JERUSALEM (Aug. 8)
Attorney General Gideon Hausner, presenting his summation of evidence against Adolf Eichmann, described the defendant today as the “chief executive officer of extermination” of European Jewry.
The chief prosecutor asserted the evidence presented since the start of the former Gestapo colonel’s trial on April 11 proved that Eichmann had directed the mass slaughter of 6,000,000 European Jews in three stages; These were, he said, first; their expulsion from Germany, second their assembly and concentration in Nazi-held Poland and third, their destruction in the Nazi gas chambers and furnaces.
The prosecutor cited Nuremberg trial testimony by Hermann Goering, Hitler’s air chief, that Eichmann was among the five Nazis responsible for the annihilation of Europe’s Jews, the other four being Hitler, Martin Bormann, Hitler’s deputy, Propaganda Minister Josef Goebbels and SS chief Reinhardt Heydrich.
Mr. Hausner slashed away at a key defense position to the effect that Eichmann had only carried out orders and had never initiated them. The prosecutor called the master plan for the murder of European Jewry a criminal conspiracy and cited extensively from rulings of United States, British and Israeli courts to the effect that each conspirator in such a plot is fully responsible for the actions taken by all other conspirators in furtherance of the purpose of the conspiracy.
The prosecutor said that all that needed to be proven against Eichmann was that he joined the conspiracy voluntarily. He stressed that Eichmann had testified he joined the Nazi party voluntarily and that while he had claimed he volunteered to join the security police “by mistake,” he never made any effort to quit when he discovered his “mistake.”
ATTACKS ARGUMENT THAT EICHMANN WAS ONLY CARRYING OUT ORDERS
Mr. Hausner attacked Eichmann’s defense argument that when the Nazis began to implement the policy of physical destruction of Jews, he carried out orders unwillingly but had to do so because he was under oath as a Nazi officer. The prosecutor said this was like an argument of a member of a gang, originally organized for stealing, claiming that he was already a member when the gang extended its activities to armed robbery and killing a watchman.
“I know that all these examples sound strange,” the prosecutor told the three-judge court; “What comparison could there possibly be between the murder of one watchman and the murder of millions? But this is a court of flesh and blood, and precedents cited here must also be from human experience.”
He then cited court rulings that it is not a defense for one conspirator that other conspirators drafted the plans and gave orders for their implementation. “This holds also for a dictatorship”, the prosecutor said. “The relationship between the ruler and the ruled does not exclude the responsibility of him who is ruled for his acts.”
He cited the Israel Supreme Court verdict in the Kafr Kassem case when members of the Israeli border police were sentenced for shooting Arab civilians despite a plea they acted under orders. He said the Supreme court even ruled that a plain soldier who is only present at an illegal activity is responsible for participation in a criminal conspiracy if he was present under manifestly illegal orders.
CITES EICHMANN’S CENTRAL ROLE IN MURDER PROGRAM OF JEWS
The prosecutor said that while there were hundreds of thousands of Germans of greater and lesser influence who joined in this “work of evil,” this fact did not diminish Eichmann’s central role. He quoted documents and eye-witnesses, including defense witnesses, which he said proved Eichmann’s special status and central role in the
The prosecutor noted that an Israeli officer was found responsible for transmitting the order which led to the Kafr Kassem deaths, and said the judgement proved that acts carried out within the framework of military duties are punishable even if not actually perpetrated by the individual conveying the order.
Eichmann, the prosecutor declared, headed the Gestapo Department for Jewish affairs. All of the department’s work involved implementing a series of acts each of which was a crime. Eichmann could not pretend to hide under the pretext that he acted under orders. He cited a ruling from a Gexman high court to the effect that staff officers who transmitted an order contrary to international law were as guilty as those who implemented it.
EICHMANN’S ADMISSIONS OF COLLABORATION IN CRIMES AGAINST JEWS
The prosecutor said that according to Eichmann’s own admissions, he directly collaborated in crimes against humanity and crimes against the Jews and therefore was guilty of the first six counts of the 15-counts against him.
Mr. Hausner then traced Eichmann’s activities beginning in December, 1939 when he took direction of Gestapo Bureau Department IV-B-4 for Jewish Affairs. He asserted that by all laws of evidence, Eichmann was an accessory to every crime, commencing with the deportations of Jews — for which Eichmann has admitted responsibility as chief transport official — until their murder in the gas chambers and furnaces, Mr. Hausner said this was true even under Eichmann’s plea that he had only arranged the timetables for the mass transports.
But, the prosecutor said, the evidence of witnesses and documents demonstrated that Eichmann had much more than the passive role he claimed in his defense testimony, that he was much more than a mere accomplice. He said-the evidence had shown that Eichmann had worked directly with the Einsatz-Gruppen, the Nazi commando units who followed in the wake of Hitler’s conquering armies, rounding up and murdering Jews and partisans. He said Eichmann admitted he was in constant touch with the units and that he knew what was in store for the victims of the commando squads.
The prosecutor cited Eichmann’s admission that he saw the commando units in action and that after Eichmann warned one of his superiors that such activities might turn German soldiers into “sadists” and “out of this came the idea of using gas.”
The prosecutor said that “Eichmann gave his consent for the use of gas as early as October, 1941.” The evidence, including that of Rudolf Hoess, the Auschwitz commandant who was hanged by the Poles, and Dieter Wisliceny, an Eichmann aide hanged by the Allies, “leads to the glaring conclusion” of from where the proposal came to use gas and to supply the gas to the Nazi murder camps, Mr. Hausner said.
The prosecutor also cited evidence that showed that Eichmann had wide powers, including authority to deal with Pierre Laval, the Vichy Premier of occupied France, about French Jews and the extent of Eichmann’s influence was illustrated by the fact that the German Foreign Office had to apologize that in Vichy, it had acted without first consulting Eichmann.
The prosecutor ‘was scheduled to resume his summation tomorrow morning and conclude it tomorrow.