ABC News and PBS Present The Trial of Adolf Eichmann




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Eichmann Timeline


March 19, 1906 - Adolf Eichmann is born in Solingen, Germany. His family moves to Linz, Austria during W.W.I.

Photo young Adolf Eichmann and classmates.
Young Eichmann with his classmates. (Click on thumbnail image for full-size photo and description.)

April 1, 1932 - Eichmann joins the Austrian Nazi Party.

November 1932 - Eichmann joins Heinrich Himmler's elite unit of Nazi terror, the SS.

On January 30, 1933 - Hitler is sworn in as Chancellor of the German Reich. Throughout 1933 violence against the Jews escalates. A boycott of Jewish enterprises begins on April 1st. Three days later the first law regarding Jews is enacted, baring them from civil service and public employment on all government levels. Events in Eichmann's life during this period follow.

Photo young Adolf Eichmann circa 1932.

Eichmann works as a salesman for an American oil company Circa 1932. (Click on thumbnail image for full-size photo and description.)

Early 1933 - Eichmann is fired from Vacuum Oil Company A.G. Although his employers cite a need to cut staff, Eichmann tells his Father he was fired by a new Jewish foreman for his involvement with the Nazi party.

February 1933 - Eichmann is sought after by the Austrian Police for his involvement in the Nazi party. He flees Linz, escaping to Berlin where he joins the Austrian division of the SS in exile.

August 1, 1933 - Eichmann begins military training in the terrorist school of the "Austrian Legion" at Lechfeld-bei-Passau on the German/Austrian border.

Photo Adolf Eichmann during training in Austrian Legion.

Eichmann during training in the Austrian Legion. (Click on thumbnail image for full-size photo and description.)

September 29, 1933 - Eichmann is assigned to SS liaison staff at Passau.

December 24, 1933 - Eichmann is promoted to SS-Scharfuhrer (Corporal)

January 29, 1934 - After Passau's liquidation, Eichmann is assigned to Dachau.

On February 28, 1934 - the "Schutznaf" or "Protective Custody Law" is passed, enabling the arbitrary imprisonment of victims in concentration camps. During 1935, administrative regulations are created that legally define the codes by which non-Aryan descent is determined. On September 15 the Nuremberg Laws are passed, and the German citizenship of the Jew is revoked. During this period, Eichmann secures his role in the Nazi Party and gains his reputation for being an expert on Jewish affairs.

1934 - Eichmann is sent from Dachau to the Party School in East Prussia, to internalize party propaganda.

October 1934 - Eichmann volunteers for service at the Head Office of the SD in Berlin. He finds work in the Department of Research into the Freemasons, under surveillance because of their liberal democratic ideas.

1935 - Eichmann moves to Department II 112- The Jewish Department.

1936 - Eichmann marries Vera Liebel.

June 18, 1937 - Eichmann requests through Sturmbannfuhrer Six to head Himmler's Scientific Museum for Jewish Affairs. Eichmann's request is turned down.

July 1, 1937 - Eichmann is ordered to Palestine to explore the possibility of deporting Europe's Jews to the area. He does not make the trip until late 1937.

September 11, 1937 - Eichmann visits Nuremberg Rally.

October 23, 1937 - Eichmann promoted to SS-Hauptfuhrer

November 1937 - Eichmann travels to Palestine.

March 12, 1938 - the Germans occupy Austria. The Einsatzgruppen is created as a striking force to track down opponents of the Nazis. During the following months legislation is passed prohibiting Jews from holding directorial and managerial positions, and ordering Jews to register all property in excess of 5,000 reichsmarks. On June 9, 1938, The Great Synagogue of Munich is destroyed on personal order of Hitler.

March 1938 - Eichmann is appointed "Referent" (Special Officer) for Zionist Affairs.

March 16, 1938 - Eichmann sent to Austria to rid the country of it's Jews. The SD begins an assault of terror on the Jews preceding their ultimate deportation.

August 26, 1938 - Eichmann is promoted to Untersturmfuhrer (Second Lieutenant).

Summer of 1938 - 15,000 Jews have been arrested throughout Germany as "asocials." On October 27, 1938 the first mass expulsion against Jews takes place. 15,000 Jews of Polish nationality living in Germany are rounded up and sent by train into the Polish frontier.

Kristallnacht - Sparked by the murder of Ernst vom Rath massive riots are carried out in Germany and Austria on November 9th and 10th. Kristallnacht results in the arrests of 20,000 Jews who are placed in concentration camps, 815 shops, 171 homes, and 76 synagogues destroyed, 191 synagogues set on fire, 36 Jews injured and 36 Jews killed. During this time Eichmann is kept up to date by constant information received through his service channels.

