JERUSALEM (Jun. 19)
After a weeks recess, providing a period of preparation for the defense, the Adolf Eichmann trial was ready to resume here tomorrow morning, with the accused himself scheduled for the witness chair. Only one item remains officially on the prosecution’s agenda–the presentation of a part of the tape-recorded memoirs dictated by Eichmann at Buenos Aires, in 1957, to a Dutch Nazi journalist, Willem sassen. When that matter is done, Eichmann’s glass-enclosed, bullet-proof enclosure, from which he has been watching the trial since it opened April 11, will become the witness stand.
The three-member court ruled 2-1, before the recess a week ago, that only that part of the memoirs approved and annotated by Eichmann is admissible as evidence. Thus about 90 percent of the memoirs had to be deleted by Attorney General Gideon Hausner, chief Israeli prosecutor in the Eichmann case. Unless Mr. Hausner makes some surprise move to prolong the prosecution’s case, Eichmann will be the next witness.
There was a possibility that Mr. Hausner may attempt further to bolster his case. He was reported today to have a “trump card” to disprove Eichmann’s claim that. as chief of the Gestapo’s bureau for the “final solution” of the Jewish problem under the Nazi rule, he was only carrying out orders from higher-ups. Mr. Hausner reportedly has proof to show that Eichmann secured the release from a concentration camp of a Jewish woman, whom he permitted to leave for Switzerland. The woman, presumably, was Eichmann’s second cousin. If that testimony stands up, Mr. Hausner intends to use it to show that Eichmann could disobey orders from superiors when he chose to do so.
Dr. Robert Servatius, chief of Eichmann’s defense, has had about a week for final consultation with his client and for preparation of the prisoner for his ordeal of direct examination, which is to be followed by cross-examination. In accordance with an agreed schedule, the court will hold only one session each day, while the defense is under way. That session, however, is expected to last five hours. Dr. Servatius is to have free time, after each day’s session, to confer with Eichmann about the next day’s schedule.
During the pre-defense recess, it was reported, Eichmann has undergone a complete check-up. Some of the foreign correspondents who have returned to Israel to “cover the defense portion of the trial expressed their belief today that Eichmann may not be able to stand up to the grilling of direct and cross-examination. Several weeks ago, reports that Eichmann had suffered several heart attacks since the trial opened were denied here. However, it was officially confirmed that he had shown nervous strains.
The defense portion of the case is certain to last at least a week. After presentation of the defense and the prosecution’s cross examination will come introduction to the court of interrogations conducted by courts in West Germany and Austria of former Nazis whom Israel has denied immunity. These witnesses have been questioned by the courts in Germany and Austria, and were cross examined by representatives of both the prosecution and the defense.
The last phase of the trial is expected to be reached some time in July, when both sides will deliver their summations to the court. Then the case will be in the hands of the three Israeli judges–Presiding Justice Moshe Landau and Justices Binyamin Halevi and Yitzhak Raveh. With a court record including testimony by 112 prosecution witnesses and more than 1,400 documents to study–comprising about 2,000,000 words–it is anybody’s guess as to how long it may be before the court is ready for a verdict.