BY SLOVIE JUNGREIS-WOLFF Eichmann claimed he was bureaucrat following orders. Recently released transcripts of conversations he had with a Nazi journalist show Eichmann boasting of his significant role in executing the Final Solution.
These are the bone chilling words of Adolf Eichmann, the driving force behind the Nazis’ “Final Solution to the Jewish Question,” and architect of the murder of millions of Jews: “Every fiber in me resists that we did something wrong. I must tell you honestly, had we killed 10.3 million Jews, then I would be satisfied and say, ‘Good, we exterminated an enemy.’ Then we would have fulfilled our mission.”
Eichmann spoke these words in a recording in Buenos Aires, four years before he would stand trial in Jerusalem. Eichmann had fled to Argentina after the war and was captured in 1960 by Mossad agents who spirited him away to Israel.
On April 11, 1961, Adolf Eichmann was tried for his crimes. He stood in a glass defendant’s box and listened as Presiding Judge Moshe Landau began reading, “The accused, together with others, during the period 1939 to 1945, caused the killing of millions of Jews.” The judge named the locations of the Nazi’s death camps. “Auschwitz. Millions of Jews were exterminated in this camp from 1941 until the end of January 1945, in gas chambers and in crematoria. And by shooting and hanging. The accused directed the commanders of that camp to use the gas known as Zyklon B. And in 1942 and 1944, the accused also secured the supply of a quantity of gas for the extermination of the Jews.”
Responding to the charges brought against him, Eichmann replied, “In the spirit of the indictment, I am not guilty.”
Eichmann refused to accept responsibility — not for six million lives, not even for the life of one Jew whose blood calls out from the tainted soil.
The world listened to the shocking testimonies of survivors who described the brutal and gruesome killings. Day after day, all were gripped by the anguished tales of death and devastation.
The prosecution had also obtained more than 700 pages of transcripts of the tapes that had been recorded in Buenos Aires. But Eichmann insisted that the transcripts distorted his words and the Israeli Supreme Court did not accept them as evidence. Eichmann claimed he was only a low-ranking functionary. He even taunted the chief prosecutor, Gideon Hausner, to produce the original tapes, knowing they were protected by Nazi sympathizers. Hausner was offered the tapes for $20,000, but the seller insisted that they may not be brought to Israel until after the trial.
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Eichmann was hanged. He went to the gallows insisting that he was merely following orders, a small cog in the state’s killing machine who was in charge of details like train schedules. He denied any accountability, would not admit that his hands were stained with the blood of the Jews.
For many decades the 70 hours of interviews where this Nazi war criminal had boasted about his role in the Holocaust remained under lock and key. The recordings had been sold to a publishing house in Europe, and eventually bought by an anonymous firm which handed them over to the German federal archives, insisting that they can only be used for academic research.
The tapes have now been made into a new Israeli documentary series called “The Devil’s Confession: The Lost Eichmann Tapes” revealing the explosive words of this man who had descended into the abyss of evil.
In the interviews, Eichmann speaks and is open and proud of his role. The interviews were carried out in 1957 by Dutch journalist and Nazi S.S officer and propagandist in World War II, Wilheim Sassen. He had convinced Eichmann to talk, saying that one day you will want your story to be known. Sassen and his colleagues, all Nazi sympathizers, met each week in Sassen’s living room drinking wine and smoking cigarettes for hours listening to Eichmann’s lust for killing Jews.
The vicious hatred for Jews is apparent in even the most banal moments. As a fly buzzes around the room, Eichmann swats it and describes it as having “a Jewish nature.”
Unlike at his trial where he denied knowledge of the fate of the Jews, here he crows of his role in hunting down Jews and trumping evil. “Jews who are fit to work should be sent to work. Jews who are not fit to work must be sent to the final solution, period.”
“Jews who are not fit to work must be sent to the final solution, period.”
The documentary series brings the missing evidence from the trial to the world for the first time. Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer is looking for partners to license and air the series around the world. Both the producer and director of the series are grandchildren of Holocaust survivors.
Kobi Sitt, the producer said, “I’m not afraid of the memory. I am afraid of the forgetfulness.” He added that he wanted “to provide a tool to breathe life into the memory” as the generation of survivors fades away.
Fulfilling a mission
Eichmann speaks of fulfilling his mission. His desire was to exterminate as many Jews as he can.
I, too, speak of my mission. My desire is to live as a Jew and to illuminate the light of God in this world. Not only for myself, but for all my beloved bubbies and zaydies, my aunts and uncles, my sweet little cousins, who Eichmann gassed and sent to their deaths. His hatred will not extinguish my love. His beastliness will not smother my humanity. His darkness will not destroy my light.
The soul of the Jew is eternal. Our nation stands. Jerusalem beckons. Every Jewish child brought into this world is our response to Eichmann and the Nazi’s who believed they would snuff out the breath of every Jew. Every Shabbat candle lit, every blessing uttered, every sacred book studied is a defiant shout. We are here. Am Yisrael Chai — the Jewish people lives. — Online