Адольф Эйхман: “Если бы мы убили 10,3 миллиона евреев, я бы с удовлетворением сказал: “Это хорошо, так как мы уничтожили врага”

Нацистский архитектор Холокоста Адольф Эйхман признается в разработке окончательного решения на недавно обнаруженных пленках

Аудиозаписи, на которых архитектор Холокоста хвастается своими действиями, были впервые обнародованы спустя 60 лет после его казни за преступления против человечества. Адольф Эйхман записал 70 часов интервью в Аргентине, бежав в Буэнос-Айрес после войны. Аудиозапись оставалась под замком, и только благодаря упорным усилиям команды израильских документалистов она была передана в эфир. Им было предоставлено 15 часов сохранившихся бесед, записанных с интервьюером на пленку, – в которых Эйхман, отрицая свои преступления, признает свою роль в том, что он назвал “Окончательным решением”. – говорит Эйхман. ‘Тогда мы бы выполнили свою миссию’.

Adolf Eichmann is described as the mastermind behind the Holocaust. He fled to Argentina after the war, and in 1957 recorded a series of interviews about his role in Nazi Germany. The tapes are only being made public now, thanks to two Israeli documentary makers

Адольфа Эйхмана называют организатором Холокоста.

После войны он бежал в Аргентину, а в 1957 году записал серию интервью о своей роли в нацистской Германии. Эти записи стали известны только сейчас, благодаря двум израильским документалистам.

В другом ролике нацистский офицер заявляет: “Евреи, которые пригодны к работе, должны быть отправлены на работу. Евреи, не пригодные к работе, должны быть отправлены на окончательное решение, и точка”. Он сказал, что ему “все равно”, будут ли отправленные в Освенцим жить или умрут.

Аудиозаписи являются частью документального фильма “Исповедь дьявола” стоимостью 3 миллиона долларов, который привлек внимание израильских телезрителей. Многие из тех, кто смотрит этот фильм, являются родственниками шести миллионов евреев, которые, по оценкам, были уничтожены во время Холокоста, созданного Эйхманом, в результате которого погибло в общей сложности 11 миллионов человек.

О глубине антисемитизма Эйхмана свидетельствует его случайное замечание о насекомом в комнате, когда он записывал пленки. В какой-то момент слышно, как Эйхман прихлопнул муху, которая жужжала в комнате, и сказал, что у нее “еврейская природа”.

После Второй мировой войны Эйхману удалось бежать в Аргентину, где в мае 1960 года он был схвачен агентами израильской секретной службы “Моссад”. Впоследствии он был переправлен в Израиль и в следующем году предстал перед судом в Иерусалиме, после чего был осужден и повешен в 1962 году. Во время этих слушаний Эйхмана снимали на видео, утверждая, что он был лишь функционером низшего звена, но в интервью он откровенно рассказывает о своей схеме.

“Мне трудо говорить обо всё этом, и я знаю, что меня за это осудят”, – признается он. Но я не могу иначе. Это правда. Почему я должен ее отрицать? Ничто не раздражает меня больше, чем человек, который потом отрицает то, что он сделал”.

Eichmann is seen in December 1961, during his trial in Jerusalem. He was found guilty of crimes against humanity, war crimes and murder and hanged the following year

Эйхман в декабре 1961 года во время суда над ним в Иерусалиме. Он был признан виновным в преступлениях против человечности, военных преступлениях и убийствах и повешен в следующем году.

Eichmann is pictured during his trial in Israel in 1961

Eichmann was convicted on all 15 counts, and hanged months later

Интервью были взяты в 1957 году голландским нацистским пропагандистом Виллемом Сассеном, который впоследствии занимался пиаром чилийского диктатора Аугусто Пиночета и парагвайского диктатора Альфредо Стросснера. После поимки Эйхмана Сассен продал часть стенограммы журналу Life, но критики заявили, что она была сильно искажена.

