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Definition: Eichmann, (Karl) Adolf from Philip's Encyclopedia

German Nazi, head of the notorious section IV-B-4 of the Reich Central Security Office in World War 2. Eichmann supervised the Nazi policies of deportation, slave labour, and mass murder in the concentration camps that led to the death of c.6 million Jews. In 1945, he escaped to Argentina but was abducted by the Israel secret police in 1960, and tried and executed in Israel.


Summary Article: Eichmann, Karl Adolf (1906–1962)
from Atrocities, Massacres, and War Crimes: An Encyclopedia

Eichmann was a German Schutzstaffel (SS) lieutenant colonel and key figure in the destruction of European Jewry during World War II. Born on March 19, 1906 in Solingen in the Rhineland, Germany, Karl Adolf Eichmann moved with his family to Linz, Austria, in 1914. He left the Linz Higher Institute for Electro-Technical Studies after two years and became a salesman. In 1932, he joined the Austrian national socialist movement, but he then fled to Germany in 1934 when it was outlawed. Sent to Berlin, he joined the SS Sicherheitsdienst (Security Service, SD) and was assigned to its Jewish office. There, he became the Nazi expert on Jewish affairs and handled negotiations concerning the emigration of German Jews to Palestine, which he visited briefly in 1937. Following the Anschluss (union) with Austria and the absorption of Bohemia and Moravia, he headed the Office for Jewish Emigration.

With the beginning of World War II, Eichmann transferred to the Gestapo and created the Reich Central Emigration Office to handle the relocation of European Jews to Poland. That office was then combined with the Jewish Affairs Office to form Department IV-A-4B, known as the Dienststelle Eichmann (Eichmann Authority). He helped organize the Wannsee Conference of January 1942 that developed the mechanics of the Final Solution and was put in charge of the transportation of Jews to the death camps of Poland. Eichmann later told an associate that he would “die happily with the certainty of having killed almost six million Jews.”

After the war, Eichmann lived in various places under aliases until he escaped to Argentina, where he lived and worked near Buenos Aires in obscurity under the name Ricardo Klement. On May 11, 1960, Israeli secret services captured him and smuggled him from the country illegally to stand trial in Israel. Eichmann claimed he was only following orders and in any case could be accused only of aiding and abetting the annihilation of the Jews, not killing them. Found guilty by an Israeli court on December 15, 1961, he was sentenced to death. Unrepentant, he was hanged at Ramleh prison on May 31, 1962. His body was then cremated and the ashes scattered.

See also: Holocaust, The; Wannsee Conference (1942).

Further Reading
  • Arendt, Hannah. Eichmann in Jerusalem: A Report on the Banality of Evil. Viking New York, 1963.
  • Donovan, John. Eichmann: Man of Slaughter. Avon Book Division, Hearst New York, 1960.
  • Malkin, Peter Z.; Harry Stein. Eichmann in My Hands. Warner New York, 1990.
  • Reynolds, Quentin. Minister of Death: The Adolf Eichmann Story. Viking New York, 1960.
  • Douglas B. Warner
    Copyright 2013 by Alexander Mikaberidze

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