|“||I must say that I regret nothing.||„|
|~ Adolf Eichmann|
Eichmann was born in Solingen, Germany to a businessman. At the suggestion of Ernst Kaltenbrunner, he joined the Austrian branch of the NSDAP.
In 1933, he joined the Sicherheitsdienst (SD, "Security Service"); there he was appointed head of the department responsible for Jewish affairs—especially emigration, which the Nazis encouraged through violence and economic pressure.
Throughout his career, he became one of the top Nazis in the SS Organization. 1942, Reinhard Heydrich made Eichmann attend the Wannsee Conference. This got him the right to send Jews to German concentration camps. Eichmann was responsible for planning and overseeing the mass deportations and exterminations of the Holocaust, which earned him the nickname, "the architect of the Holocaust."
The Nazis began the invasion of the Soviet Union in June 1941, and their Jewish policy changed from emigration to extermination. To co-ordinate planning for the genocide, Heydrich, who was Eichmann's superior, hosted the regime's administrative leaders at the Wannsee Conference on 20 January 1942. Eichmann collected information for him, attended the conference, and prepared the minutes.
Germany invaded Hungary on 19 March 1944. Eichmann arrived the same day, and was soon joined by top members of his staff and five or six hundred members of the SD, SS, and Sicherheitspolizei (SiPo, "Security Police"). Hitler's appointment of a Hungarian government more amenable to the Nazis meant that the Hungarian Jews, who had remained essentially unharmed until that point, would now be deported to the Auschwitz Birkenau concentration camp to serve as forced labour or be gassed. Eichmann toured northeastern Hungary in the last week of April and visited Auschwitz in May to assess the preparations.
After World War II, Eichmann was taken into U.S. Custody. but escaped from a detention camp and moved around Germany to avoid re-capture. He ended up in a small village in Lower Saxony, where he lived until 1950, when he moved to Argentina using false papers. Information collected by the Mossad, Israel's intelligence agency, confirmed his location in 1960.
A team of Mossad agents captured Eichmann and brought him to Israel to stand trial on 15 criminal charges, including war crimes, crimes against humanity, and crimes against the Jewish people. During the trial, he did not deny the Holocaust or his role in organizing it, but claimed that he was simply following orders in a totalitarian Führerprinzip system. Eichmann was found guilty by an Israeli court of 15 criminal charges, including charges of crimes against humanity, crimes against the Jewish people, and membership of an outlawed organization. On December 15th, 1961, Eichmann is sentenced to death.
Before his execution, he rejected a last meal and instead had a bottle of dry red Israeli wine, of which he drank about half. He refused to wear a hood during his execution. He was executed by hanging before midnight on May 31st, 1962. Right up until his execution, Eichmann showed no remorse for his involvement in the Holocaust, and his last words included one final praise to Adolf Hitler. Upon seeing Rafi Eitan (the leader of the Mossad operation that captured Eichmann) as one of the witnesses, Eichmann muttered out "I hope that all of you will follow me", making those his final words.
His body was later cremated and his ashes were scattered at sea beyond the territorial waters of Israel by an Israeli Navy patrol boat.