The patriotism of Adolph Eichman

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The patriotism of Adolph Eichman
Series Title:
Rabbi Herbert Baumgard Sermons
Baumgard, Herbert M. (1920-2016)
Baumgard Family
Place of Publication:
Miami, FL
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Subjects / Keywords:
Jewish sermons
Beth Am
Spatial Coverage:
Shenandoah Baptist Church
25.685421 x -80.43583


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Digitized from the private collection of the Baumgard family.

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Source Institution:
Florida International University
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Special Collections and University Archives
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.../ 1\ The b 7 Baumgard, Beth Am, 1960 Introduction -Life Magazine had done a great service to the Je' corrimunity and to the world at large by publishing the recent confession of Adolph Eichmann. The story that Eichmann tells is, of difficult to believe. How is it possible to believe that any;human beings could conspire to build death factories in which five to six million people would be murJiered systematically. ? This J inhumanity is yet Eichmann tells us we must believe it, for he was among those who conceived the pI an, ke,t the statistic s, and c arried it out. I. HE DID NOT LACK ADMIRATION FOR THE JEWS. Eichmann's confession is amazingly frank. After giving us the accounting, he "But to sum it all up, I must say that I regret nothing". LeJt.1P spite of his frankne!-s, and lack of regret, Eichman admits to a very real admiration for the Jews. He writes, however, when through the malice of a large part of these Jews whom we fought against are must concede that fate must have wanted it so. I alway s fighting against a foe who through thousands of of learning and development had become superiDI1 to us. In his conclusion, he admits that he would do the Same thing over again, yet he concedes that the Jews "must a feople of the first magnitude" and among the the world. He speaks of the attempt to rebuild Israel in complimentary terms and he says, "If I were born a Jew, I would have been a fanatical Zionist, for I have always been an idealist". Thus we have in Eichmann a man who admired Jewish learning and/li"ll;{/' the unconquerable Jewish will to live, and yet he was the master mind behind the deportation of six million Jews to the crematoriums. How could this fantastic contradiction 'Prj/ have developed within one human being? To answer this question we have to study two things, first, the psychology of the German Storm Troopers, and secondly, the evaluation of the threat of the Jews to Hitler' s Reich. 2. THE GERMAN STOl1M -TROOPER't" Wi.u:v'f uJ L l 12 e 2, It is difficult for a Jew or an American of any faith to understand the psychology and the mental:iity of the G-rman Storm trooper. The Germans have always been particularly to the Feuhrer principle, to the notion of serving a dictator with supreme powers. The best storm-trooper was one who followed orders unauestioningly At the Nuremberg Trials following War II, Officer Qffieer from the German Elite Corps took the stand to plead crimes on the grounds that he was merely follwwing orders and "'\',Yhatpther choice did he possibly have. Similarly Eichman writes, "What is there to admit? I merely carried out my orders I was merely a Itttle cog in the machinery that carried out the directiVes . of the German Reich. I am neither a nor a mass-murderer. I am a man of average character, with good\ qualities If. we would not agree with Eichmann's evaluation of himself, but the German staff would say that he was the perfect officer. He did his dutYt,ltHt se't7 r 1


page 2 Su it was a simple thing for this keeper of the books of the dectd to do what he did and then say, "I am not an anti-semite ". " of usll he no wish to harm the ,individual Jew /-/ personally we were simply working towards solution of the Jewish question" As a member of the German S.S., it never occurred to Adolph Eichmann to question his orders; on the contrary, he writes even today tht he takes special pride in the fact that he performed his assigned task well. Had he been assigned the task of killing disease germs, he would have done that fi th. equal intensity and dispatch. But now he writes, I will g!tdly jump into my grave in tha knowledge that five milli .;un enemies of the Rmich have already died like animals ". Then he adds the foot-note, II I wri te, enemies of the Reich, not Jews", for Eichmann arranged for the killing of these innocent people, not because they were but because he had been told by his superior officers that these 0 people, whoever they were, were ememies of Germany :J>. WHY THE JEWS WERE A THREAT TO GERMANY In order to answer the q estion revolving around Eichman's admiration of the Jews, and his willingness to dispatch them to death facttories, we must try to understand why Hitler and his officers considered the Jews such a threat e o them. When the allied armies closed in on the German staff, Eichmann writes that the Germans considered the allied victory a triumph for the The Germansthought this way because they tpe Jews with that terrible thing caJ.led called 1!api talism; and with tbat sin called 1{nternationalism. -../ As the very rich German took over one small business Ftfter another wit-h Hi the Jews in small business"'1ought bitterly against them. Since the Jews were concentrated in the small businesses of Germany, they formed the heart of the capitalistic resis tanc e to the growth of in that co0"G.ntry. When the Germans sought to expand the of the Fascist party and to limit the rights of everybody else, they turned first against that group of people which fought hardest for civil rights, the Jews. As a minority group, the Jews have become aware down through the centuries, that when dictatorship sets in, their rights are immeida,tely threattenedIJl but in fighting for their own rights in Germany, they slowed down the forward progress of Hitler's government. The Jews in Russia tod8y suffer for the same reason as the Jews in Germany. Jewry canot survive under an un-democratic dictatorship, an as they fight for their rights and the rights of all minorities, they become the loudest spokesmen for the enemies of the dictatorship. They are a natural first target, because they are. small in numbers and because they are unus ally vocal l'h. Hitler was well aware of the fact that the Jews who escaped Germany became the sources of information against his government. Non-Jewish Germans did not flee Germany in anything but a trickle, but the Jews fled early in large numbers and they told the story of I!itler's treachery to the world. This was long before the Jews were herded to the concentr8tion camps. Hitler knew that the Jews were serving to rally the democracies against him. He did not want the democratic goverments to suspect his grandiose plans for world conquest. Yet;1?reciselyJbecause the story of his plans were broadcast wholesale around the world by Jews the democracies were somewhat more prepared for Hitler's invasions, although if truth be known, the democracies did not wish to listen to the warnings tha' t were


