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Authors: Ben Stevens

Tags: #History, #Military, #World War II, #World, #Jewish, #Holocaust, #90 Minutes (44-64 Pages)

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Eichmann, Karl Adolf

The son of middle-class Protestants, born March 19, 1906, Eichmann’s mother died when he was aged four. His father remarried, and as a result of shrewd business dealings conducted during the First World War became a wealthy man.

Often the young Eichmann visited Vienna, and there made friends with a number of its large Jewish population. He was himself slightly Jewish in appearance, and quickly learnt to communicate in Hebrew and Yiddish.

But when the 1925 inflation ruined his father’s business, and left him without seemingly any chance of employment, Eichmann’s opinion concerning the Jews began quickly to change. This was in no small part due to his reading of Hitler’s
Mein Kampf
(the first volume of which had recently been published), with its many, virulently anti-Semitic passages.

Declared Eichmann later:

…I began to think these foreign-looking people were the enemy of us all.
I wondered about my friendship with Jews and I felt they had always treated me as someone rather inferior. I then believed that Adolf Hitler was right…

Finally he was able to find work as an oil salesman, and faithfully attending Nazi Party meetings then became a fully paid-up member of the Party in 1931.

…Having heard the Fuhrer speak, I felt disgusted that I had mixed with those Jews who are the enemies of the German people and the defilers of their blood…

Ironically, Eichmann was himself attacked (due to his Jewish appearance, and unable to produce his Nazi Party card in time) by one of the vicious ‘Brownshirt’ gangs, who terrorized any Jews they encountered out on the streets of Germany.

Left bleeding and barely-conscious, Eichmann subsequently blamed only the Jews for his savage assault:

…If there were no Jewish people, I wouldn’t be mistaken for a Jew. What the hell are they doing in Germany, anyway?...

The feared ‘Brownshirts’ demonstrate against a Jewish-owned business

Eichmann also found himself having to explain his Jewish appearance to the Party leaders, along with such things as his obvious knowledge of Jewish customs and his ability to speak Yiddish. In order to disguise the affection he’d felt for the Jews in his earlier life, Eichmann resorted to lying, declaring that he knew such things only because he’d been born in the German colony in Mount Carmel, Palestine.

The truth concerning Eichmann’s knowledge of Jewish customs and the Yiddish tongue was later discovered, but it was felt that this information could be most effectively used to keep Eichmann ‘in line’ – it would be divulged only if he acted in a manner deemed threatening or rebellious towards the Nazi Party.

But it is certain that Eichmann did not actually require such blackmail to ensure his loyalty towards the Party. He was by now rabidly anti-Semitic, and equipped with Party uniform, swastika armbands, pistol and whip, began to exercise exactly the same level of violence towards others that he himself had so recently experienced.

Such enthusiasm was quickly rewarded with his promotion to Sergeant in the Security Service at Berlin Headquarters. There, under the command of
Reinhard Heydrich
, he conducted historical and linguistic research concerning the Jewish people – in particular concentrating on their ‘destructive activities’.

By 1937, Eichmann had been tasked with formulating ways of dealing with ‘the Jewish problem’ in every country that would be taken by Germany. Initially, Eichmann proposed dispatching all captured Jews by cattle cars to the vast, freezing Russian frontiers, where they could be dealt with at leisure.

The German occupation of Austria, in March 1939, allowed Eichmann to enthusiastically commence his ‘work’. No longer would it be primarily theoretical. Jews were arrested, and subsequently executed or dispatched to the Buchenwald and Dachau concentration camps.

Following the invasion of Poland in September of that year, Eichmann first proposed ‘burning’ the Jews. By 1941, he had become fully aware of
Endlosung –
the ‘Final Solution’. Accordingly, Eichmann now suggested the idea of mass-gassing. Comparatively cheap, its effectiveness had already been demonstrated on those ‘mental defectives’ and ‘chronic invalids’ secretly executed before the start of the war.

Initially, Jews were shut into lorries and gassed by carbon monoxide fumes. But how could this method hope to deal with the millions of victims
required? Large huts were then used, which allowed for more victims to be murdered; but still the use of carbon monoxide gas was deemed too time-consuming.