Суд в Иерусалиме имел доступ к 700 страницам стенограммы с исправлениями, сделанными рукой самого Эйхмана, но Эйхман утверждал, что стенограмма искажает его слова, и Верховный суд Израиля не принял ее в качестве доказательства. Во время судебного процесса Эйхман издевался над главным обвинителем Гидеоном Хаузнером, требуя предъявить оригинальные пленки, зная, что они спрятаны сторонниками нацизма.

Хаузнеру предложили пленки за 20 000 долларов – огромную по тем временам сумму – и он решил купить их, но продавец настоял на том, чтобы они были привезены в Израиль только после завершения судебного процесса. Оригинальные пленки были проданы издательству в Европе, а затем куплены анонимной фирмой, которая передала их в федеральный архив Германии в Кобленце с указанием, что они должны использоваться только для академических исследований. Коби Ситт (на нижнем фото слева), внук пары пережившей Холокост, и продюсер нового документального фильма, 20 лет назад снял фильм о Хаузнере для израильского телевидения и с тех пор хотел добивался доступа к пленкам Эйхмана.

Он привлек режиссера Ярива Мозера (справа) к работе над получившимся документальным фильмом. В конце концов руководство немецких архивов согласилось на это, поставив условие, что с плёнками будут обращаться уважительно.

“Я не боюсь памяти, я боюсь забвения”, – сказал Ситт. Он сказал, что хочет “предоставить инструмент для того, чтобы вдохнуть жизнь в память”, поскольку поколение выживших вымирает. Ярив Мозер, которого Ситт привлек в качестве режиссера, сказал, что их 108-минутный документальный фильм и трехсерийный 180-минутный телевизионный сериал являются важнейшими историческими документами. “Это довод против отрицателей Холокоста и способ увидеть истинное лицо Эйхмана”, – сказал Мозер в интервью The New York Times. “Благодаря этому сериалу молодые поколения узнают о судебном процессе и идеологии, стоявшей за “Окончательным решением”.

Адольф Эйхман – нацистский архитектор Холокоста

Карл Адольф Эйхман родился в 1906 году в Золингене, Германия, и до Второй мировой войны жил “довольно обычной” жизнью, работая коммивояжером в Австрии в нефтяной компании, как описывает энциклопедия “Британника”. Эйхман был старшим из пяти детей в кальвинистской протестантской семье, и учился в той же средней школе в Линце, Австрия, в которой за 17 лет до него учился Адольф Гитлер, согласно книге “Суд над Эйхманом” Деборы Э. Липстадт.

Он потерял работу в компании Vacuum Oil Company AG во время всемирной Великой депрессии и вступил в нацистскую партию в апреле 1932 года, быстро став членом Schutzstaffel (Эс Эс – дословно “отряды охраны” – прим.перев.) под руководством Генриха Гиммлера.

К октябрю 1934 года Эйхман работал в центральном офисе Sicherheitsdienst – разведывательном управлении СС – в Берлине, где занимался еврейскими делами. В 1935 году он женился на Веронике Либль и стал отцом четверых сыновей. После того как Эйхман стал считаться экспертом по еврейским делам, в 1937 году Эйхман и его начальник Герберт Хаген отправились в Палестину, чтобы выяснить, могут ли евреи Германии добровольно эмигрировать туда, по словам Алана Леви, охотника за нацисттами из организации Симона Визенсталя.

Хаген считал, что наличие большого количества евреев в Палестине может привести их к созданию независимой еврейской страны, против чего Рейх был категорически против. После того как Австрия была аннексирована Германией, Эйхман был направлен в Вену для организации эмиграции евреев из города.

Согласно книге “Эйхман: его жизнь и преступления” Дэвида Чезарани, к моменту его отъезда из Вены в мае 1939 года почти 100 000 евреев покинули Австрию или были тайно вывезены в Палестину и другие страны. Затем Эйхману было приказано выполнить аналогичную миссию в Праге, после чего он был переведен обратно в Берлин, где в 1939 году стал сотрудником Центрального управления безопасности рейха Гиммлера. В том году нацистская политика перешла от добровольной эмиграции к принудительной депортации евреев. Рейнхард Гейдрих, основатель и глава Sicherheitsdienst, приказал своим сотрудникам начать сбор евреев в городах Польши и депортировать их в резервации на немецких территориях для ожидания депортации. Затем Гейдрих назначил Эйхмана руководить организацией всех депортаций в оккупированную Польшу и конфискацией еврейского имущества, говорится в книге “Холокост: Нацистское преследование и убийство евреев” Петера Лонгериха.

