Institute for Historical Review
The fate of Adolf Eichmann reached truly monumental and sensational proportions with his so-called capture in Argentina by Israeli agents on May 12, 1960. The Israeli authorities decided to hold the world in suspense for an entire year before placing the former German official before a court under conditions in which any reference to a fair trial would be merely ludicrous.
The alleged memoirs of Eichmann were uncritically published in Life, November 28, December 5, 1960, without any attention having been paid to the fact that more than one scandal had been caused by spurious memoirs during recent years. One need only imagine how Gerhard Ritter, the president of the German Historical Society, felt in 1953 when it was proved that Hitlers Tischgespraeche (Hitler's Secret Conversations, N.Y., 1953), which he had edited for publication in 1952, was utterly fraudulent. Nevertheless, in 1960, a record allegedly derived from Eichmann's comments in 1955 to a highly dubious associate were to be accepted as definitive memoirs. They were designed to prove, of course, that "the unregenerate Nazi" Eichmann was every inch the fiend that be has been depicted. A disarming attempt to make them seem authentic was furnished by the touch that Eichmann did not say what his cohort, Hoettl, claimed at Nuremberg that he had said about the alleged killing of millions of Jews (Time, June 6, 1960, reported Eichmann had said five million Jews; Newsweek, June 6, 1960, claimed he had said six million).
The number of unlikely touches in the Life account make the performance look about as clumsy as the typical Communist-forged memoirs. For instance, Weissberg noted that Eichmann had made his proposal on Jewish emigration to Brand, with the specific authorization of Himmler, on April 25, 1944, at the Hotel Majestic in Budapest. The Life account has Himmler authorizing the exchange of Jewish emigrants for war material in 1944 "when Reichsführer Himmler took over as commander of the reserve army." But Himmler did not receive his active military command over the Volkssturm until August 1944, after the July 20, 1944 assassination attempt against Hitler.
The articles in Life actually appear to be little more than a condensation of three sensational and mutually contradictory books: Minister of Death, the Eichmann Story (N.Y., 1960, by Ephraim Katz, Zwy Aldouby, and Quentin Reynolds); The Case Against Adolf Eichmann (N.Y., 1960, by Henry A. Zeiger); Eichmann: the Man and His Crimes (N.Y., 1960, by Comer Clarke). It has never been alleged that Eichmann participated in the execution of Jews, but it has been claimed that be knowingly arranged for their deportation to places of execution.
In spite of all the international commotion and the vast barrage of irresponsible print which has flooded the world on Eichmann since May, 1960, there is not the slightest substantial evidence that Eichmann ever deliberately ordered even one Jew gassed in a German concentration camp, to say nothing of having ordered and supervised the extermination of six million Jews. This would be true even though he gave testimony at his trial that he bad been responsible for the extermination of more than six million or wrote a book of alleged "true confessions" giving the same or a larger figure. Any such account by Eichmann would be (1) proof of the extent and effect of the torture and brainwashing to which be had been subjected by his Jewish captors; (2) the result of his decision, since he knew he would be executed in any event, to provide a sensational yarn of his elimination of Jews whom he disliked, even if he had not actually wished to destroy them, thus caressing his ego; or (3) a product of the fact that his experience bad actually rendered him mentally unbalanced. Perhaps all three explanations would be intermingled and blended. The essence of the matter is that, if all the important evidence indicates that there was no systematic and extensive extermination of Jews by Germany during the war, then no boast of such massive achievements in extermination can be accepted as having any factual validity. They would belong in the realm of morbid fantasy rather than sober factual reality.