Eichmann Appeal Challenges Israel Jurisdiction; Cites Human Rights
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Eichmann Appeal Challenges Israel Jurisdiction; Cites Human Rights

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Dr. Robert Servatius, opening his legal fight to save Adolf Eichmann from the gallows, asked the five-man tribunal hearing the Nazi’s appeal today to call Dr. Hans Globke, State Secretary to West German Chancellor Kanrad Adenauer, as an “expert witness” on the Nazi era.

The West German attorney opened his argument at the first day of the appeal hearing with an anticipated challenge of the jurisdiction of the Israeli court which tried, convicted and sentenced Eichmann to death by hanging for his role in the wartime slaughter of 6,000-000,000 European Jews.

Although much of Dr. Servatius’ arguments today was a reiteration of the case he made during the four-month trial last summer, before the Jerusalem District court, he did try to bring up new considerations.

In addition to the request to call Dr. Globke, the defense attorney also hinted that a document incriminating Eichmann in the Nazi use of gas in the mass murder program might have been falsified. He also said he would appeal to the United Nations, invoking a clause of the United Nations Universal Declaration of Human Rights on behalf of his client, if all other legal steps had failed.

The name of Globke, who has often been under sharp fire for his role as a Nazi-era expert on Hitler’s Nuremberg racial laws, was brought up by Dr. Servatius as part of his reiterated argument that Eichmann, as a Gestapo colonel, was a small cog in the vast Nazi murder machine. Dr. Servatius said, that Globke certainly knew that the Nuremberg laws were there to be implemented, and knew much more about the whole anti-Jewish chapter of the Nazi era than did Eichmann.

He brought up the matter of United Nations intervention with the argument that it was the duty of the West German Government to defend Eichmann against his abduction in the spring of 1960 in Argentina.


The West German attorney was questioned sharply during the afternoon session today. One such occasion was during his assertion that Eichmann, as head of the Gestapo department for Jewish Affairs, had no part in the development and use of poison gas for killing Jews. Justice Moshe Silberg questioned the attorney at length about documents which proved that Eichmann was implicated. One of the documents was a piece of evidence in the Nuremberg war crimes trials which indicated that Eichmann had agreed to the procurement of poison gas for that purpose.

Reading from a note which the prisoner had scribbled in his bullet-proof, glass prisoner’s dock, Dr. Servatius told the five Supreme Court Justices that the defendant insisted it was impossible for him to have been involved in the poison gas matter.

Dr. Servatius was immediately asked whether Eichmann was claiming that the document had been falsified by the American prosecution staff at the Nuremberg trial. Dr. Servatius cautiously responded that Eichmann did not believe the document had been “maliciously falsified” but that, during the handling of prosecution documents, his name “had been added on the basis of assumptions.” Eichmann had fled from the collapsing Third Reich, and was in hiding at the time the Nuremberg trials were held.

Dr. Servatius also denied any complicity by Eichmann in the case of a collection of Jewish skeletons at Strassburg University sent there for study by Nazi racial-biological experts. Justice Yitzbak Olshan, presiding justice at the hearing and President of the Israel Supreme Court, asked at that point why a letter about the Strassberg collection had been sent to Eichmann who, according to the defense argument, was responsible as a Gestapo officer only for the transports of Jews to their doom. Dr. Servatius replied that Eichmann could not be responsible for the fact that someone wrote to him about a matter concerning which he had no authority.


In another exchange, Dr. Servatius sought again to minimize Eichmann’s role in prewar Vienna, where he had been in charge of stripping and expelling Austrian Jews. Justice Olshan cited an exhibit in which Eichmann had boasted he had made Austria “Judenrein.” Dr. Servatius replied that Eichmann had simply been boasting to get a higher rank, and that

Arguing against both the judgment and the sentence, Dr. Servatius said that the reliance of the Israeli District Court on precedents of American and British courts were inadequate because “the facts in this case are completely different.” He said that, in the Eichmann case, there was “complicity between the kidnapers and the state.” The individual should be given the right to complain about “a breach of the law of nations.” This was a reference to Israel in the spring of 1960.


The West German attorney repeated arguments used during Eichmann’s trial last year that the acts charged against the Nazi had been committed at a time when Israel did not exist, and that Israel’s law against Nazis and collaborators might be invalid because of its retroactive character. He remarked that just such doubts had been expressed by some Jews following the trial.

Replying to the prosecution’s contention that there was no international court in which Eichmann could have been tried, the attorney said there were West German courts. Conceding that the West German Government had shown no interest in extraditing Eichmann for trial, and that the West German Foreign Office had rejected Eichmann’s request for intervention, Dr. Servatius insisted that the West German Government was “obliged to take steps against the kidnaping” and against trial of a defendant by “an unauthorized court.”

Dr. Servatius said that, while he did not question the sincerity of the judges who heard and convicted Eichmann, they might have been hampered by “psychological factors,” a carefully phrased suggestion that no Jew could be objective toward a Nazi who had any significant role in the wartime Nazi genocide against European Jewry.

The Cologne attorney engaged in a brief exchange with the judges on the question of submission of new evidence. He cited his written advance request for submission of further evidence and calling of witnesses. He was told that this issue should be argued during the course of the defense plea as each point of appeal came up. In Israeli courts, appeals are normally based on points of law only, and new evidence is not admissible except when a lower court has erroneously accepted inadmissible evidence or refused to admit admissible evidence.

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