January 24, 1939 - Goring instructs Heydrich to take charge of Jewish emigration. Eichmann is entrusted with the day to day work of the Central Emigration Office, with Mueller acting as Director.

February 2, 1939 - Eichmann is promoted to Obersturmfuhrer (Lieutenant).

March 1939 - Eichmann meets with Jewish leaders in Berlin revealing that a Central Office for Emigration will be set up along the lines of the Central Office in Vienna.

July 26, 1939 - Eichmann opens the Central Office for Jewish Immigration in Prague.

Eichmann is transferred to Berlin to head the Gestapo's Jewish office.

Sept. 21, 1939 - Heydrich sends a directive to chiefs of the Einsatzgruppen outlining their goals. The Einsatzgruppen will assist in the implementation of the Final Solution of the Jews, which at this time is not extermination but internment in ghettos and deportation. At this time the Einsatzgruppen is charged with establishing Jewish ghettos for the "concentration of Jews from the country to the larger cities."

Sept. 1939 - Germany invades Poland. Although the order for total extermination of the Jews will not be given by Hitler until 1941, mass shootings by Einsatzgruppen units of Polish Jews begins.

Britain and France declare war on Germany.

Photo Adolf Eichmann at beginning of W.W.II.

Eichmann stands in uniform at beginning of W.W.II. (Click on thumbnail image for full-size photo and description.)

October 1939 - Eichmann is appointed head of Berlin office for Emigration. Nisko plan takes effect.

December 21, 1939 - Heydrich establishes Department IV of the RSHA for the central handling of evacuation of Jews from the Eastern territories. Eichmann chosen to head this department as "Special Referent."

February 13, 1940 - Eichmann's department organizes forced emigration of Jews of Settin, the first instance of Jews of German nationality being deported from the Old Reich instead of recently annexed territory in the East. 230 people die as a result of this march.

April 1940 - Germany occupies Denmark.

May 10, 1940 - Germany's attack on the West begins. The German army conquers The Netherlands and Belgium and enters France. By June 22, Paris has fallen to the Nazis.

June 30, 1940 - Hitler approves Madagascar plan. Eichmann charged with the details of it's implementation.

August 1, 1940 - Eichmann promoted to Hauptsturmfuhrer (Captain).

October 1940 - Eichmann's department organizes transport for expulsion of Jews from Baden and the Saar Palatinate to unoccupied France. Eichmann succeeds in convincing the French Station Master at the border that these were German military transports, thus allowing the completion of the expulsion.

Late 1940 - Slovakia, Romania, and Hungary join Axis forces.

1941 - Although "The Final Solution to the Jewish Question" had not yet become an official aim of the Nazis, mass exterminations of Jews at the Auschwitz Concentration Camp commenced in this year. During it's operation in the years following, Eichmann recommended to the camp commanders the use of Zyklon-B for the gassing of Jews, and took steps to insure the supply of that gas to the camp.

The Majdanek and Chelmno extermination camps begin operation.

March 1941 - Bulgaria joins Axis forces.

Eichmann put in charge of section IVB4 which was to deal with "Jewish affairs / evacuation affairs."

April 1941 - Germany attacks Yugoslavia and Greece, and occupies Serbia.

Summer 1941 - Eichmann put in charge of entire Jewish population of Germany.

June 1941 - Germany attacks Russia. Four units of Einsatzgruppen consisting of 400 to 500 men each are deployed as mobile killing units in the Soviet Union.

Eichmann witnesses a mass shooting near Minsk.

Photo of Einsatzgruppen; mass shooting.
The Einsatzgruppen at work. (Click on thumbnail image for full-size photo and description.)

June 1941 - Mass exterminations begin in Rumania. Those Jews not exterminated are transported to Transnistria.

July 1941 - Goring appoints Heydrich to organize the Final Solution to the Jewish Question in addition to heading the Central Office for Jewish Emigration.

Sept. 1, 1941 - Jewish Badge regulation. Heydrich signs "Police Regulation in Regard to the Marking of Jews."

Sept. 13, 1941 - Eichmann contacts Foreign Ministry advisor Rademacher regarding 8,000 Jewish men from Serbia. Unable to find a location where the Jews can be settled, Eichmann proposes "to kill them by shooting."

Sept. 15, 1941 - Two letters regarding the Jewish badge are released from Eichmann's office. Letters detail Jewish Badge regulation as well as severe punishments for it's violation.

October 1, 1941 - All emigration from the Reich forbidden.

