New York Times - Week in Review 03.05.00 http://www.nytimes.com/library/review/030500thisweek-review.html Eichmann's House: The Bureaucracy of Murder Last week Israel released the memoirs of Adolf Eichmann, whom it executed for war crimes in 1962. The document, written in an Israeli jail, was kept sealed for fear it would be used to distort the history of the Holocaust. It was unsealed at the request of lawyers for Deborah Lipstadt, an American professor being sued for libel by David Irving, whom she has described in a book as "a dangerous spokesman for Holocaust denial." Among the 1,100 handwritten pages, Eichmann, the architect of Hitler's Final Solution, charted the Nazi hierarchy. Eichmann's Jewish Office of the Gestapo -- B-4 -- is at the bottom, consistent with his claim to have been a minor cog in the genocidal machine. "I was one of the many horses pulling the wagon and couldn't escape left or right because of the will of the driver," he wrote. The chart is literally accurate, and deeply misleading. Aaron Breitbart, a senior researcher at the Simon Wiesenthal Center in Los Angeles, notes that, from 1942 on, Eichmann had formal authority for eliminating the Jews, to which Hitler had given the highest priority, and he reported directly to the No. 2 officer in the SS (which ran the concentration camps). "The SS had much more political power than the Army," Breitbart said, "and Eichmann had much more power than any general." Eichmann even felt he could defy Heinrich Himmler, the SS leader, Breitbart said. In 1944, with the end of the war in sight, Himmler ordered Eichmann to stop gassing Jews. Eichmann ignored him. == JERUSALEM POST 03.05.00 http://www.jpost.com/Editions/2000/03/05/News/News.3553.html Irving accused of mocking Holocaust By Douglas Davis LONDON (March 5) - Holocaust revisionist David Irving was accused of "mocking the survivors and dead of the Holocaust" by "feeding and encouraging the most cynical antisemitism" in his public speeches. The charge was leveled by Richard Rampton, counsel for American historian and Holocaust specialist Deborah Lipstadt, at the High Court in London late last week. Lipstadt, of Emory University in Atlanta, denies libeling Irving in her 1994 book, Denying the Holocaust: The Growing Assault on Truth and Memory. But Irving, who denies that Auschwitz was a death camp or that there was systematic, mass destruction of Jews, claims his career has been wrecked by Lipstadt's assertions that he is a Holocaust denier and that he distorts historical data to suit his own ideological preferences. In an acrimonious exchange during the closing cross-examination, Rampton told Irving: "What you are doing is feeding the antisemitism in your audience by mocking the survivors and dead of the Holocaust." Irving replied that he was "mocking the liars" who, he said, had misrepresented their experiences. "Oh yes, but why the applause?" asked Rampton. "I am a good speaker," replied Irving. Irving told the court that "there have been increasing numbers in recent years who have capitalized on the Holocaust." "It's become an important part of their social and religious awareness, and it is almost blasphemy to them to tread on that holy ground," he added. Rampton quoted from a 1991 speech in Alberta, Canada, when Irving told his audience that he saw no reason to be "tasteful" about Auschwitz. "It's baloney, it's a legend," he told his audience."Once we admit the fact that it was a brutal slave-labor camp and large numbers of people did die - as large numbers of innocent people died elsewhere in the war - why believe the rest of the baloney? "I say quite tastelessly, in fact, that more women died on the back seat of Edward Kennedy's car at Chappaquiddick than ever died in a gas chamber in Auschwitz. "Oh, you think that's tasteless, how about this? There are so many Auschwitz survivors going around - in fact, the number increases as the years go past, which is biologically very odd to say the least. Because I'm going to form an association of Auschwitz Survivors, Survivors of the Holocaust, and Other Liars, or the A-S-S-H-O-L-S." Irving, who is defending himself, denied that there were "skinheads or extremists" in the audience, which, he said, appeared to comprise"a perfectly ordinary bunch of middle-class Canadians." The hearing was adjourned until March 13 for closing arguments. == LOS ANGELES TIMES 03.05.00 EDITORIAL http://www.latimes.com/news/comment/20000305/t000021264.html Sunday, March 5, 2000 Voice From a Vicious Past Eichmann manuscript could help scholar defend against suit filed by a writer she called a Holocaust denier. Forty years ago Israeli agents tracked Nazi war criminal Adolf Eichmann to his hiding place in Argentina and abducted him to Israel, where he was tried and convicted of crimes against the Jewish people and humanity. He was executed in 1962, leaving behind a 1,300-page manuscript in which he sought to minimize his role in the Holocaust while portraying himself as an idealist who had "slid, like many others, into a situation from which there was no exit." In fact, Eichmann had joined the Nazi Party in 1932, the year before Adolf Hitler took power in Germany, and a few years after that he joined the SS, which operated Hitler's concentration camps and carried out mass killings in Eastern Europe. By 1942 Eichmann was directing deportations of Jews to the death camps. Israel has now made public Eichmann's self-excusing memoir. In it he describes the Holocaust as "the most enormous crime in the history of mankind." Yet just five years before his capture Eichmann had told a Dutch journalist, a fascist, that he was sorry the Nazis had not been tougher executioners. In his manuscript, as in his trial testimony, Eichmann portrays himself as simply someone following orders and doing his duty. "I was never an anti-Semite." And though his job required him to visit death camps and witness executions, "My sensitive nature revolted at the sight of corpses and blood." Israel released the Eichmann papers at the request of an American scholar, Deborah Lipstadt of Emory University. She and her English publisher are facing a libel lawsuit filed in a British court by writer David Irving, whom, on the basis of his own writings and public comments, Lipstadt has labeled a Holocaust denier. Irving says he doesn't deny that Nazis killed Jews. But he disputes the number of victims and the manner of their killing. He has also offered the incredible thesis that Hitler himself knew nothing about the Final Solution. The Eichmann manuscript describes in meticulous detail how the deportations of Europe's Jews were organized and how the mass killings were carried