Adolf Eichmann

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The Holocaust was one of the greatest tragedies the world has ever known. There were many key people who participated in this outrageous genocide however some get more attention then others. Adolf Eichmann is a classic example. Eichmann was a self-proclaimed "Jewish Specialist" and head of the Gestapo Department. Eichmann was responsible for keeping every train rolling right into the stations of the concentration and death camps during the holocaust. Now we will take a look into Eichmann's childhood, life experiences, and his later actions to see what shaped into a man of hatred towards the Jewish race.

Eichmann was born on March 19, 1906 near Cologne, Germany, into a middle class Protestant family. His family moved to Austria following the death of young Adolf''s mother. He spent his youth in Linz, Austria, which had also been Hitler's hometown. As a boy, Eichmann was teased about his looks and dark complexion and was nicknamed "the little Jew" by classmates. After failing to complete his engineering studies, Eichmann had various jobs including working as a laborer in his father's small mining company, working in sales for an electrical construction company and also worked as a traveling salesman for an American oil company. In 1932 at age 26 he joined the growing Austrian Nazi Party at the suggestion of his friend Ernst Kaltenbrunner. Eichmann then became a member of the SS and in 1934 served as an SS corporal at Dachau concentration camp. In September 1934 Eichmann found relief from the monotony of that assignment by getting a job in Heydrich's SD, the powerful SS security service. Eichmann started out as a filing clerk cataloging information about Freemasons. He was then assigned to the Jewish section, which was busy collecting information on all prominent Jews. This marked the beginning of Eichmann's interest in the Jews.

He studied all aspects of Jewish culture, attended Jewish meetings and often visited Jewish sections of cities while taking volumes of notes. He became familiar with the issue of Zionism, studied Hebrew and could even speak a bit of Yiddish. He gradually became the acknowledged 'Jewish specialist,' realizing this could have positive implications for his career in the SS. He soon attracted the attention of Heydrich and SS Reichsführer Heinrich Himmler who appointed Eichmann to head a newly created SD Scientific Museum of Jewish Affairs. Eichmann was then assigned to investigate possible "solutions to the Jewish question." He visited Palestine in 1937 to discuss the possibility of large-scale immigration of Jews to the Middle East with Arab leaders. British authorities, however, ordered him out of the country.

With the Nazi takeover of Austria in March of 1938, Eichmann was sent to Vienna where he established a Central Office for Jewish Emigration. This office had the sole authority to issue permits to Jews desperately wanting to leave Austria and became engaged in extorting wealth in return for safe passage. Nearly a hundred thousand Austrian Jews managed to leave with most turning over all their worldly possessions to Eichmann's office, a concept so successful that similar offices were established in Prague and Berlin. In 1939 Eichmann returned to Berlin where he was appointed the head of Gestapo Section IV B4 of the new Reich Main Security Office (RSHA). He was now responsible for implementation of Nazi policy toward the Jews in Germany and all occupied territories (eventually totaling 16 countries). Eichmann thus became one of the most powerful men in the Third Reich and would remain head of IV B4 for the remainder of the Reich.

In July 1940 Eichmann presented his Madagascar Plan proposing to deport European Jews to the island of Madagascar, off the coast of east Africa. The plan was never implemented. Following the start of World War Two and the occupation of Poland and the Soviet Union, SS Einsatz groups murdered members of the aristocracy, professionals,...
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