Eichmann, Adolf

Childhood and the start of a Nazi career

Childhood years

Adolf Eichmann was born March 19th, 1906 in Solingen, a town in the German Rhineland. He was the son of Adolf Karl Eichmann and his wife Maria Eichmann Schefferling. Adolf Karl was accountant and owned a company. In 1914, the Protestant family moved to Linz in Austria where father Eichmann became manager of an enterprise in electrical technique. Maria Eichmann died when her son Adolf was ten years old. His father would soon remarry.
In his childhood years, Mischa Sebba, a boy of Jewish decent, was Adolf’s closest friend. Also he seemed to have been bullied in his youth, due to his dark complexion which made him look like a Jew. When Adolf was called "Der kleine Jude"(the little Jew) during his youth, his tormentors did not yet know that he would eventually grow into one of the greatest enemies of the Jewish people in history.
In Linz, Eichmann took a course in civil engineering at the Höheren Bundeslehranstalt für Elektrotechnik, Machinenbau und Hochbau (Federal Academy for Electrotechnics, mechanical engineering, machine and building construction). He quit school however without a diploma. After this study, Eichmann was employed as a miner for a while by the Unterberger Bergbaugesellschaft (Unterberger Mining Company), his father’s company. Subsequently he worked as a salesman for an electrotechnical company, Oberösterreichischer Elektrobau (Upper Austrian Electric installation) and from 1927 to 1933 he worked as agent for the American Vacuum Oil Company in Vienna. His position with this company offered him the possibility to travel.
From 1927 onwards, Eichmann was a member of the Deutsch-Österreichischen Frontkämpferbund (Associaition of German-Austrian frontsoldiers), a nationalistic political movement. In 1931, Eichmann got engaged to Veronika Liebl and he would marry her in March 1935. Before the end of the war, they had three sons: Horst, Klaus and Dieter. After his escape from Europe, they had a fourth son in 1953, named Ricardo Francisco.
In 1932, Adolf and his father were invited to a meeting of the Austrian Nazi party by a friend of the family. This friend was Dr. Ernst Kaltenbrunner (Bio Kaltenbrunner) who later would become chief of the RSHA and so one of Eichmann’s future superiors. April 1st, 1932, Adolf joined the Austrian branch of the N.S.D.A.P. and the Schutzstaffel (SS).

The early years of his Nazi career

When Adolf lost his job in 1933, he asked Kaltenbrunner for help. Kaltenbrunner saw to it that Eichmann was admitted to an SS Brigade, consisting of Austrians. In Bavaria, Germany he attended a fourteen-months military training. In 1934 he worked as an administrator in concentration camp Dachau for a few months under camp commander Theodor Eicke. In this rigidly run camp, which served as an model for concentration camps all over Germany and in the occupied territories, Eichmann gained experience in the running of such a camp.
Eichmann did not work for long at Dachau. He was a member of the SD (Sicherheitsdienst or Security Sevice), the intelligence department of the SS, since 1932 and in 1934 he started work in the head office of this organisation in Berlin. Eichmann first worked in the department responsible for gathering information on Free Masonry but on October 1st, 1943, he was made head of Referat II 112 (Referat Juden), the new section of the SD.
Within the Jewish section of the SD, Eichmann set about fanatically learning as much as possible about Jewry. He studied Jewish culture by visiting Jewish quarters, among other things. He investigated Zionism (the Jewish desire to establish their own state in Palestine) and learned Hebrew and Jiddisch. With his knowledge of Jewry, he would present himself as the expert of choice on Jewish matters in the Third Reich.


Consisted mostly of two or more regiments. Could operate independently or as part of a division. Sometimes they were part of a corps instead of a division. In theory a brigade consisted of 5,000 to 7,000 men.
concentration camp
Closed camp where people are being held captive that are considered to be anti- social, enemies of the state, criminal or unwanted individuals. These groups mostly do not get a fair trial or are condemned to doing time in a camp.
City in the German state of Bavaria where the Nazis established their first concentration camp.
Abbreviation of a national socialist.
German-speaking demilitarized area on the right bank of the Rhine which was occupied by Adolf Hitler in 1936 after World War 1.
Reichssicherheitshauptamt. The central information and security service of the Third Reich.
Schutzstaffel (SS)
The Schutzstaffel commanded by Heinrich Himmler was a very powerful organisation within the Third Reich. The original goal of the SS was to protect Adolf Hitler and other Nazi’s but soon the SS was deployed for several military, security and police tasks. The SS guarded inter alia the concentration camps and manned the Einzatzgruppen. The armed branch of the SS was the Waffen-SS.
Jewish movement which aims for the return of the Jews to Zion/Sion and the founding of a Jewish state in Palestine

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Eichmann’s class at school. He is third from left on the bottom row

Eichmann around 1932, when he was working for an American oil company

Eichmann during his training for the SS.


Translated by:
Arnold Palthe
Article by:
Kevin Prenger
Published on:
Last edit on:
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