out. Lipstadt wants to use these insider's descriptions to rebut Irving's claims. Recently, in an interview with the Reuters news agency, Irving described the Auschwitz concentration camp, where millions died, as a kind of "Disneyland" constructed by Polish Communists after World War II to attract tourists. Even an Eichmann would not have dared to posit such a fantasy. == SUNDAY TELEGRAPH 03.05.00 Jenny McCartney joins spectators at the High Court for a ringside seat in Court 73's Holocaust case Any hard plastic seat in Court 73, where the historian David Irving is seeking libel damages against claims that he is a "Holocaust denier", is a much sought-after spot. That is why a disconsolate group of five people are waiting in the corridor outside, their eyes fixed hungrily on a sign that reads "Court Full". The minutes tick by. Finally, two elderly Jewish men and a woman decide to leave and return later. "We're giving you our place in the queue," they laugh. One beneficiary of this, a middle-aged man, stares unsmilingly ahead. Once they have left, he says: "Have you read any of David Irving's works? He's a champion of free speech. Somebody has to stand up to these people." He doesn't elaborate on who "these people" are. Mr Irving is representing himself in the case against Deborah Lipstadt and Penguin books, over her 1994 book Denying the Holocaust: The Growing Assault on Truth and Memory. The defendants claim that Mr Irving is "a liar and falsifier of history" who has distorted statistics and documents for his own purposes. Mr Irving rejects this, and says the claims have generated waves of hate against him. Richard Rampton, QC, with donnish spectacles and a drily sardonic mode of interrogation, is representing Penguin. Inside the courtroom, he is cross-examining the 62-year-old Mr Irving, a burly, gimlet-eyed man with iron-grey hair. There is an edgy air of suppressed tension. The judge makes only occasional interjections. One has the sense that they have been over this ground before: the case has been running since Jan 11. Mr Rampton reads out a passage from a speech that Mr Irving gave to an audience at Calgary, Alberta, in 1991: "You said, 'More people died on the back seat of Senator Kennedy's car at Chappaquiddick than died in the gas chambers at Auschwitz'." "Shown to the tourists," adds Mr Irving quickly, claiming that he invariably added that rider: "I always say exactly the same thing." Mr Irving maintains that the gas chamber shown to visitors to Auschwitz was built by the Poles after the war as a tourist attraction. Mr Rampton then plays the court a video recording of Mr Irving speaking at the meeting. In it, Mr Irving delivers the Chappaquiddick remark, ending: ". . . in the gas chambers at Auschwitz." There is a distinct pause, followed by loud applause. There was no "shown to the tourists" rider on this occasion. Mr Rampton quotes Mr Irving's words: "'I always say exactly the same thing': that was a false statement, was it not?" Mr Irving looks deeply uncomfortable. Last Tuesday the Israeli government released the memoirs of Adolf Eichmann, which had been hidden in Israeli state archives for 40 years, to assist the defendants in the Irving libel case. Eichmann -- the Nazi officer who carried out the attempted "liquidation" of Europe's Jews -- describes watching the gassing of Jews in sealed trucks during 1942, and makes reference to "the genocide against Jewry". Mr Rampton asks: "I expect you've been reading the Eichmann memoirs?" "No, not with the little time I have," replies Mr Irving, as though apologising to a fellow historian. "Well if you are, look for the word gaseinlage." [sic. Actually Vergasungslager]. "Gaseinlage?" [sic. Actually Vergasungslager]. Mr Rampton answers with brutal, precise emphasis: "Yes. Gassing camps." He moves on to the meetings at which Mr Irving is a popular speaker. Mr Irving argues that when he spoke at meetings hung with the banners of the National Alliance -- a white supremacist group in America -- he was not aware of the organisation's nature. [See Day 29, page 65] Mr Rampton points to an invitation asking Mr Irving to speak, written on National Alliance notepaper, and reads aloud a passage from Mr Irving's diary regarding a meeting in Savannah, Georgia. It says: "Turns out the meeting here is also organised by the National Alliance." Mr Irving replies: "It just goes to show how bad my memory is, but I'm learning as I go along." Later, Mr Rampton turns to statistics cited in Mr Irving's book on Goebbels for Jewish involvement in crime in 1932. He establishes that they are, in fact, taken from [Kurt Daluege] the head of the German Ordnungspolizei, a man whom Mr Irving agrees became "a mass murderer later on" [in 1941]. "Do you think it right to take this man as your source?" asks Mr Rampton. Mr Irving answers: "You've got to take some kind of figures from somewhere." There is a faint ripple in the courtroom. As the morning session closes, the elderly Jewish spectators file out from the public gallery. A lank-haired woman in a paisley scarf goes out with them. In the corridor, she informs the queue: "There's a lot of Freemasonry. Jewish Freemasonry!" As the remark sinks in, one of them says: "My God." The final speeches will be heard on March 13. It will, no doubt, be a packed court. == SUNDAY TELEGRAPH 03.05.00 Sunday Comment: We may have won, but the war goes on Andrew Roberts, the historian, explains why the Nazis are still in the headlines Andrew Roberts 03/05/2000 The Sunday Telegraph (United Kingdom) Copyright (C) 2000 The Sunday Telegraph; HERE, in brief, is the news of the past fortnight: Israel has released Adolf Eichmann's diaries of the Holocaust, just as the concluding evidence is being presented in the David Irving v Debora Lipstadt and Penguin Books trial. Jorg Haider has, through gritted teeth, finally denounced Hitler as the most evil man of the century. Claims for compensation or restitution for art looted by the Nazis have been estimated at between pounds 800 million and pounds 2.5 billion. Hitler's favourite film-maker, Leni Riefenstahl, is reported to have survived a helicopter crash in the Sudan aged 97. The handwritten notes of a speech made by Hitler to the German parliament in 1939 fetched pounds 11,000 at auction. Meanwhile, Neville Lawrence, the father of the murdered black teenager Stephen Lawrence, likened the experiences of young black people in Britain today to that of Anne Frank. A man dressed as Adolf Hitler was arrested on Thursday night trying to gatecrash Vienna's Opera Ball. The obituaries appeared of Harold Hobday, the Dambuster who breached the Eder Dam with a bouncing bomb. Dominic Bruce, the