p. 3 broadcf\,st to them. At Lte, when the allies invaded German. this th: triumph of the J e s h warnlngs, the 6J,.>llled vldtory was a victory. Indeed, in many ways, it was just that. 4 Eichman' s sin-a sin of an entire generation To the credit of Life magazine, it followed its publicati on of Eichmann's confession wi th an edi torial. I' this editorial, Life claims that the sin of Eichman is unfortunately not the sin of one man or one group of men: it is the generation of men, including America n-s that o f believing that if a man does his duty by his country and follows orNers, he is doing what he has to do. Eichmann's sin was in believing in his country, right or His sin waS in his 100%, unquestioning patriotism makes the point that e ach of us has the responsibility to check his behavior regularly in order to determine if what we are doing the line 01 duty is consistent with what is truly right. sin of our generation is that too many of us believe with perfect faith in everything that our country or our religion teaches us, without comparing these teachings standards of right and wrong. In the nar;w. of ln the name of God, we learn to hate andrdlscrlmlnate, and ultimately to harm Recently, I was sitting behind a mother and son in the movievrs when the boy leaned over to his mother and asked, "Mother, all Jews are bad aren't they?". The mother did not answer. !She had lost this opportunity to correct an impression her chil d had g Rined, perhaps in his own back-yard. By her silence she was sup orting his ignorance and his hate, and how many innocent human beings will suffer from her silence, we will never kno w Eichmann himself speaks of the time when he was ready to trade 1 million Jews for 10,000 trucks for the German army. He writes that he wondered who would accept the Jews if the to release them from the camps of death. His own worNS are, "The plain fact was that there was no place on earth that would have been ready to accept the Jews. He was right, even held its door shut except for the tiniest trickle of refugees. Ours was the sin of of unconcern, of neglect.


p. Irf: hee.", 5. Serne OUQ Ql1G Q that the Jews are the barometer of democ racy in a nation. If the Jews as a minority, are well-treated, then you know that the democracy is healthy. If the Jews are molested, then you know that the democracy is weakening. History now records for Germany that Hi tlpr was not reall y after the Jews. He was after democracy. He not only wanted to extin uish the Jews; he wanted to extinguish the concepts of love and 'ustice that are a cardinal art of Judaism, and of Christianity. the poet E:zra Pound said," It isn I t that I don I t like Jews, but I can never gorgive them for giving Christiani ty to the world". It is a trpgedy that Christians have not begun to learn that whether by accident of history or by divine ordination, the fate of the is inter-locked with the of democracy and with Christianity. In a real sense, the Jews are merely the front-line troops for Christians. \}e are in an over-exposed position, because of our minority status, and because we are bold enough to assert our differences, but when the Jews start to fall, the rights of man are threatened. Eichmann himself wrote, "NJow, however, when through the n!alice of fat,.e.. a large part of these Jews whom we fought ag8inst are a lve, If In I must concede that must have wFtliteil. it so. I always claimed .... ".:)v..6...I..4UJ(that we were fighting a foe wo through thousands of years J of learning and development had become superior to us". Perhaps we vJ miEht say that nolt fate but wished this victory of the Jews/" fl\\So. of democracy{ over militarism and fascism, . e might also add that the Jew is superior to most of his tormentors precisely because he does not blindly follow the majority, nor passively accept the dictation of the leader. 'ife dare to be different and to follow the right as our our learning{and our fai th give us to see the right, of this unwil to follow orders blindly, we are able to / witness the trial of the hangman and'-uerman Adolph Eichmann.