Donald Freed
International Playwright
and Master Teacher

White Crow


Ó 2003 by Donald Freed


Donald Freed’s plays, prizes, books, and films include: Inquest (directed by Alan Schneider); Secret Honor (directed by Robert Altman); Circe & Bravo (with Faye Dunaway, directed by Harold Pinter); The Quartered Man; Alfred and Victoria (A Life); Veterans Day (with Jack Lemmon and Michael Gambon); The White Crow.

Three Rockefeller Awards; two Louis B. Mayer Awards; Unicorn Prize; Gold Medal Award; Berlin Critics Award; NEA award for "Distinguished Writing"; Hollywood Critics Award.

Agony in New Haven; Executive Action (novel and film with Dalton Trumbo and Mark Lane); The Glasshouse Tapes; The Spymaster (B.O.M.); In Search of Common Ground (with Erik Erikson and Huey P. Newton); The Existentialism of Alberto Moravia (with Joan Ross); Death in Washington.

New books, plays, and films include: Is He Still Dead? (with Julie Harris as Nora Joyce); Love and Shadows (from the novel by Isabel Allende); Sokrates Must Die (with Edward Asner); a new novel, Every Third House.

Donald Freed is a Distinguished Visiting Professor at the University of Southern California.



Author’s Note

Adolph Karl Eichmann, the Nazi war criminal captive, is confronted by the Isreali psychologist Doctor Miriam Baum. The setting is the basement of a police building in Isreal. There is one small window.

The character of Dr. Baum is a fictional creation based on fact. Eichmann is an historical personage, re-imagined at the level of drama. The third character is an Isreali orderly.

The interrogation has a table, chairs, chalkboard, two tape recorders, and piles of documents in every corner.



TIME: Summer, 1960

PLACE: Jerusalem

ADOLPH EICHMANN, blind-folded, is marched in by an armed guard. Left alone, he removes the blindfold and stares about him. Then, he scurries about the room gathering and checking on his "evidence." Without his glasses, he is like a frantic mole. He has also been deprived of his belt and shoelaces, so he must hold up his trousers at crucial moments of action.

The plain, official room contains a table, chairs, a white-board and marker—and mounds of documents. A fan turns overhead. There are two tape recorders at one side of the room; one for recording the interview and the other for pre-recorded use. There is a barred window on one wall. There is also a tray with a container of water and two glasses.

Guards are heard unlocking elaborate safeguards outside the door. Eichmann leaps to rigid attention as the door opens and a guard enters, followed by a MIDDLE-AGED WOMAN in uniform.

The woman carries a legal briefcase, from which she will draw documents throughout the play. The guard hangs a huge photograph of Auschwitz on the wall. Eichmann thinks the guard is in charge, because he is male. Eichmann mistakenly addresses the guard.

EICHMANN: At your orders, sir! Permit me, your honor, to express my appreciation for the flawless coordination, and ah, special… (The prisoner stutters in confusion at the guard’s exit.)

BAUM: (The two study each other after Baum circles the room.) Good morning, Colonel. I am Dr. Baum. Serving temporarily on special assignment with Bureau 06 of the police of the State of Israel.

EICHMANN: At your service, Frau-Captain-Professor-Doctor Baum.

BAUM: Colonel, I am informed that you are ready and willing to give us, in preparation for your trial, a complete version of your role in the special activities of Section IV B 4 of the Third Reich.

EICHMANN: As God is my witness. (The prisoner has recovered his Prussian style, mixed with a certain Austrian "charm.")

BAUM: Please be at ease. Sit down. No, please… I insist! I’ve been informed that you have expressed a need for certain additional maps and documents. I’ve brought some with me and others will be made available to you as we locate them. (Turns on the tape machine) Now, sir, our conversation will be recorded here on tape.

EICHMANN: Permit me, Doctor, to remark that it is a pleasure to listen to a perfect German such as yours, after many years of South-American-style Spanish.

BAUM: Thank you. Now, I have to inform you, sir, that these interviews must be conducted in English.

EICHMANN: In English, Your Honor?

BAUM: Yes, sir, it is, ah, a diplomatic decision.

EICHMANN: I see. At your service. English, German, Spanish: it’s either true or it isn’t.

BAUM: Quite…Your flight from Argentina was, ah, comfortable? And your quarters are satisfactory?

EICHMANN: Ja. A little large, but I feel at home.

BAUM: You had a meal last night?

EICHMANN: Ja, something "mid-Eastern," but you know, I prefer the, uh, German Kosher style, professor.

(BAUM leans back and looks at the man.)

BAUM: …But you are feeling well? After the shock of your arrest?

EICHMANN: Ja, it was like a bolt from the blue—but now I’m fit as a fiddle.

BAUM: Good. Then you slept well last night?

EICHMANN: Well—the first few nights, you know…Uh, pardon me, Your Honor, but I was led to believe that Chief Prosecutor Hausner was to personally handle my case.

BAUM: I am assigned to you for today only, sir. (Pause)

EICHMANN: I am delighted, of course…Now, Professor, we come to the matter of my glasses.

BAUM: Yes. Here they are.

EICHMANN: (Seeing the photograph) What is that?

BAUM: I beg your pardon? Your request, here, read. Quote: "One early photograph from Auschwitz." Close quotes. Here, please look at the document, Colonel.

EICHMANN: …What a comedy, Your Honor. What I wrote was—"One aerial photograph of Auschwitz." Oh, dear, dear. A-ha.

BAUM: I see. And why did you require it?

EICHMANN: To indicate the distance from the depot to the, uh…

BAUM: I see. Well, let me turn it to the wall and we’ll forget about it. So sorry, a misunderstanding…

EICHMANN: Ja, ja…And the belt and—

BAUM: Plastic lenses for your spectacles are being made—until then you may wear your regular spectacles in this room under supervision.

EICHMANN: Of course, you are under orders—

BAUM: Precisely. (Pause) Now, the guards rotate tasting your rations, so that—

EICHMANN: Ja. They are fine young men, but not a one speaks either German or Spanish.


EICHMANN: Or even Yiddish…You were raised in Germany?

BAUM: I got out in 1939, to England.

EICHMANN: Thank God…and your family? (Pause) You don’t look…German.

BAUM: No? Can you tell me the German look?

