Eichmann 'wanted to return to Germany': book
Nazi war criminal Adolf Eichmann wrote to West German chancellor Konrad Adenauer from Argentina saying he wanted to return, the author of a new book published in Germany this week said Tuesday.
"It is time for me to abandon my anonymity and introduce myself. Name: Adolf Otto Eichmann. Profession: former SS Obersturmbannfuehrer (lieutenant colonel)," Eichmann wrote in the 1956 open letter.
Eichmann, who went on trial 50 years ago in Israel this week after being kidnapped by Mossad agents in Buenos Aires before being hanged in 1962, told Adenauer he was ready to tell everything.
"I don't know how much more time fate will give me to live. But what I do know is that someone has to tell future generations about what happened ... I steered and directed large parts of that system," he wrote.
The letter is one of a number of previously undiscovered documents cited by German historian and philosopher Bettina Stangneth in her new book, "Eichmann vor Jerusalem" (Eichmann Before Jerusalem).
It was unearthed in the German state archives by historian Fabien Theofilakis for an exhibition on Eichmann currently on at the Shoah Memorial in Paris that Stangneth advised on, she told AFP.
"The fact that Eichmann introduces himself shows that he was very serious," she said. "It fits with what I know from other sources that he always said he wanted to return to Germany, alone, to give himself up and go on trial.
"He wanted to tell his own story and he expected to get away with a jail sentence and then to get a pension," she said.
"Most importantly though it was so that he could get his name back -- his famous name that was so important to him. Although he was safe (in Argentina), he was suffering because where he was no one knew who he was any more."
Eichmann was one of the key organisers of the Holocaust, responsible for organising the deportation of Jews from all over Europe to the death camps.
He escaped from a prisoner-of-war camp after World War II and made it to Argentina in 1950, where he lived under the pseudonym Ricardo Klement and was later joined by his family.
© 2011 AFP