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Karl Adolf Eichmann

Eichmann wanted to be an engineer but, after failing his exams, he was left with a sense of uncertainty.

In 1932 he joined the Nazi party in Austria, which was gaining wide support. He then became a member of the SS and, in 1932, he was made a corporal at a concentration camp.

In 1934, Eichmann moved from the SS to the SD, the security service for the SS. His primary work was collecting information on prominent Jews and he became a prominent ‘Jewish Specialist’. Eichmann was responsible for looking into ‘solutions’ to the Jewish people. In 1939, Eichmann was given the post as head of a section of the Gestapo. He was made responsible for ensuring Nazi policy on the Jewish people was followed in Germany and its expanding territories. He would stay in this position until the end of the war.

During the war, Eichmann presented various ‘solutions to the problem’ of the Jews. In Poland, he ordered all Jews to be forced into ghettos, before ordering their removal to concentration camps. He also directly supervised the mass murders of Jews by SS Einsatz groups in the USSR.

Eichmann then turned his attention to gassing as a more ‘efficient’ means of extermination. He also helped organise a conference considering potential ‘final solutions’. Eichmann turned his attention to implementing the final solution. He was responsible for the deportation of Jews within German territory, as well as the construction and operation of the gas chambers. This was direct supervision, and he visited Auschwitz on a number of occasions, as well as travelling across the territory.

Eichmann was credited with ensuring that the deportation trains carrying Jews to the concentration camp kept running, even while the Allies were closing in on Nazi Germany. When Himmler ordered Eichmann to cease the deportations in 1944, Eichmann ignored him.

After the end of the war, Eichmann was interned in an American camp, but he managed to escape to Argentina, where he lived for ten years.

In 1960, Israeli secret agents captured him and took him to Israel where he stood trial. Eichmann defended his actions by saying that he was following orders. He told the court that Heydrich had told him that Hitler had ordered the Jews to be exterminated. He argued that everyone had to follow orders or else they would be shot.

Eichmann was found guilty of all charges and he was hanged on the 31 May, 1962.