Nazi war criminal Adolph Eichmann stands in a protective glass booth flanked by Israeli police during his trial April 21, 1961 in Jerusalem

Нацистский военный преступник Адольф Эйхман стоит в защитной стеклянной кабине в окружении израильской полиции во время суда над ним 21 апреля 1961 года в Иерусалиме.

Гейдрих сказал Эйхману в середине сентября 1941 года, что Гитлер приказал убить всех евреев, и присутствовал на Ванзейской конференции высших руководителей Германии в 1942 году, где планировалось уничтожение еврейского народа. Эйхман, тогда уже полковник СС, составил для Гейдриха список численности евреев в различных европейских странах и подготовил статистику по эмиграции. Позже он руководил депортацией евреев в лагеря смерти в Белжеце, Собиборе, Треблинке, Освенциме и других местах.

Хотя Эйхман не определял политику, Энциклопедия Британника назвала его “главным палачом” Холокоста. Он отвечал за сбор информации о евреях в каждом районе, организацию конфискации их имущества, планирование ужасных поездов, которые увозили евреев на смерть. После войны Эйхман был захвачен американскими войсками, но в 1946 году бежал из лагеря для заключенных и много лет жил в Германии под вымышленным именем, пока не перебрался в Аргентину, где в конце концов был схвачен Моссадом.

By Harriet Alexander For Dailymail.com

How I seized Hitler’s Holocaust mastermind as he stepped off a No. 203 bus after identifying him by a photo of his left EAR, by Mossad agent RAFI EITAN

By Mossad Agent Rafi Eitan For The Daily Mail

As the man who’d just got off the bus approached, my fellow agent, who’d been pretending to tinker under the bonnet of a parked car, stood up. ‘Momentino, senor (Just a moment, sir),’ he said, and then grabbed him.

They rolled into a ditch in the struggle, where two more of us leapt in to complete the capture. Our prey tried to shout out, his voice strangled, like the growl of a wounded animal.

We dragged him to the back seat, my hand over his mouth. He was told, in German: ‘If you keep quiet, nothing bad will happen to you.’

‘Jawohl,’ came the answer. When I heard this, any remaining doubts dissipated. ‘Jawohl’ is not just ‘yes’, but ‘yes’ said to a commander; to someone with a higher rank than yours.

Even now, Adolf Eichmann remained an obedient German.

The date was May 11, 1960, 15 years since the full scale of Hitler’s Final Solution had been exposed — the attempted extermination of the Jewish race from Europe.

And I knew that on a quiet residential street in the Argentinian capital of Buenos Aires, my colleagues and I — from the Israeli secret intelligence agency, Mossad — had just captured the Nazi mastermind behind it, in order to bring him to Israel to stand trial.

Adolf Eichmann (pictured centre with outstretched arm) was captured while living in Argentina in 1960

Adolf Eichmann (pictured centre with outstretched arm) was captured while living in Argentina in 1960

Mossad agents surveyed Eichmann (pictured in 1961) while he was living and working Buenos Aires under a false identity

Mossad agents surveyed Eichmann (pictured in 1961) while he was living and working Buenos Aires under a false identity

Once back at our safe house, we stripped Eichmann, examined the scars on his body and found, tattooed under his armpit, his blood type, as was customary for all SS members.

Sadly, Mengele drowned before we caught him 

As part of the interrogation we of course asked Eichmann about Josef Mengele, the doctor at Auschwitz who conducted horrific experiments on the inmates.

Eichmann at first claimed ignorance of him, then admitted only that the name ‘sounded familiar’ while continuing to insist he had no idea of his whereabouts.

