Session 110-01, Eichmann Adolf

Session No.110
26 Av 5721 (8 August 1961)

Presiding Judge: I declare the one hundred and tenth Session
of the trial open. We shall hear the summing-up of the
Attorney General.

Before that, I give Decision No. 100

I decide that the summing-up of Counsel for the parties
shall be recorded by stenographers, as laid down in my
decision regarding the official record dated 13 Nissan 5721
– 30 March 1961.

Please go ahead, Mr. Attorney General.

Attorney General: If it please the Court, in this trial
there has unfolded before our eyes the image of a regime
which, in our generation, threatened to put an end to
liberty of man, and to the liberty of nations. In
particular, there hovered here, within the walls of this
court-room, the shades of Adolf Hitler and his band of
accomplices, those semblances of horror which mankind will
recall forever as the embodiment of wickedness to the depths
of the abyss.

Adolf Eichmann, the Accused who stands before you, acted
like his leader and spoke in his manner – with glib-tongued
falsehood when feeling weakness, and with the fist of
destructive wickedness when in power – with pretence and
subterfuge serving to camouflage devilish hatred and
murderous fury in his heart.

Throughout these two months, witnesses who are the remnants
of this great Holocaust have succeeded each other on this
witness stand. Each recounted that portion of the great
calamity which he was requested to relate to you, until the
total picture emerged as one great horror.

We were shocked by the account of murder, brutalities,
tortures and atrocities which, it would be impossible to
believe that the like could have been perpetrated by the
hands of man, had they not been depicted in detail by living
human beings. We have heard of acts of cruelty and lust to
do evil, to degrade and oppress the spirit and the flesh,
such as has never been known in the history of mankind. We
were horror-stricken when there appeared before our eyes the
“ashen planet of Auschwitz” which the Nazis put into orbit
above the skies of Europe, with Jewish blood pouring from
its soil like a fountain jet. Images arose before the mind’s
eye of Rabbis and servants of the Lord, who were commanded
to wrap themselves in prayer shawls and phylacteries, and
were then set on fire to the jeers of their torturers. And,
after that, we were shocked to the core to hear of the
tortures in the camps, the whippings, the acts of
degradation, humiliation, and thus we could realize to what
depths of wickedness man can reach towards his fellowman. We
were told of rats being placed into the trousers of Chelmno
prisoners and their being ordered to stand motionless, of
the “parachute-entertainment” of the camp commanders who
ordered Jews to climb up to roofs and jump down, and whoever
did not manage to jump properly was shot. We were told about
dogs being set on to human beings and given the order “Man
seize the dog!,” about hangings of young lads while the camp
orchestra played merry marching songs, about babes and
sucklings being cast alive into the flames, after their
mothers had protected them with their own bodies and rescued
them from being asphyxiated in the gas chambers. I believe
that if anyone were to try to invent a nightmare, he would
be incapable of describing even a small fraction of the
shocking and terrible occurrences that were related,
described and presented here.

All that was also heard by the man sitting here behind the
glass partition. We have seen him staring in front of him,
taking in what was being said; we watched him following the
descriptions and looking at the films which embodied all the
“seven sectors of Hell.” After that came his turn to
testify. It might have been expected that, at least now,
sixteen years after the limbs of the Nazi hydra had been cut
down, he would utter one word of remorse, he would voice one
expression of regret and repentance. Instead, his evidence
commenced with the usual Nazi talk of the war that had been
forced upon Germany, and then he went so far as to say that
the war against the Jews, too, was in fact forced upon the
German people.

