“When I stand before you O Judges of Israel, to lead the prosecution of Adolf Eichmann, I do not stand alone. With me are six million accusers. But they cannot rise to their feet and point their finger at the man in the dock with the cry ‘ J’accuse’ on their lips for they are now only ashes – ashes piled high on the hills of Auschwitz and the fields of Treblinka and strewn in the forests of Poland.”
With these words, fifty years ago this month, Israel’s Attorney General Gideon Hausner opened his case against Adolf Eichmann, one of the prime instigators of the Final Solution ( annihilation of the Jews in Europe.)
Eichmann was found and kidnapped by the Israeli Mossad ( secret service) after a long painstaking search in Argentina. He was smuggled aboard a plane and brought to Israel, to Jerusalem, to stand trial for the crime of genocide of the Jewish people.
Throughout his trial he sat, totally expressionless, in his bullet-proof glass cage – through grave accusations and grueling, horrifying testimonies.
Eichmann’s trial was a turning point for many people:
It had a profound effect on the world’s outlook on the Holocaust. Live television coverage kept viewers all over the world informed day after day constantly hearing about the horrors that the Germans perpetrated. It also gave holocaust survivors in Israel ‘permission’ to retell the terrors they went through. Until then they had felt they had to suppress their stories and to try to become the consummate ‘sabra’ – tough, brave and responsible for their own destiny.
This facade didn’t mesh well with the picture of the victims of the gas chambers and concentration camps, and so they had been encouraged to ‘forget’ their past.
But when the trial opened, the nightmares and memories resurfaced and flooded out and the silence of thousands of survivors was finally broken.
The new generation of Israelis looked at their relatives /neighbors/ fellow soldiers / work colleagues who had survived Hitler’s inferno in a completely new light.
They learnt that bravery and courage doesn’t always have to show itself in physical fighting, but can be seen in retaining a human character in the face of inhuman treatment; in helping others under conditions when you could barely keep yourself alive.
Eichmann’s capture and televised trial showed the world to what depths of depravity human beings can descend.
Now 50 years later, there are people who want to deny that it ever happened.
No round-ups and transportations in airless cattle trucks to suffocate to death,en route to being slaughtered
No concentration camps where millions were beaten and tortured to death and fatal medical experiments were carried out.
No gas-chambers spewing human smoke.
No death marches.
No total destruction of hundreds of Jewish villages and communities.
Yad Vashem, the Israeli memorial to the Holocaust, has now put 200 hours of the Eichmann trial on YouTube so the testimony and the truth can be heard once again by all. ……… But probably the only ones who want to hear it are those who know that it’s true.
We must continue to bear witness and show the insidious lies of the Holocaust deniers.