Adolf Eichmann, the monstrous
architect of the Holocaust, tried to convince the world he was ‘normal’
Guy Walters, The Telegraph
January 21, 2015
The picture of the balding, bespectacled and besuited middle-aged man
standing in the dock is undoubtedly one of the most iconic images of the last
century. The figure was Adolf Eichmann, the man often labelled the “Architect of
the Holocaust”, and the time and the place was the Jerusalem District Court in
1961, where the 55-year-old was defending himself against 15 charges of war
crimes, crimes against the Jewish people, and crimes against humanity.
The stakes for both Eichmann and Israel could not have been higher. While the
German was on trial, the new state not only needed to show that it was capable
of due process after the clearly illegal kidnapping of the former SS officer
from the streets of Buenos Aires, but also that the Jews as a people could
expect to see justice and revenge dispensed against those who had slaughtered
Because of the intense interest, the trial was televised and shown daily all
over the world. The challenges of such a broadcast more than 50 years ago were
immense, and they form the basis of a film called The Eichmann Show,
being screened on BBC Two as part of a series to mark the 70th anniversary of
the liberation of Auschwitz.
The producer of the trial’s coverage was Milton Fruchtman, who is played by
the Sherlock star, Martin Freeman. In an interview in Radio Times, Freeman
shared his thoughts about the trial and the man at its centre. “I think it
teaches us that people who can be responsible for these terrible things aren’t
monsters and don’t have two heads,” Freeman said. “They look, sound and often
even think similarly to us, which is the scariest thing of all.”
FILE - The undated World War II photo shows
Adolf Eichmann in his Nazi SS officer uniform.
We have heard this before, as the notion that Eichmann was normal is part of
the received wisdom concerning the man. Freeman’s observation is undoubtedly
rooted in the famous account of the trial by the political theorist Hannah
Arendt, who memorably portrayed the man in the dock as a mere functionary, a man
who enshrined, in her famous phrase, the “banality of evil”.
But the idea that Eichmann was a normal, banal bureaucrat who was just doing
his job like any one of us is junk history.
It is high time that we dismissed the televised image of the halting figure
in the bulletproof box as being representative of Eichmann the man, and the
system of which he was a part.
Eichmann was not just some cog in an industrialised and depersonalised
killing machine, he was a keen instigator of genocide, a zealous bigot who
eagerly forged a career out of anti?Semitism and extermination. We only have to
read the words he uttered well before his abduction and trial to realise that he
loved the job that involved marshalling an entire people to its destruction. He
remarked that when he died, he would “jump into my grave laughing, because the
fact that I have the death of five million Jews on my conscience gives me
Eichmann did not just enjoy his work, he really believed in it. When he was
hiding in Argentina after the war, he confided in a Dutch former SS man and
journalist called Willem Sassen. “If we would have killed 10.3 million Jews,
then I would be satisfied and would say, good, we annihilated an enemy,” he
said. “I wasn’t only issued orders, otherwise I’d have been a moron, but rather
I anticipated – I was an idealist.”
Rudolf Hoss, the commandant of Auschwitz, was an admirer. “Eichmann is 34 or
35 years old, a very active, adventurous man,” Hoss said in April 1946, while he
was imprisoned. “He felt that this act against Jews was necessary and was fully
convinced of its necessity and correctness, as I was.” And no less a figure than
the head of the Gestapo, Heinrich Muller, was also a fan. “If we had 50
Eichmanns,” observed Muller, “we would have won the war.”
So how did this come about, this contrast between the perception of Eichmann
and the reality of the man? The answer is that when he was on trial, Eichmann
was playing a part. He knew that acting the role of the anonymous, dutiful
bureaucrat would do him more favours than presenting his true self.
Unfortunately, observers such as Arendt were taken in by this performance.
Adolf Eichmann [b
March 19, 1906] was executed by hanging at a
prison in Ramla on May 31, 1962 following
rejection of two appeals against his conviction
by an Israeli civilian court on 15 criminal
charges for war crimes and crimes against
humanity committed whilst serving as a Nazi SS
officer during World War II.
There are many reasons why this error took hold. Perhaps the
most important is that there was a strong need for people to
believe that the enormity of genocide and anti?Semitism was
rooted in something systemic, rather than being the product of a
relatively small handful of crazed, but influential,
individuals. When the Mossad found Eichmann living in a shack in
a crummy part of Buenos Aires, the agents were appalled and even
insulted that a man who had eradicated millions was not living
in a huge, diabolical lair in the middle of the jungle. Somehow
the size of the crime did not match up to the size of the man.
We can see this desire even today, when we look at what lies
behind the recent murders of Jews in cities such as Paris and
Marseille. Again, it is more palatable to suppose that the enemy
is something large and systemic – in this instance, Islamism –
rather than an increasing number of violent cranks who have
perverted an ideology in an attempt to give their murderousness
a sort of respectability.
Ultimately, we should realise that some people are not
normal, and that they do not think like us. For want of a better
word, the Eichmanns of this world are indeed monsters.
Guy Walters is the author of ’Hunting Evil: The Nazi War
Criminals Who Escaped and the Hunt to Bring Them to Justice’
Commentary by the Ottawa Mens Centre
When it comes to Facists, the Nazies went after the Jewish population. Today,
we have radical feminists who in Ontario support a program of Gender Superiority
that promotes Domestic violence, murder and torture of fathers.
One of the nastiest examples of Criminal Fas.cism in Ontario is tht of a
lawyer, for the Children's Aid Society of Ottawa
Marguerite Lewis aka Marguerite Isobel Lewis who personally fabricates
evidence to NOT return children kept illegally from parents by what is referred
to by local Ottawa Lawyers as
The Ottawa Children's Aid Society is a cess pool of those who promote
violence and terror towards fathers and children who have direct lines to Judges
who automatically "rubber stamp" any criminally corrupt request.
Just run a search on Marguerite Lewis.
Ottawa Mens Centre