RAF officer who made no fewer than 17 attempted break-outs from German prisoner-of-war camps, including Colditz. The Queen Mother's wartime correspondence about the Duke and Duchess of Windsor was released by the Bodleian Library. SS General Walter Schellenberg's 1940 Nazi invasion plan of Britain was published. What's going on? Is there such a dearth of current news that the media have to look back to make headlines? Some would say that our obsession with the period in our nation's history reflects nothing more than crude xenophobia, or even a grotesque, fetishistic fascination with the absolute evil which the Nazis represented. The truth is that, even 60 years on, the Second World War continues to exert a fierce hold on all our imaginations. This piece of the past is very much still with us. The story of the 1939-45 period, and especially the one year and five days between the capitulation of France on June 17, 1940, and Hitler's invasion of Russia on June 22, 1941, goes to the very heart of our self-perception as a nation. It is much less to do with anti-German feeling than a perpetual reaffirmation of nationhood. The story has aspects that appeal to both Right and Left. For the Right, those 371 days when we "stood alone", albeit with great support and assistance from the Empire and Commonwealth, represents the ultimate expression of sovereignty, proving the inestimable benefits of national independence. For the Left, it was the time when fascism as a concept, rather than merely Germany and Italy, was faced down by the forces of democracy as represented by the "grand coalition", which included Clement Attlee's Labour Party. Michael Foot once said that 1940 was too powerful a symbol to be confiscated by the Right, and it is partly because both ends of the political spectrum take ideological succour from the events of that year that the annus mirabilis has survived as such a potent totem. Likewise, each side in the European debate draws great inspiration from Hitler's war. Michael Heseltine likes to cite Churchill as supporting the concept of European unity, although he always fails to add that the war leader did not wish Britain to be an actual member of it. Edward Heath also enjoys reflecting that it is to prevent future wars of the sort in which he fought so gallantly that the continent needs to become a federalist superstate. Similarly, Eurosceptics such as Bill Cash and Norman Stone - whose fathers died in the war - remember the disastrous results of trying to force Britain into a federal Europe without its full-hearted consent. It seems that it is to 1940-41 that we return when we seek reasons for why we are proud to be British. There are plenty of things that Britain does very well indeed, but equally there always seem to be other countries that do the same things better. It is hard to conceive being proud of Britain because of our leadership in motor-racing, the pop music industry and the invention of the National Health service. There has to be something more, and it is what Britain did 60 years ago this summer. The British Empire fought the war from the start - except for two days from the German invasion of Poland - to the finish of the Japanese surrender, unlike any other power, and it is a cause for huge justifiable pride. Such was the sense of catharsis generated by the war years that anything that took place afterwards was bound to be perceived as smaller, safer, more mundane, less magnificent. The post-war period in Britain has inevitably been a post-Heroic age. The Britain of Wilson, Heath and Thorpe in the Seventies simply could not compare with that of Churchill, Attlee and Montgomery of the early Forties. Yet through all the various humiliations that were heaped on postwar Britain - the withdrawal from Europe, periodic devaluations of sterling, mass New Commonwealth immigration, Suez, begging from the International Monetary Fund, British Leyland's labour troubles - the memory of 1940-1941 helped to see her through. Many another nation has had its golden age, its moment in history's limelight. Our particular tragedy is that it should have been so recent, within the lifetime of many. It is almost a recipe for nihilism, knowing that nothing can recapture that gloriously heroic period. Just as Greeks are still rightly proud of the achievement of 5th century Athens, Frenchman feel exalted when they contemplate the Arc de Triomphe (despite its presenting as victories battles that Napoleon actually lost), American revere 1776 and Mongolians still venerate Ghenghis Khan, so we cannot wholly put behind themselves the year in which, as T. S. Eliot wrote in his 1941 poem Little Gidding, "History is now and England". There is little indication that interest in the war is lessening simply because its participants are leaving the stage, any more than interest in the Parthenon in Greece, Napoleon in France or the Constitution in America has waned with the death of their protagonists. The first three decades of the 21st century will see the last of the veterans go, but fascination with and admiration for their achievement will not die with them. Long after all the personal connections have been severed, the characters, events and lessons of what happened between 1939 and 1945 will fascinate future generations. When I lecture on the war in schools I am constantly told by teachers that it is by far the favourite historical period of their pupils. There is a further reason for the emphasis we place on this period. Britain's longer lasting triumph was that of her Empire and the Commonwealth. But few dare boast of that in these politicallly correct times. It is safer to glory in the last war than in the accumulation and governance of our colonies. Some people believe that Britain's obsession with the war is infantile, and even detrimental to our maturation as a normal European nation. They believe that the scars have largely healed, and are only being picked open when football crowds raise their arms to simulate aircraft wings while they sing racist lyrics to the tune of The Dambusters' March. Yet the headlines of the past fortnight ought to persuade them otherwise. As Eliot also put it in 1941: "We are born with the dead, see, they return and bring us with them." The echoes of Hitler's war will keep reverberating on and on. For us, the war is far from over. Andrew Roberts is the author of Eminent Churchillians DAILY MAIL 03.04.00 DIARIES OF GENOCIDE TOM BOWER 03/04/2000 Daily Mail Associated Newspapers Ltd. DIARIES by Tom Bower NIGHT had fallen and the seven men were becoming nervous. Two buses from Buenos Aires had stopped at the suburban kiosk, but their quarry still hadn't stepped off on to the dusty road. Ten thousand miles from Tel Aviv, on May 11, 1960, the handpicked Israeli Mossad secret service officers were on the trail of a 54- year-old known locally as 'Ricardo Klement'. They were waiting for him to return home from his job as a welder at the Mercedes Benz factory, as he did every night with clockwork regularity on the No 203 bus. It had been a decade since Klement had clandestinely arrived in Argentina from Europe with the help of the Roman Catholic Church, and at last he felt secure. But in the darkness, a light flashed from a bridge - a signal from the lookout car. 