Adolf Eichmann was disclosed today to have told his Israeli interrogators that he had many Jewish relatives, that he was “neither a Jew-hater nor an anti-Semite” and that all “my men knew it.”
Eichmann made those statements early in his tape-recordings in the prison cell to which he was brought last May. This section of the former Gestapo colonel’s testimony was not played in court, as was his admission of complicity in the murders of 6, 000, 000 European Jews. The court was adjourned today for the observance of Israel’s 13th anniversary of independence.
Eichmann’s denial of being an anti-Semite was contained in one of six volumes of printed copies of the statements he made during the pre-trial investigation. The six volumes were made available by police today to the press. The volumes had 3, 564 pages. Each page was initialed by Eichmann and many of the pages had inserts and additions.
Reviewing his life as a child and young man, Eichmann told the interrogators that he was not brought up in an anti-Semitic atmosphere. He said he had Jewish relatives through marriage, explaining that many of his stepmother’s family married Jews and Jewesses. He claimed that he helped some of those half-Jews to leave for Switzerland as late as 1944.
Asserting that he had distant Jewish relatives also in Hungary, Eichmann told his interrogators that even in Hungary, he maintained his own idea for the solution of the “Jewish question”–which, until Germany attacked Russia, was a “political solution.” Eichmann said he then believed that “as long as Britain occupied Palestine and large-scale emigration there was impossible,” some other “territorial concentration” of Jews was necessary as a “temporary measure.”
He claimed that it was his idea to establish the Theresienstadt ghetto as a place for territorial concentration of Jews: According to his version, Reinhardt Heydrich, the Nazi security police head who became commissioner for the Czech protectorate, boasted to journalists after the occupation of Prague that within eight weeks the area would become freed of Jews. When it became evident that the expulsion of so many Jews was impossible, Eichmann asserted, he suggested the concentration of Czech Jews in one area and Theresienstadt was chosen.
Eichmann claimed he made another attempt at a “temporary territorial solution” when Poland was invaded. He said he suggested the evacuation of Poles from a certain area in which the Nazis would establish a “Jewish protectorate” like the Bohemial Moravia protectorate.” He said he personally chose the “Nistro” region and that the entire plan was approved by the highest authorities in Berlin. The plan was canceled when Poland’s Nazi Governor General Hans Frank violently opposed it, he added.
REVEALS HE VISITED PALESTINE ON NAZI ORDERS; READ DR. HERZL’S WORKS
Eichmann claimed that he and another SS official named Hagen were sent to Palestine by Reinhardt Heydrich, Himmler’s deputy. He claimed throughout his statement that he had pro-Zionist sympathies, declaring that on his visit to Palestine, “my sympathies at that time were with the Jews not the Arabs.” He said that he used only Jewish cabs because the Arab cab drivers were “unreliable and fast.”
The documentation, however, recorded the fact that Eichmann was shown a report by Hagen on the Palestine visit, which had been corrected in Eichmann’s handwriting. In that report were scores of viciously anti-Semitic comments, such as that “the economic chaos in Palestine is explained by the fact that Jews here cheat each other since, because of the shortage of Aryans, they cannot cheat them,” and that German Jews had said that it was better to return to German concentration camps than to stay in Palestine.
In another portion of the text of his statements, Eichmann strongly denied ever talking to the former Grand Mufti of Jerusalem, asserting he met him once briefly apparently during his Palestine visit. The record showed that the Israeli police read to Eichmann a report by his aide, Dieter Wislieczny, who said Eichmann told him of giving the Mufti statistics on European Jews and told the Mufti of plans to dispose of the Jews.
At an early stage of the interrogation, Eichmann said he read his first book on a Jewish subject when he joined the Jewish Bureau of the security police in 1935 and that the book was Dr. Herzl’s “The Jewish State.” He also read a description of Jabotinsky’s Zionist Revisionist organization. He said he prepared a summary of the two items and of Agudas Israel activities for an information brochure which was distributed among members of the Gestapo.
The Archive of the Jewish Telegraphic Agency includes articles published from 1923 to 2008. Archive stories reflect the journalistic standards and practices of the time they were published.