German academic reveals secret Israeli Eichmann transcripts

Dr. Irmtrud Wojak tells 'Post' Eichmann “did not hide his anti-Semitism” in interviews, and talked about “transporting Jews to slaughter."

Eichmann 311 (Yad Vashem) (photo credit: Yad Vashem)
Eichmann 311 (Yad Vashem)
(photo credit: Yad Vashem)
Audio recordings and an Israeli transcript of interviews – previously held under lock and key – with Adolf Eichmann, one of the main architects of the Holocaust, have surfaced. Eichmann “did not hide his anti-Semitism” in the interviews, and talked about “transporting Jews to the slaughter,” said Dr. Irmtrud Wojak, founding director of the Munich Documentation Center for the History of National Socialism, during an interview with The Jerusalem Post on Wednesday.
Wojak delivered a talk on her findings at the conference – The Turning Point: 50 Years after the Eichmann Trial – which began on Tuesday and is being hosted by Jerusalem’s Mishkenot Sha’ananim international cultural and conference center.
She was the first researcher to gain access to the Israeli transcript, which Israeli authorities obtained before the 1961 trial of Eichmann in Jerusalem.
Wojak said Eichmann played down the lethal anti-Semitism of the Hitler movement during his trial in 1961, but talked openly about murdering Jews during the series of interviews conducted in the 1950s.
Wojak’s groundbreaking research in Israel and Germany during 1999-2000 resulted in a comparison of audiotape interviews with Eichmann and a transcript of the interviews located in the Israeli state archive.
Willem Sassen (1918- 2001), a Dutch SS-officer and Nazi journalist, taped interviews with Eichmann during 1956-1959 in Argentina.
Sassen sought “to earn money” with his Eichmann interview, according to Wojak. He sold his material to the German magazine Stern and the American Life.
The Israeli government obtained a transcript of the interviews before the 1961 trial of Eichmann.
Wojak also noted that Sassen attempted to use the interviews to “minimize” the number of deaths during the Holocaust and spread his “Holocaust denial.”
The conference is the second academic event within the last month to mark the 50th anniversary of Eichmann’s trial in Israel.
In 2001, Wojak authored a highly regarded book titled Eichmann’s Memoirs: A Critical Essay. It has attracted enormous attention in Germany, largely because she addresses Eichmann’s eliminatory anti-Semitism in the audio-taped interviews before the Mossad captured him in 1960 while he was hiding in Argentina.
Wojak’s book was widely praised in reviews in major Swiss and German dailies.
The Frankfurt-based Frankfurter Rundschau wrote that the book presents a “helpful and necessary” addition to the previous Eichmann research and analysis. The book has not, however, been translated into English or Hebrew.
The Munich Documentation Center for the History of National Socialism, which Wojak heads, is slated to open in 2013. The Documentation Center will launch its groundbreaking ceremony in the summer of 2011. The center’s focus is on the Nazi period in Munich, where Hitler’s party originated, and on the reaction to Nazism in the post-Holocaust period in the Bavarian capital, Munich.
Said Wojak in a statement in Munich: “Postulating ‘Never again’ cannot be sufficient. We need profound research and critical debate on the historical circumstances."