Dissatisfied, Eichmann was then introduced to Zyklon B gas, in crystal form. These crystals were supplied by the corporation Tesch and Stabenow (
Bruno Tesch
), a market leader in pest-control chemicals, which in 1943 made a gross profit of 128,000 marks for the supply of Zyklon B.

An underground bunker with several hundred Jews was used for the initial test; by the following day, nearly all the people inside were dead. Eichmann was delighted with such results, and construction of the concentration camp gas chambers began in earnest.

By the summer of 1944, during the Hungarian ‘action’, the gas chambers and crematoria at Auschwitz were dealing with 9,000 victims
per day
. Eichmann received such figures, sent from a stuttering teleprinter at the sprawling concentration camp direct to his desk. He also watched the gassings of men, women and children through ‘peepholes’, afterwards discussing what he had observed with fellow ‘audience members’ such as
Heinrich Himmler
over cigarettes and drinks.

While some prominent members of the Nazi Party – including Himmler – privately admitted that
was ‘something of a hard job’, Eichmann was entirely uncaring. He was an absolutely efficient keeper of the daily statistics of death, and scrupulously arranged for the collection of clothes, hair, gold teeth and valuables taken from the victims before and after they had been gassed.

His undeniable sadism and bloodlust seemed almost to correlate with his raging libido, which he satisfied with wild sexual escapades in such cities as Paris.

He declared to an aide in 1944 –

…I shall leap into my grave laughing because the feeling that I have the death of five million people on my conscience will be for me a source of extraordinary satisfaction…

Asked if he would collect skull-specimens of Russo-Jewish victims, by the Professor of Anatomy at Strasburg University, Eichmann willingly obliged, puffed with importance at having been tasked with this perceived ‘scientific duty’.

As it became obvious that Germany was losing the Second World War, Eichmann only urged that the extermination of the Jewry be completed:

‘…If Germany collapses we can at least say that we have achieved something. We will have completely wiped out the European Jewry…’

Following Germany’s defeat, he disguised himself as a laborer and so managed to escape detection. Obtaining a stateless person’s papers in Rome, he returned to Germany and there went into hiding.

But with a determined group of Jewish partisans on his trail by 1950, he was forced to flee to Buenos Aires with his wife and family. There, under the name of ‘Kurt Steinberg’ (one of a number of aliases he adopted – also ‘Otto Eckmann’ and ‘Otto Heninger’), he obtained employment with a firm whose other staff members also happened to be comprised mainly of former Nazis and SS men.

Still, the search for Eichmann continued, until finally in 1959 he was kidnapped by Israeli Mossad agents and flown to Israel to await trial.

Found guilty of war crimes, he was hanged May 31, 1962.

Goebbels, Joseph

If you tell a lie, make it a big one…

The son of a Catholic bookkeeper, Goebbels was born Oct 29, 1897. A slightly deformed right leg, the result of contracting polio as a child, made him walk with a limp. Goebbels would later claim that this limp arose from a wound received in the First World War, although he was in fact rejected for military service.

Goebbels had a string of affairs through his life, although his intention to marry one woman, Else Janke, was conclusively ended when Janke confessed to him that she was half-Jewish. Goebbels – already virulently anti-Semitic – promptly ended the relationship.

Wrote Goebbels tersely in his diary:

She has informed me of her ‘roots’. Her charms have been irrevocably destroyed for me

Instead, the dark-featured and somewhat diminutive Goebbels married Magna (a typical blond-haired, Germanic-looking woman) in 1931. This marriage did nothing to end Goebbels’ string of affairs, although after a tearful Magna appealed to the Fuhrer personally, Hitler demanded that Goebbels put an end to one such illicit relationship. Devastated by the order, Goebbels attempted suicide.

Still, it was under Hitler’s leadership that Goebbels really came to prominence, being made Reich Minister of Propaganda in 1933. (Hitler himself became Chancellor that same year.)

