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Posted Thursday, August 12, 1999

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The Times

August 11 1999


Eichmann memoirs released by Israel



ISRAEL agreed yesterday to release the prison memoirs of Adolf Eichmann, Hitler's "transport officer of death", who was abducted from Argentina by secret agents in 1960 and executed by Israel in 1962.

Under pressure from journalists, historians and members of Eichmann's family, the Israeli authorities have agreed to release his 1,300-page jailhouse jottings in Gothic script at the "earliest opportunity", in what they described as an orderly fashion, mainly for the use of scholars.

The decision to release the writings as a scholarly document, with commentary and footnotes, was apparently aimed at foiling attempts by neo-Nazis and those who deny the Holocaust to use the text for propaganda purposes.

According to men who worked under Eichmann - who was in charge of Jewish and evacuation affairs - including Rudolf Höss, the commander of Auschwitz, Eichmann, Adolf Eichmann, Amt IV, Wisliceny, banality, evil, Eichmann had shown himself "completely obsessed with destroying every single Jew he could lay his hands on".

A genius for administration meant that Eichmann was able to orchestrate the murder of 67 per cent of the Jews in Europe under German control, using mobile gas chambers, death camps, fire, the bullet, disease and starvation.

After escaping to Argentina soon after the end of the Second World War, he was captured by Mossad agents and brought to Israel where he defended himself by claiming that he had been only a mid-level officer in Hitler and Himmler's programme of a "Final Solution". At his trial he tried to shift the blame for his crimes to either his superiors or his juniors.

According to Yehud Bauer from the Institute for Holocaust Research in Jerusalem, who is among a handful of academics to have seen the Eichmann papers, they reveal little new information from a historical point of view and are an expansion on his original trial defence.

"I would be very surprised if they revealed anything of real historical significance," Professor Bauer said. "He wants to present himself in the best possible light and denies having done whatever he was accused of doing."

Efraim Zuroff, director of the Weismann [sic] Centre in Jerusalem, said that it would be very painful for survivors if the Eichmann family, lead by his son, Dieter, who now lives in Koblenz, southern Germany, were to try to make money from publishing the papers.

"Eichmann co-ordinated the details of the 'Final Solution': the round-ups, the transport and the mass murder," Professor Zuroff said.

The Israeli Justice Ministry announced that the text would be given to a German research institute that had yet to be chosen. A Justice Ministry official, speaking on condition of anonymity, said that Eichmann's heirs would be given the document only once it had been published in Germany.

Horst Bauer, Dieter Eichmann's lawyer, said that his client objected to an outside party being allowed to handle the publication.

"As his father's heir, my client does not agree to having the manuscript released to others," Herr Bauer wrote to the Justice Ministry yesterday. "Use of the text can be made only if my client agrees."

Warsaw: The museum at Auschwitz has uncovered the names of more than 500 German companies that employed prisoners from the concentration camp. The companies made requests for workers to the camp's building works department, which was controlled by the SS.square

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