The Eichmann cover-up, or why I am almost a Zionist


Having published just about the most light hearted post about genocide one can realistically manage, I wanted to share some rather darker facts that I came across while researching it.

FACT: For years before Eichmann’s capture, the CIA and the BND – the West German intelligence agency – were aware that he was in Argentina and what his alias was. They did not act on this information for fear that Eichmann could expose the complicity in Nazi crimes of senior figures in the West German government.

FACT: The West German government made repeated covert interventions in Eichmann’s trial to try and prevent any mention being made of former Nazis who had gone on to take up posts in Chancellor Adenauer’s government. They went as far as to offer to fund Eichmann’s defence, so it could be steered away from potentially embarrassing issues.

FACT: The CIA lent on Life magazine to remove any reference to Hans Globke, Adenauer’s national security advisor, from their publication of Eichmann’s memoirs.

This article from the New York Times covers in more detail not only the CIA’s inaction over Eichmann. It also looks at the broader issue of how entangled both American and Soviet intelligence agencies became with former Nazis. This series of articles in Der Spiegel relates the – if anything less edifying – West German side of the story.

While Globke was undoubtedly a lesser magnitude of evil than Eichmann he was still a deeply unsympathetic figure. He was one of the authors of the emergency legislation that conferred dictatorial powers on Hitler as well as a host of Anti-Semitic rules such “as an ordinance that required Jews with non-Jewish names to take on the additional first names of Israel or Sara, an “improvement” of public records that later facilitated to a great extent the rounding up and deportation of the Jews during the Holocaust.” During the war he was legal advisor to Eichmann’s Office of Jewish Affairs. It is shocking that the supposed guardians of western democracy were protecting either man.

This is sadly not that surprising. As the historian Tony Judt explains:

Far from reflecting upon the problem of evil in the years that followed the end of World War II, most Europeans turned their heads resolutely away from it. Today we find this difficult to understand, but the fact is that the Shoah—the attempted genocide of the Jews of Europe—was for many years by no means the fundamental question of postwar intellectual life in Europe (or the United States). Indeed, most people—intellectuals and others—ignored it as much as they could.

For virtually everyone it was an inconvenient truth. The Eastern bloc narrative of the war framed it in class terms that would be disrupted by focussing on the racist core of the Nazis. For Western Europeans, confronting the Holocaust would mean confronting the complicity of their fellow citizens.  And for Americans it was a distraction from the imperative of combating communism.

Thanks in no small part to the Eichmann trial this collective amnesia did eventually pass. However, I found that this unsavoury series of facts made it easier for me to empathise with a political movement I don’t sympathise much with.

Zionism has always seemed to me an objectionable and misconceived project. It has made Arabs atone for European sins, and rather than providing Jews with security has dropped them into the centre of the cauldron of violence that is the Middle East. However, when one sees how little the rest of the world cared about justice for the victims of the Holocaust, one can easily understand the desire for a state to champion the interests of the Jewish people.


3 thoughts on “The Eichmann cover-up, or why I am almost a Zionist

  1. Well of course. “War crimes trials” have nothing to do with war crimes.
    At the end of the war lots of people were “tried” and released on “compassionate grounds” between 1950 and ’56 as Germany became our democratic ally.

    After all if the LibDems weren’t enthusiastic supporters of such behaviour they would have demanded that people who weren’t Serbs would have been convicted following NATO’s installation of Nazi regimes in most of Yugoslavia. At the very least some Libs, other than myself, would have had some critical words about Ashdown being up to his oxters in blood and perjuring himself in the Milosevic “trial”.

    Since I was expelled from the party and was later told it was not for being an economic liberal (the official charge) but for objecting to Ashdown’s perjury it is clear nobody remaining there has any doubts about supporting such criminality.

    Indeed, known how “LibDem” bloggers overwhelmingly support censorship and hate liberalism odds are you will censor the truth here.

      • One of them is not going to appeal because his sentence is “time served”. The rest will appeal and if history is any guide their sentences will be commuted too. Bearing in mind that (A) this involves only low rank Croats and certainly not Blair, Clinton and the rest & (B) this is about Operation Storm, the NATO organised ethnic cleansing of 250,000 people from one Serb province (half of whom are dead or “still missing”) this seems to be the minimal possible tokenism.

        Or is the genocide of 125,000 people racial “Untermensch” not worth even the most token condemnation by your party, so openly committed to the policies of the late Adolf Hitler? Certainly when Nazis like Shirley Williams are willing to publicly lie to support racial genocide it appears not. Say what you like about Nick Griffin and his party you can’t show that they are 1,000th as racist as you lot can you?

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