Eichmann in Jerusalem

Heinrich Himmler Character Analysis

The leader of the S.S. and one of the most powerful officials in the Nazi regime, Himmler primarily but indirectly determined Eichmann’s orders. Himmler was the pioneer of Nazi “language rules” that solved officers’ “problems of conscience” by teaching them to downplay their actions’ moral consequences, and at the end of World War Two, he began to disobey the increasingly unhinged Hitler, most notably by ordering the Final Solution to stop—but Eichmann refused to violate Hitler’s will and obey these orders.

Heinrich Himmler Quotes in Eichmann in Jerusalem

The Eichmann in Jerusalem quotes below are all either spoken by Heinrich Himmler or refer to Heinrich Himmler. For each quote, you can also see the other characters and themes related to it (each theme is indicated by its own dot and icon, like this one:
The Banality of Evil Theme Icon
). Note: all page numbers and citation info for the quotes below refer to the Penguin edition of Eichmann in Jerusalem published in 1963.
Chapter 8 Quotes

Eichmann, much less intelligent and without any education to speak of, at least dimly realized that it was not an order but a law which had turned them all into criminals. The distinction between an order and the Führer’s word was that the latter’s validity was not limited in time and space, which is the outstanding characteristic of the former. This is also the true reason why the Führer’s order for the Final Solution was followed by a huge shower of regulations and directives, all drafted by expert lawyers and legal advisers, not by mere administrators; this order, in contrast to ordinary orders, was treated as a law.

Page Number: 149
Explanation and Analysis:
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Chapter 9 Quotes

Eichmann himself, after “consulting Poliakoff and Reitlinger,” produced seventeen multicolored charts, which contributed little to a better understanding of the intricate bureaucratic machinery of the Third Reich, although his general description—“everything was always in a state of continuous flux, a steady stream”—sounded plausible to the student of totalitarianism, who knows that the monolithic quality of this form of government is a myth.

Related Characters: Adolf Eichmann, Heinrich Himmler
Page Number: 152
Explanation and Analysis:
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Heinrich Himmler Character Timeline in Eichmann in Jerusalem

The timeline below shows where the character Heinrich Himmler appears in Eichmann in Jerusalem. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Chapter 5: The Second Solution: Concentration
The Banality of Evil Theme Icon
Conscience, Authority, and Totalitarianism Theme Icon
Justice and Legal Responsibility Theme Icon
Soon after the beginning of the war, Heinrich Himmler combined the S.S. Security Service (S.D.) with the state police (including the Gestapo) into the... (full context)
The Banality of Evil Theme Icon
Conscience, Authority, and Totalitarianism Theme Icon
...Subsection IV-B, dealing with Jewish matters. Müller answered to Heydrich (later Kaltenbrunner), who answered to Himmler, who directly carried out Hitler’s orders. Himmler also directed the separate regional S.S. and Police... (full context)
Chapter 6: The Final Solution: Killing
Conscience, Authority, and Totalitarianism Theme Icon
Himmler was the “most gifted at solving problems of conscience,” and he invented many of the... (full context)
Chapter 8: Duties of a Law-Abiding Citizen
The Banality of Evil Theme Icon
Conscience, Authority, and Totalitarianism Theme Icon
...made exceptions for family members, he was uncomfortable. Later, near the end of the war, Himmler ordered the end of the Final Solution and Eichmann was similarly uncomfortable with the break... (full context)
The Banality of Evil Theme Icon
Conscience, Authority, and Totalitarianism Theme Icon
Justice and Legal Responsibility Theme Icon
...While Becher claimed to be in Budapest on horse-related business, he was clearly sent by Himmler to ensure that wealthy Jewish business owners could escape Hungary and take over their assets,... (full context)
The Banality of Evil Theme Icon
Conscience, Authority, and Totalitarianism Theme Icon
Justice and Legal Responsibility Theme Icon
...anti-Semitism but merely his reverence for Hitler and dedication to carrying out the Final Solution (Himmler kept his order for its end a secret from Hitler). Eichmann lost to the “moderate... (full context)
Conscience, Authority, and Totalitarianism Theme Icon
Justice and Legal Responsibility Theme Icon
...Eichmann emphasizes the difference between Hitler’s orders, which were law, even if only spoken, and Himmler’s, which Eichmann demanded in writing. And so Eichmann believed he was putting the true law... (full context)
Chapter 9: Deportations from the Reich—Germany, Austria, and the Protectorate
Justice and Legal Responsibility Theme Icon
Storytelling and Resistance Theme Icon
...1944; he was focused on organizing and coordinating deportations across the massive, complex Nazi bureaucracy. Himmler made all the important decisions, which he disseminated down the chain of command; Eichmann determined... (full context)
Chapter 10: Deportations from Western Europe—France, Belgium, Holland, Denmark, Italy
Zionism and Nazism Theme Icon
Storytelling and Resistance Theme Icon
France was Himmler’s top priority, and 100,000 foreign Jews were expeditiously deported from both the Occupied Zone and... (full context)
Justice and Legal Responsibility Theme Icon
Storytelling and Resistance Theme Icon
...of the Germans,” whom the prosecution falsely claims were all following Eichmann’s orders. In fact, Himmler mostly gave the S.S. and Police priority in Holland, to Eichmann’s chagrin, since they seemed... (full context)
Chapter 11: Deportations from the Balkans—Yugoslavia, Bulgaria, Greece, Rumania
Zionism and Nazism Theme Icon
Storytelling and Resistance Theme Icon
...Rumanian government suddenly decided that selling exemptions would be more profitable. Soon, it preempted even Himmler’s order to stop exterminations by simply setting them free. Many Rumanian Jews ended up in... (full context)
Chapter 12: Deportations from Central Europe—Hungary and Slovakia
Zionism and Nazism Theme Icon
Storytelling and Resistance Theme Icon
...Eichmann began marching Jews on foot towards the Reich, but was ordered to stop by Himmler. Less than 160,000 of Hungary’s 800,000 Jews survived. (full context)
Chapter 15: Judgment, Appeal, and Execution
The Banality of Evil Theme Icon
Conscience, Authority, and Totalitarianism Theme Icon
Justice and Legal Responsibility Theme Icon
...remaining duty was overseeing Theresienstadt, and when the Red Cross visited it, he complained “about Himmler’s new ‘humane line’ in regard to the Jews.” Himmler told him to pick prominent Jews... (full context)
Postscript
Justice and Legal Responsibility Theme Icon
...but Eichmann in fact followed the normal rule of law in Nazi Germany by ignoring Himmler’s order to stop the Final Solution. (full context)
Conscience, Authority, and Totalitarianism Theme Icon
Justice and Legal Responsibility Theme Icon
...the kind of judgment required of him,” following the law even when it meant ignoring Himmler’s unlawful orders. Under “superior orders,” Eichmann’s sentence would have had to be as drastically reduced... (full context)