October 10, 1941 - Heydrich and Eichmann attend meeting in Prague where a program for future action for the Final Solution was described. October 15th set as the first date for expulsions specific to the aims of the Final Solution.

October 22, 1941 - Eichmann's office represented by Wisliceny begins relocation of Jews in Slovakia.

November 9, 1941 - Eichmann promoted to Obersturmbannfuhrer (Major/Lieutenant Colonel).

December 7, 1941 - Japanese attack on US Naval Base at Pearl Harbor launches The United States into the war.

1942 - Gas Vans are used for mass killings.

Eichmann witnesses the entire process of gas van killing in Chelmno, from the moment the Jews were loaded on to the removal of gold teeth from the corpses.

January 20, 1942 - Eichmann attends the Wannsee Conference, a meeting of Nazi high officials convened to form a general agreement to the logistics necessary for the implementation of "The Final Solution to the Jewish Question." Eichmann was to become the chief executioner of this solution.

March 1942 - The Belzec and Sobibor extermination camps begin operation.

March 13, 1942 - Eichmann begins preparation for the evacuation of Slovakian Jews.

June 11, 1942 - Eichmann's office decides to make the first deportation from Holland of 15,000 Jews.

July 1942 - Treblinka extermination camp begins to function.

Eichmann visits Treblinka and witnesses the death process (date of visit unknown).

July 10, 1942 - Dannecker cables Eichmann asking what should be done with 4,000 children held at the Drancy camp. Eichmann replies that as soon as transportation could be dispatched to the Generalgouvernment area, "transports of children would be able to roll." A later cable from Eichmann's office determined the children would be transported to Auschwitz.

July 15, 1942 - First deportation train bound to leave from France is postponed. A letter sent to the Paris Office, signed by Rothke, uses Eichmann's name to instill fear and to insure that following trains "leave according to plan."

Photo of Jews boarding trains bound for death camps circa 1942.
Jews board trains bound for death camps Circa 1942. (Click on thumbnail image for full-size photo and description.)

August 1, 1942 - Eichmann instructs representatives of the SD in Brussels that all stateless Jews from Belgium are to be deported. The final destination of these Jews is Auschwitz.

November 17, 1942 - Letter signed by Eichmann to the Foreign Ministry requests that the Government of Bulgaria be approached so that deportation of Bulgarian Jewry can begin, "as part of the process of the general solution of the European Jewish problem."

November 25, 1942 - Eichmann's office cables the commander of the SD in Oslo that all Norwegian Jews are to be evacuated to Auschwitz via Stettin.

January 1943 - Wisliceny from Eichmann's office begins deportation process in Greece. Eichmann takes a personal interest in the deportation of Jews living in the Italian occupied territories.

Eichmann becomes active in an attempt to halt Rumania's Marshal Antonescu's allowing immigration of Jews to Palestine.

April 19, 1943 - Warsaw Ghetto uprising.

Photo of German troops leveling Warsaw Ghetto.
German troops level the Warsaw Ghetto. (Click on thumbnail image for full-size photo and description.)

June 30, 1943 - Kaltenbrunner's cable of this date gives notice of Eichmann's upcoming visit to the Lodz Ghetto in connection with the deportation of Jews. Later cables from Kaltenbrunner, like one concerning the liquidation of the ghetto itself, implicate Eichmann as having a strong hand in the fate of Lodz Jews.

August 1943 - Treblinka uprising.

October 1, 1943 - Eichmann takes control over all matters concerning "confiscation of property of persons hostile to the people and the state, and the cancellation of German nationality." Control was shifted to Eichmann's department because by this time most of the people considered "hostile to the people and the state" were Jews.

October 1943 - Action against Jews of Denmark begins

Dannecker from Eichmann's office travels to Italy to organize the deportation of Italian Jews.

January 13, 1944 - Eichmann is accepted into the reserves of the Waffen SS (air force).

March 19, 1944 - Germany seizes it's former ally Hungary.

Eichmann arrives in Hungary to begin deportation of Jews.

April 25, 1944 - Eichmann offers the Blood for Goods proposal to Joel Brand. Joel Brand plans to travel to Turkey to secure 10,000 trucks in return for the lives of 1 million Jews. Brand is detained by the British in Cairo, and is unable to complete his mission.

Mrs. Brand meets with Eichmann upon her husbands failure to return to Hungary. Eichmann tells her to cable her husband and tell him that, "if he doesn't come back at once I'll put the mills of Auschwitz in motion."

May-July 9, 1944 - Deportations of Hungarian Jews to Auschwitz.

May 25, 1944 - Veesenmayer reports that rate of deportation quickens due to the increased ratio of individual Jews per train car.

