Eichmann, Adolf

Eichmann, Adolf

Eichmann, Adolf, 1906-62, German National Socialist official. A member of the Austrian Nazi party, he headed the Austrian office for Jewish emigration (1938). His zeal in deporting Jews brought him promotion (1939) to chief of the Gestapo's Jewish section. Eichmann promoted the use of gas chambers for the mass extermination of Jews in concentration camps, and he oversaw the maltreatment, deportation, and murder of millions of Jews in World War II. Arrested by the Allies in 1945, he escaped and settled in Argentina. He was located by Israeli agents in 1960 and abducted to Israel, where he was tried (1961) and hanged for crimes against the Jewish people and against humanity.

See biography by D. Cesarani, Becoming Eichmann (2006); H. Arendt, Eichmann in Jerusalem (1963, rev. ed. 2006); J. Donovan, Eichmann: Mastermind of the Holocaust (1978); P. Rassinier, The Real Eichmann Trial (1980).

Adolf, also spelled Adolph and sometimes Latinised to Adolphus, was a popular given name, especially in the German-speaking countries, in Scandinavia, in the Netherlands and to a lesser degree in various Central European countries before the regime of Führer Adolf Hitler- particularly among German-speaking Jews living in these countries and sharing their languages and culture, and who previous to 1933 had no reason to avoid the name. It is now a widely avoided name due to its negative association with Hitler.

Similarly, the French version, "Adolphe" - previously a fairly common name in France and also the name of a classical work of French literature - has virtually disappeared.

However, although "Adolfo" as the Italian version of the name has disappeared in Italy, the Spanish version Adolfo has not become stigmatised in the same way. It is still in common use in Spanish-speaking countries, without the parents bestowing it on their son being suspected of Nazi sympathies. The difference is likely due to neither Spain nor the Latin American countries having been subjected to Nazi German occupation.

Etymologically, the name is derived from the Old High German Athalwolf, a composition of athal, or adal, meaning noble, and wolf; in sequence, making Adolf another compound. Compare Rudolf.

Monarchs and noblemen

People with the given name Adolf or Adolph(e)

See also

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