Eichmann Trial Ends in About 10 Days; Verdict Expected in September
Menu JTA Search

Eichmann Trial Ends in About 10 Days; Verdict Expected in September

Download PDF for this date

The marathon trial of Adolf Eichmann will be resumed tomorrow for what is expected to be the last week of questioning of the former Gestapo colonel charged with a key role in the slaughter of 6,000,000 European Jews.

Justice Moshe Landau, the presiding judge, is scheduled to question Eichmann tomorrow, following the completion of the questioning by the two other judges, Yitzhak Raveh and Binyamin Halevi. When Justice Landau completes his examination, affidavits from six former Nazis who gave testimony as defense witnesses in West German courts will be submitted by Dr. Robert Servatius, Eichmann’s chief defense counsel.

The court will then recess until July 31 when the summations will begin. Prosecutor Gideon Hausner has indicated he will need three days. Dr. Robert Servatius, Eichmann’s chief defense counsel, said he could present his summary in one session, making the timetable for the close of the trial about August 4. The trial will have lasted one week short of four months. It began April 11.

The judges will then retire to prepare their decision and they will not sit again until after the High Holy Days in September. Some Israeli officials have predicted that the decision, which is expected to be a lengthy one since it will deal with a 15-count indictment, may take two or three days to deliver. Dr. Servatius has indicated he will appeal the expected decision of guilty to the Israeli Supreme Court. His appeal will be based on a challenge of the jurisdiction of the three-judge tribunal.

In his questioning of Eichmann Friday, Judge Halevi reminded Eichmann that this might be his last chance “to tell the truth” about himself, in view of the approaching close of the trial, to make a “frark, sincere statement” about his role as wartime head of the Gestapo department for Jewish affairs. The defendant, however, adhered unchangingly to his stand of having been a minor official in the vast Nazi murder machinery.

Eichmann said he agreed with the testimony of Dean Karl Ernest Gruber, a Berlin clergyman who came to Israel to testify at the trial, who declared that the Germans lacked civic courage. But, Eichmann added, it was wartime and “it was a question of the period, education and training.” Eichmann agreed with Judge Halevi that he lacked “civic courage” and added, “like so many others in uniform.”

Judge Halevi said that to have had the courage not to give a hand in committing crimes “that might have been difficult at that time but what about the present? Do you have the necessary courage to take upon yourself the responsibility for the thing that happened then?”

“From the human point of view,” said the defendant, “I have my own thoughts, I have made a reckoning.” This was a reference to his previous admission of “moral but not legal” guilt. “I was not the one who issued orders. I was only a receiver of orders. If this is punishable by law, then I am ready to take the penalty.”

In other phases of Judge Halevi’s questioning, Eichmann admitted that Gestapo camouflage and deceptions were worked out in advance to harness the doomed Jews to speed their own slaughter.

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