He does not believe in regrets – so he declared – that is
something for children, since the dead can no longer be
resurrected. And in what does he believe? He believes that
the vow that he took and the oath that he swore to Hitler
are capable of absolving him from responsibility for his
deeds and, they in themselves constitute absolute
justification for everything he did. This we saw during the
weeks during which he occupied the witness stand. And
subsequently we saw him wending his way amongst the
documents, brazenly denying the authenticity of the facts
crying out from every testimony and from all the evidence,
in his search for the flimsiest of excuses, each one of
which was designed to conceal and cover up his own role in
the shedding of an ocean of blood. To this end, he was ready
to deny his own words, to go back on his own statement, to
argue that documents were forged, that witnesses – even his
own witnesses – were wrong and were misrepresenting the
truth, that the records were false, and that the wording in
official documents was incorrect. That is what he has had to
say in the face of what he himself calls “one of the most
terrible crimes in the history of mankind.” The barricade of
paper and lies which he tried to construct diligently and
pedantically in order to cast off any responsibility, so as
not to see, feel or hear, is typical of the Nazi image. And
we cannot escape the question that has confronted this court
from the opening days: Of what material were these men
moulded – they whose work this was, who committed these
deeds, and that this was the existence they created, and
thus they defend themselves when their day of judgment

Counsel for the Defence has spoken of two worlds confronting
each other: The depths of suffering and the heights of
power. The world of the Caesars – so he said – does not know
tears. Correct. Tears are only known to a person who has a
human heart within – only he is capable of being shocked by
the sufferings of others. He who possesses a heart of stone
is neither shocked nor horrified even when a dreadful
procession of deeds wrought by him passes before his eyes
for a period of two months, but when facing judgment he is
capable of a tortuous struggle based on falsehoods and
evasions – for after all the Leader himself declared that a
lie should be repeated so many times until others would also
begin to believe that it was true. Yes, indeed, two worlds
stand here, confronting each other; however, the world of
the dictator is not on the lofty heights but in the vile
depths of hatred, while it is the world of the victim which
brought to all inhabitants of the earth the message of the
law given on Mount Sinai and the supreme injunction: “Thou
shalt not kill!”

Thus has Israel stood, from those times, facing the bearers
of hatred, vengeance and arrogance. Thus stood the fathers
and thus will stand the sons.

“And the Philistine said unto David: Come to me and I
shall give thy flesh to the birds of the air and to the
beasts of the field. And David said to the Philistine:
Thou cometh to me with a sword and a spear and a
javelin, while I come to thee in the name of the Lord
of Hosts, the God of the battlefields of Israel whom
thou hast abused.”

These are the worlds, Your Honours, and this is the scene.

The righteous Dr. Grueber conveyed to us the definition of
the mercenary soldier, the “Landsknecht,” who divests
himself of all conscience when wearing uniform, who – from
that moment – remains completely indifferent to the
sufferings of others, even those caused by himself, who
rejects any plea, who is not even prepared to listen to an
entreaty to alleviate the tortures somewhat.

Adolf Eichmann was cold and obdurate even towards the noble
member of his own people, and Dr. Grueber, when speaking to
him saw before him – as he said here – a gaping chasm of
hatred. Once, in a rare moment, when this man stood before
him, tired, weary and exhausted, begging for the life of a
Jew, Eichmann, on this occasion, for once gave expression to
his inner thoughts. And what did he say at that time? “Dr.
Grueber, what do you want all this activity for? The Jews
will never be grateful to you for it.”

Where, Your Honours, were the wells of poison from which
these men drew the strength to trample upon human beings
like vermin, to tear a baby to pieces with their hands like
a worn-out rag, to be engaged for five years and more in
dispatching millions to their deaths? It is horrifying to
come to the conclusion that for one who embarks upon this
journey there is, so it seems, no longer a way back to human
values, for this doctrine of falsehood destroys the human
heart and converts it into a block of ice and marble, who
crouches over documents, decrees, orders and proclamations.
It is to these to which the Accused and his like endeavour
to cling when the arm of the law reaches them. Truth and
falsehood do not have any of their usual meaning in what
such men will say. The truth is that which serves their
purpose; a falsehood is that which stands in their way. This
is the road to perversion of the Nazi – from the beginning
to end. If they experience a regret in their hearts – it is
because of the fact that the abominable task was not
completed; if they are anguished – it is because the methods
they employed were not sufficiently effective in order to
accomplish the objective fully.

