Session 121-01, Eichmann Adolf

Session No 121
8 Tevet 5722 (15 December 1961)

Presiding Judge: I declare the one hundred and twenty-first
Session of the trial open. The Court will pronounce its

The Accused will rise.

Now that we have reached the end of the long proceedings in
this trial, we must pass sentence on the Accused.

The Attorney General has asked that the death sentence be
passed on the Accused, and his first argument was that this
is the punishment which the Court must pass under the law on
any person found guilty of crimes under Section 1 of the
Nazis and Nazi Collaborators (Punishment) Law 5710-1950, and
consequently the Court has no discretion in respect of the
punishment to be imposed.

We are of the opinion that this was indeed the legal
position when the Law in question was enacted, for the
reasons given by the Tel Aviv District Court in the Ingster
case.*{* District Judgments, 152, 178} However, it appears
that a change occurred in this matter following the
enactment of the Law Amending the Penal Laws (Methods of
Punishment) 5714-1954. According to Section 1 of that Law,
the punishment provided by law is a maximum penalty, and
according to Section 43 the provisions of that law apply
both to offences under the Criminal Law Ordinance 1936, and
to offences under any other law, i.e. also to offences under
the Law in question.

Furthermore, Section 40(1) of the Methods of Punishment Law
also revoked the last part of Section 42(1) end of the
Criminal Law Ordinance 1936 which provided that capital
punishment was a mandatory penalty, and did not replace it
by a similar provision.

The only doubt that we still have about this matter arises
under the provisions of Section 11 end of the Law in
question, which cannot readily be reconciled with the
version according to which capital punishment ceased to be a
mandatory penalty under the Law in question. But this doubt
is not such as to tip the scales towards the stricter
interpretation, and consequently we started from the
assumption that it is within our discretion to determine the
penalty in this case.

After considering the appropriate sentence for the Accused
with a deep feeling of the burden of responsibility borne by
us, we reached the conclusion that in order to punish the
Accused and deter others, the maximum penalty laid down in
the law must be imposed on him. In the Judgment we described
the crimes in which the Accused took part. They are of
unparalleled horror in their nature and their scope. The
objective of the crimes against the Jewish People of which
the Accused was found guilty was to obliterate an entire
people from the face of the earth. In this respect they
differ from criminal acts perpetrated against persons as
individuals. It may be said that such comprehensive crimes,
as well as crimes against humanity which are directed
against a group of persons as such, are even more heinous
than the sum total of the criminal acts against individuals
of which they consist.

But at the stage of passing sentence consideration must
also, and perhaps primarily, be given to the injury
inflicted on the victims as individuals, which was implicit
in these crimes, and the immeasurable anguish which they and
their families suffered and still suffer to this very day
because of these crimes. For the despatch of each train by
the Accused to Auschwitz, or to any other extermination
site, carrying one thousand human beings, meant that the
Accused was a direct accomplice in a thousand premeditated
acts of murder, and the degree of his legal and moral
responsibility for these acts of murder is not one iota less
than the responsibility of the person who with his own hands
pushed these human beings into the gas chambers.

Even if we had found that the Accused acted out of blind
obedience, as he argued, we would still have said that a man
who took part in crimes of such magnitude as these over
years must pay the maximum penalty known to the law, and he
cannot rely on any order even in mitigation of his
punishment. But we have found that the Accused acted out of
an inner identification with the orders that he was given
and out of a fierce will to achieve the criminal objective,
and in our opinion, it is irrelevant even for the purpose of
imposing a punishment for such terrible crimes, how this
identification and this will came about, and whether they
were the outcome of the education which the Accused received
under the regime which raised him, as his Counsel argues.

This Court sentences Adolf Eichmann to death, for the crimes
against the Jewish People, the crimes against humanity and
the war crimes of which he has been found guilty. We shall
not impose a penalty on him for membership of a hostile
organization, of which he was found guilty (see the Criminal
Procedure (Trial Upon Information) Ordinance Section 30(2)),
last part, and Crim. App. 132/57, 11 Piskei Din, 1544,

This is the Sentence. You are entitled to appeal against the
Judgment and the Sentence, and if you wish to do so, you
must submit the Statement of Appeal to the office of this
Court within ten days from today and the grounds of appeal
within fifteen days from today.

Dr. Servatius, if you consider that this period of time is
not sufficient to prepare the appeal, I would direct your
attention to the fact that there are Regulations of the year
5719-1959 which permit an application to the President of
the Supreme Court or his Permanent Deputy, with a request to
extend the time for submitting the appeal and the grounds of
appeal. This is within the discretion of the President of
the Supreme Court or his Permanent Deputy, as provided in
those Regulations.

Dr. Servatius: I thank you for your guidance, and I shall
consider how to proceed.

[The Session closed at 9:29 a.m.]

Last-Modified: 1999/06/14