in anything else I've seen. And the Warsaw Ghetto, the camera slowly goes around where it was until you reach a building, still standing in the 1980s when the documentary was made, where the front looked on to an 'Aryan' world where all was peace, all was well, whilst the back looked onto Death and the Ghetto. Extraordinary. Whilst, for example, the camera pans around a Warsaw of the 1980s you can just feel, just behind the surface, its tragic history screaming to get out.

26/ Eichmann once said: 'One hundred dead is a disaster. One million dead is a statistic'.

Recommended Reading: The Capture of Adolf Eichmann [Kindle Edition]

Adolf Eichmann
Adolf Eichmann, 1940

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Adolf Eichmann: Biography >> Facts

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Adolf Hitler >> Heinrich Himmler >> Josef Goebbels >> Triumph of the Will >> Triumph of the Will 2 Dvd >> Leni Riefenstahl >> Rudolf Hess >> Martin Bormann >> Herman Goering >> Who Helped Hermann Goering Escape The Hangman? >> Josef Mengele >> Adolf Eichman >> Irma Grese

Kristallnacht >> The Final Solution >> Auschwitz >> Nuremberg Party Rallies

Daily Mail - 2nd May 1945 >> Daily Mail - 3rd May 1945 >> Daily Mail - VE Day - It's All Over >> Scans added of the best books of Germany during the war and after incl. definitive guide on The Nuremberg Rallies - Smartphone Page >> Best 2nd World War Book Scans Added >> British War Dvds

Advertise >> 2nd World War Dvds & Books available @ amazon.com

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