After this poison has penetrated the soul, and after the
subject has divested himself of his human obligation to
consider moral values, and to test his path by the dictates
of conscience, the ground has already been prepared for the
process which is called “the Final Solution.” For there is
no more moral restraint, no more halting before crime, but
the reverse: There comes the enthusiasm and the craving to
carry out the evil design faithfully. The camp that raised
Hitler to power believed in the creed of hatred towards
anyone who stood in its way. This was not a mass hypnosis,
or any other psychotic phenomenon, by which a man is trapped
and no longer able to free himself. It was a voluntary,
informed and conscious way of acting on the part of a gang
of criminals, whose rise to authority was also meticulously
and clearly planned. This foul wave raised into highly-
placed positions, and to posts wielding enormous power, men
who saw in Nazism an opportunity for a career, for a share
in government, for good emoluments, for convenient living
conditions, and who accordingly were ready to co-operate
with any vile conspiracy. Their hatred knew no geographical,
social or family boundaries. Envy and fanaticism were in
their hearts, envy of the possessions of others, lusting
after foreign lands, of property not theirs. Their fanatic
faith made them burn spiritual treasures, in public, and at
home to seize the New Testament from a woman’s hands,
tearing the book to pieces.

How did this satanic wave of evil and murder well up like a

Why did Adolf Eichmann leave Austria, where he grew up and
received his education and became drawn to Nazi Germany?
What attracted him, the Austro-Nazi to the false image of
this doctrine? What prompted him to join their service and
to execute on their behalf one of the most debasing and
revolting tasks which they performed? And how, indeed, does
a human being bring himself to act, as those men acted? It
would seem that when a dictator, ridden by hatred, the
ground prepared for his leadership in the soul of the
nation, can lead it whichever way he desires, even to the
depths of Hell. On this topic, too, we heard from Dr.
Grueber about fiendishness becoming even worse, men becomimg
even more deeply enslaved, about the road from which all
those who tread it would never return. This was the regime
that created the “bicycle-riders,” those who trampled and
kicked those under them and who cowered down to their
superiors – stepping on and crushing anyone beneath them,
and displaying discipline to their superior with eager joy
and clicking of their heels, whatever his orders might be.

But there was something more than that: an absolute
rejection of the principles of morality, or of what they
termed the “bourgeois morality,” in order to achieve the
supreme objective. For this purpose, everything was
permissible – lying, deceit, violence and murder. But in
their own eyes, and in the eyes of their associates, they
continued to be decent people, useful to society. Not only
were they not troubled by any pangs of conscience, but they
even regarded themselves as demi-gods capable of carrying
out all these terrible decrees.

A person whose heart is ready to absorb such hatred, will be
attracted to it even from far away. Whoever was ready to
follow the leadership of Hitler – and it should not be
forgotten that he was elected to the Reichstag for the first
time, by about 40 per cent of the electors – and gave his
consent, either wholeheartedly or with some hesitation to
that which was perpetrated afterwards throughout the whole
of Europe.

Adolf Eichmann said in his Statement made in Israel that he
should be allowed to hang himself in public, as a warning
to future generations. But such an idea did not bother him
when dealing with Jewish affairs in the Gestapo, or when
writing about the solution of the Jewish Question in 1941,
or when dictating to Sassen in 1957 about the glory of his
greatness, and his achievements during the War. At that time
he did not give expression to such thoughts – so he stated
before you.

It is, therefore, patent, that his statement was empty lip-
service, devoid of any meaning. Eichmann was never ready to
stand trial for his deeds and to bear punishment for what he
had perpetrated, and therefore he fled and lived in hiding
under an assumed name.

