JERUSALEM (Jun. 13)
The trial of Adolf Eichmann, charged with directing the annihilation of 6,000,000 Jews in Nazi Europe, stood recessed today until next Tuesday, when Eichmann will start testifying in his own defense. The trial was adjourned until June 20, to give Eichmann’s lawyer, Dr. Robert Servatius, time to prepare his defense.
When sessions are resumed, the prosecution will have its final round with a brief submission of those parts of the Sassen transcript which were ruled acceptable in a divided 2-1 decision by the three justices. The ruling in effect barred submission of a very large part of the tape-recorded statements taken by Willem Sassen, a former Nazi, from Eichmann in Argentina, portions of which were published in Life, a weekly picture magazine.
(At Buenos Aires, today, Sassen denied Eichmann was drunk when he dictated his memoirs, as alleged during the trial in Jerusalem yesterday by Eichmann’s counsel. Sassen said there is a contradiction between statements that he would be arrested if he came to Israel and a report that Israel’s prosecution would rely upon him as “a main witness” against Eichmann.)
Plans were disclosed today for a full-length film of the trial, based on the television tape recordings of the daily proceedings. The film will be made by the Israel Government Information Office and Capital Cities Company of New York which has an exclusive arrangement for the televising of the trial.
Edwin Shimron, the Israel attorney who has been attending cross-examination of Nazi witnesses in West German courts, returned to Israel today for a brief visit with a report that he had received “full, honest and helpful cooperation” in West Germany.
He also disclosed that, among the Nazis scheduled to testify under the cooperative arrangement, some were uncooperative, claiming fear of self-incrimination. Others, he said, talked freely, including Max Merten, Nazi administrator of Salonika, and Edmund Weesenmayer, the wartime German Minister in Budapest. Mr. Shimron said that, after Merten finished his testimony for the Eichmann trial, West German authorities charged him with making false statements.
112 WITNESSES TESTIFIED FOR THE PROSECUTION AT THE TRIAL
There have been 74 sessions of the court since the trial was opened, last April 11, at the Beit Haam. More than 500 Journalists from all over the world were here when Eichmann entered his glass enclosed, bullet-proof dock in front of the eyes and the ears of the entire world, observing the trial through newspaper correspondents, by radio, newsreels and television.
The 112 witnesses have included men and women from Bnei Brak and Brazil, Luxembourg and Eilat, Montreal and Berlin, London and New Jersey, Paris and Vienna, Haifa and Pennsylvania. There have been housewives and famous scholars, laborers and farmers, an Israeli magistrate and teachers, a manicurist and a member of Israel’s Knesset (Parliament), thorny-handed kibbutznicks and physicians, public servants and others who, by some miracle, have survived the Nazi holocaust and lived long enough to come before the three-man tribunal here to testify against Eichmann.
The witnesses have included some non-Jews-one of them an American Supreme Court Justice from Pennsylvania who acted as prosecutor at the Nuremberg War Crimes trials; another, the dean of Protestant clergy in Berlin who had pleaded with Eichmann in efforts to save the Jews-and was sent to a concentration camp to be tortured.
The documents submitted by the prosecution-some of them obtained through the cooperation of various governments, including the United States and Poland-ranged from small memo pads to heavy dossiers that included Nazi correspondence, microfilms, minutes of various Nazi meetings, depositions and affidavits.
A large number of these documents were relied upon by the prosecution to prove Eichmann’s direct responsibility for the program to annihilate European Jewry. They showed he was more than the mere “transport officer” or “small sausage” which he claims. he was. They proved to the satisfaction of the prosecution that he had personal authority in some instances greater than the authority possessed by Nazis of much higher rank.
Among the items submitted by the prosecution were originals of the yellow badge worn by Jews in the death factories; poems written by Jewish resistance fighters; spurious money used by camp inmates at the “model camp” of Theresienstadt; pajamas worn as the sole garment by inmates at Auschwitz; a pair of tattered child’s shoes found by a survivor on a field containing 100,000 similar pairs of shoes worn by Jewish child victims of the Nazi slaughter; and postcards sent by camp victims to relatives as a ruse to make the outside world believe the victims were harbored in some happy vacationland Shangri-la called “Sea Grove.”
All of this is in the record now. Eichmann is scheduled to be heard from next. Then Presiding Justice Moshe Landau, and Justices Yitzhak Raveh and Binyamin Halevi, must consider the completed case. Basis for the case is a 15-point indictment against the 54-year-old accused, charging him with crimes against the Jewish people and crimes against humanity.