Tapes Captured Eichmann Saying What No Nazi Said

Israeli filmmakers were given permission to use them in a documentary series
By Kate Seamons,  Newser Staff
Posted Jul 9, 2022 7:00 AM CDT

The men who prosecuted Adolf Eichmann in 1961 had a 700-page transcript of taped conversations between Eichmann and fellow Nazi exile/Dutch journalist Willem Sassen in Argentina a few years prior. The transcript wasn't allowed to be used in court, where Eichmann insisted he was merely following orders and carried no authority. Some 60 years later those tapes have been made public via a new documentary, and they convey something entirely different, per the New York Times: "the boastful confessions of the Nazi war criminal, in his own voice." The tapes eventually landed in a German government archive, which gave the green light to Yariv Mozer and Kobi Sitt to use them in their series, The Devil’s Confession: The Lost Eichmann Tapes, which aired in Israel in June.

The Times shares some of what Eichmann was recorded saying, from the tellingly banal (he described a fly he was trying to swat as having "a Jewish nature") to the pointedly ironic ("Nothing annoys me more than a person who later denies the things he has done"). The Jerusalem Post spoke with Sitt, who discusses a "chilling section" in which Eichmann says, "I knew what was being done with the Jews. Whoever needed to go to work, should go to work. Everyone else who can’t go to work, should go to the Final Solution." Sassen asked for clarification—did Final Solution "mean they should be eradicated?" Eichmann says yes.

Kitt says, "Then, on the recording, you hear the publisher [Eichmann was trying to write his memoirs] yelling out that this should not be recorded, and then the tape recorder is shut off." Kitt explains that it's absolutely wild to have that on tape. "Nazis never spoke like that. You’ll not find one interview in which a Nazi speaks so directly and honestly like that. ... They understood that this is incriminating evidence. ... That’s why it was so critical to find these recordings." (Read more Adolf Eichmann stories.)

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