WASHINGTON (May. 15)
Israeli Ambassador Meir Rosenne stressed today that Israel executed Adolf Eichmann and the United States is prosecuting Nazi war criminals living here “not for vengeance” but “to leave the following generations the memory” of the horrors of the Holocaust and “the hope that it will never happen again.”
Rosenne’s statement came as he received from Attorney General William French Smith microfilm records of six cases against Nazi war criminals conducted by the Justice Department’s Office of Special Investigations (OSI) which are to be placed in the Yad Vashem Holocaust Memorial in Jerusalem. The presentation was made at a ceremony in Smith’s office attended by about 25 persons, including several Holocaust survivors.
MICROFILM CONTAINS IMPORTANT TESTIMONIES
Smith said the microfilm contained “important testimonies and documents that set forth in graphic detail the destruction of European Jews at the hands of Nazis and their collaborators. They will serve as additional proof of what happened during the days of the so-called final solution” and will “remind us that it should never happen again.”
Rosenne, in expressing gratitude to the U.S. government, said he was accepting the documents not only for the State of Israel but also on “behalf of the six million Jews, among them more than one million children, that died in the concentration camps and the gas chambers.”
But the Ambassador added that “unfortunately an attempt is being made to deny the Jewish people the right to its history” by claims that Jews were not really murdered and gassed. He said in the last years alone, there had to be testimony in trials in Europe to prove the Holocaust really happened. Neal Sher, director of the OSI, said the documents include testimony of actual mass murderers who provide “incredible evidence of the horrors of the past.”
Sher said that the OSI is “unique” in the Justice Department since it “goes all over the world in search of evidence.” He said the first place it went to was Israel where many Holocuast survivors live and where Yad Vashem proved invaluable in providing needed documents and evidence.
PAYS TRIBUTE TO SURVIVORS WHO TESTIFIED
Smith paid a special tribute to the many Israeli Holocaust survivors who testified. “It is painful for someone to have to re-live that terrible time,” he said. But he noted that “these survivors have served as important witnesses in many OSI cases.”
Mark Talisman, vice chairman of the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Council, noted that before the OSI was established “there were many who were fearful of starting such an effort over so many years because they were fearful it will be better to leave these things unsaid.” He said the accomplishments of the OSI have been a demonstration of the “best of American democracy and jurisprudence.” He said it has been “the best effort of our democracy to ensure the future of our children.”
Sher told reporters that the OSI has about 30 cases pending and is investigating numerous others.