'It's him,' whispered agent Zvi Aharoni excitedly. The inconspicuous and shabbily dressed Klement was oblivious to his fate as he turned into Garibaldi Street. He blithely approached a large car just 30 yards from the small, isolated bungalow he had built with his sons. In a mad scramble, four men pounced and grappled their prey into the back of the car. 'Do not move and no one will hurt you,' ordered Aharoni, in fluent German, as the car sped away. 'If you resist, you will be shot.' Their victim, his hands already bound, mouth gagged, his eyes blinded by goggles, and squashed on the car floor covered by a blanket, was silent. 'Klement' was, in reality, Adolf Eichmann, the Nazi responsible for what he admitted was 'the greatest crime in history' - the deportation of Jews to death camps. This week, a chilling insight into his mind was revealed when 670 hand-written pages of his secret memoirs were released by the Israelis for use as evidence in the London High Court case in which historian David Irving is suing Deborah Lipstadt , an American writer, for alleged defamation. Few names in the list of those responsible for the Holocaust was more notorious than SS Obersturmbahnfuhrer Adolf Eichmann. The director of Department IV B4 at the headquarters of the Reich's Central Security office in Berlin had been a passionate anti- Semite in the Twenties and went out of his This week, secret diaries were read to a court as evidence against a British historian who disputes that the Holocaust happened. They provide a chilling insight into the mind of the man who had a key role in the murder of six million Jews This week, secret diaries were read to a court as evidence against a British historian who disputes that the Holocaust happened. They provide a chilling insight into the mind of the man who had a key role in the murder of six million Jews way to organise their mass murder. Lipstadt had described Irving as a 'dangerous spokesman in the service of Holocaust deniers'. So, to undermine Irving's case, the Israeli government released Eichmann's diary, which he started four months after his kidnap and which acknowledges his complicity in genocide. ON JANUARY 20, 1942, the melancholy former clerk had attended a top-secret meeting at Wannsee, a lakeside villa in Berlin, which launched 'the final solution of the Jewish question'. The 15 senior Nazi government officials present agreed that every Jew in German-occupied Europe would be transported as forced labour to Eastern Europe. In the euphemisms used to maintain the necessary secrecy, it was agreed that, with Hitler's approval, the majority of Jews would 'fall through natural diminution', while the remainder would be 'treated accordingly'. Eichmann knew that 'treated accordingly' meant the construction of gas chambers for the production line murder of Jews. His task, which he accepted with relish, was to supervise the capture and efficient transport of Jews to the death camps. Like a tally clerk, Eichmann later recounted to his superiors, Hein-rich Himmler and Ernst Kaltenbrunner, the SS and Gestapo chiefs, the statistics proving his success. Four million Jews, he boasted towards the end of the war, had been gassed, and two million had been shot or killed by mobile execution squads. Eichmann was an eyewitness of the consequences of his activities. Two entries in his diaries confirm his participation in evil. Just before the Wannsee Conference, Eichmann had travelled to Kulm in what is now Poland. In his diary he records how he watched 'naked Jews and Jewesses climbing into a lorry without windows; the doors were locked and the motor was started'. The exhaust fumes were funnelled into the lorry. Eichmann refused to watch through a peephole as the occupants were slowly and painfully poisoned. 'I don't have the words to express my reaction to these things,' he wrote in his prison cell 19 years later. 'It was all too unreal. I was taken to a kind of clearing in the forest and, as I was arriving, the bus drove up to a pit in the ground. The doors were opened and corpses tumbled out into the pit. It was a super-inferno. Then I saw that some were still alive.' Eichmann watched them die and saw a civilian jump into the pit to yank out any gold teeth from the corpses. 'I had to pinch the back of my hand to check I was awake.' Later, Eichmann travelled to Auschwitz, where the camp commandant showed his visitor how he used carbon monoxide to kill Jews in sealed rooms. WEEKS later, Eichmann became aware that the SS, to speed the murder process, was dispatching the gas Zyklon B to Auschwitz. The war over, Eichmann was interned in 1945 in an American PoW camp. Meanwhile, witnesses were mentioning Eichmann's name as a key architect of the Final Solution, and prosecutors had found the first of thousands of surviving telexes, messages and orders addressed to him in Berlin, reporting the arrest and transport of Jews from Paris, Amsterdam, Rome and Salonika to Auschwitz and other camps. The paper trail also recorded his cold refusals to release named Jews, and his curt instruction for the hasty transportation of more individuals to the gas chambers before a further request was received. The American army, however, had accepted Eichmann's identity as 'Otto Eckmann', a lieutenant in an SS cavalry division. The German's fellow officers knew the truth and had agreed to his escape before his ruse was exposed. Eichmann, with the help of other SS fugitives, spent the next four years working in central Germany as a lumberjack. His wife and children remained in Bavaria, occasionally visited by agents sent by Simon Wiesenthal, the famed Nazi hunter. But his wife Vera and their family were too canny ever to reveal his existence. By 1950, Odessa, the SS organisation, had established a successful escape route for its hunted comrades. With their help, Eichmann travelled to Genoa in Italy, where Catholic priests provided a false Red Cross passport in the name of Ricardo Klement, with a visa for Argentina. In July 1950, Eichmann arrived in South America to start