West German intelligence infiltrated Adolf Eichmann trial in Israel, documents show

BND GermanyWEST GERMAN SPIES INFILTRATED the trial of Adolf Eichmann, one of the architects of the Holocaust, in order to limit its damage on the reputation of senior West German politicians who had a Nazi past. Eichmann was the lead author of the system of mass deportation of Jews from ghettos in Nazi-occupied Europe to extermination camps, where millions of them were brutally killed. In 1960, after years of hiding, he was captured in Argentina by agents of the Mossad, Israel’s covert-action agency, and secretly transported to Israel, where he was put to trial and eventually hanged.

Since 2011, new files on the West German response to Eichmann’s abduction and trial have been uncovered by the Independent Commission of Historians to Research the History of the Federal Intelligence Service, 1945-1968. The Independent Commission consists of professional historians, who have been granted near-complete access into the archives of Germany’s Federal Intelligence Service (BND). Known as Bundesnachrichtendienst, the BND conducts foreign intelligence, making it Germany’s equivalent of the United States Central Intelligence Agency. The project has been praised as a rare case of openness and transparency in historical research into the activities and operations of a still-functioning intelligence agency.

Led by Professor Klaus-Dietmar Henke, the Independent Commission has published 15 volumes of research on the BND. The latest release concerns (among other things) Hans Globke, a senior official in Germany’s Nazi-era Ministry of the Interior, who was eventually appointed to the Office for Jewish Affairs. From that post, Globke helped draft the legislation, known as the Nuremberg Race Laws of 1935. These laws gave legal sanctuary to the exclusion of Germany’s Jewish population from political, commercial and other social activity. The same laws were eventually used to confiscate assets belonging to Jewish German citizens.

After the war, Globke closely aligned himself with the British forces and became testified as a witness in the prosecution of senior Nazi war criminals. He rebuilt his political career, initially on the local level, and eventually as Chief of Staff to the Office of the Chancellor of West Germany. He also served as West Germany’s Secretary of State, promoting a pro-Atlanticist foreign policy that closely aligned Western Germany with the United States.

According to the latest release by the Independent Commission, Globke tasked the BND with infiltrating Eichmann’s trial, in order to limit the details exposed about the Nazi government during the trial proceedings. The primary goal of the operation, according to the new information, was to prevent even the mention of Globke’s name during Eichmann’s trial. If that was not achieved, the aim was to protect Globke’s reputation and shield the public from details about his Nazi past, especially relating to the Holocaust.

When asked about the revelation, a spokesperson for the BND refused to comment on it, saying only that “the draft results of the independent historical commission speak for themselves”. A spokesperson for the German federal government appeared to reject a call to withdraw a number of civilian medals and other honors that Globke was bestowed prior to his death. According to the spokesperson, German law does not have provisions for “posthumous withdrawal” of awards.

Author: Joseph Fitsanakis | Date: 16 May 2022 | Permalink

2 Responses to West German intelligence infiltrated Adolf Eichmann trial in Israel, documents show

  1. Peter says:

    Looks like old news revived

  2. Pete says:

    A very interesting article. There is another aspect, BND’s and perhaps the CIA’s hiding their early knowledge of Eichmann’s location because it served their Cold War espionage interests. See https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Adolf_Eichmann#Capture :

    “US Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) documents declassified in 2006 show that the capture of Eichmann caused alarm at the CIA and West German Bundesnachrichtendienst (BND). Both organisations had known for at least two years that Eichmann was hiding in Argentina, but they did not act because it did not serve their interests in the Cold War.

    Both [the BND and CIA] were concerned about what Eichmann might say in his testimony about West German national security advisor Hans Globke…

    The documents also revealed that both agencies had used some of Eichmann’s former Nazi colleagues to spy on European communist countries.[148]

    [However] The assertion that the CIA knew Eichmann’s location and withheld that information from the Israelis has been challenged as “ahistorical”.[149] Special investigator Eli Rosenbaum cites an unreliable 1958 CIA source which said Eichmann was born in Israel, had lived in Argentina until 1952 under the (erroneous) alias “Clemens”, and was living in Jerusalem.[150].”

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