Israel Prepares to Indict Eichmann; Acts to Prevent Suicide Attempt
Menu JTA Search

Israel Prepares to Indict Eichmann; Acts to Prevent Suicide Attempt

Download PDF for this date

Israel officials took special precautions today to prevent any suicide attempt by Adolf Eichmann, Hitler’s specialist in the mass murder of Jews, who is now Jailed here. His glasses are taken away from him when he sleeps, and his shoestrings have been removed, the officials said. A round-the-clock watch is maintained by a guard in the windowless cell.

Formal work on preparation of the indictment against Eichmann was started today by the special investigating group named for that task. Members visited the Yad Vashem, the central agency for documentation of the extermination of European Jewry, to collect basic information. More material has been sent to the group by the Haifa Documentation Center, which is headed by Tuviah Friedman, who devoted many years to the task of tracing Eichmann.

The Israel Government Press Office published today an official account of the statements made by Eichmann on his activities between the collapse of the Nazi regime in 1945 and his capture by Israel intelligence agents in recent weeks. Eichmann, the report said, expressed his readiness to collaborate with his captors to clarify, from the historical viewpoint, those events of World War II in which he played a part. Eichmann told his interrogators that he was twice a prisoner of the United States Army after World War II, and made good his escape on both occasions. When he was first captured by the Americans, he managed to conceal his true identity by disguising himself as a private in the German Luftwaffe, he revealed. Later, when he was transferred to another prisoners’ camp, he posed as a lieutenant in the Waffen SS.

Eichmann, then a colonel in the Elite Guard, was captured by the Americans about May 8, 1945. Just before his capture, he said, he managed to get rid of his SS uniform and persona documents and dressed himself in the uniform of a Luffwaffe private. He gave his American captors a false name and said he had destroyed his documents in keeping with instructions from the German Army.

For some reason, the tattoo mark on his left hand, indicating his blood group, was not noticed. Eichmann assumed the role of a private, although he knew that officers received better treatment as prisoners because he thought less interest would be paid to a private than to an officer.

When he was being transferred to another American prison camp, Eichmann disclosed, he again changed his identity, this time assuming the rank of a Waffen SS lieutenant since that rank would explain the SS tattoo on his hand,


The State Department is divided on attempts by elements unfriendly to Israel to inject issues of extradition. Jurisdiction and other “civil liberties” technicalities into arguments that Adolf Eichmann should not be made to stand trial in Israel.

Approaches have been made, it was learned reliably today, to the State Departments’ Near Eastern Division. Suggestions have been made that the United States urge Israel to extradite Eichmann to West Germany for trial or to release him to some international tribunal.

The Department’s German Division was reported to differ sharply with such suggestions and was understood to feel there was no reason for American intercession. It was pointed out that West Germany and Israel appeared in agreement on the case. Gernni Division officials were understood to believe that Israel had the same legal Justification in the case as did the Nuremberg tribunal and other war crimes courts convened after World War II.

One official in the Department’s German Division said there was no doubt in the mind of “any reasonable person that Justice would be done to Eichmann in Israel. ” He added that “some sophists apparently would defeat the ends of justice because of narrow preoccupation with technicalities.”

Founding Funders

The digitization of the JTA Archive would not have been possible without the generous support of the following donors:
  • The Gottesman Fund
  • Righteous Persons Foundation
  • Charles H. Revson Foundation
  • Elisa Spungen Bildner and Robert Bildner, in honor of Norma Spungen
  • George S. Blumenthal
  • Grace and Scott Offen Charitable Fund