a new life and was joined two years later by his family. Indeed, it was their reaction to his subsequent disappearance in May 1960 at the hands of Mossad agents that was the Israeli team's principal concern. Rightly, they calculated that his wife would not dare approach the police and reveal her husband's true identity. Instead, her sons, with help of Rightwing Argentine sympathisers, scoured the capital's hospitals and mortuaries before concluding that their father was the victim of an Israeli plot. As word spread, other prominent Nazi fugitives fled for safety across the border. Meanwhile, Eichmann was carefully guarded in a safe house, an anonymous villa. Extricating Eichmann from Buenos Aires had been meticulously planned. Since there were no direct flights to Israel, the kidnap had been timed to coincide with the 150th anniversary celebrations of Argentina's independence. TO THE Argentines' surprise, Israel had agreed to send a special delegation arriving on a British-built Bristol Britannia El Al plane, due to arrive nine days after the kidnap. Waiting for the aircraft was more emotional for the Israelis than the former Nazi. Several of those Mossad officers in the safe house were haunted by the Nazis' brutal murder of their parents, brothers and sisters. The searing images of the Holocaust - the roundups, arbitrary shootings, public hangings, the mass executions and years of surviving the manhunt for consignment to the gas chambers - were indelible memories. None of those Israelis could have imagined the architect of their misery would be helplessly eating omelettes and boiled chicken just yards from their vengeful hands. Ironically, now they not only fed and bathed Eichmann, they also even watched him in the lavatory to prevent a suicide attempt. Shorn of his black uniform and leather boots, his arrogant swagger was replaced by despairing powerlessness. 'Who's going to look after my wife and children?' he asked secret agent Aharoni. 'I didn't leave them any money.' Aharoni replied: 'You worry so much about your wife and children, but how could you and your associates murder children in the tens and hundreds of thousands?' The German's reply is chilling: 'Today, I can't understand how we could have done such things,' he explained. 'I did what everyone else was doing. I was conscripted, like everyone else.' Further argument was pointless. In the event, Aharoni persuaded Eichmann to sign a statement volunteering to travel to Israel and stand trial. On May 20, 1960, a small convoy of El Al crewmen was waved through the airport security gates after driving along a carefully researched route. One uniformed member of the crew appeared ill and needed assistance to mount the steps into the aircraft. Drugged, Eichmann had been sandwiched between burly Mossad agents and was deposited in the first-class compartment. Within seconds of slumping into the chair, the aircraft's four turboprop engines began to roar. At five minutes after midnight, the plane sped down the runway. After refuelling in Dakar, West Africa, it headed for Israel. During that 25-hour flight, Isser Harel, the director of Mossad who had personally supervised the hunt for Eichmann, could reflect on his good fortune. ALTHOUGH he would claim much of the credit, his capture was also due to the perseverance of Fritz Bauer, an energetic German prosecutor in Frankfurt. Ignoring the animosity of his countrymen, Bauer had dedicated himself to prosecuting Nazi war criminals. Most had eluded capture for the simple and painful reason that every European government had, since 1946, turned a blind eye to murder. Even Israel was uninterested, preoccupied with fighting Arab enemies, not pursuing Nazis. Eichmann, thought the prosecutor, was an exception - an invaluable prize. There had been many tips and alleged sightings of Eichmann, but none was reliable. The breakthrough in late 1957 came from Lothar Hermann, a blind, part-Jewish German living in poverty in Argentina. His daughter had met a young German whose name was Nicholas Eichmann, and the blind man was convinced that the strange, anti- Semitic boy was the son of the murderer. (Adolf Eichmann's fatal mistake had been his failure to obtain new papers to rename his family Klement.) Hermann sent Eichmann's address to Bauer. Not trusting the German authorities to bring Eichmann to justice, Bauer, through an intermediary, contacted Mossad boss Harel. Harel decided that a blind informant was unreliable. 'A second- rate policeman could have established who lived in that house,' Bauer later raged at Harel during a special visit to Tel Aviv. Bauer wouldn't give up. In 1959, he told Harel that Eichmann was using the name Ricardo Klement. Zvi Aharoni, a former field security officer in the British Army and a senior officer in Mossad, was dispatched to Argentina. For weeks, the Israeli trawled though the archives and kept surveillance on the isolated house, secretly photographing its occupants. The first sighting of a middle-aged man taking washing off a line in the yard was confirmed after 'Klement' returned early to his house on Eichmann's wedding anniversary and the Israeli agents moved into action. For eight months before his trial, Eichmann was regularly interrogated by a German-born Israeli police captain, Avner Less. The 3,564 pages of transcripts of his questioning were filled with Eich- mann's excuses of himself as 'a minor recipient of orders' who showed no remorse. 'I was but a faithful, orderly and diligent member of the SS and the [Gestapo], filled with idealistic feelings towards my fatherland, to which I had the honour to belong. I never was a mental swine or a traitor.' He continued: 'Despite conscientious self-examination, I must conclude that I was neither a murderer nor a mass-murderer.' His only guilt was to have 'aided and abetted killing I did my duty as ordered with a clear conscience and a believing heart.' The four- month trial in Jerusalem started on April 11, 1961. Dressed in a cheap dark suit, he answered each of the 15 charges of genocide from within his glass cage: 'Not guilty as charged.' Although the verdict was inevitable, the trial was not just an issue of one man's culpability but about the condition of Western civilisation, its laws, morals and future. How had Europe's richest nation perpetrated such horrors? How had an ordinary, uneducated family man, dedicated to his children, become a monster organising the murder of millions? 