Reform Leaders See New Understanding As Result of Eichmann Trial
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Reform Leaders See New Understanding As Result of Eichmann Trial

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Delegates from six countries on four continents agreed today at a symposium during the twelfth annual conference of the World Union for Progressive Judaism, that a major result of the trial of Adolf Eichmann in Jerusalem has been a demonstration by non-Jews of a new understanding of the Hitler holocaust.

Delegates from Brazil, Britain, the United States, India, The Netherlands and the South African Republic took part in the symposium, which discussed the impact of the trial on general public opinion and on the Jewish communities of their countries.

The symposium participants reported widespread approval of the manner in which Israel has been conducting the trial. However, one delegate, Netherlands Rabbi Jacob Soetendorp, reported that some survivors of the Nazi camps had suffered severe personal reactions to the reopening of the horrors of the Nazi period.

He also reported that, prior to the start of the trial, the Dutch Government had begun to soften its attitude toward collaborators and war criminals but that, as a direct result of the disclosures in Jerusalem, the attitude of the Government had again stiffened.

Rabbi Frederico Pinkuss, of Sao Paulo, Brazil, reported that the trial had focused attention on high Nazi criminals who had secretly entered Argentina during the Peron regime. He also disclosed that Jewish communities of Uruguay and Argentina were disturbed by manifestations of increasing anti-Semitism by Nazi sympathizers.

Rabbi Albert Minda, of Minneapolis, newly elected president of the Central Conference of American Rabbis, said the trial had sensitized Americans to the dangers of ultrareactionary movements. He added he felt that some of the adverse reaction in the United States to the John Birch Society might be traced to the Eichmann trial revelations.

Rabbi Minda also asserted that “while American public opinion was originally divided about the legality and advisability of the trial, there has been a marked favorable change of viewpoint” which he credited to the “excellent trial arrangements, the fairness of the proceedings and the poise, bearing, patience, and dignity of the Israeli Judges.”

Declaring that the conscience of both the Jewish and non-Jewish public in the United States had been struck by the nature of the revelations, Rabbi Minda said that “if the United Nations pact against genocide, which the United States Government has not yet ratified, were placed before the American public today, I believe it would receive ratification.” He added there was evidence of new respect throughout the world for Israeli Jurisprudence.

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