Eichmann and the Holocaust
An Expert on the Jewish Question
IN 1934, when Eichmann applied successfully for a job, the SD* was a relatively new apparatus in the SS, founded two years earlier by Heinrich Himmler to serve as the Intelligence service of the Party and now headed by Reinhardt Heydrich, a former Navy Intelligence officer, who was to become, as Gerald Reitlinger put it, 'the real engineer of the Final Solution' (The Final Solution, 1961). Its initial task had been to spy on Party members, and thus to give the SS an ascendancy over the regular Party apparatus. Meanwhile it had taken on some additional duties, becoming the information and research centre for the Secret State Police, or Gestapo. These were the first steps toward the merger of the SS and the police, which, however, was not carried out until September 1939, although Himmler held the double post of Reichsfuhrer SS and Chief of the German Police from 1936 on. Eichmann, of course, could not have known of these future developments, but he seems to have known nothing either of the nature of the SD when he entered it; this is quite possible, because the operations of the SD had always been top secret. As far as he was concerned, it was all a misunderstanding and at first 'a great disappointment. For I thought this was what I had read about in the Münchener Illustrierten Zeitung; when the high Party officials drove along, there were commando guards with them, men standing on the running boards of the cars ... In short, I had mistaken the Security Service of the Reichsfuhrer SS for the Reich Security Service . . . and nobody set me right and no one told me anything. For I had had not the slightest notion of what now was revealed to me.' The question of whether he was telling the truth had a certain bearing on the trial, where it had to be decided whether he had volunteered for his position or had been drafted into it. His misunderstanding, if such it was, is not inexplicable; the SS or Schutzstaffeln had originally been established as special units for the protection of the Party leaders.
His disappointment, however, consisted chiefly in that he had to start all over again, that he was back at the bottom, and his only consolation was that there were others who had made the same mistake. He was put into the Information department, where his first job was to file all information concerning Freemasonry (which in the early Nazi ideological muddle was somehow lumped with Judaism, Catholicism, and Communism) and to help in the establishment of a Freemasonry museum. He now had ample opportunity to leam what this strange word meant that Kaltenbrunner had thrown at him in their discussion of Schlaraffia. (Incidentally, an eagerness to establish museums commemorating their enemies was very characteristic of the Nazis. During the war, several services competed bitterly for the honour of establishing anti-Jewish museums and libraries. We owe to this strange craze the salvage of many great cultural treasures of European Jewry.) The trouble was that things were again very, very boring, and he was greatly relieved when, after four or five months of Freemasonry, he was put into the brand-new department concerned with Jews. This was the real beginning of the career which was to end in the Jerusalem court.
* SD = Sicherheitsdienst (the Security Service of the SS).
APOLLODORUS: In fact, I'm well prepared to answer your question. As it happens, the other day I was going to the city from my home in Phalerum, and someone I know spotted me from behind and called me from a distance. He said (with playful urgency):.
'Hey, the man from Phalerum! You! Apollodorus, won't you wait?'
I stopped and waited..
He said, 'Apollodorus, I've just been looking for you to get the full story of the party at Agathon's, when Socrates, Alcibiades and the rest were there for dinner: what did they say in their speeches on love? I had a report from someone who got it from Philip's son, Phoenix; but he said you knew about it too. He wasn't able to give an exact report. Please give me your account. Socrates is your friend, and no one has a better right to report his conversations than you. But before you do,' he added, 'tell me this: were you at this party yourself or not?'.
'It certainly wasn't an exact report you were given,' I replied, 'if you think this party was recent enough for me to be there.'.
'Yes, I did think that,' he said..
'How could you think that, Glaucon? Don't you know that it's many years since Agathon stopped living in Athens, but it's not yet three years since I started to spend my time with Socrates and made it my job to find out what he says and does every day? Before then, I used to run around aimlessly. I thought I was doing something important, but really I was in the most pathetic state -just like you now! - thinking that philosophy was the last thing I should be doing.'.
'Don't make fun of me,' he said; 'just tell me when this party took place.'.
'When you and I were still children,' I said, 'and Agathon won the prize with his first tragedy. It was the day after he and his chorus held a sacrificial feast to celebrate their victory.'.
'So it really was a long time ago,' he said. 'Who gave you your report; was it Socrates himself?'.
'Certainly not!' I said. 'It was the same person who told Phoenix, someone called Aristodemus from Cydathenaeum, a little man who always went around barefoot. He was at the party because he was, I think, one of the people most in love with Socrates at that time. But, of course, I checked with Socrates afterwards some of the points he told me, and he confirmed Aristodemus' account.'.
'Come on,' he said, 'why don't you repeat this to me now? After all, walking on the road to the city gives us a good chance to talk and listen as we go along.'.
So as we walked along this is what we talked about, and that's why, as I said at the start, I'm well prepared. If I need to go through it for you as well, that's what I must do. In fact, whenever I discuss philosophy or listen to others doing so, I enjoy it enormously, quite apart from thinking it's doing me good. But when I hear other kinds of discussion, especially the talk of rich businessmen like you, I get bored and feel sorry for you and your friends, because you think you're doing something important, when you're not. Perhaps you regard me as a failure, and I think you're right. But I don't think you're a failure, I know you are.