'In my hope for justice,' Eichmann recorded, 'I see myself disappointed. I cannot accept the verdict of guilty I had the bad luck to have become involved in these acts of horror. But these crimes did not occur of my volition. It was not my will to kill people. The mass murder is solely the fault of the political leaders.' In the most memorable description of Eichmann's defence of obedience, Hannah Arendt, a German-born historian, described the trial as 'a report on the banality of evil'. EICHMANN was sentenced to death by hanging on December 16. The decision was unprecedented; there was no death penalty in Israel. On June 1, 1962, a few minutes before midnight, Eichmann was taken from his cell. 'A glass of wine,' he requested. Calmly, dressed in brown clothes, he walked to the gallows. He refused the black mask. Standing on the trap door, he said: 'Long live Germany,' and bade farewell to his family and friends. 'I am ready,' he said finally. Effortlessly, the noose was put around his neck. The condemned man's last sight was a vacant stare into the abyss. There was a click. The trap was sprung. In a flash, the mass-murderer fell through a hole. The witnesses saw a motionless corpse hanging from a swaying rope. After the cremation, his ashes were scattered on the Mediterranean, beyond Israel's borders. Twenty-eight years later, in the High Court in London, a British historian is disputing the validity of Adolf Eichmann's confession. == JEWISH TELEGRAPHIC AGENCY 03.05.00 Irving accused of mocking survivors as London Holocaust suit nears end http://jta.virtualjerusalem.com/index.exe?0003056 By Douglas Davis LONDON, March 5 (JTA) =97Holocaust revisionist David Irving mocked victims of the Holocaust by "feeding and encouraging the most cynical anti-Semitism" in his speeches, it was alleged last week at a trial for a defamation suit that Irving has filed against a U.S. scholar. The charge was leveled by the lawyer for Jewish historian Deborah Lipstadt. Irving, who denies that Auschwitz was a death camp or that there was systematic, mass destruction of Jews, claims that Lipstadt libeled him in her 1994 book, "Denying the Holocaust: The Growing Assault on Truth and Memory," when she called him a Holocaust denier who manipulates facts to suit his ideological bias. In an acrimonious exchange during the closing cross-examination Lipstadt's lawyer, Richard Rampton, told Irving that he "is feeding the anti- Semitism in your audience by mocking the survivors and dead of the Holocaust." Irving replied that he was "mocking the liars" who, he said, had misrepresented their experiences. Irving told the court that "there have been increasing numbers in recent years who have capitalized on the Holocaust." "It's become an important part of their social and religious awareness, and it is almost blasphemy to them to tread on that holy ground." Rampton quoted from a 1991 speech in Canada in which Irving told his audience that he saw no reason to be "tasteful" about Auschwitz. "It's baloney, it's a legend," he told his audience. "Once we admit the fact that it was a brutal slave labor camp and large numbers of people did die - as large numbers of innocent people died elsewhere in the war - why believe the rest of the baloney? "I say quite tastelessly, in fact, that more women died on the back seat of Edward Kennedy's car at Chappaquiddick than ever died in a gas chamber in Auschwitz. "Oh, you think that's tasteless," he continued. "How about this? There are so many Auschwitz survivors going around - in fact, the number increases as the years go past, which is biologically very odd to say the least. Because I'm going to form an association of Auschwitz Survivors, Survivors of the Holocaust and Other Liars, or the A-S-S-H-O-L-S." Irving, who is defending himself, denied that there were "skinheads or extremists" in the audience, which, he said, appeared to comprise "a perfectly ordinary bunch of middle-class Canadians." At an earlier hearing, Hajo Funke, a professor at the Free University of Berlin, told the court he considered that Irving, 62, had "committed himself wholeheartedly" to neo-Nazism. He said Irving had used Germany as a "playground" for his right-wing extremism until he was expelled in 1993. Irving's expulsion, he continued, indicated the unwillingness of the authorities to "further tolerate his use of Germany as a `playground' for his right-wing extremism." Funke, who had prepared a 137-page report on Irving's alleged links to extremists, said Irving had "committed himself wholeheartedly to the cause of revisionism, and thus to neo-Nazism, in Germany." "By denying the Holocaust," said Funke, "he willfully and persistently violated the criminal law in Germany." The German expert said that for several years, Irving was one of the "main speakers and agitators" for the German People's Union, which was extremist, anti-Semitic and "propagated racial hatred." The court was also shown video footage of a meeting in Germany in the early 1990s, at which Irving was a speaker, with skinheads chanting "Sieg heil." In response, Irving said he accepted invitations from "whichever body invites me," as long as his schedule allowed it. The hearing was adjourned until March 13 for closing arguments. Sunday Times (London) March 5, 2000, Sunday Burden of the past BY Silvia Rogers THE HOLOCAUST AND COLLECTIVE MEMORY. by Peter Novick. Bloomsbury Pounds 18.99 pp373 I found myself both arguing and agreeing with this compelling book until its very last line. Peter Novick, professor of history at the University of Chicago, sets out to analyse the idea of the Holocaust as a collective memory for American Jews during the 20th century, a collective memory that marks identity and justifies the ethos of the community. He discusses how the Holocaust became such a strong bond and speculates whether it should now be put to rest as an all-subsuming identity. Immediately after the second world war, Jews, like other ethnic groups in America, strove to be Americans first, and enjoyed being part of the most powerful nation in the world. The Holocaust was the last thing on which they wanted to dwell; its overriding image of victimhood was one that had burdened Jews since they wept in Babylon. Later, when ethnic groups began to assert their differences, American Jews adopted the Holocaust as central to their identity. Fragmented by degrees of religious observance, Zionism and their geographical origins, they had, writes Novick, only one thing uniting them: if their forebears had not emigrated, they themselves would have perished like the European Jews. Novick suggests that this identity became acceptable because a new climate of sympathy towards victims and losers had eroded the ideal of the strong and silent hero. But I am far more convinced by his claim that the Holocaust can only be considered in relation to the state of Israel. Clearly, anyone