June 6, 1944 - D-Day. Allied invasion of Western Europe begins.

The King of Sweden along with the Pope and others intervene to stop the deportations in Hungary. Under the pressure, Horthy orders all deportations stopped.

June-July, 1944 - Eichmann uses the deportation of Jews to Vienna for labor (not extermination) to extort money from the Hungarian Jewish community by convincing them that by allowing the Jews to be "put on ice" (and not exterminated) he was making a concession instead of following orders. Eichmann also demands money for food and medical care for the deported Jews.

July 14, 1944 - Eichmann attempts to deport 1,500 Hungarian Jews. Hearing of this, Jewish leaders inform Horthy, who orders the train turned back before it can make it past the Hungarian border.

July 19, 1944 - Novak, commander of the SS of Eichmann's unit, informs the Hungarian commander of the camp where the 1,500 Jews were returned that "Eichmann will not tolerate his orders to be countermanded, not even by the Regent of the state himself." This time, Eichmann keeps the Jewish leaders held up in his office while the 1,500 Jews are re-loaded onto trains again and rushed past the Hungarian border.

August 14, 1944 - Eichmann is informed that the date of August 25th is set for the evacuation of Jews from Budapest. Eichmann, dissatisfied, advances the date to August 20th. Once again Eichmann is met with resistance by Horthy, who insists that the Jews be kept in camps within Hungary, and not deported to Germany. Eichmann requests and is granted permission to be withdrawn from Hungary.

October 1944 - Germans force Horthy to appoint Szalasi of the "Arrow Cross" as prime minister of Hungary. Horthy submits. Eichmann returns to Hungary to resume deportations. Eichmann starts negotiations with the Hungarian authorities for the deportation of 50,000 Jews to be marched into Germany on foot due to destruction of railways by allied bombing.

October 2, 1944 - Eichmann's office rejects Swedish attempts to save 60 Jewish spouses of mixed marriages.

Nov. 10, 1944 - March of Budapest Jews begins.

Eichmann's assistant Krumey approaches him, uneasy about the atrocities of the march of Budapest Jews. Eichmann replies, "You saw nothing!"

Himmler orders the march stopped.

Photo Himmler and troops circa 1944.
Himmler stands with troops Circa 1944. (Click on thumbnail image for full-size photo and description.)

Mar.-Apr. 1945 - Allied forces occupy the German homeland.

Eichmann pays a farewell visit to his family in Austria. He gives poison to his wife for herself and the children if they are captured by the Russians.

April 30, 1945 - Hitler commits suicide.

May 7, 1945 - Germany surrenders.

Eichmann is captured by the Americans near Ulm. He adopts the name Adolf Karl Barth, and wears the uniform of a second class Luftwaffe airman. Eichmann flees this camp on the knowledge that the Americans are checking prisoners of war for SS tattoos.

August 1945 - Eichmann is captured for a second time, again by the Americans, and held at the Oberdachstetten camp. Eichmann gives his name and rank as SS Lieutenant Otto Eckmann of the 22 Cavalry Division. The search for Nazi war criminals intensifies.

Nov. 20, 1945 - Nuremberg tribunal convenes. Final Solution of the Jewish question is revealed. By the end of the trial, Eichmann will be labeled as "the man in charge of the extermination program against the Jews."

January 3, 1946 - Wisliceny indicts Eichmann in his testimony at Nuremberg.

January 5, 1946 - Eichmann escapes the POW camp and heads north, away from the American Zone and towards the Celle District, with forged papers he received at the camp. The papers identify him as a forest ranger named Otto Heninger. He hides out in Germany for four years.

1950 - Through the efforts of ODESSA (Organisation der SS Angehoerigen-Association of SS Members) Eichmann along with three others, heads first for Austria and finally to Italy. In a monastery in Genoa, a Franciscan monk provides Eichmann with a refugee passport bearing the name Ricardo Klement.

July 14, 1950 - Eichmann, now Ricardo Klement, obtains an Argentine visa. A month later he lands in Buenos Aires.

Photo Eichmann's false identification papers.
False identification papers used by Eichmann in Argentina. (Click on thumbnail image for full-size photo and description.)

April, 1952 - Eichmann obtains his identity documents. He is now Ricardo Klement, a German national born in Bolzano Italy. He is a mechanic by profession, and currently employed as a labor organizer by the Capri construction, measurements and waterworks company, which sheltered many ex-Nazis after the war. By the end of the year, he is reunited with his family in Argentina.

April 11, 1961 - The trial of Adolf Eichmann begins.

May 31, 1962 - Eichmann is hanged.


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