EICHMANN: At your service. (Clicks heels, smiles, and proceeds to describe himself.) Example: big ears, hook nose, stigmatism, bald head, flat feet, hernia: in short, Doctor—the Superman. (He laughs, BAUM does not.)

BAUM: Ja…Umm, for your own protection, you are the sole prisoner in this complex, and its whereabouts have not been made public. You are blindfolded in order to—

EICHMANN: Please do not concern yourself, Captain, I intend to make my appearance at the trial. There is much that must be said…

BAUM: Yes.

EICHMANN: That has not been said.

BAUM: Yes. You have been given periodicals and books for your reading. Is this satisfactory?

EICHMANN: I have, of course, had no time, Professor. However, I note that one of the books, Lolita

BAUM: Yes.

EICHMANN: I mean it’s, ah, an unwholesome, uh, it’s filth…Why was it supplied to me?…But I have read this morning’s newspaper, I believe it is the organ of the Isreali Communist Party. It points out that, quote, "…it is simply breathtaking that the prosecution of Eichmann will accuse him of complicity in the infamous Nuremberg race laws when, thanks to the orthodox rabbinical laws of Isreal, a person born of a non-Jewish mother can neither be married nor buried." Close quotes.

BAUM: We have a free press here, Colonel.

EICHMANN: Wonderful, Doctor. Professor. Please, do not misunderstand. I have waited fourteen years for this opportunity. I mean no disrespect, please…Mmm, one thing.

BUAM: Yes.

EICHMANN: A violin. If I might—

BAUM: Yes, I know, I understand you are rather good and I am in favor of it.


EICHMANN: I mean, I would not cut my throat with the bow.

BAUM: No, but the decision is rather… (EICHMANN clicks his heels again, pantomimes playing, making the sound with his voice. She stares at him.)

EICHMANN: Brahms, you know, Your Honor… (She stares, hard-eyed.)

BAUM: Now, it is my assignment, today only, to review a few elementary facts, and then cede to experts on the "Final Solution," who will begin their interrogations next week.

EICHMANN: Experts, Doctor?

BAUM: Yes. Men from: Austria, the "Protectorate"; France; Belgium; The Netherlands; Norway; Denmark; Italy; Yugoslavia; Bulgaria; Romania; Hungary; Slovakia; Finland; and Germany.— No rush; the trial cannot commence until late next year, so…

EICHMANN: I see. And you…

BAUM: I will be out of the country, at that time…

EICHMANN: Experts. Ja, ja, I know all about experts. I was one. Later we call experts "war criminals." Forgive my gallows humor, Doctor, but I believe it is permitted since we both know that no matter what I say or do here, the verdict will be "Guilty as Charged."

BAUM: Is that how you see the trial, Colonel? What do you imagine that "they" have in store for you?

EICHMANN: Well, I mean Albert Speer, himself—the Fuhrer’s favorite—only got twenty years. And he was, uh—and, I mean, I am only, I was only, uh…I mean, perhaps five years or, at the most, uh…Ja. But, of course, Speer was tried at Nuremberg by an international court. And I am here in Jerusalem.

BAUM: I have nothing to do with the trial itself. I am here for today only. (A long pause as the idea of the possible death sentence sinks in.)

EICHMANN: You have nothing to do with the trial?

BAUM: No, sir.

EICHMANN: What are you orders, then, sir?

BAUM: As I have told you.—Orientation, ah, general background, ah, for the "record," you know.

EICHMANN: Ja. The record.

BAUM: For instance, we have very little material on your whereabouts after the German defeat in 1945, in fact until your apprehension last week in Buenos Aires.

EICHMANN: Nothing out of the ordinary—

BAUM: (Overlapping) How you escaped Germany. How you found a new life in


EICHMANN: I walked away! Ja—Until I was "invented" as a scapegoat at Nuremberg, nobody knew Adolph Eichmann from Adam. I walked away. Like a bit player…

BAUM: You walked away?—How can this be?

EICHMANN: Doctor—when the circus is over, the clowns change clothes and stretch their legs. Does anyone recognize them? (The two stare at each other. EICHMANN smiles slowly. BAUM makes a note.)

BAUM: Ja…Now, I believe that we should begin with just a few basic facts… (She checks the tape machine.) You were born…

EICHMANN: I was born… (Their eyes meet. He raises his voice.) in the Rhineland—

BAUM: No need to strain, the microphones are placed so that…

EICHMANN: …In the Rhineland.

BAUM: May 10, 1906?


BAUM: Your father’s names was—

EICHMANN: Adolph Karl. My mother’s name was Maria…

BAUM: Were you religiously affiliated?

EICHMANN: As a youth, I belonged to the Evangelical Church. My father was very religious.

BAUM: Do you still believe in God?

EICHMANN: (Reacting sharply.) Of course…in my own way…

BAUM: You attended the Kaiser Franz State School? I’m reading from the statement you prepared in Buenos Aires.

EICHMANN: Yes, sir.

BAUM: You know, of course, that some fifteen years earlier, Adoph Hitler attended that same school?

EICHMANN: Yes, sir.

BAUM: Curious…you don’t mention it in your statement. Have you changed your attitude toward—

EICHMANN: I have changed my attitude toward many things.

BAUM: Perhaps, later, we may touch on the subject of the Fuhrer.

EICHMANN: At your service. (BAUM notices a malfunction of the tape recorder. EICHMANN immediately crouches and begins to tinker and tamper. He hums and chats—in his element. She studies him, at her feet, as he works.) Please allow me, please, no force needed. No force. Hmm… Aha…Ja… The Japs, you know, they…Ja, ja—that does it, my doctor. (He smiles happily up at her.)

BAUM: Thank you, sir. You are quite, ah—

EICHMANN: Ja, ja, handy. My father always said to me: "Trust your hands."

BAUM: Your father, later, went into his own business?

EICHMANN: Ja. He bought an interest in a Locomobile outlet. Then the slump…He failed—every penny. His partner hung himself in the tool shed. (EICHMANN is still crouched at Baum’s feet. Both are becoming self-conscious.)

BAUM: Your relationship with your father was—

EICHMANN: Perfect.

BAUM: Ja. And your relationship with your own sons is, you would say—

EICHMANN: The same.

BAUM: With all four? Dieter, Klaus, Horst…?


BAUM: And you have a little one—Riccardo Francisco.

EICHMANN: Ja. We call him "Haasi"…

BAUM: And what is he like?