affiliated to this macho state no longer qualifies solely as victim. Its citizens, many straight out of the Holocaust, bore arms even as they made the desert bloom. Novick vividly relates the vicissitudes of Jewish identity during the cold war. During McCarthy's witch-hunts, it became an embarrassment to be a Jew, and the stereotype of the communist Jew was confirmed when supporters sang the Song of the Warsaw Ghetto at the funeral of the Rosenbergs, executed for nuclear espionage. In the 1960s, however, the Holocaust identity received strong boosts from Israel. In 1961, when the Nazi Adolf Eichmann was abducted by Israeli agents from Argentina and was tried, convicted and executed in Israel, the victim defeated the perpetrator. Israel's 1967 triumph in the Six Day war seemed, as Novick says, "miraculous". Jews everywhere were immensely proud. Novick quotes Rabbi Irving Greenberg, one of the promoters of the idea of the Holocaust as important to Jewish-American consciousness, saying that it "had given God a second chance". To some believers, God, who had hidden his face during the Holocaust, "was now back on the job". In spite of that, admiration for Israel (and for Israel, read Jews) did not last. The Arabs flourished on oil and the UN was dominated by Third World countries who saw Israel as a European colonial power. The 1973 Yom Kippur war, when Israel needed help from America and no longer seemed invincible, further eroded the popularity of Israel. American Jews feared a rise in anti-semitism, even another Holocaust. This was groundless. But they kept the Holocaust in the limelight to persuade the Jewish community from shrinking (it is wise to stick together) and for what Novick calls "moral capital" to buy support for Israel. He could have called it "moral blackmail". In American society, rhetoric, films, Holocaust museums and academic studies keep the Holocaust alive, whether as a Jewish memory or as moral awareness. And now in London, coinciding with the British publication of Novick's book, the David Irving libel trial has brought the Holocaust to the forefront of the public's mind. Novick describes how the memory itself has been transfigured. Accusations of passivity are balanced by accounts of Jewish heroism, especially in the Warsaw ghetto uprising. Hannah Arendt's evidence that some Jews collaborated is bitterly rejected, but Novick also objects to claims of sanctity and uniqueness: they trivialise every other atrocity, from slavery to Pol Pot's Cambodia. As a European Jew, I dislike any victim identity and have never been sure about the uniqueness of the Holocaust or its use as a moral benchmark. Novick's exposition of this highly sensitive conundrum is courageous, powerful, undogmatic, and I am persuaded that the Holocaust is neither unique, nor a moral benchmark. He has also made me think twice about the proposed Holocaust day in this country. NOW READ THIS... websites: http://www.nizkor.org/ Collection of projects focused on the Holocaust and its denial books: The Holocaust by Martin Gilbert (HarperCollins Pounds 16.99) The definitive work Chicago Tribune March 5, 2000 Sunday THE MORAL OF THE STORY WAS MISSED BY ITS AUTHOR By Ron Grossman, Tribune staff writer. In 1961, Adolf Eichmann, recently convicted of being chief operating officer of the Holocaust, received a letter from a Lutheran minister, Paul Achenbach. In the spirit of one German appealing to another, he urged Eichmann to publicly repent. It was generally expected that an Israeli court shortly would sentence the former SS officer to be the first person put to death by the Jewish state. But Achenbach argued that a contrite petitioner always has a chance of one last hearing by God and humanity. "Be subject to the mercy of the earthly judges," he implored, "just like that of the heavenly one." By return mail and in scathing terms, Eichmann told Achenbach to keep his advice to himself. "I didn't know that I had asked you to trouble yourself with me," Eichmann wrote from a prison cell where he had been held since being captured by the Israelis in 1960, 15 years after World War II. "I reject as arrogant duress your attempted pressure on me to admit guilt on my part . . . where none exists." Eichmann spent the remaining eight months of his life writing a book. He left notes for some future editor that his correspondence with Achenbach should be printed as an appendix. After he was hanged, Israeli authorities kept his manuscript under lock and key until releasing it last week for use in a British court case pitting a Holocaust historian against a Holocaust denier. Scholars thought Eichmann wrote in the hope that Israel's Supreme Court might read his book and spare his life, assuming it a thinly disguised plea for mercy. Yet had those justices laid eyes on Eichmann's manuscript, they might well have ordered the knot tied ever so much tighter. The book turns out to be an elaboration of his exchange with Achenbach--a 1,300-page explanation of why he felt no guilt. Part memoir, part philosophy, it's maddening to read, precisely because it doesn't read like the words of a mad man. Instead, with his reasoned arguments, a monster responsible for the deaths of millions, has left us--quite unintentionally--an invaluable lesson about the power and the limitations of the human mind. We like to think of reason as the faculty that separates us from lower beings and brings us closer to the divine. But Eichmann's book should be read as a cautionary tale of how, by sealing off the moral sense, nimble reason can beg questions of good and evil that ought to have simple, straightforward answers. When at his trial he was asked how he pleaded to the charges against him, Eichmann responded, "Not guilty in the sense of the indictment." He was taking a middle position between extremes staked out by other former Nazis. Before Rudolf Hoess was hanged in 1947, the former commandant of Auschwitz calculated that more than a million Jews had been gassed there. In retrospect, Hoess judged the Holocaust a mistake because it brought Jews sympathy, furthering the quest for world domination that Hoess, still a faithful Nazi, believed Jews were after. "I also see now that the extermination of the Jews was fundamentally wrong," Hoess wrote in his autobiography. "It in no way served the cause of anti-Semitism, but on the contrary it brought the Jews far closer to their ultimate objective." Albert Speer, on the other hand, had no doubts of his guilt as he sat in a courtroom in Nuremberg, Germany, while he and other top Nazis were tried for war crimes in 1946. "A man could not be one of the leaders of a powerful historical entity and then