“From time to time I used to return to my old ways,” he told
us when we confronted him with the Sassen Document “and on
such occasions I uttered the nationalistic slogans in
Argentina also.” Return to his old ways – to what? That is
to say: Twelve years after the defeat, when he no longer
stood in awe of his oath, or of a Leader, or of orders or a
regime, he again believed in the doctrine of murder and race-
hatred. And when his tongue became loosened, he expressed
his regrets at the fact that the Jewish People still

Now when the time has come to judge Adolf Eichmann, I shall
try to tie up, one by one, the central testimonies
describing the crimes, and to link them to the beginning of
this trial – to the indictment and to my opening address.

The summing-up will be divided into an oral statement, which
will include the principal arguments concerning the legal
significance of the evidence produced, in connection with
the charges that have been brought against Eichmann, and a
written section – prepared by my colleagues – which will
follow the course of my opening address, and indicate the
documents and evidence that have been presented in proof of
what was stated there. Furthermore, we shall also submit to
you, in writing, some further notes, linking up the evidence
with the various counts. I am afraid that there will still
remain many items of evidence and documents which will not
be referred to in the summing-up – neither in writing nor
orally. But I feel certain that the Court will consider
those as well.

The Accused does not deny the fact that the Holocaust took
place, nor that this unprecedented harrowing crime was
indeed perpetrated; that millions were murdered, starved,
reduced to servitude, kept under inhuman living conditions –
that all this happened. These things were horrible and awful
– this he acknowledges. And he has no question to ask, or
any criticism to make, regarding any of the witnesses to the
Holocaust who described a small part of the Catastrophe.
Everything that was related concerning the ghettos, the
atrocities, the villainy, the viciousness, the murder in the
camps, the plunder, the killing of babies and children – all
these he does not question, nor take objection to. But he
maintains that he was not the one responsible for them, and
that he was not implicated in them. Others shed the blood:
Hitler, Himmler, Heydrich, Kaltenbrunner, Mueller, Pohl,
Hoess. Not he.

I shall not refer again in detail to the evidence brought
here in proof of this terrible national calamity that
overtook Jewry, or to the events and the atrocities of that
hell which descended upon Europe, where the victims were not
even allowed to weep. You will recall, Your Honours, the
question asked by that Jewish child when it saw the
partisans, led by Abba Kovner, coming to liberate it after
months of concealment in a dark bunker: “Mother,” it asked,
“are we allowed to cry already?” For in the Nazi inferno, as
distinct from that of Dante – it was forbidden to sigh – it
was forbidden to shed a tear.

Your Honours, I shall not take you again through the valley
of the shadow of death which has been depicted here by
dozens of witnesses, since these matters are engraved in the
mind, and no one who has heard them will ever forget. I want
to deal now with the extent of the awful design, with the
conspiracy that was entered into for the extermination of
Jewry, with the role part played by Adolf Eichmann in that
criminal conspiracy, in which thousands and tens of
thousands were partners – with the SS taking the central
part – and with the various acts with which he promoted,
aided, organized and initiated the execution of the crime.
It was Adolf Eichmann’s contention that he occupied a humble
place in an inconspicuous corner of this conspiracy; that he
fulfilled a technical function of secondary importance, in
drawing up the timetables for moving the trains. In our
view, he occupied the very pivotal point in this huge
slaughter-house. He was in charge of the practical
implementation of these atrocious crimes in all the sectors.

The conspiracy to exterminate Jewry did not emerge
overnight, nor was it implemented overnight. It took on
three different forms. At first there was the slogan: “Let
us throw the Jews out of Germany;” this developed into the
slogan: “Let us pack them into Poland and prepare them for
the Final Solution; at any rate, let us throw them out of
Europe.” And, lastly, it changed into its final form: “Let
us cast them into the gas chambers and into the furnaces.”
In all these three stages, Eichmann performed an executive
function of the first order, and he had a hand in all these
crimes which are defined in the indictment as crimes against
the Jewish People, crimes against humanity, and war crimes.

Last-Modified: 1999/06/14