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Adolf Eichmann

Adolf Eichmann was born in Solingen, Germany on 19th March, 1906. When he was a child the family moved to Linz in Austria where his father became head of the city's streetcar company. At school he was bullied by the other children and accused of being Jewish.

Eichman attended the Linz Higher Institute for Electro-Technical Studies before finding work as a salesman for a electrical firm. He began to take an interest in politics and in April, 1932 joined the Austrian Nazi Party.

In September 1934 Eichman was recruited into the Schutzstaffel (SS) where he became the Nazi authority on Jewish affairs. This included a visit to Palestine where he met Arab leaders of racist organizations. At first Eichmann supported the Zionist policy of Jewish emigration to Palestine but this became impracticable as Palestine immigration quotas filled up.

After Anschluss Eichman became head of the SS office for Jewish Emigration. In 1939 Adolf Hitler appointed Eichman as chief of the Reich Central Office for Jewish Emigration.

On 21st September, 1939, Reinhard Heydrich told several Schutzstaffel (SS) commanders in Poland that all Jews were to be confined to special areas in cities and towns. These ghettos were to be surrounded by barbed wire, brick walls and armed guards.

The first ghetto was set up in Piotrkow on 28th October 1939. Jews living in rural areas had their property confiscated and they were rounded up and sent to ghettos in towns and cities. The two largest ghettos were established in Warsaw and Lodz.

Eichman was put in charge of this operation. In October 1939, he arranged the deportation of Jews living in Austria and Czechoslovakia to Poland. Transported in locked passenger trains, large numbers died on the journey. Those that survived the journey were told by Eichman: "There are no apartments and no houses - if you build your homes you will have a roof over your head."

In July 1942, Eichman joined Reinhard Heydrich, Heinrich Muller and Roland Friesler attended the Wannsee Conference where they discussed the issue of the large number of inmates in Germany's concentration camps. At the meeting it was decided to make the extermination of the Jews a systematically organized operation. Eichman was placed in charge of what became known as the Final Solution.

After this date extermination camps were established in the east that had the capacity to kill large numbers including Belzec (15,000 a day), Sobibor (20,000), Treblinka (25,000) and Majdanek (25,000). For a while he took personal charge of the Auschwitz camp to see the Final Solution in operation..

In 1944 Eichman told Heinrich Himmler that about six million Jews had been disposed of, four million of these having died of "natural causes" in the camps and another two million being killed in the gas chambers. He told one of his officers that: "I'll die happily with the certainty of having killed almost six million Jews."

In February, 1945, Eichman escaped from Germany. He changed his name to Ricardo Klement and worked for a water company in Argentina.

Israeli secret agents found Eichman in 1960. He was kidnapped and removed to Israel where he was put on trial for his actions during the Second World War. At his trial he argued he was only following orders. Adolf Eichmann was found guilty of "crimes against the Jewish people, crimes against humanity, and war crimes" and was executed on 31st May, 1962.




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