In honor of the anniversary of Israel’s historic trial of Adolf Eichmann (which began fifty years ago next Monday), Der Spiegel is, in the best tradition of contemporary Germany, taking a hard look at the final years of the architect of the Final Solution, including its government’s own continued complicity in his freedom (German intelligence knew he was in Argentina as early as 1952, and the CIA knew a few years later).
The series is ongoing, and much of it is a tick-tock of the years leading up to his capture, containing previously known facts that are also described in Nextbook Press’s brand-new tome by Deborah Lipstadt, The Eichmann Trial.
However, Der Spiegel, which gained access to “formerly confidential, secret and top-secret documents” in a host of archives, did break some “news” over the weekend. Specifically, Eichmann did regret one thing about his actions during the Holocaust: That he didn’t finish the job. “We didn’t do our work correctly,” he told confidantes in a recorded conversation. “There was more that could have been done.” Was he just following orders? Er, no: “I was no ordinary recipient of orders,” he told them. “If I had been one, I would have been a fool. Instead, I was part of the thought process. I was an idealist.”