Independent Press-Telegram from Long Beach, California on July 9, 1961 · Page 121
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Independent Press-Telegram from Long Beach, California · Page 121

Long Beach, California
Issue Date:
Sunday, July 9, 1961
Page 121
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Eichmann's philosophy: "My father was very bitter about the Nuremberg trials. He would often say angrily, 'One day the crowds cheer you, the next day they want to hang you.' He said he was quoting Oliver Cromwell." Eichmann's pride: "My father liked to boast of the judo he learned In ihe S.S. tie used to taunt me, The only violence you know is from comic books. It would be different in a dark alley.' So then J challenged him and threw him." Eichmann's love: "My father loved Monica, my little girl, who was his first grandchild. He would take her and hoist her in the air and say, 'I always wanted a little girl.' He nsks about her in his letters from prison in Jerusalem." Eichmann's future: "We have received a message from my father--f hat he was being cared for 'like any other prisoner.' 1 would like to go to Israel and see him, even in prison, i know that I might be in danger, but I'm not afraid of that." EICHMANN continued The last 'victims' of a mass killer: his own family car almost every day, just to keep busy. His father, Nicolas says, was the same way. He never went In a movie,, watched TV or stopped in bars on his way borne from work. Instead he would come in and immediately get busy on some home repair task. Nick claims to know little about Hitler and Nazi Germany. He says his father rarely discussed the subject. One night 1 took him to see rtlrt'H Ktimpf, the grim documentary of Nazi atrocities. Afterwards, he was subdued and silent for a long time. Finally I pressed him for a reaction. "That was all in the past," was all he would say. At home, according to his son, Adolf Eichmann never mentioned Jews. He was proud that he had been an SS officer, and sometimes he would sing military songs and describe how he had taken the Nazi oath in a great M u n i c h outdoor rally. "I have never violated that oath, and no one has asked me to withdraw it," his son recalls him saying. But when the boys pressed him to tell his wartime experiences, he dodged. "We are living in peace," he would say piously. "Let us be grateful and not talk of war." NICOLAS CLAIMS his father "believed in God but had his own religion." He had been raised a Lutheran, but roundly condemned Martin Luther and brushed off the New Testament as "full of nonsense." His wife was a Catholic. Little religion has rubbed off on Nicolas. He wears a religious medal. He seems embarrassed if you mention it. In his son's eyes, Adolf Eichmann was a hrave man. "He obviously knew he was being hunted, otherwise he would have told us his real name," says Nicolas. "Yet he never carried a weapon, and he never seemed to be nervous. Once or twice he talked about death, but in a way that a man might tell you where he kept the insurance policies." In some ways, Nicolas says, he would like to model himself after his father. "He was very slrict with us and my mother which is the way I t h i n k a man should he," the'youth says. "In my house, I am the boss." He also admires his interest in the "finer things." He disclosed, astonishingly, that his father liked to play the violin and paint. Ever since his father's kidnapping on May 12, 1960, Nicolas has been fascinated with the whole subject. He avidly clips every newspaper article on the trial and reads it again and again. As he pores over them, he will mutter, "How stupid!" or "Those stupids!"--his favorite expressions--about the prosecutors. Overnight notoriety has given Nicolas a bad dose of the small-man syndrome. He boasts and swaggers, but obviously fears he is a marked man. At home, the Eichmann boys pack .45s. On two occasions in Buenos Aires, Nicolas told me, cars full of menacing young men pulled up alongside him as he was walking. Each time he whipped out his pistol and frightened them off. I asked him if he had brought his gun to the U.S. "I have this," he said, flashing a palm-sixed pistol that fires tear gas pellets. Nicolas is tortured by the possibility that he may have caused his father's capture. One reason is that Lothar Hermann, a blind Jewish attorney in Buenos Air-s, has recently claimed the reward for "fingering" Eichmann. Hermann is the father of a girl named Sylvia Hermann, who, years ago, dated Nicolas. He even introduced her to his "Uncle Rk-ardo." (Said Eichmann: "She's very pretty.") Nicolas has retraced the kidnapping route again and again. He repeatedly questions anyone remotely connected, seeking to know exactly where and how the whole thing happened. He has concluded that most conjecture is wrong. The capture did not take place on a main street in daylight, but in a field near the family home. He even has b u i l t up a fantasy in which lie might have saved his father, except for a quirk of fate. Most Wednesdays, Nick took the mail to his father's home, which was beyond delivery routes. But on the Wednesday of the kidnapping, his daughter Monica had a cold and Nick stayed home. According to the timetable he has figured, he and his father would have been on the same bus, and Nick would have had his .45. "Then what would they have done?" he asks. "What if I bad started shooting? Maybe none of this would have happened." But Nicolas knows that there is no turning hack the clock, no retreating into obscurity. Like a d u t i f u l son, he has taken over as head of the Eichmann family. He has not personally heard from his father since the capture, but his mother has; a half dozen letters, self-consciously written with the censor in m i n d , have filtered back. WHATEVER THE TKiAr.'s OUTCOME, his own plans arc vague. He is much impressed with the U.S., and would like to immigrate here with his family. Before his marriage, he once inquired about a U.S. immigration visa. "This is a great country," he says. "There seems to be plenty of work and the wages arc good." But he doubts that he can csca]e his heritage. He talks about changing the K i c h m n n n name, but doubts his brothers would do the same. When his children are about 14, he will tell them about their grandfather--in full. "How can a man t u r n his hack on his father?" Yet it would seem to me, after my long talks with Nicolas, that Adolf hichmann destroyed yet another family after the gas chambers were closed and the last moan came from the concentration camps. That familv was his own. ·

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