50 years later, impact of Eichmann trial endures (JERUSALEM POST) By MAXINE DOVERE/JOINTMEDIA NEWS SERVICE 02/25/12)
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NEW YORK — The 1961 trial of Nazi arch criminal Adolf Eichmann
changed the philosophy and future thinking of the state of Israel.
Opening a window of understanding about the unimaginable horrors of
the Nazi killing machine, the testimony given by those Eichmann
sought to murder proved to be a turning point in Israel’s attitude
toward those who survived—and those who were murdered—of the Shoah.
Speaking at a recent event commemorating the 50th anniversary of the
trial, Israel’s Consul General in New York, Ido Aharoni, said
Eichmann was “what evil looked like… Israel was forever different;
the nation stopped to listen to the voice of the witnesses. It felt
Tammy Hausner Raveh, daughter of Gideon Hausner (the State Prosecutor
who “turned testimony into accusations and the demand for moral
justice into practical justice”), and Itai Arad, grandson of Isser
Harel (who, as head of the Mossad, led the operation that captured
Eichmann in Buenos Aries, Argentina), each spoke of the remarkable
contributions of their families.
“For the first time in history, the Jews would judge their
assassins. Jews were in control of their destiny,” said Arad.
The Nazi mastermind Eichmann, spotted in Argentina in 1957, was
living quietly as Ricardo Klement, a member of the German “ex pat”
community. Information pinpointing his whereabouts was received from
a half-Jewish Argentinian and conveyed through the German mission.
Eichmann had remained completely unrepentant, telling a friend that
he wished the Nazis “had finished the job.”
With the capture of Eichmann accomplished, the second phase of the
Raveh was 14 years old when the trial began. She recalled that her
father had questioned his ability to represent the six million
without being one of them. Gideon Hausner did, indeed, become “the
voice of the six million.” The recently appointed State Attorney
decided to act as the trial’s chief prosecutor. That decision, said
Raveh, “changed my family’s life…When Eichmann walked into our door,
he never really stepped out.”
For months before the Eichmann trial began, the Hausner home was the
venue for pre-trial interviews. The trial, said Consul General
Aharoni, gave voice to the accounts of the witness to the Shoah. It
provided a unique opportunity to enter the darkness of the Holocaust
through the words and actions of its “Operations Manager” and emerge
into the light of the future.
As the date of the trial approached, Hausner wrote and rewrote his
opening remarks, even through the night before the trial. “I don’t
stand alone,” he declared. “I stand with six million who cannot rise
to their feet and cry ‘I accuse.’”
“It falls to me to be their spokesman,” he said.
Eichmann was executed by hanging May 31, 1962. He is the only person
to have suffered capital punishment in the history of the state of
Israel. Michael Goldman-Gilad, investigative officer for the trial,
called Eichmann “a nebbish” in 1996.
“Yet, the minute he opened his mouth, I felt the gates of the
crematorium opening before me,” Goldman-Gilad said at the time.
Hausner, said Raveh, changed as the trial progressed. “In those days,
he didn’t smile, he didn’t tell jokes. He cried twice; the first with
Rivka Yosselevska, who crawled out of a mass grave, still alive among
the dead, and lived to tell of the horror. Tears came a second time,
after Michael ‘Mickey’ Goldman scattered Eichmann’s ashes in the sea.”
“Justice,” Hausner said at the time, “has been done, but so late and
so little.” (© 1995-2011, The Jerusalem Post 02/25/12)
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