- Story by Lindsey Tugman for CNN, April 11, 2011
JERUSALEM, Israel (CNN) — Israel is commemorating the 50th anniversary of the trial of Nazi war criminal Adolf Eichmann. Here is some history surrounding the trial and gets reactions to the trial and the anniversary.
Gabriel Bach was a young Israeli prosecutor charged with the case of a lifetime. He says, “I’ll never forget the first moment of that trail, when these judges came into the court room with the Israeli emblem behind them and that man whose only object in life had became to destroy that people, when he stood up to attention.”
The man, Adolf Eichman, on trial in Jerusalem for the genocide of some 6,000,000 million Jews
Mickey Goldman was there too. He was one of the police investigators who helped build the case against the notorious Nazi and he was also one of the victims, bearing the tattooed scar of his time in the Auschwitz death camp.
The fact that the witnesses had the number on their hand, they could prove and not only claim they were there.
Gathering 50 years later in the same theater where Eichman was put on trial Bach and Goldman were among the several hundred gathered to remember the four month trial that attracted world attention.
Adolf Eichmann’s prosecution was a transformative moment in Israel. It marked one of the first times that Holocaust survivors so publicly spoke about their experiences and helped lift the veil of shame and humiliation surrounding the Holocaust
It was the testimony of a survivor called Yehiel Dinoor that gripped the spectators in the court. His emotional remarks a stark reminder of the dehumanizing treatment faced by those in the camps
Noah Kleiger was a reporter covering the trial. He remembered everything all of a sudden. He was faced again what he went through so it must have effected him that much that he fainted.
As a 19-year-old, David Elazar followed the courtroom drama in Detroit. He kept a scrap-book of the newspaper reports. He says, “It really didn’t bother him. He did what he did. He could say what ever he wanted to say but you saw almost a non person in his face.”
It was what one writer famously called the “banality of evil,” an ordinary man responsible for an extraordinary evil.
The man who captured Eichmann in Argentina in 1960 says the world should never forget the fate of war criminals so such acts will never happen again. Rafi Eitan, head of Eichmann Capture Operation says, “I just thought justice was done that’s all.”
Sixteen years after World War 2 ended, Adolf Eichmann was found guilty of crimes against humanity and war crimes. He was put to death by hanging; the only execution is Israel’s history.