EICHMANN: An angel…Do you, yourself, have children, Doctor?

BAUM: Please get up, sir, and we can then—

EICHMANN: You seem so fascinated with my personal life…Do you have any of your own?

BAUM: We are here, sir, to look at your life. It is not a question of "personal," or "public." Simply a life—yours.

EICHMANN: So? And yours?

BAUM: My life, Colonel, is of no interest whatsoever. Surely, you see that goes beyond our guidelines. (He clicks his heels, then retreats to his documents. BAUM checks the tape.) …Would you care for a cigarette? Go on…Your schooling was…

EICHMANN: (He smokes with gusto.) Thank you, Your Honor. Ahh, a Zippo…School? Ja, I left school. My first job was—salesman for Gargoyl Gasoline and Vacuum Oil. I was ordered to set up gas stations in all of upper Austria.

BAUM: You stayed with them through—

EICHMANN: Ja, this was for me! That part of Austria is a hundred years behind the time, with old-fashioned people and places—I love it. Do you know it?

BAUM: Ja, very old-fashioned.

EICHMANN: Ja, you know it! (He is rapturous.)

BAUM: I spent three months of my wanderjahr walking from Innsbruck to Grosslochner, through the towns around the Gruehn Wald—the Wildsitze.

EICHMANN: The Zugspitze; the Raab and the Rhine. This was my youth—the evergreen forests, the valleys between—

BAUM: Ja, the old castles.

EICHMANN: The ruined gentry, pure romance!…If the company hadn’t transferred me without warning to Salzburg, I’d be there still…But, they let me go because I was the only unmarried salesman…You look so…do I know you from somewhere?

BAUM: This was 1933? Then you went to Germany. Was there a problem at home?

EICHMANN: (Nervous) Perhaps—

BAUM: You say here, that—

EICHMANN: Financial.—Anyway I left.

BUAM: Were you "political" by this time?

EICHMANN: As schoolboys we were all revolutionaries and monarchists…Ja. Our mottoes were: "A Clean Mind in a Clean Body," and "Public Need Before Private Greed"… (He hums and sways to an old school anthem. She studies him.) Then, that was when a certain Ernst Kaltenbrunner came to our town fair—and said to me, man to man: "I’ve had my eye on you. You have something. Why not join the SS?"

BAUM: And you replied?

EICHMANN: "Why not?" (Pause, she studies him.)

BAUM: The year?

EICHMANN: (Piercing sadness) 1933…My new uniform was bought and paid for. It was at the tailor’s waiting for me… (A deep sigh) Then out of the blue the authorities suppressed the Party in Austria. So that is why I decided to leave for Germany.

BAUM: And you reported to the SA Army camp at Lechfield?

EICHMANN: Ja, ja, I had to leave my red motorbike behind, too.

BAUM: What were your impressions of this period?

EICHMANN: My impressions?…The doctor selected me for the shock troops, the special police (I was not then the wreck you see before you, now), and we were trained for street fighting. It’s all thick forest there, like my home, where I was… (He stares at the turning tape.)

BAUM: Would you like some water? We will have the luncheon recess quite soon. And, of course, tea later.

EICHMANN: (Suddenly flaring up) I understood that Mr. Ben-Gurion would be sending Chief Prosecutor Hausner in person to see me.

BAUM: Mr. Hausner is not in Jerusalem at the moment.

EICHMANN: But I was distinctly told he would be—

BAUM: He will be, Colonel Eichmann! You were speaking of Lechfield…the barracks at Lechfield.

EICHMANN: (Pause, then regaining his poise) At your service! Ja—hot sausages, pancakes, and the barracks life. It passed like a dream; then before Christmas we were all sent for further training to Dachau. There, it was a different story. There, we learned real discipline. Horses! There, the SS wore the death’s-head on their collars: my eyes were like saucers.

BAUM: I’m not clear how you passed from Dachau to Himmler’s staff.

EICHMANN: Doctor, believe me when I tell you it was a comedy of errors. First, I was in my element at Dachau. I worked like a dog and was promoted right along. So when I heard that there were openings in Himmler’s secret service, naturally I stepped forward. But you see I had misunderstood: I believed that Himmler’s "Security" would get to ride around on the running boards of the General’s cars, like bodyguards in the movies with guns drawn! That was my mental picture. (He mimes his image.)

BAUM: Instead—

EICHMANN: Instead, they listed me as "unmarried, therefore single," and shipped me off to the Palace on the Wilhemstrasse, where I promptly slipped on the parquet floor and bruised my spine. My desk was in the bowels of the building. Every day I had to pass by coffins with bones and magical signs glowing in the dark. It was a nightmare. They told me that I was in the Free Masonry Museum. My doctor, I couldn’t even pronounce the name "Free Masonry"—all I had wanted was to ride around on the running boards with the guns drawn…

BUAM: Like in the movies. And then one day you were "promoted" upstairs to meet Captain von Mildenstein?

EICHMANN: Ja. And Captain von Mildenstein remarked that he was in the process of organizing a "Jews Department" somewhere, and would I be at all interested.

BAUM: What was the official title of this section?



EICHMANN: That’s it. Captain von Mildenstein was my superior. A wonderful man, a civilized human being. The first thing he did was give me Theodore Herzl’s The Jewish State.

BAUM: Did you read it?

EICHMANN: A classic. Many times. My eyes were opened. A new state! I was deeply moved! It made a lasting impression. (He stares at the turning tape as BAUM stares at him. Pause. BAUM smashes an insect on the table. EICHMANN reacts.)

BAUM: A spider…You’re very apprehensive, aren’t you, sir?

EICHMANN: No, sir.

BAUM: Your passage from Argentina was rather—

EICHMANN: Not at all. Your secret police wrapped me up in blankets, in a wheel chair, with dark glasses—and announced that I was an old man returning to Jerusalem to die. Like the wandering Jew searching the world for his grave. (Pause)

BAUM: Ja. Let’s see: In 1939, you were sent to meet with Zionist leaders in the Middle East, weren’t you? (Pause) Have a cigarette.

EICHMANN: (He ducks his head obsequiously and takes one.) Please. Thank you, Your Honor. Ja, I had two stars by then and I knew the top Zionists, and I agreed 100% with their position. I wanted to send as many Jews as possible from Germany to Palestine…This was what our office wanted, this is what the Zionists wanted. We were one and the same.

