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Adolf Eichmann lauches the Nazi oppression of Jews in Europe outside of Germany

EICHMANN, ADOLF. (English) Typed document signed “Eichmann” on the Jewish problem in Austria

Vienna, 19 April, 1938 [stamped date]

Two pages, stapled. Hole-punched. Age-toned. Memorandum with subject line “Rücksprache mit SS-Obersturmbannführer [Franz Alfred] Six in der Angelegenheit SD-O.A. Osterreich” (Consultation with SS-Obersturmbannführer Six in the matter of Security Service, Foreign Countries, Austria).

THE NAZI PLAN TO DOMINATE EUROPEAN JEWRY. Beginning in 1933 the Nazis increasingly restricted the rights of Jews in Germany, stripping them of property and livelihood in order to remove them from German soil. With the Anchluss of March 1938, Germany annexed Austria, marking its first step in the domination of Europe and the elimination of European Jews.

In this highly important document, Adolf Eichmann presents the Nazi plan to deal with the Jewish problem in Austria. Eichmann was to become one of the principal organizers of the Holocaust. A native Austrian, he joined the Nazi Party in 1932 and soon helped lead the department responsible for Jewish affairs (SD office II-112), especially emigration enforced through violence and economic pressure. During the war Eichmann organized deportations to extermination camps and was responsible for the deaths of millions.

This document presents the early Nazi policy towards Jews outside of Germany. Eichmann writes just weeks after the annexation of Austria, in which he personally led a raid on the Jewish Cultural Community offices. Here he explains how to deal with the Jewish population, particularly eliminating Jewish organizations and using the surviving Jewish political and cultural organizations to promote emigration and maintain surveillance and control over the population.

This plan laid the groundwork for Eichmann’s establishment of a Central Office to facilitate the emigration and confiscation of property of more than 100,000 Austrian Jews. Kristallnacht, carried out in Germany and Austria on November 9-10, 1938, exposed the lengths to which the Nazis would go to dominate the Jewish population and led to dozens of increasingly restrictive laws and decrees resulting in the confiscation of Jewish property and removal of Jews from public life. When the war began in September 1939, the Central Office shifted from voluntary (albeit costly) emigration to outright deportation to promote a “Jew-free” greater Germany. The domination of Jewish political organizations and the gathering of information, all set forth in this document, enabled the plan’s success.

The document was also signed, one day later, by Herbert Hagen, Eichmann’s superior in the SD Main Office Division II-112 (Jews). Hagen was later personal assistant to the SS police chief in France and head of a department in the Paris Gestapo. In 1980 a West German court sentenced Hagen to twelve years in prison for his role in sending tens of thousands of French Jews to Auschwitz.

This memorandum represents irrefutable documentary evidence of the earliest Nazi efforts to destroy European Jewry outside of Germany. This methodical, calculating document vividly represents both Nazi determination to eliminate Jews and the “banality of evil,” as Hannah Arendt famously put it when Eichmann finally came to justice in Jerusalem in 1960.


Eichmann sets forth the following seven points:

1.    Only three Jewish political organizations are to remain in Austria, in order to facilitate emigration: the Jewish Community, the Zionist State Association and the orthodox association Agudas Yisroel.

2.    A fourth organization will be established for those Jews who are neither Zionist nor Orthodox to arrange their emigration.

3.    Officials in these organizations must be only Zionist or non-observant.

4.    Contact with Jewish political organizations in other countries must be carried out via Germany’s National Representative Agency of Jews. However, Austrian organizations shall not be directly subordinated to those Germany, so as to avoid forming a strong Jewish bloc.

5.    The Zionist Association of Austria may start a new newspaper, the Zionistische Rundschau. Its first editorial (on “The legal position of the Austrian Jewish political organizations toward those in Germany”) will be provided by Eichmann’s office.

6.    The Jewish political organizations in the former state capitals (as well as Jewish archives in Eisenstadt) will be closely inspected and reported on by agents of the internal security service.

7.    Any written material still in the now-banned B’nai B’rith offices (now security service offices) is to be sent to Eichmann’s office.

for sale only to qualified buyers for donation to a major Holocaust museum or other institution: $18,000