slide out of it with cheap excuses," Speer, who headed munitions production, wrote in his prison diary. "We had gambled, all of us, and lost." Like Hoess, Eichmann belatedly concluded that the attempt to destroy European Jewry was an error. But unlike Speer, he firmly declined to take personal responsibility for his part in the Final Solution. In his book, Eichmann recalled how, as a young man, he bought into Hitler's analysis of Germany's problems. Defeated in World War I and forced to pay heavy reparations, Germany experienced wild swings of the economy that ruined much of the middle class, including Eichmann's family. For that tragedy, Hitler had a simple answer. Germany's misfortunes were the result of the Jews' machinations. There was an international conspiracy of Jewish financiers to enrich themselves at the Germans' expense. The solution, then, was obvious: Get rid of the Jews. Responding to that idea, Eichmann joined the Nazi Party and the elite SS in 1932. Three decades later, Eichmann easily could spot the flaw in that logic: Not all bankers are Jewish. Not all Jews are bankers. "International high finance was and is one of the greatest of all evils," he wrote, sitting in an Israeli prison cell. "But to put the emphasis here on the Jew is to misjudge the situation. And Hitler misjudged the situation." Eichmann could even belatedly lament the millions of human tragedies that were the consequence of the Nazis' false logic. "I regret and condemn," Eichmann wrote in 1961, "the activities of destruction against the Jews ordered by the then German leadership." Yet nowhere in his lengthy, handwritten manuscript, did Eichmann put the possessive pronoun "my" in front of those "activities of destruction." To avoid that part of speech that would imply accepting personal responsibility, he filled page after page with philosophical discourse. He doesn't shy away from detailing his own activities before and during World War II. One of his first assignments was to encourage Jewish emigration from Germany while extorting fees and confiscating property of Jews desperate to escape. When that policy was supplanted in 1942 by the decision to annihilate the Jewish people, Eichmann became chief troubleshooter for the Final Solution. He described how he roamed Nazi-occupied Europe, straightening out glitches in a system routing Jews to the gas chambers. At his trial, Eichmann styled himself not an ideologue, but a minor bureaucratic cog in the Nazi hierarchy. While testifying, he apologized for not speaking a more literary German. Hannah Arendt, a brilliant philosopher who covered the trial for The New Yorker magazine, accepted the image Eichmann offered his judges. She wrote that she doubted he would ever read a book until being assigned by Nazi superiors to monitor Jewish publications. Eichmann's manuscript, however, reveals him to be a voracious reader and amateur philosopher. He tucked a paperback copy of Kant into his army jacket. He knew not only Plato's doctrines, but of his failed attempt to go from philosopher to politician. He was reading thinkers then just coming to prominence. "I can not share Sartre's point of view," Eichmann wrote, "that life, like death, is meaningless." The final third of his book traces Eichmann's intellectual odyssey. Raised in the Lutheran church, he abandoned his faith when he joined the SS. But although Hitler wanted his followers to have no other gods but him, Eichmann insists he didn't abandon religion for political considerations. "An angry and vengeful God had become unimaginable to me," Eichmann wrote. "That seemed all too human to me." Upon Germany's defeat in 1945, Eichmann was captured by the Americans but escaped and made his way to Argentina. In the decade before Israeli agents caught up with him, he put the finishing touches on his personal philosophy. From 19th Century German philosophers of the Romantic School, he took the idea that the world is an ever-evolving organism. Every last bit of matter, humans included, is linked in that organic whole, its destiny already determined when the universe was born. "So I had to wait 5 billion years," Eichmann wrote, "until the all powerful order commanded me to take the human form of existence for a short time." Having reached that perspective, it was not without reason that Eichmann rejected Achenbach's urging to repent. No wonder his strange plea at his trial: "Not guilty in the sense of the indictment." From his standpoint, it should have read: "Were you the involuntary agent of an impersonal force when you signed orders sending millions to their deaths?" Free will, the prerequisite of human responsibility, had no place in Eichmann's mental universe. "I myself was unable to jump over my own shadow," he wrote. "I was only a tool in the hands of stronger powers." It is tempting to ridicule the figure of Eichmann jumping through metaphysical hoops to avoid confronting the magnitude of his misdeeds. But he held no patent on the temptation to do so. Consider the case of Arendt, who covered Eichmann's trial. As a Jewish refugee from Hitler's Germany, she knew the evil of Nazism. Before the war, she had been a student and lover of the distinguished philosopher Martin Heidegger. He stayed and became a Nazi for the most crass of reasons: To achieve his ambition of heading a university. For that bauble he put on a Nazi uniform and gave propaganda lectures to the students. Many of Heidegger's friends rejected him, yet Arendt spent years trying to restore his reputation, as if the brilliance of his ideas could wipe away the stain of his deeds. She was a philosopher: What about those of us who don't have her wisdom? It's all too easy to rationalize our failings, because their scale isn't cosmic like Eichmann's. So we might well turn the memoirs of this consummately evil monster, one of history's most heinous murderers, into a valuable lesson. For 1,300 pages, Eichmann carries on a supposedly rational discourse with himself and whoever else might read his manuscript. In the end, what his prodigious efforts tell us is how easy it is to use the intellectual gift to bury the moral sense. Eichmann couldn't have possibly known how on target he was when picked a title for his book. In a note to a future editor, he suggested his book be named, according to the motto of the ancient Greek philosophers: "Know Thyself." It was a goal he so clearly demonstrates he could never reach. But we ought to redouble our own efforts to do so. The evil he worked should be a constant reminder of how dangerous it can be to substitute mere philosophizing for honest soul-searching.
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