BAUM: You refer in your summary to the "mutual advantages" to both German and Jews of your various plans for emigration. Is that correct?

EICHMANN: Yes, sir.

BAUM: (Handing over documents.) Yet, here we see, and you know, that laws were passed by this time, by 1937, that extracted huge fines from Jews: billions.

EICHMANN: Ja, Doctor, strictly speaking, they were forced to emigrate. But I had no part in these laws, of course. We were stuck away reading books in our lazy, quiet cubbyhole of an office. (He leans over the table. She leans over to face him.)

BAUM: Quite. Now, sir, we are reaching the critical turning point—1939—and I want to try to understand how your quiet, lazy little office became the eye of the hurricane—of the Holocaust.

EICHMANN: Ja, ja…We are a good team. At this rate, we can finish by the luncheon hour…Your Honor has places she would rather be…no? Jetzt moechten Sie Mittagesen.

BAUM: Wir essen um zu leben. We eat to live. But we have our work to do.

EICHMANN: Exactly. I mean, you would not spend one minute in my company unless you were ordered to.

BAUM: I don’t take your point, Colonel.

EICHMANN: Orders, Captain. You are here under orders. No other reason. Orders. Your orders. Ja, ja. (They stare at each other; an invisible boundary has been crossed.)

BAUM: That is true. I have my orders. And I have my reasons. Befehle.

EICHMANN: Befehle. Fated, Doctor…

BAUM: Ja, ja…well…

EICHMANN: I’m told that, today, German youth is suffering from a guilt complex because of these events!


EICHMANN: So, that is why I am here, Captain, and raise no objections to the events in the Argentine attendant on my "arrest." I am here to speak the God’s truth and to write it all down—if you will give me time—so that my sons and all of German youth can once again hold up its head. So, fire away!

BAUM: Hitler’s Mein Kampf was your Bible, correct?

EICHMANN: No, Doctor.


EICHMANN: I never read it…A few pages maybe—

BAUM: But those few pages put you in the picture as to what was to happen?

EICHMANN: Absolutely not!

BAUM: Did you read this? Quote: "We are passing a magnet over a dunghill…Under its pressure so-called ‘humanity’—that mixture of stupidity, cowardice, and imaginary intelligence—will melt like snow from the March sun…The Jew will disappear from Europe…"

EICHMANN: I don’t know it.

BAUM: Or this: "Conscience is a Jewish invention."

EICHMANN: Fantastic!

BAUM: "If a people is to become free, it needs pride and willpower, defiance, hate, hate and once again hate."

EICHMANN: (He echoes her quote.) "…Hate." That I remember. When he spoke…some time, we must discuss that, Your Honor. (Pause)

BAUM: You attended the same school. You shared the same general orientation…You were both Austro-Germans, weren’t you?

EICHMANN: And there, the resemblance ended, believe me.

BAUM: I see. You were an "individual."

EICHMANN: Exactly, Professor, one man. Just one ordinary man. (BAUM pauses, smokes, walks to the auxiliary tape machine.)

BAUM: Mm…Do you remember Nuremberg, 1936? (She pushes the button. The Sieg Heils! bounce off the concrete walls of the interrogation room. Then, BAUM lowers the volume to a dull roar. EICHMANN stands next to her.) So many.


BAUM: You were there.

EICHMANN: Of course.

BAUM: Can you hear yourself in the, ah, crowd? (EICHMANN looks at Baum, then shakes his head. BAUM turns the sound off.)

EICHMANN: You don’t believe me. You think I’m hiding something, don’t you?

BAUM: Yes…But not from me so much as from yourself…

EICHMANN: Then mesmerize me. Who are you really? Are you a hypnotist? Go on, I’m not afraid. (BAUM studies him, then smiles and shrugs.)

BAUM: If it were so easy…I think we must just press on.


BAUM: You knew the Party program?

EICHMANN: The twelve points?

BAUM: The twenty-five points…Points denying all rights to Jews.

EICHMANN: (Overlapping) No one took them seriously. Doctor, National Socialism was a "movement," not a "Party." The "points" were for, you know, to appeal to the old-fashioned bourgeois voters—

BAUM: And the Jews, themselves, actually were "old-fashioned" enough to believe in "legality," isn’t that true?

EICHMANN: Ja, but, Doctor, Professor, as far as the order to expel Jews across borders—I must tell you that it hit our office like a thunderclap.

BAUM: (Boring in) March, 1938: the Anschluss.

EICHMANN: I was sent back to Vienna overnight!

BAUM: (Overlapping) Your whole career hung in the balance.

EICHMANN: I was frantic—

BAUM: And your success was spectacular: in eight months fifty percent of Austria’s Jewry was driven out. You "cleansed" Austria "legally." (Each reaches for documents as they need them in the next section.)

EICHMANN: You say I, doctor. I never dreamed what was coming. Even as late as the morning of Kristallnacht—the morning—do you know what Heydrich said? "The ‘problem’ is not to make the rich Jews leave, but only to get rid of the Jewish mob."

BAUM: The riff-raff?

EICHMANN: That’s what they wanted in Berlin.

BAUM: And what did they want in Vienna? (Pause) Vienna was an assembly line wasn’t it? At one end you put in a Jew who still had some property—a shop, a bank account—and he comes out at the other end with only a passport and two weeks to leave the country or go to a concentration camp. Correct, Colonel?

EICHMANN: Yes, doctor. But we must appreciate that within the frame-work of possibilities, I felt we were doing justice to both parties—

BAUM: So you have written here—

EICHMANN: (Overlapping) Because the Jews desired to emigrate, and Germany, for her part—

BAUM: (Erupting and recovering) But, Colonel, sir, why did they "desire" to emigrate?…Never mind, we are getting too far afield…You were ordered to take charge of "Jewish affairs," and you did?

EICHMANN: Like any good functionary, I threw myself into the job.

BAUM: Why? Why did everyone say that you were so intense, so fanatically eager to—

EICHMANN: (Overlapping) My Doctor, when you are in uniform, there is only one way to carry out orders. Cowards in the dock at Nuremberg may call this "fanaticism," but ask any Army man—ask those fine and frightening young men in the corridor standing guard. They are under orders and they will do as you say.

BAUM: Yes, and four years ago when an Israeli patrol—under orders—fired on Arab women and children, they were court-martialled.

