Adolf Eichmann was one of the central actors in the deportation of European Jewry during the Holocaust. Though born in Germany, he moved to Austria as a boy. In 1932, Eichmann joined the Austrian Nazi Party and the SS and quickly rose through the ranks of Nazi organizations. After the German annexation of Austria in March 1938, Eichmann organized a Central Office for Jewish Emigration in Vienna which "facilitated" the emigration of 110,000 Austrian Jews between August 1938 and June 1939. The Vienna office was so successful in its forced emigration efforts that it became a model for a Reich-wide Central Office for Jewish Emigration. After the founding of the Reich Security Main Office in September 1939, Eichmann moved to the Gestapo and became the director of departments responsible for deportations and other “Jewish affairs.” In his new position, Eichmann was a key figure in the deportation of over 1.5 million Jews from all over Europe to killing centers and other killing sites in occupied Poland and the occupied Soviet Union.
In January 1942, Eichmann took part in the Wannsee Conference during which the annihilation of the European Jews was planned. Eichmann and his staff organized the deportation of hundreds of thousands of Jews from Slovakia, the Netherlands, France, and Belgium. In 1943 and 1944, they planned the deportation of the Jews of Greece, northern Italy, and Hungary. Only in Hungary did Eichmann involve himself directly in the deportation process. From late April 1944 until early July, Eichmann and his aides oversaw the deportation of some 440,000 Hungarian Jews to killing centers.
At war's end, Eichmann found himself in U.S. custody, but escaped in 1946. With the help of Catholic Church officials, he fled to Argentina and lived under the alias Ricardo Klement. In 1960, agents of the Israeli Security Service abducted Eichmann and brought him to Israel to stand trial. The proceedings before a court in Jerusalem awakened international interest in the Holocaust. On December 15, 1961, Eichmann was found guilty of crimes against the Jewish people. He was hanged at midnight between May 31 and June 1, 1962, the only time that the State of Israel has invoked capital punishment; his cremated remains were scattered at sea.