Friday, Apr. 08, 2011

The Eichmann Trial

In 1960, agents of Israel's Mossad nabbed ex-SS officer Adolf Eichmann, one of the lead figures in the coordination of the Holocaust, in his Argentine bolt-hole. A year later, his trial in an Israeli court for his alleged crimes against humanity attracted hundreds of reporters from around the world. Eichmann's defense amounted to him arguing that he was a merely a cog in the wield, dutifully obeying orders passed down from his scheming superiors to carry out this mass genocide. At the trial, TIME wrote Eichmann "looked more like a bank clerk than a butcher... When he stood, he resembled a stork more than a soldier." The German Jewish political philosopher and writer Hannah Arendt was also in attendance, covering the trials for the New Yorker, and famously saw in this balding, sallow man "the banality of evil." Eichmann's defense proved far too hollow for the Israeli civilian court and he was hanged in 1962.