Thursday, January 28, 2016

Adolf Eichmann Claimed Empathy for His Victims in Newly Released Letter

...A lieutenant-colonel in World War II, Eichmann was chief of the Jewish office of the Gestapo and participated in the Wannsee Conference in Berlin in 1942 at which the “final solution” for the Jews was decided on. He and his staff were given responsibility for transporting Jews from all over Europe to the death camps, mainly in Poland, where they were gassed. Historians estimated that 5.5 to 6 million Jews were murdered in the Holocaust.

Eichmann remained at his post until the war’s final days. Escaping from a prisoner of war camp, he fled to his native Austria. In 1950 he immigrated with his family to Argentina, using false papers. The Mossad discovered his whereabouts in Buenos Aires in 1960 and snatched him on a street near his home, where he was living under a false name. Flown to Israel, he was put on trial in Jerusalem, an event that brought the enormity of the Holocaust home to many around the world. In June 1962, the court’s verdict was carried out by hanging, the only death sentence ever carried out in Israel. His body was cremated and his ashes scattered at sea.

Eichmann’s plea for mercy was handwritten in German and addressed to Israel’s then-president, Yitzhak Ben-Zvi, who rejected it.

“There is a need to draw a line between the leaders responsible and the people like me forced to serve as mere instruments in the hands of the leaders,” Eichmann said in his letter. “I detest as the greatest of crimes the horrors which were perpetrated against the Jews and think it right that the initiators of these terrible deeds will stand trial before the law now and in the future.”...