The First Ten Books
The Master said, 'Is it not a pleasure, having learned something, to try it out at due intervals? Is it not a joy to have friends come from afar? Is it not gentlemanly not to take offence when others fail to appreciate your abilities?'
Yu Tzu said, 'It is rare for a man whose character is such that he is good as a son and obedient as a young man to have the inclination to transgress against his superiors; it is unheard of for one who has no such inclination to be inclined to start a rebellion. The gentleman devotes his efforts to the roots, for once the roots are established, the Way will grow therefrom. Being good as a son and obedient as a young man is, perhaps, the root of a man's character.'
The Master said, 'It is rare, indeed, for a man with cunning words and an ingratiating face to be benevolent.'
Tseng Tzu said, 'Every day I examine myself on three counts. In what I have undertaken on another's behalf, have I failed to do my best? In my dealings with my friends have I failed to be trustworthy in what I say? Have I passed on to others anything that I have not tried out myself?'
The Master said, 'In guiding a state of a thousand chariots, approach your duties with reverence and be trustworthy in what you say; avoid excesses in expenditure and love your fellow men; employ the labour of the common people only in the right seasons.'
The Master said, 'A young man should be a good son at home and an obedient young man abroad, sparing of speech but trustworthy in what he says, and should love the multitude at large but cultivate the friendship of his fellow men. If he has any energy to spare from such action, let him devote it to making himself cultivated.'
Tzu-hsia said, 'I would grant that a man has received instruction who appreciates men of excellence where other men appreciate beautiful women, who exerts himself to the utmost in the service of his parents and offers his person to the service of his lord, and who, in his dealings with his friends, is trustworthy in what he says, even though he may say that he has never been taught.'
The Master said, 'A gentleman who lacks gravity does not inspire awe. A gentleman who studies is unlikely to be inflexible.
'Make it your guiding principle to do your best for others and to be trustworthy in what you say. Do not accept as friend anyone who is not as good as you.
'When you make a mistake, do not be afraid of mending your ways.'
Tseng Tzu said, 'Conduct the funeral of your parents with meticulous care and let not sacrifices to your remote ancestors be forgotten, and the virtue of the common people will incline towards fullness.'
Tzu-ch'in asked Tzu-kung, 'When the Master arrives in a state, he invariably gets to know about its government. Does he seek this information? or is it given him?'
Tzu-kung said, 'The Master gets it through being cordial, good, respectful, frugal and deferential. The way the Master seeks it is, perhaps, different from the way other men seek it.'
Fear and Trembling
There was once a man; he had learned as a child that beautiful tale of how God tried Abraham, how he withstood the test, kept his faith and for the second time received a son against every expectation. When he became older he read the same story with even greater admiration, for life had divided what had been united in the child's pious simplicity. The older he became the more often his thoughts turned to that tale, his enthusiasm became stronger and stronger, and yet less and less could he understand it. Finally it put everything else out of his mind; his soul had but one wish, actually to see Abraham, and one longing, to have been witness to those events. It was not the beautiful regions of the East, nor the earthly splendour of the Promised Land, he longed to see, not the God-fearing couple whose old age God had blessed, not the venerable figure of the patriarch stricken in years, not the youthful vigour God gave to Isaac - it would have been the same if it had taken place on a barren heath. What he yearned for was to accompany them on the three-day journey, when Abraham rode with grief before him and Isaac by his side. He wanted to be there at that moment when Abraham raised his eyes and saw in the distance the mountain in Moriah, the moment he left the asses behind and went on up the mountain alone with Isaac. For what occupied him was not the finely wrought fabric of imagination, but the shudder of thought.
This man was no thinker, he felt no need to go further than faith. To be remembered as its father seemed to him to be surely the greatest glory of all, and to have it a lot to be envied even if no one else knew.
This man was no learned exegete, he knew no Hebrew; had he known Hebrew then perhaps it might have been easy for him to understand the story of Abraham.
Fear and Trembling
After this I looked, and, behold, a door was opened in heaven: and the first voice which I heard was as it were of a trumpet talking with me; which said, Come up hither, and I will shew thee things which must be hereafter.
And immediately I was in the spirit: and, behold, a throne was set in heaven, and one sat on the throne.
And he that sat was to look upon like a jasper and a sardine stone: and there was a rainbow round about the throne, in sight like unto an emerald.
And round about the throne were four and twenty seats: and upon the seats I saw four and twenty elders sitting, clothed in white raiment; and they had on their heads crowns of gold.
And out of the throne proceeded lightnings and thunderings and voices: and there were seven lamps of fire burning before the throne, which are the seven Spirits of God.
And before the throne there was a sea of glass like unto crystal: and in the midst of the throne, and round about the throne, were four beasts full of eyes before and behind.
And the first beast was like a lion, and the second beast like a calf, and the third beast had a face as a man, and the fourth beast was like a flying eagle.
And the four beasts had each of them six wings about him; and they were full of eyes within: and they rest not day and night, saying. Holy, holy, holy, Lord God Almighty, which was, and is, and is to come.
And when those beasts give glory and honour and thanks to him that sat on the throne, who liveth for ever and ever,
The four and twenty elders fall down before him that sat on the throne, and worship him that liveth for ever and ever, and cast their crowns before the throne, saying,
Thou art worthy, 0 Lord, to receive glory and honour and power: for thou hast created all things, and for thy pleasure they are and were created.