A frustrated novelist and playwright, Goebbels used unashamedly xenophobic and anti-Semitic language in his speeches to win over members of the
– Germany’s ‘blue-collar’ workers – to the Nazi Party’s side.

Goebbels’ support for the Fuhrer, and for what would become known as
– the ‘Final Solution’ – was absolute. Goebbels one time informed Germany’s leader:

…Adolf Hitler, I love you because you are both great and simple at the same time. What one calls a genius…


In May 1933 – in what he termed an ‘Action against the Un-German Spirit’, specifically an attack against ‘Jewish intellectualism’ – Goebbels organized the so-called ‘Burning of the Books’.

Some 25,000 ‘un-German’ books – many by Jewish or American writers, and including such famous names as Albert Einstein and Sigmund Freud – were
(‘cleansed’) by fire.

(Chillingly, Heinrich Heine, whose works were also burned, had written in his 1820 play
the famous line:
Dort, wo man Bücher verbrennt, verbrennt man am Ende auch Menschen –
‘Where they burn books, they will also in the end burn people…’)

Aim – drive the Jews out of Berlin
…’ wrote Goebbels in his diary in June 1938. He had already gained control over the media, and any other body concerned with the release of ‘information’ to the German public.

Through such control, he was able to organize boycotts of Jewish business and shops; incidents which culminated in
or the ‘Night of Broken Glass.’

In an orgy of bloody violence, from 9 – 10 November, Jewish homes, business and places of worship were attacked by gangs. This was allegedly in ‘revenge’ at the assassination (on 7 November) of the German ambassador Ernst vom Rath by Herschel Grynszpan, a young German-Polish Jew living in Paris.

Wrote Goebbels in his diary:

…The Jews should know the taste of popular anger... I gave appropriate instructions to the police and the Party. I then spoke to the Party leadership. There followed firm applause. Everyone was instantly on the telephone. Now the people will act…


A physically slight man, Goebbels delighted in instigating violence in which he himself did not have to be personally involved. His sharp tongue and frequently acerbic nature, along with his lack of height, led to his critics within the Nazi Party nicknaming him the ‘Poison Dwarf’.

resulted in the deaths of 1000 Jews, with 30,000 being placed in concentration camps, and 80,000 forced to emigrate.

With war breaking out in September 1939, Goebbels continued to reinforce the anti-Semitic message to the German people through organizing the release of such films as
Jud Süß
(‘Süss the Jew’), to ‘warn’ German girls of the ‘sexual devastation’ wrought by Jews in the past, and to remind them of the Nuremberg Race Laws of 1935, which prohibited any sexual relations between Aryans and Jews. In the Nazi ideology, such relations were
(‘racial disgrace’), and a dishonor of Aryan blood.

Poster for the 1940 Nazi propaganda film
Jud Süß
(‘Süss the Jew’.)

Ultimately, Goebbels’ calls for a ‘total war’, claims of a Nazi ‘secret weapon’ and increasingly apocalyptic speeches containing such lines as ‘
…The battle for Berlin must become the signal for the whole of Germany to rise up in battle…
’ only made what was already apparent to most Germans even more obvious – Germany was losing the war.

As the advancing Russian forces came ever-closer, Goebbels and his family moved into the same bunker as Hitler in Berlin. Goebbels was one of the four witnesses of Hitler’s last will and testament, before the Fuhrer shot himself on the afternoon of April 30, 1945.

Lamented Goebbels about his beloved leader:

The heart of Germany has ceased to beat. The Fuhrer is dead

Goebbels and his wife arranged the deaths of their six children, by morphine and cyanide, before committing suicide (by either shooting or poison) May 1, 1945. An attempt was made to burn their bodies, although this was only partially successful, with their bodies remaining identifiable.

Their remains would be repeatedly exhumed and analyzed over the following couple of decades, before the Soviet KGB finally burnt, crushed and disposed of them, in the Elbe River, in 1970.

Declared Goebbels about the Nazi Party, not long before his death:

…We shall go down in history as the greatest statesmen of all time – or as the greatest criminals…

BOOK: The Nazi Murder Machine: 13 Portraits in Evil
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