Growing signs of mutual distaste between Adolf Eichmann and his defense counsel were climaxed today, at the 82nd session of the trial, when the defendant openly rebuked his lawyer.
In accordance with instructions from Presiding Justice Moshe Landau, aimed at speeding up the defense testimony. Dr. Robert Servatius announced he was skipping a document or two. Eichmann looked up from his busy scribbling of notes and file checking with open disapproval. He sought to by-pass his counsel by incorporating in his next reply a point he had prepared for the omitted documents.
When Eichmann repeated this procedure, Dr. Servatius indicated irritation over his client’s attitude. Finally, at one point, Eichmann plainly showed his annoyance at both the court’s effort to reduce or eliminate his interminable replies to the simplest questions, and at his counsel’s readiness to comply with this effort. In reply to a question from Dr. Servatius, Eichmann cracked back “as is plain from the documents we skipped. ” Then he began an intricate explanation.
Previously, Dr. Servatius had indicated the shared with the three Justices and the spectators a reaction of boredom to Eichmann’s lengthy replies. At the opening of the session today. Justice Landau asked the attorney to try to frame his questions as specifically as possible, “otherwise the defendant is encouraged to give a lecture.”
Judge Landau also asked the attorney not to mention prosecution documents which the counsel did not plan to bring up for comment either by himself or his client. The Judge also instructed the translators to ignore side remarks by Eichmann such as “just a moment, I am trying to find the document.”
Finally, the presiding Judge again severely admonished the former Gestapo colonel, when, in reply to a simple question, “who wrote this document,” the Nazi began a lengthy discourse. Judge Landau said “a short answer should be possible to a simple question like this” and again warned the defendant to stick to instructions and answer to the point.
In his substantive testimony, Eichmann stuck to his central defense against any and all charges of anti-Jewish activities: He lacked the authority to initiate such actions. He sought to repudiate a Red Cross report identifying him as a power in the vast Nazi genocide program. “I had no role, I had no authority. ” said the former head of the Jewish Affairs department of the Gestapo.
The Archive of the Jewish Telegraphic Agency includes articles published from 1923 to 2008. Archive stories reflect the journalistic standards and practices of the time they were published.