A Buenos Aires address was discovered for Mengele, but he had left the previous year, for neighbouring Paraguay, and then Brazil where he continued to evade justice — eventually drowning after suffering a stroke while swimming near the city of Sao Paulo in 1979.

Bormann and Muller, the others on Mossad’s Most Wanted Nazis list, are both thought most likely to have died while attempting to flee Berlin in the aftermath of Hitler’s bunker suicide in April 1945. 

‘What is your name?’ we asked him. ‘Otto Heninger’ was his first reply, one of two fictitious names Eichmann used after the war, when he escaped from an American PoW camp in Germany. ‘Your real name,’ we insisted.

This time he said: ‘Ricardo Klement,’ the name of the family man under which he had been posing in Argentina. Only when we persisted for a third time did he give his real name and his SS number.

It was at this stage that we discovered where he worked — at the Mercedes-Benz dealership in Buenos Aires, which employed him in their spare parts warehouse.

This then was the life of one of the main people responsible for the murder of six million Jews: getting up early in the morning, going to work on the bus, arranging cardboard boxes on shelves, taking out parts according to instructions and returning in the evening by bus.

In the first decade after the establishment of Israel in 1948, pursuing justice against the perpetrators of the Holocaust was not a central priority. The new state had more than a million immigrants to house, feed and find work for.

It was the head of the Israeli security service, Amos Manor, who wanted to hunt those Nazis who had escaped justice. Manor was the only member of his family to survive Auschwitz.

He identified four Most Wanted targets: Martin Bormann, Hitler’s deputy; Heinrich Muller, head of the Gestapo; Josef Mengele, Auschwitz’s infamous Angel of Death doctor who had performed horrific experiments on inmates; and Eichmann, the man charged with deporting Jews to such death camps.

Eichmann facilitated and managed the logistics involved in the mass deportation of millions of Jews

Between 1941 and 1945, Nazi Germany and its collaborators systematically murdered some six million Jews across German-occupied Europe

Between 1941 and 1945, Nazi Germany and its collaborators systematically murdered some six million Jews across German-occupied Europe

The task was handed to the security service’s foreign intelligence arm, Mossad, where I worked in a special operations unit.

The first information that Eichmann had fled to Argentina was provided by the celebrated Nazi hunter Simon Wiesenthal. But the trail went cold until information was relayed to Mossad from a blind half-Jewish emigre of German descent living in the country.

His name was Luther Herman. His daughter was being courted by a 20-year-old who called himself Nick Eichmann and who, during visits to their home, expressed anti-semitic views without knowing of the family’s origins. The girl’s father found that the war criminal sharing that surname had three sons — the eldest of whom was called Nicholas — and then turned private detective to trace Nick’s address.

The Mossad agents sent there were told by neighbours that a family called Klement had recently moved from the same street —though they didn’t know where — and that another family member worked at a nearby garage.

This turned out to be a Dieter Klement (in reality Eichmann’s youngest son), who was placed under surveillance and followed to an address in the Buenos Aires suburb of San Fernando.

An investigation found that a man called Ricardo Klement lived there. He hadn’t been there for a few days, but the house was registered in the name of a Vera Liebel — the maiden name of Eichmann’s wife Veronica. One weekend the man reappeared and a photo of him was obtained. As soon as the photos reached us, I took them to the Israeli police forensics department and asked for a comparison with the ones in Eichmann’s SS file. It was inconclusive.

Then one of the surveillance team got a profile photo that included Klement’s left ear.

Eichmann was living under the name of Ricardo Klement in Argentina (documents showing fake identity shown)

Eichmann was living under the name of Ricardo Klement in Argentina (documents showing fake identity shown)

A person’s ear is like a fingerprint: no two are identical. This time the verdict was unequivocal: we had found Eichmann. I was instructed to prepare an operation — to be called Finale — to capture him and bring him back to Israel.

The son of Russian refugees, I had joined Mossad in my mid-20s and came to head the special operations unit within it, Division 10. Although I was only 33 and had not gone through the horrors of the Holocaust, I was well aware of the responsibility on me and of the moral and historical significance of capturing Eichmann. I bought every book in which Eichmann was mentioned. I also met and talked to Holocaust survivors who had had contact with him.

