Adolf Eichmann
Adolf Eichmann in a police mug shot. Photo by Israel Police
Text size

Protestant church officials in Austria and Germany lobbied the West German government to try to help Adolf Eichmann afterb his 1960 arrest, Der Spiegel reported Monday.

According to the German paper, church leader Wilhelm Mensing-Braun – the Superintendent of the Protestant Church for Upper Austria -- described Eichmann as "fundamentally decent,” "kind-hearted,” and characterized by "great helpfulness,” in a letter to the foreign affairs department of the Evangelical Church in Germany.

Eichmann, a high-ranking SS officer, served as the administrator of the trains that took European Jews to the Nazi death camps. He was captured by Mossad agents and brought to Israel for trial. He was convicted of crimes against humanity and sentenced to death.

According to the Spiegel report, Eichmann's family had enlisted Mensing-Braun – who was based in the Austrian city of Linz were Eichmann was born -- because they hoped the church leader might help get Eichmann tried by an international court rather than an Israeli one.

Bishop Hermann Kunst, the representative of the Evangelical Church at the West German government, passed the letter on to the German foreign ministry with the note that the assessment was "at least interesting."