Adolf EichmannOn May 11, 1960 at 8:05pm, four Mossad agents abducted German citizen Ricardo Klement from a bus stop in Buenos Aires. He was shoved into a waiting car, his hands and feet tied together, and was blindfolded and gagged. The commandos then admonished their captive: "If you don't keep still, you'll be shot." Forty five minutes later, they arrived at the safehouse.
There his captors satisfied themselves of the man's identity by referring to a list of distinguishing features taken from his World War II medical records. The man they had in custody was fugitive Nazi Adolf Eichmann. Given a choice between summary execution and a public trial in Jerusalem, Eichmann chose the trial. The operatives disguised him as an airline crewman, drugged him, and smuggled him aboard an El-Al flight bound for Israel. The next time his feet touched the ground, it was the runway tarmac in Tel Aviv.
When the world learned of Eichmann's surreptitious extradition, it immediately sparked an international incident. Argentina expressed outrage over the violation of their sovereignty and demanded that he be returned at once. Israel promptly invited them to fuck themselves with a pineapple, and proceeded in April 1961 to begin legal proceedings against the war criminal.
During the war, Eichmann worked in the Gestapo. In October 1934, Eichmann's first assignment in the Department of Research was looking into Freemasonry. Predictably, the Nazis believed that the Masons were assisting the Jews in their attempts to gain world domination. Eichmann's job was to compile information on prominent Freemasons in Germany.
The next year, he was transferred to the Department of Jewish Affairs. Eichmann's enthusiasm for his new assignment was obvious. He taught himself Hebrew and Yiddish, and studied Jewish history and culture. In March 1938, he was appointed special officer for Zionist affairs. There he streamlined the Central Emigration Office, dramatically improving the efficiency of the process which stripped Jews of their possessions and issued them temporary passports, in order to expulse them from Germany. Then Eichmann was sent to Austria to repeat his success there.
In October 1939, Eichmann organized the forced deportation of Austrian and Czechoslovokian Jews to the ghettos. He also developed a plan to ship off four million Jews to Madagascar, but this strategy was abandoned in favor of a more permanent one.
Eichmann arranged the secret Wannsee Conference, held in January 1942. Here the finishing touches were made to the final solution of the Jewish question. As Eichmann later conceded at trial: "The discussion covered killing, elimination, and annihilation." There Eichmann presented his report on the experimental use of truck-mounted gas chambers. Sort of like a fumigation tent on wheels. At the meeting it was agreed that this technique would be expanded for use on a massive scale. After Eichmann wrote up and circulated the meeting minutes, concentration camps were redesignated as death camps, and equipped with gas chambers and crematories.
It was Eichmann's responsibility to solve the endless logistical problems involved in transporting Jews to the death camps. He traveled all over Europe to inspect the incredible undertaking and grease the wheels wherever necessary. In a 1944 communique to Heinrich Himmler, Eichmann estimated that the SS had killed about six million Jews. Later this letter would be presented as damning evidence at trial.
On April 11, 1961 Eichmann was charged with crimes against humanity and crimes against the Jewish people. His trial was broadcast on TV (the first ever), and drew big worldwide ratings as the first reality television series.
As a rule, court trials are pretty boring, but this one had some ingenious plot twists. At one point, Eichmann had the balls to claim that the forced emigration of the Jewish people was consistent with the aims of Zionism, making him a friend to Zionists. Probably the best moment was when the prosecution's star witness suffered a paralytic stroke on the stand and had to be rushed to a hospital.
Eichmann's sole defense was claiming that he had been a petty government functionary, merely following the orders of superiors. His explanation failed to persuade the judges. On May 31, 1962, Eichmann was hanged in Ramleh prison. His body was cremated and the ashes scattered in the middle of the Mediterranean Sea, beyond the territorial waters of the state of Israel.
Eichmann's last words were reported as being:
"Long live Germany. Long live Austria. Long live Argentina. These are the countries with which I have been most closely associated and I shall not forget them. I had to obey the rules of war and my flag. I am ready."
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