What did I learn? That Eichmann, 54 by the time of our operation, was the German-born son of a book-keeper in Austria and attended the same high school as Hitler had 17 years previously.

A failure academically, he eventually became a travelling salesman. In 1932, he joined the Nazi Party and then its paramilitary wing, the SS. Eichmann won his superiors’ attention once war broke out by orchestrating the creation of the cramped and disease-ridden European ghettoes into which Jews were rounded up.

Their ultimate fate was decided at a lakeside villa in the Berlin suburb of Wannsee. A conference of 15 leading Nazi adminstrators was called there on January 20, 1942, by Eichmann’s SS boss, the chilling Reinhard Heydrich.

The meeting, efficiently concluded in 90 minutes, devised the systematic annihilation of Europe’s Jewish population. It was Eichmann to whom Heydrich entrusted the task of drawing up the conference minutes, with the strict instructions that they were to be neither verbatim nor too explicit.

Eichmann was far from squeamish about carrying out his orders to organise the mass deportations to the death camps.

According to one of his deputies, Dieter Wisliceny, Eichmann said he would ‘leap laughing into the grave because the feeling that he had five million people on his conscience would be for him a source of extraordinary satisfaction’.

In 1945, Eichmann had escaped from the American forces who captured him, then moved around Germany under various aliases. He fled to Argentina in 1950.

Abducting Eichmann from outside his home was the favoured option for our mission, not least because at this stage we did not know what he did for a living or where he worked.

We set up a model of the Eichmann home and its immediate vicinity at our base in Israel.

Rafi Eitan (pictured in 2016) was one of the Mossad agents who caught Nazi war criminal Adolf Eichmann

Rafi Eitan (pictured in 2016) was one of the Mossad agents who caught Nazi war criminal Adolf Eichmann

There were seven members in the abduction team, plus additional members in Buenos Aires, renting us houses and vehicles. I put a lot of thought into the team’s documentation. Each person had a passport for travel to Argentina, another for use once there, and documentation for their departure — or escape.

I wanted them to have a chance of extracting themselves as smoothly as possible if they were arrested for any reason by the local police who, ever since the president Juan Peron’s 1955 military coup, were a constant presence on the streets. It was decided that the best way to bring Eichmann to Israel for trial would be by air, so it was clear we would use the national Israeli carrier El Al.

The snag was that there were no scheduled flights between Tel Aviv and Buenos Aires, but fortunately a solution presented itself.

Argentina was marking its 150th anniversary of independence on May 20, 1960, and an Israeli delegation was invited to participate in the official celebrations, flying in — and out — on a specially chartered El Al flight. I planned to capture Eichmann ten days before the plane was scheduled to leave. Why? Because I wanted time to make a second attempt if our first one failed.

We figured that if the abduction passed quietly, the chances of the family contacting the authorities were slim. Eichmann and his wife were posing as an unmarried couple. If she reported his absence, the police would most likely conclude he’d skipped out on her. It seemed highly unlikely she would tell the police he was a wanted war criminal who she suspected had been abducted or murdered.

Once during our surveillance of Eichmann’s house, I saw him clearly for the first time through binoculars. Was I excited? Not at all. I did not see him as a mass murderer, but as an object of an operation that I had planned and was responsible for executing.

His house had only three rooms at most and was shabby. Unlike other Nazis who smuggled out money and valuables looted under occupation, Eichmann apparently fled to Argentina without financial resources.

We arrived at 6.50pm on May 11. Forty minutes later, the No. 203 bus stopped, but no one got off. Then another passed by. Again no sign of our quarry. A colleague said: ‘Rafi, it’s not working out for today. Let’s leave and come back another day.’ ‘We’re staying,’ I replied.

At 8.05pm the next No. 203 arrived. Eichmann got off and began walking home and our kidnap plan swung smoothly into action. Over the next nine days, Eichmann was very tense under interrogation but complied with every instruction.

