By Jon Reisfeld
(Originally published 4/18/2011)
After Israeli agents captured Adolf
Eichmann, in 1960, and charged
him with crimes against humanity
for his role in implement-ing Hitler's Final Solution, the unrepentant former Nazi head of Jewish deportations shared several revealing anecdotes with his captors concerning events from those dark days.
One story eventually found its way
into CIA files, only to resurface,
after declassification, in a 2009
National Archives report about Nazi War Criminals, U.S. intelli-gence agencies and the Cold War.
The story has special significance for all of us who pause today, on Yom Hashoah, to remember victims of The Holocaust. It also further refutes the claims of the stubborn, hateful few, who despite overwhelming evidence to the contrary, continue to insist that The Holocaust never happened.
Eichmann said that while he was in Budapest, in the fall of 1944, he received orders from Heinrich Himmler, head of the Gestapo, to prepare a report about the exact number of Jews the Nazis had killed since taking power, in 1933. Because he did not run the death camps or command the death squads in the field, a point Eichmann, no doubt, wished to impress upon his interrogators, he said he had to rely on estimates previously provided by concentration camp commandants and death-squad unit heads in order to prepare the report.
Eichmann's report estimated the number of murdered Jews at six million. Of these, he said, two-thirds (or 4 million) had died in the camps while the remaining 2 million had perished during special killing actions conducted near their homes in Poland and Russia.
Eichmann submitted his report and waited. Eventually, Himmler's assistant, Hoettl, informed him that his boss was dissatisfied, believing that the numbers should have been higher. Himmler ordered Eichmann to forward a copy of the report to the head of his statistical office (apparently, so that he could then review and revise it.)
Himmler, who had been closely involved in implementing the Final Solution, believed Eichmann had grossly underestimated the efficiency of the Nazi killing machine. Six million murdered Jews? That number, he insisted, was not even close.
The six-million dead included one million Jewish children, two million Jewish women and three million Jewish men, two-thirds of the estimated nine million Jews living in Europe prior to the war. They represented civilian deaths -- unarmed people whom the Nazis had singled out for slavery, endless brutality and slaughter, strictly because of their familial and religious heritage.
The number of dead may not have satisfied Himmler's blood lust, but 6 million is such a large number that it is difficult to fathom. How do we put it into perspective? If it took just three seconds to repeat each Holocaust victim's name aloud, a single person, reading the names of the dead non-stop, 24-hours-a-day, seven-days-a-week, would need 208-and-a-third days --
or nearly seven sleepless months -- in which to complete the task. Of course, no single person's voice or body could long withstand the strain, so hundreds, perhaps thousands, of individuals would be needed, working in tandem, to complete the vigil.
Time has not lessened our sense of loss. Instead, it deepens with each new generation, as we note the conspicuous absence of millions of victims' descendants. The six million Jewish lives lost in The Holocaust continue to represent unspeakable tragedy and pain, horrifying in its scope and impossible, even for those of us alive 70 years later, to fully accept and comprehend.
UN honors Holocaust Remembrance Day with new exhibit (timesofisrael.com)
Some Nazi leaders betrayed by Zionists (middleeastatemporal.wordpress.com)
Yom HaShoah / Holocaust Rememberance Day (promoteliberty.wordpress.com)
Who is Adolf Eichmann? (rianputra84.wordpress.com)
A rare peek into Mossad's capture of Nazi Adolph Eichmann (thestar.com)
Eichmann exhibit gives glimpse of Israel's Mossad (ndtv.com)
Never Again! (golanskistreasures.com)
Mossad's hunt for the other Adolf: Spy agency's search for Eichmann revealed (cnn.com)
Adolf Eichmann's capture, as told by the Mossad, in Israel exhibition (guardian.co.uk)
The pernicious cycle of Holocaust denial (blogs.timesofisrael.com)