Reporter Hannah Arendt said Otto Adolf Eichmann was the ¨Banality of evil¨. Finding him ¨neither perverted nor sadistic,¨ described him as ¨terrifyingly normal¨. At this point, Eichmann was an older man, and on trial, how was he supposed to act?
She stated that his evil deeds were done without bad intentions, which was connected to his thoughtlessness and disengaged from the reality of his evil acts. However, facts about Eichmann will show that he sought out the Nazi party and wanted to become part of something he believed in, vital enough to send Jews to concentration camps, which resulted in death. He took part in and was an instrumental piece to the puzzle as the architect of the holocaust.
Adolf Eichmann: Background.
Eichmann was born March 19, 1906, in Solingen, Germany, the eldest of 5 children. At age 7 the family moved to Linz, Austria due to his father's work, Eichmann's mother died when he was a child and his father remarried. As a child Eichmann could be described as a shy, awkward kid who had few friends, some even making fun of him calling him ¨the little jew¨, due to his dark complexion and look.
When the family moved to Linz, Austria, Eichmann attended the same school that Hitler attended as a boy, except Eichmann did not finish school. Instead, he works odd jobs off and on, and as a teenager, he becomes involved with a right winged Austrian youth group, and the introduction to Nazism and antisemitic ideas began.
In 1932 Eichmann joined the Austrian National Socialist (Nazi) Party and the SS, a paramilitary organization under Hitler. In 1933 he moved back to Germany to join the Austrian legion and began military training.
By 1934 he is invited to join the SD (Sicherheitsdienst) as a Sergeant. In 1937 he became part of a circle of other young, eager SS men who wanted to be in charge of antisemitic policy and took steps forward to exclude Jews from social and economic life in Germany.
At this point, the Germans encouraged the Jews to move and immigrate to other places, such as Palestine, but they also did not want the Jews to become too powerful and form an independent state.
Eichmann saw an opportunity when Germany invaded Poland in 1939.
By 1940 Eichmann had again gone up the ranks and became director of Reich Security Main Office. Eichmann was a self-proclaimed ¨Jewish Specialist¨ and was director of the Central office for Jewish Emigration. He even learned some Hebrew and Yiddish for his job.
Eichmann planned to make a Jewish reservation in Lublin, Poland. The Jews would reside there until a more permanent solution; Eichmann arranged the transportation of Jews from Katowice, Ostrava, to be transported by train to Nishko, a transit camp. The plan does not work, but they continue to think of where to ship the Jews.
The plan was to deport all Jews east, but it became clear that this was not a final or good plan; more had to be done.
Himmler devised a plan with Heydrich, and Eichmann put the plan into action, which was easy, as they already had camps being set up all over Europe, except instead of a holding camp, it would now become an extermination camp, to rid the world of the ¨undesirables¨ and fulfill Hitlers wish, to rid the world of all Jews.
Eichmann's job would be to get the victims to the camp in Poland, as his team agreed the Jews must be exterminated. Eichmann was also responsible for persuading foreign governments to hand over their Jews.
Was Eichmann only following orders blindly and unaware of what was happening in the death camps to which he orchestrated the transportation? Eichmann's plan also included robbing the Jews of all valuables, including clothing they had on, and he made them pay for the journey to the camp, and it was a roundtrip ticket to trick them.
By this time, it was 1941, and the plan to kill all the Jews in Europe was full throttle.
In the fall of 1942, bureaucrats, including Eichmann, were responsible for coordinating the deportation of over 1.5 million Jews to the killing sites. When the war is over, and the Nazis surrender high, ranking officers escape, Eichmann being one of them; if he was only a pawn, why would he flee? If he was innocent?
Many say that Eichmann was only following orders. He was a mediocre paper pusher who lacked personality or critical thinking and was caught up in the fantasy and lies of people smarter than him. However, if you watch his trial, you will see; differently, bragging about the term he coined as the ¨final solution¨ he said he came up with.
He said his job was to catch our Jewish enemies like fish in a net and transport them to their final destination.
"I was not a responsible leader, and as such do not feel myself guilty."
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