He had no difficulty guessing the identity of his captors and even during the first interrogation uttered the words of the prayer Shema Israel (Hear, Oh Israel). We found it quite sickening to hear one of the main perpetrators of the murder of millions of Jews say it, but it soon became clear that apart from these few words, he did not know Hebrew.

Adolf Eichmann was convicted and sentenced to death after a 56-day trial in Israel

Adolf Eichmann was convicted and sentenced to death after a 56-day trial in Israel

On the day of departure it was decided to bring the El Al plane into the airport’s maintenance area under the pretext of being worked on, so we could avoid taking Eichmann though passport control. We dressed him in an El Al pilot’s uniform, drugged him so he was conscious but with his senses blunted and drove him to the airport.

At the gate of the maintenance area, an El Al man was waiting for us, equipped with entry permits. The car was parked next to the plane’s ramp. Another of our men distracted a policeman there and four of us held up Eichmann as we boarded him and put him in a first-class seat, next to a toilet in which to hide him if needed.

A few minutes later the plane made its way to the terminal, where the passengers boarded, then took off for Israel.

I met Eichmann twice while he was in prison awaiting trial. I was mainly interested in the training of an SS officer: how a normal person is turned into a mass murderer. I can’t say that I received a full answer to this question.

My impression from Eichmann’s answers was that he was a mediocre officer, a quintessential technocrat, punctual, meticulous and obedient, talented in the field of organisation and logistics, but with a very low intellectual level. His ability to read and understand those around him was limited.

At his trial before a special tribunal of the Jerusalem District Court, beginning in April 1961, Eichmann was indicted on 15 charges, including crimes against humanity, war crimes and crimes against the Jewish people.

Nazi war criminal Adolf Eichmann paces in the yard at Ramle Prison, central Israel, ten days before the start of his trial in April 1961 - just over a year before his execution

Nazi war criminal Adolf Eichmann paces in the yard at Ramle Prison, central Israel, ten days before the start of his trial in April 1961 – just over a year before his execution

In his opening speech, prosecutor Gideon Hausner declared: ‘I am not standing alone. With me are six million accusers. But they cannot rise to their feet and point an accusing finger towards him who sits in the dock and cry: “I accuse.” For their ashes are piled up on the hills of Auschwitz and the fields of Treblinka and are strewn in the forests of Poland.

‘Their graves are scattered throughout the length and breadth of Europe. Their blood cries out, but their voice is not heard. Therefore, I will be their spokesman and in their name, I will unfold the terrible indictment.’

After a 56-day trial, Eichmann was convicted and sentenced to death. On the night of May 31, 1962, I received a call from the prison and was told Eichmann would be hanged at midnight.

When I arrived, Eichmann had just been taken out of his cell. Our gazes met, but we did not exchange a word, and I do not know if he recognised me as one of the people who captured him. I was the only one from the team to be present at his last moments on earth.

I walked behind the group who accompanied him and heard him mutter in German. I was told that he said: ‘I hope you all follow me shortly.’ As we approached the cell he uttered a few more words, including: ‘Long live Germany, long live Argentina.’

At the hanging cell, which was the size of a small elevator, they blindfolded him and a guard put a rope around his neck.

I heard the thud of his body and a few minutes later a doctor confirmed his death.

That night, I was invited to join the boat which sailed far from Israel’s territorial waters to disperse Eichmann’s ashes, but I politely declined. I had had more than enough and drove home.

FOOTNOTE: Rafi Eitan continued to work for Mossad and was appointed adviser on terrorism to the Israeli Prime Minister Menachem Begin in 1981. He went on to become a successful businessman, was elected to the Knesset as leader of the Pensioners’ Party and became Minister for Senior Citizens. He died in 2019, aged 92.

  • Adapted from Capturing Eichmann: The Memoirs Of A Mossad Spymaster by Rafi Eitan, published by Greenhill Books at £25. © Rafi Eitan 2022. To order a copy for £22.50 (offer valid to 06/08/22; UK P&P free on orders over £20), visit mailshop.co.uk/books or call 020 3176 2937. 

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