Adolf Eichmann

Question:

If the Eichmann confession, dictated in Argentina, as printed in Life magazine is authentic then as far as I am concerned the argument about the Holocaust is pretty much closed. It happened, apart from arguing about the body count. End of debate, time to move on.

But I am eternally asking questions

1) Why is this not cited more often when talking to deniers.

2) What research has been done to authenticate the confession

3) Are there any serious doubts about its reliability.

4) How did the "mountain of words" described by Life reduce to a few pages.

5) Is there a fuller version anywhere.

To me it has a ring of truth. I notice denial sites have removed pages claiming the confession was a forgery.

Gordon McFee answers:

Thank you for your question. I am not so sure that Eichmann's interview with Life was as much a confession as simply a reminiscence. You will remember that Eichmann was safe in South America at the time of the interview -- he didn't think anyone knew where he was. That is one reason why he spoke freely.

1) Why is this not cited more often when talking to deniers.

It is not really known that well to most people. They tend instead to focus on the testimony at Eichmann's trial in Israel. In addition, there is not really anything new in Eichmann's interview,. at least not much (apart from his candor) that was not adduced at the Nuremberg and subsequent war trials.

2) What research has been done to authenticate the confession

Eichmann gave the interview. There is no real danger that it is not authentic.

3) Are there any serious doubts about its reliability.

No. Almost everything he says has been corroborated.

4) How did the "mountain of words" described by Life reduce to a few pages.

Don't know.

5) Is there a fuller version anywhere.

Don't know. Although Eichmann's memoirs have been found, he wrote them in Israel. In addition, many documents were found in his house with his handwritten annotations in the margins. They also corroborate tthe other evidence.

To me it has a ring of truth. I notice denial sites have removed pages claiming the confession was a forgery.

Not surprising.

--

Best regards,

Gord McFee

Question:

Hello i am study the war crimes and trials after WWII and i need to find information about Adolf Eichmann's escape from Germany to Argentia and how he was captured. If you could please email with some answers that would help me out so much. Thank you very much

Ralf P. Loserth Responds:

Hello,

I'm one of the persons who answers questions for the Holocaust History Project. Thanks very much for your question!

It turns out that Eichmann was arrested and held in a POW camp right after the war. He found out that his name had come up in a colleagues trial in Nuremburg. When he found out that he was being sought for War Crimes, he managed to escape, change his name and flee to Argentina five years later. In 1952, he brought his wife and children over, and "remarried" her under an assumed name. His children kept the name "Eichmann". Eventually he was discovered, and the investigation to prove his identity began. In 1960 he was captured by the Israeli Mossad and tried in 1961. The following web sites have some good information about his escape, capture and who he was. Thanks again,

Ralf P. Loserth

Question:

There was a Life Magazine interview done while he was still hiding in Argentina. Do we know what kind of arrangement the journalist and/or magazine had to make with him to insure the secrecy of his whereabouts?

Andrew Mathis Responds:

Actually, the interview was not done by Life Magazine. It was conducted over the course of several days by a former Belgian Nazi, Willem Sassens. Sassens then sold portions to Eichmann. It is also likely, though not proven, that he turned the manuscripts of the interviews over to Rudolf Aschenauer, who published Ich, Adolf Eichmann in 1980. This book attempts to exculpate Eichmann for his crimes some twenty years after his death, but ultimately the material in the book still supports the fact that Eichmann was involved in mass murder of Jews.

As he was approached by a former Nazi, I doubt security was an issue for Eichmann, though Sassens, in selling to Life Magazine, revealed Eichmann's location and ultimately helped the Israelis locate him in 1960. Nevertheless, Sassens was in hiding for war crimes himself, so he and Eichmann were probably kindred spirits.

Finally, I am unable to determine if Sassens is still alive. He interviewed Eichmann throughout the early 1950s (there were some 600 pages of transcripts), so he'd be at least in his seventies by now, if not older. The Office of Special Investigations may know the fate of Sassens, but I'm unsure how to contact them.

I hope this helps.

Andrew Mathis

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