Polychronicon 141: Adolf Eichmann


By Professor David Cesarani, published 21st March 2011

Adolf Eichmann: the making of a ‘genocidaire'

Almost 60 years ago Adolf Eichmann went on trial for crimes committed against the Jews while he was in the service of the Nazi regime. His capture by the Israeli secret service and his abduction from Argentina triggered a number of journalistic books that portrayed him as a pathological monster - sadistic, brutal, corrupt and lascivious. This characterisation was pre-set by psychologists - such as Erich Fromm and Wilhelm Reich - who had analysed the ‘Nazi mind' during the Second World War. They believed that the Nazis were recruited from the losers in German society, people with a grudge who were desperate to follow a strong leader who promised them ‘pay back' against their perceived enemies, most of whom were imaginary - like the Jews.

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