(Jerusalem Post) — On December 15, 1961, a man was sentenced to death by a civilian tribunal in an Israeli civilian court, the only individual ever to have achieved that distinction. The condemned was Adolf Eichmann, the “architect of the Final Solution to the Jewish Question.” He wasn’t executed because he had failed at his job; Eichmann was hanged because he had succeeded all too well. The work of this architect is remembered because of cattle cars, barbed wire, the remains of giant ovens, and the mass graves of six million Jewish men, women and children.

Born in Solingen, Germany, in 1906, Eichmann moved with his family to Linz, Austria when he was eight years old. Although raised a Christian, it was there that he joined the Nazi Party and began his rise through its ranks. In 1933, when the Nazis came to power in Germany, he sought admission to the SS and was assigned to the administrative staff at the Dachau concentration camp.

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