Adolf Eichmann was born on March 19, 1906 in Solingen, Germany. His father was a successful businessman and the family had a rather luxurious lifestyle.
In 1914, his family moved to the city of Linz in Austria. When World War 1 started, Adolf's father joined the Austrian Army and returned in 1918. In 1920, the family decided to move back to Germany.
In 1925, Eichmann left home to study mechanical engineering in Austria. Unfortunately, his grades were ailing and he decided to drop out later that year. After rethinking his future, he decided to go into business like his father and became a traveling salesman.
In 1930, he moved back to Germany to be closer to his family and noticed the growing Nazi Party. He himself had strong anti-semitic ideals and joined a group of lower class group of similar-thinking people in the Wandervogel Movement. In 1932, he moved back to Austria and decided to join the Nazi Party there.
He decided to enlist in the SS on April 1, 1932 on the advice of his friend Ernst Kaltenbrunner. He was appointed the rank of SS-Mann and joined the ranks of the Allgemeine-SS. The Allgemeine-SS was a division for part-time members and was not as involved as the general SS.
In 1933, Hitler took power in Germany and Eichmann moved back to join the SS as a full time member. In November of 1933, he was promoted to the rank of Scharfuhrer and placed on the administrative staff of the concentration camp in Dachau. In 1934, he was transferred into the Sicherheitspolizei and promoted to the rank of Oberscharfuhrer.
He was stationed at the secret police headquarters in Berlin and quickly gained the attention of his superiors. In 1935, he was promoted to the rank of Hauptscharfuhrer after showing that he was a hard worker and believed in the cause. In 1937, he was transferred back into the SS with the rank of Untersturmfuhrer.
That same year, he was sent on a mission to Palestine with a superior by the name of Herbert Hagen. Their goal was to assess the feasibility of moving a large quantity of Jews to the area from Germany. In Cairo, they met with the Jewish leader of the Haganah, who tried to convince them to support Jewish emigration. In the end, Eichmann and his superior recommended against the plan because it would allow the creation of a concentrated Jewish state. This meant that Nazi Germany would have to pursue other, less ethical means of "solving the Jewish Question".
In 1938, Eichmann was transferred to Austria, where he assisted the organization of the SS there. He was promoted to the rank of Obersturmfuhrer for his efforts and soon Austria was running smoothly under Nazi leadership. Later that year, he was selected to direct the Central Office for Jewish Emigration, which had the goal of forcibly exporting Jews from Austria.
When World War 2 started, he was promoted to the rank of Hauptsturmfuhrer and found himself getting more and more contacts in the higher command. He continued to work towards exporting Jews and met with leaders of the Zionist movement to discuss plans to get Jews out of Germany in any way possible.
In 1939, he was recalled to Berlin and assigned to command the Reich Central Security Office's division in charge of Jewish affairs. In 1940, he released a document detailing plans to deport Jews to Madagascar, a French colony in southern Africa. Although the plan was never followed through with, he was promoted to the rank of Sturmbannfuhrer for his efforts.
In 1941, he was promoted again to the rank of Obersturmbannfuhrer and continued to work on Jewish affairs. In 1942, he attended the famous Wannsee Conference, where German leadership secretly plotted their "Final Solution". He accepted the plans to exterminate the Jews rather than deport them and he was placed in charge of getting the Jews to concentration camps in Poland, where they would be killed.
He proceeded with the plans and began having Jews rounded up all over Germany and shipped to Poland in trains. He would later brag about his actions, claiming that he had sent five million Jews to their deaths. In 1944, he was sent to Hungary, where he took a more direct command of the deportation of Jews from the country.
Unfortunately for him, all was not well with Nazi Germany and its power was beginning to fade as its invading armies were fought backwards and suddenly found themselves on the defensive for the first time. Heinrich Himmler ordered the Jewish genocide ceased and all evidence of it destroyed. Eichmann found himself out of a job and he was ordered to the front lines in Hungary to fight off the advancing Russian Army.
In late 1945, he fled Hungary an returned to Austria. There, he tried to have his old friend Ernst Kaltenbrunner hide him from the advancing enemy, but he was refused. Eichmann's involvement in the extermination of Jews had apparently made him a marked man and he was forced to try to hide on his own.
He was captured soon after by the United States Army, but he claimed that his name was Otto Eckmann. Not realizing his true identity, the Army put him in a POW camp, but he managed to escape in 1946. After his escape, he moved all around Germany, hiding wherever he could.
In 1948, he decided to get a permit to land in Argentina, a popular hiding spot for former German officers after the war. He decided to wait a while before leaving and traveled to Italy, posing as a refugee named Ricardo Klement. With the help of an unknowing monk, he obtained a passport from the Red Cross and an entry visa for Argentina. He departed immediately and landed on July 14, 1950.
Once in Argentina, he moved to Buenos Aires and remained in hiding for ten years. To support himself, he worked a variety of jobs, including factory foreman and rabbit farmer. Unfortunately for him, he was spotted by a bounty hunter, who notified Simon Wiesenthal, a professional Nazi Hunter. His location was also revealed by a Jew who had formerly stayed in one of the concentration camps and was living in Buenos Aires at the same time as Eichmann.
In 1960, the Mossad, an Israeli Intelligence Agency, organized an operation to capture Eichmann and successfully apprehended him on May 11, 1960. He was flown back to Israel on May 21, 1960. After some secrecy, the Israeli government announced his capture and put him on trial on April 11, 1961.
Eichmann was indicted on fifteen different charges, including crimes against humanity and membership of an outlawed organization. The trial caused a lot of controversy and was aired worldwide so everyone could witness it. Eichmann repeated throughout the trial that he was only following orders.
On August 14, 1961, the judges presiding over the trial went into deliberations. On December 11th, he was declared guilty and later sentenced to death by hanging on December 15th. He immediately appealed to the Israeli Supreme Court, but was denied on May 29, 1962. On June 1, 1962, he was hanged at Ramla Prison. Just before dying, he shouted "Long live Germany" and "Long live Austria".