EICHMANN: I’m only human. I obeyed. I obeyed all orders. I obeyed, I obeyed! Do you want chaos?

BAUM: If for instance, a superior gives an order to shoot civilians—"Shoot them!"—must the subordinate obey?

EICHMANN: Absolutely. Even as your early Zionists massacred Palestinian peasants. Do you want anarchy?

BAUM: But you knew that your orders were illegal!

EICHMANN: Doctor, if they had said to me, "Your father is a traitor—kill him!"—I would have done it.

BAUM: Your father?

EICHMANN: Ja! We were surrounded by death…Today’s youth can never understand…But I could have said "no"…hmmm? That’s what you want me to say, isn’t it, Doctor? (Pause)


BAUM: I want you to tell me the facts. That’s all.

EICHMANN: Here is the point, Doctor: I personally committed no act of violence, and was not ordered to. —You look stunned. I tell you that I never ordered the death of a Jew, or of any human being. (Like a machine) Nevertheless, I did abide by Section 11: I did my "best to reduce the gravity of the consequences of the offense…" Uh, it’s in the record somewhere.

BAUM: You did this?

EICHMANN: Absolutely, Doctor.

BAUM: When?

EICHMANN: Until the end.

BAUM: Where?

EICHMANN: Vienna, Prague—I bent over backwards.

BAUM: What do you mean?

EICHMANN: It’s in the record!: In Vienna, in the excitement, I slapped the Jewish leader, Dr. Lowenberg, for complaining too much about the situation of the Jews. But I apologized immediately—in full uniform—in front of my staff. In my department, I did not permit physical violence. (He clicks his heels.)

BAUM: You have a great flair, sir. But I do not follow your logic in terms of illegal orders.

EICHMANN: (He spits out his credo.) Pardon me, Professor, Doctor, there were no "illegal" orders or "legal" orders. There were only orders. Full stop. Orders! Permit me, I will try to be calm. Forgive me…Dr. Lowenberg, you know, he and I, the Jewish leadership itself—worked hand in hand in the "Reorganization of Jewish Life" in Vienna—

BAUM: One moment, please. Why did they work "hand in hand," and where was the justification for this "reorganization" of Jewish life—

EICHMANN: There is none—

BAUM: (Overlapping)—In Vienna—

EICHMANN: (Overlapping)—And I would never have ordered it—

BAUM: (Her voice rising)—Which led, in the end, to the ovens and the tank ditches!

EICHMANN: Dr. Lowenberg and I tried—

BAUM: (Overlapping. She explodes, recovers.) Excuse me, Colonel!…I’m afraid if we both speak at once, the stenographer will be unable—

EICHMANN: (They breathe and study each other.) Of course. Forgive me, Captain…

BAUM: Water?

EICHMANN: (Takes water) …Who are you?

BAUM: Pardon?

EICHMANN: Do you have something, ah, personal against me?…Do I know you?

BAUM: Do you? (Pause) So—in Austria, you organized the forced exit of the entire Jewish population. This was unheard of in modern history.

EICHMANN: Ja, modern history. But not in "our" Old Testament: "And the Lord God of Israel smote the tribe of"—somebody or other—"and they were no more." In the land of Goshen. It’s in the Bible.

BAUM: Are you now raising the question of the Ammorites, in your defense, Colonel?

EICHMANN: I have no "defense," Doctor. The charges against me, from Nuremberg, are vaudeville! Not even Hitler could have been proved legally guilty.

BAUM: Why is that?

EICHMANN: Because there are no documents linking him to the "Final Solution," much less me. And yet I take responsibility.

BAUM: Legal responsibility?

EICHMANN: No. I am legally innocent.

BAUM: And why is that?

EICHMANN: I was one man—with no power. Someone pushed a button in Berlin and a "conveyor belt" began to move in Vienna. Everyone tried to exploit the situation: lawyers who had to accompany the Jews for a fat fee; "organizers" ready to swoop down on Jewish businesses. Everyone was suddenly a "Jewish Expert." Strutting, mouthing grand phrases, profiteering—while I never took a penny! I was the only one who never made a profit from all of it. And I helped as many as I could!

BAUM: You did? Can you name one case?

EICHMANN: Of course…the millionaire, Kleiner. I intervened in his behalf.

BAUM: In what way?

EICHMANN: He was sent to Auschwitz, by mistake. I intervened so that he was granted permission to sit down every four hours. He said that the labor was killing him.

BAUM: Do you know what became of him?

EICHMANN: Kleiner? The next time I got back from Hungary, I heard that Kleiner had been shot… (A deep sigh)

BAUM: There were eighty million good Germans, each of whom had his decent Jew. Kleiner was your "decent Jew," is that it? (EICHMANN begins to pace.) Have I upset you?

EICHMANN: I was lost the day I swore my oath. On that day, I, too, became a victim of what you call the "Holocaust." Today no man, no judge in the world will ever be capable of forcing me to swear an oath, I will hang myself in public in order that the German youth of today can understand how we swore away our souls—And yet, I swear to you that my dream was to find a place where the Israelite people could live and have firm ground under their feet. I myself was a Christian Zionist. A fanatic! I was prepared to empty convents to make room for Zionist settlers. This was my dream.

BAUM: Tell me about this dream. (His dream pours out as he grabs for documents.)

EICHMANN: I studied the "basic books" of Judaism and I drew my inspiration from them: First, came the idea of "Nisko." It was 1939, Poland was partitioned with Russia and my idea—and Heydrich agreed—was to set up an autonomous state in our section of Poland. The Nisko section—

BAUM: But what about the millions of Poles already living there?

EICHMANN: Ah, ha! Dear Doctor, I said, "Let the Poles, for once, be moved out and make way for the Jews!" Everything looked marvelous for the Nisko plan until Berlin said, "no." And the whole thing went kaput.

BAUM: Did you then say to Berlin—"Well, this plan of yours is criminal," and resign your office?

EICHMANN: (Overlapping) No, you see I was an idealist! I marched right back with the "Madagascar Plan!" And it would have worked! Four million to Madagascar would


BAUM: Left more than two million Jews in Poland alone.

EICHMANN: Well, in ’38—no, I mean to say 1939, uh—

BAUM: You mean the extermination of three million Polish Jews was already underway, leaving four million for Madagascar? Colonel, Madagascar was merely a screen behind which to implement preparations for the "Final Solution," was it not?

EICHMANN: I appeal to God in Heaven if I, at least, did not believe in the Madagascar plan! Or, later, Palestine, but there, of course, the British were more fanatical than we were. They invented the concentration camp. The British starved them on ships waiting to be admitted; they, they—

BAUM: (Overlapping) These were your three "dreams"?

EICHMANN: These were my three dreams, Doctor: Nisko, Madagascar, Palestine. Then out of nowhere came the war against Russia, and my career was over, like that.

BAUM: Yet you were promoted three whole grades in less than eighteen—

EICHMANN: Pardon me, sir, I mean all hopes that I had for finding a decent solution to the problem ended.

BAUM: But, sir, you were not demoted after ’39, you were promoted.

EICHMANN: Forgive me, Doctor, we are talking about power here, not rank! Reality! My job—and it never changed—was evacuation and deportation: timetables—railway time-tables! I never disposed, assigned, never decided the fate of one man after he reached his destination…Ja, I saw a few things—I had to visit Auschwitz—and when I got back, I told General Muller, "I can’t take it. Send me to the front. It’s not in me." And I’m not the only one. That’s when the nervous breakdowns began…"Send me to the Eastern Front," I begged Muller.

BAUM: Instead Heydrich called you in. (Pause)

EICHMANN: May I smoke? Gracias. June 1941. Hitler invaded Russia in June, and in July, Heydrich called me in.

BAUM: Correct. Please proceed and that is as far as we need to go, I think, in this session.

EICHMANN: Ja, Doctor, we will eat a hearty luncheon today…July ’41. Berlin…Heydrich says to me, "The Fuhrer wishes…" Heydirch makes a little set speech. "The Fuhrer wishes, the Fuhrer orders the physical extermination of the Jews…" A long pause, silence. I couldn’t believe my ears…The July heat, a fly buzzing…my heart was dead. Everything was changed, from emigration to extermination. My dreams. All joy in my work was gone. My life was over!

BAUM: …Did he use the words "Final Solution?"

EICHMANN: Ja, ja. (EICHMANN has worked himself down into a depression. BAUM tries to probe very gently.)

BAUM: So…We will adjourn soon…So, at that moment, in Heydrich’s office, you knew exactly what you would be getting into…You’re very clear about that, very frank, I think, because, according to your notes, from then on "Those who were told of the Fuhrer’s orders were…"—still quoting—"no longer mere bearers of orders, but were advanced to ‘bearers of secrets’ and they took a special oath," close quotes…I see that all this is very difficult for you…Do you understand why—based on what you, yourself, have said, and written, why the court will make no distinction between personal and legal responsibility? And you knew. Really you knew everything, because you say the


EICHMANN: (Overlapping) Why was I not informed that Chief Prosecutor Hausner was to be removed from my case?!

BAUM: Removed? You will have ample—

EICHMANN: (Overlapping) I was clearly lead to expect—

BAUM: What is the difference, Colonel? Whoever asks these questions, the facts remain the same.

EICHMANN: Ja, ja, you have the "facts"—but I have the truth.

BAUM: (Their tones are low and charged.) You do? And what is the truth?

EICHMANN: The truth is that, to you, I stink of corpses. Well, Herr Doctor, let me tell you that I, too, smell something in this room.

BAUM: And what is that?

EICHMANN: I smell the Eichmann-under-your-skin…You would like to kill me, wouldn’t you?

BAUM: Why do you say that?

EICHMANN: Because you believe, perhaps, that I personally murdered your entire family.

BAUM: Did you?

EICHMANN: (In a hoarse whisper) Whatever I have done—or you believe that I have done—I am guilty—if I am guilty at all—only in God’s eyes. Remember that. Guilty only in the eyes of God! (They glare at each other. BAUM reads.)

BAUM: God?…Yes. Quoting from your own journal: "We came to a road through a forest…a drunken captain of the local Police came to greet us…speaking in a peasant dialect. He said—(Eichmann’s voice and body continue the quotation, reflecting complete kinetic memory of the events.)

EICHMANN: "The engine of a Russian submarine will be set to work and the Jews will be gassed." Ja, ja!…Monstrous. I vomited. To this day I cannot look at cut flesh. I could never have become a doctor. Don’t talk to me about doctors! They were the worst. The camps were nothing but gigantic medical institutions. The doctors—

BAUM: (Reads in a low, charged tone.) "They were cramming naked Jews into a large room. I refused to look inside—"

EICHMANN: No! I couldn’t! I had had enough. My knees were shaking. The shrieks, the smells…It was the most horrible sight I ever…

BAUM: No, Colonel. A few months later near Minsk, you inspected a ditch that had been used for execution and then covered up and you saw, quote: "…a spring of blood gushing up from the loose earth like a fountain. And I went at once to the local SS Commander, and I said—

EICHMANN: "It is horrible what you are doing. You are turning our young men into sadists. Our youth—these farmers’, and pastors’ sons—will go mad. Our own boys will go mad. Slaughtering women and little children—infants in arms—like that!"

BAUM: "This was the ‘most terrible thing you had ever seen in your life.’"


BAUM: There were worse?


BAUM: Where? When?…Tell me about it?

EICHMANN: …the tape.

BAUM: What about it?

EICHMANN: (Whispering in her ear) It’s too personal.

BAUM: The tape machine must remain on at all times. However… (BAUM walks down right and beckons to the prisoner to join her. They speak in confidential tones.) You have some memory that is, ah…?

EICHMANN: Ja, ja… (Pause)

BAUM: Well, we don’t have to, ah…we could come back to it later—

EICHMANN: (Almost in her ear) Treblinka. Treblinka was the worst. The place was transformed. It had been made to look like a perfectly ordinary railway station anywhere in Germany. The buildings, the signs, the clocks ticking—a perfect simulation: Trompe l’oeil. And there in the middle of the station—but completely out of place like a nightmare—sits the doctor, directing people to "right" and "left"…

BAUM: Tell me about him.

EICHMANN: …"Left, left, left. Right, right. Left, left, left…"

BAUM: Take your time, have some water. Tell me more about this nightmare. It might help. (Pause)

EICHMANN: Ja, it might help. (Pause)

BAUM: …Why does the doctor, in the dream, terrify you so?

EICHMANN: Uh…He is, you know, in charge…

BAUM: Where are you standing in this scene? Do you see yourself? (Pause)

EICHMANN: …No… (EICHMANN laughs heartily.) Ah, forgive me, I’m a bad patient. I can give you answers, but what you want are the answers beneath the answers, ja?

BAUM: Can you see the doctor’s face?…No...Is that too frightening? Let me ask you this: Are you the doctor, in the nightmare.

EICHMANN: No, just the opposite.

BAUM: What do you mean? (Pause, then he shrugs.)

EICHMANN: …Quien sabe? (Pause) Maybe the doctor was God, Doctor. (He smiles.) And the station was Germany—

BAUM: Very interesting.

EICHMANN: Ja, the extermination camp was the war. That’s it!

BAUM: Wait, I don’t understand. The camp—

EICHMANN: (Overlapping) The camp was the war. We were all supposed to die… The next war everyone will die—the doctor will direct us all to the right. (Pause)

BAUM: I see.

EICHMANN: Well…Now, I’m depressed… (The prisoner leans over in a parody of intimacy.) You could use my dream against me, ja? Your name isn’t "Baum," is it? You are a great doctor, aren’t you?…So let me tell you what the nightmare really means…Ja: the mid-Eastern food doesn’t agree with me… (He burps silently, then chuckles.) Ja, now we go back to work, Professor.

BAUM: If you insist. (Hands him a document)

EICHMANN: This document is not correct. It is not acceptable.

BAUM: No? Why not?

EICHMANN: See? No stamp; no seal; no serial number; and no initials. (BAUM stares, then laughs, as does EICHMANN.)

BAUM: Ahh, Colonel, Colonel…Well, let’s forget all these pieces of paper…I wonder if you would…No.

EICHMANN: What? May I be of service? (He steps to the tape machine to see if it is malfunctioning again. It is not.)

BAUM: Well…You see, I am a kind of psychologist—you guessed it— and I am interested in the reactions and associations of ah, historical figures, ah, men like you to ah, "stimuli."


BAUM: Ja. Why don’t we look at a few slides, and—

EICHMANN: Ah, ja, ja—word games, slides and— (BAUM pulls down a screen and wheels out a slide machine.) Let me, please. Ja, it’s a German make. Ha! May I, please?

(She pauses, then nods.) You sit there. Ja, I’ll sit—now can you see from there? The lights. Ready? (He turns off the lights.)

BAUM: Ja, thank you, that’s it. (As BAUM signals "next," EICHMANN presses the slide button. There are four slides. Three picture the countryside around the prisoner’s boyhood home. The fourth slide stuns him.) Colonel, now just push them one after the other and say the first thing that comes to you mind. Ready?

EICHMANN: At your orders. This I enjoy.

BAUM: Begin…Just say the first—

EICHMANN: Rolfe…That was my dog when I—

BAUM: Next.

EICHMANN: Ja. Mother.

BAUM: Next.

EICHMANN: God. (He pushes the next slide. Slowly, he brings it into focus. It is the picture of a boy of about ten years. A full minute of silence.)

BAUM: What is it, Colonel? (He will not answer.) Colonel?

EICHMANN: Where did you get that photograph?

BAUM: But that is a photograph of you, yourself, at age ten. (BAUM brings up a slide of Eichmann’s youngest son.) And here is Haasi, your little one. He is the image of you, isn’t he? (The war criminal runs over and switches on the lights.)

EICHMANN: Who are you?—I have only been here for a few days and yet you show me documents and photographs that no one else has seen, that must have taken years to collect—

BAUM: Why does this disturb you so?

EICHMANN: (Overlapping) Years!…How would you have known that one day I would actually be here to see them? (Pause) Now it is you, Doctor, who refuses to answer. Either you are an official interrogator or you are not! And if you are not—then I expect to be paid for my time! How do you dare to treat me like some laboratory animal?

BAUM: Please, sir, you are overreacting.

EICHMANN: Now, I demand that you stop these provocation, once and for all, and resume a decent and proper course of questioning—or I shall refuse any further cooperation with your government. (Pause. BAUM begins a coldly furious cross-examination.)

BAUM: I see…Well…Here, sir, is the document you have rejected. It is a copy, but it is a true copy of a November 6, 1942, request for skeletons of, quote, "Jewish Bolsheviki types for scientific research." Do you remember receiving this?


BAUM: Living people are to be transformed into skeletons for the University of Strasbourg.

EICHMANN: It passed across my desk, but I only—

BAUM: "Transported"—yes, I know.—What’s meant by page nine, here? "Most of the Jews in Area C will undoubtedly be eliminated by ‘normal attenuation.’" What, sir, is "normal"?

EICHMANN: Normal dying. Old age, or heart failure—

BAUM: Or worked to death?


BAUM: What does "Natural Selection" mean?

EICHMANN: That comes from Himmler. Natural selection, that was his hobby.

BAUM: (Overlapping) But what does it mean, here?

EICHMANN: Killed, killed—what else?— Killed!

BUAM: "—the majority of the Jews will be unfit for labor." What is being suggested here?

EICHMANN: That they should be killed!—Wait! I will answer every question. I am ready for punishment. I am not without courage.

BAUM: (Softly) Then why not admit your role in what was done, and we’ll say no more about it, today… (Pause) Colonel, you expected someone to march in here and call you a monster, to torture you, to try you, and then to hang you. Instead, I am talking to you—as one human being to another.

EICHMANN: No. You are treating me as what I am, and I make no complaint about that.

BAUM: What are you?

EICHMANN: Your prisoner…Once upon a time, I would have been your jailer—and I would have handled you exactly as you are handling me, here, today.

BAUM: I see. So we are the same?

EICHMANN: We are twins, Professor—whatever your name really is. And I have a shock for you. (He pulls out a "hidden" document.) I quote: "The Irgun Zvai Leumi."—Begin, Shamir, the Stern Gang—"in Palestine is well acquainted"—I’m still quoting, Doctor – "with the good will of the German Reich towards Zionist emigration plans"—

BAUM: Colonel, you cannot pull your irons out of the fire by quoting Stern Gang thugs to me—

EICHMANN: Quoting!—"We (the Zionists) are closely related to the totalitarian movements of Europe and its ideology and structure." Close quotes.

BAUM: A small fringe group of gangsters who have nothing to do with the State of Israel!

EICHMANN: And this will destroy you: "January, 1941. We (the Irgun)"—Read it with me: "offer to take part in the war on Germany’s side. This would extraordinarily strengthen the moral bases of the New Order in the eyes of all humanity."…close quotes.

