Scrapbookpages Blog

April 1, 2018

Eichmann — “an unknowing cog in the killing machine”

Filed under: Auschwitz, Germany, Holocaust — furtherglory @ 4:35 pm

The title of this blog post is a quote from the following news article:

Begin quote from news article:

April 1961, 16 years after the end of World War II.  A Nazi colonel named Adolf Eichmann stood trial in Israel for his part in the Holocaust … a master planner of what the Nazis called “The Final Solution” — their plan to eradicate Europe’s Jews.

“First count, nature of offense: crime against the Jewish people…”

Through a translator, Eichmann told the court, “As far as this question is concerned, I can only say that I’ve never killed anyone.”

Eichmann would become the only Nazi prosecuted by the Jewish people — enclosed in a bulletproof glass booth that anchors a traveling exhibit, currently at the Florida Holocaust Museum in St. Petersburg.

The purpose of the glass booth, said curator Avner Avraham, was to defend Eichmann “from people in the crowd that maybe can try [to] kill him.”

Eichmann would mount a defense [that] he was “just following orders,” overseeing the logistics of murdering millions — an “unknowing cog,” he claimed, in the killing machine.

“But he was the machine,” said Avraham. “He was in charge of all the schedules, all the trains. He sent the people to the camps.”  [But did he order the killing of the Jews? No]


This 1961 file photo [above] shows Adolf Eichmann standing in his glass cage, flanked by guards, in the Jerusalem courtroom during his trial for war crimes committed during World War II.

AP Photo

The last time Jeff Cohen saw the glass booth, he was an 18-year-old American student visiting Israel, when his group was given tickets to the Eichmann trial.

He had sat about 15 yards from the defendant.

“But you could see him?” Axelrod asked.

“Yeah, oh, I could see him.”

“What exactly does it bring back?”

“It brings back the thoughtlessness of a human being who’s taken it upon himself to make the final decision,” said Cohen.

The trial is only half the story told by the exhibit. It also tells of his escape from Germany at the end of the war.

Eichmann was in U.S. custody, but his captors didn’t know who they had. He escaped, making his way to Italy, then in 1950 to Argentina, setting up home in a poor neighborhood, and living under the assumed name of Ricardo Klement. There, he got a position as the head of a department in Mercedes-Benz.

All would’ve been fine for Eichmann had his son, Nicholas — who didn’t change his last name — not started dating a young German woman whose family had also come to Buenos Aires. But her father had spent the war on the other side of the barbed wire: he was a concentration camp survivor.

“So that name, Eichmann, Nicholas Eichmann, it caught the attention of this girl’s father?” asked Axelrod.

“Yes,” said Avraham. “When he came to visit her at home, her father realized immediately that he is probably Eichmann’s son.”

Capturing Eichmann was the job of 11 Mossad agents — Israel’s version of the CIA — who snatched him off the streets of Buenos Aires in May of 1960, and transported him to Israel to meet justice.

End quote

I recall reading about Eichmann when this story was happening. This was what got me started in the study of the Holocaust.

The news article continues with this quote:

Begin quote

During the five-month trial, Adolf Eichmann would never admit his guilt. “I had to obey orders; I had to do it,” he said.

But for the first time survivors of the death camps had the chance to testify about the horrors they had endured.

One witness said, “We walked from early morning ’til late in the night. There were many who on the very first day fell and never got up.”

“What happened to those?” a lawyer asked.

“They remained on the roadside. They were either shot or beaten until they died.”

When asked if Eichmann showed even a shred of repentance, Cohen replied, “No, No. No. And if anything, he was kind of puffed up.”

If Eichmann thought he would just serve a few years in an Israeli prison before heading back to Argentina, then he gravely miscalculated. Eichmann was convicted of crimes against the Jewish people, crimes against humanity, and war crimes. He was hanged.


End of story — that’s all she wrote, and she rubbed that out.

An American High School will hold a “Holocaust Remembrance Week”

Filed under: Germany, Holocaust — furtherglory @ 12:58 pm

The following quote is from this recent news article:

Begin quote from news article

Students at Braintree High School will have a chance to hear speakers and view a display on the Holocaust during a remembrance week program.

[My comment: Will the students have a chance to hear both sides of the story — or just the Jewish side of the story?]

BRAINTREE − The policies which led to the death of 6 million Jews and 5 million others during World War II will be recalled during Braintree High School’s annual Holocaust Memorial Week.

[My comment: The death numbers of the Holocaust are now officially down  much lower.]

From Monday through April 6, 16 panels from a display from the Simon Wiesenthal Center entitled “The Courage to Remember” will be on exhibit in the school’s main lobby. The panels, a part of a larger display of 40, outline the progression of Nazi Germany’s extermination policy.` The exhibit is on loan to the school thanks to a donation from Dr. and Mrs. Max Perlitsh of Winchester and Merrimack College in North Andover.

Gorman Lee, the school system’s director of social studies, said the exhibit is part of the school’s anti-bullying campaign.

End quote

I wrote about the death bed confession of  famous Nazi Frank Ziereis on this page of my website: