Otto Adolf Eichmann, was born in 1906 and died by hanging in 1962, aged 56 years. Because he was not present during the Nazi War Crimes Courts at Nuremburg held just after the end of WW2, he seemed to have slipped the net, both from his crimes and from public recognition. Maybe, we in Britain did not have much to do with his nefarious dealings, but many Europeans, especially those of Jewish extraction tell a bitter story of the man.
The book was first written in German back in the 1980s, and was then translated into English for publication in 2015, followed by this version in 2016. The author Bettina Stangneth is well placed to relate anti-Semitic facts and theories due to her many publications on the subject. How she put all this complex information relative to Eichmann together in one book is astounding. Freshly sourced archives and statements are used throughout, building into a full depiction of Eichmann, mainly during his exile.
I have to say that some of the factual evidence herein is a hard education to absorb, simply because of the sheer level of detail. It tells of his life in the Nazi hierarchy, although this takes up a relatively small portion of the book. Then his flight into exile as a rabbit farmer to northern Germany until his penultimate move to Argentina. The many red herrings that he sowed, the lies and intrigue that the man produced along the way is testimony to his guilt.
There is not much in the way of a sensationalized book here – more a cold, detailed factual account of the man who orchestrated ‘The Final Solution’. It was Eichmann who organized trains to transport millions to their deaths at various concentration camps. He somehow inveigled these poor unfortunates with promises of a better life, but it was he and his henchmen who had made their previous lives untenable in the first place.
Some still argue about the possible ‘political’ ramifications of how he was kidnapped by Mossad and put on trial in Israel for his heinous crimes, but as we know, politics move very slowly and sometimes not at all. So, I for one applaud these people who bought a cowardly mass murderer to justice back in the early 1960s.
I cannot say with all sincerity that I enjoyed the read, perhaps it does need a bit of light relief, it is incredibly intense in information but the story is a harrowing one for anybody and I felt the book told the entire story very well.
EICHMANN BEFORE JERUSALEM by Bettina Stangneth
9781784700010|Vintage pbk Feb 2016
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