BAUM: Shut your mouth!

EICHMANN: Patriots and Policemen! Twins. (Pause)

BAUM: You make no distinction whatsoever between—

EICHMANN:—Between Nazis and Jews?—Doctor, please, I am not a moral idiot. I am not saying that Jews now act like Nazis. I am saying that Nazis once acted like Jews: both following orders, both "chosen people," waiting for a Messiah…But that was yesterday. Today I am not a Nazi, I am your prisoner. And you, Doctor, are an Isreali and not a Jew! (Pause)

BAUM: Did I hear you correctly, Colonel? (EICHMANN is now in his "element.")

EICHMANN: Let me offer you water and a cigarette, now, Doctor. And if I may be permitted to use these aids, I will demonstrate precisely why I say that my position today is that of a scapegoat—a world scapegoat.

BAUM: Feel free, sir, and then we will take our noon meal. (EICHMANN begins a chalk-talk at the board—a perfect Prussian schoolmaster.)

EICHMANN: Forgive me, Doctor, I will not be able to eat a bite without clarifying—Here, now, sir: Here is the Fuhrer. The Fuhrer "wishes," then we follow the chain from the Chancellory to the SS, the Security Police, to the S.D.: each one is under the other, and I, myself, am a the bottom—

BAUM: Colonel, sir, may I interrupt—

EICHMANN: I have the honor of pointing out to the professor that the chain-of-command, the "Order-of-Battle," if I may use that term, runs from the Fuhrer directly down to Himmler, and under him Heydrich, and under him Muller, and under him was my office— (He sketches the chain of command. BAUM speaks with deep irony as she draws over Eichmann’s diagram with her own map, thus turning the figure into a rough swastika.)

BAUM: Herr Professor—I must interrupt—thank you. Now, sir: Hitler, Himmler, Heydrich, Muller, and you: you five were the fingers of one fist. Your mastery extended from the Atlantic to the North Sea to the Mediterranean—

EICHMANN: (Overlapping) We were at war—

BAUM: You had absolute power—

EICHMANN: And in wartime you destroy your enemy. (BAUM stops dead, then takes out several large photographs of children from death camps. Her voice is still.)

BAUM: Your "enemy." (Pause) You had absolute power to exterminate—or to save—any human being in Europe.

EICHMANN: I had the absolute power to follow orders! Those pictures are more of your cheap Rorschach tests. (At the board) There it is. The chain. Where am I? Can you see me? You can’t see me because I am not there. (Pointing to the empty square of his office. Pause. They stare at each other and at the photos. Then EICHMANN walks away in total denial.)

(BAUM is jolted. Deliberately she takes one of the large photographs and hangs it over the board, thus covering up Eichmann’s diagram. He moves to take down the photo, but BAUM bars his way, speaking with the most quiet intensity.)

BAUM: Your bureau, sir, was Roman Numeral IV-B-4. "Roman IV" stands for Gestapo; "4" for religion; and "B" for Jews!

EICHMANN: I was flesh and blood, not Roman numerals—

BAUM: —All camouflage. To give the illusions of a minor department—

EICHMANN: (Overlapping) I was one man—

BAUM: (Overlapping)—so that no one would know what you were doing in secret—

EICHMANN: (Overlapping) I was one man. I was under orders. It was not my fault that those children were Jews!

BAUM: (Overlapping) In secret! —In Berlin. In Paris at 72 Avenue Foch. In secret at the Palais de Rothschild in Vienna. At the Majestic Hotel in Budapest—

EICHMANN: (Overlapping) I was under orders. Orders, orders! My God, I saved thousands of Jews—Was konnte ich tun, ich war nur ein Mann, alles was man machen konnte habe ich getan. (He sweeps the photos of the children to the floor.)

BAUM: (Overlapping) Setzen Sie sich. Seien Sie ruhig. Unterbrechen Sie nicht. Sit down. Be quiet. Stop interrupting.

EICHMANN: Go ahead. Take me out and shoot me. Do it! What are you waiting for?

BAUM: Is that what you want? (The GUARD enters, gun drawn.) The prisoner is ready for the noon meal.

EICHMANN: Please, recall, Your Honor. I could have gone to work for the Americans like all the others. Instead I came here of my own free will. I demand that you now treat me with the respect I deserve…Ja, now, we eat! (He hands over his glasses and marches out, blindfolded again.)

BAUM: (To the guard) Forty-five minutes. (BAUM is seething with conflicted impulses. She picks up the photos of the children as she speaks into the tape machine very quietly.) …Mr. Prime Minister, David—this is Miriam. I am alone…I allowed the prisoner to provoke me. I am very upset with myself. This man, Eichmann, is very cunning in his stupid way. He’s determined to turn us into torturers and thereby exonerate himself. If we’re not very careful he will bring out the worst in all of us and turn this trial into a spectacle. His plan is simplicity itself: Admit to everything, take responsibility for nothing. In place of a memory Eichmann has only schuld, unconscious guilt. In place of a memory the man has charts, lists, statistics and alibis…Let me breath a minute, David. (She stares at the chalkboard.) I am now staring at his so-called "order-of-battle." Du nimmst sie wahr, nimmst sie der zur "Warheit." That’s what my old teacher Martin Buber would have said—"You see it and it becomes true." Oh, yes, this piece of madness was designed for the court of law. Do not ever underestimate this little man…David, for political reasons you say you can only give me one day with the prisoner—I know this and "one day is enough," as they say, but I want you to understand that if you let this lethal "bureaucrat" live, and I can get him to remember—to remember his own humanity—then! Instead of one more dead Nazi degenerate, we would have a living witness to confirm, once and for all time, everything that every survivor has ever cried out to a deaf world.—Eichmann they would hear, Eichmann they would believe!…So—in spite of the total bad faith of the prisoner—I must plead with you not to let Adolph Eichmann be executed. (A long pause.) I am not speaking here just for myself or any other survivor…I am speaking, now, for the dead themselves… (She looks around the room.) So, David: do not be shocked by anything I may say or do when the prisoner returns. – I will do what I have to do… (BAUM turns off the tape recorder. She puts on Eichmann’s glasses and goes to his diagram, repeating the Buber…) "Du nimmst sie wahr, nimmst sie der zur ‘Warheit.’" (She continues in German as the lights fade.)