The Nizkor Project: Remembering the Holocaust (Shoah)

The Trial of Adolf Eichmann
Forword to Volume One

Holocaust, Adolf Eichmann, Eichmann trial, holocaust, Jewish holocaust
Some thirty years have passed since Adolf Eichmann was put on trial before the District Court of Jerusalem and since the appeal against his conviction before the Supreme Court of Israel. But it is only now that it has become possible to publish in English the record of the proceedings before the trial Court, the judgments of that Court and of the appeal in the Supreme Court.

It is our belief that in spite of this long delay, the publication of these proceedings has lost none of its importance. In fact, it acquires special meaning at the present time when tendencies of so-called "historical revisionism" have become rife in many countries, with their denial of the very occurrence, or at least the extent, of the catastrophe which the National Socialist regime in Germany brought upon the Jewish people.

In an introductory passage to its judgment, the District Court pointed out that the Holocaust of European Jewry had already been dealt with by the International Military Tribunal at Nuremberg in its judgment at the trial of the Major War Criminals, and also in several subsequent trials. However, in the trial of Adolf Eichmann the persecution and mass murder of Jews in countries under German occupation were central to the proceedings. The Court emphasized that in spite of the manifold grave questions raised by the Holocaust, it remained its duty not to stray into areas outside its criminal proceedure. Yet - the judges states - they did not lose sight of the moral and educational value implicit in the conduct of the trial, both for the citizens of Israel and for the world in general. Thus, "the evidence at this trial of survivors of the Holocaust who poured out their hearts on the witness stand, will certainly provide valuable material for the research worker and the historian."

During the course of the trial the proceedings were recorded in Hebrew in shorthand and also mechanically. Evidence given in other languages was translated simultaneously. At the end of each day a transcript of the proceedings was published in Hebrew, English, French and Yiddish. For the present publication, the translation of the record of pro-

ceedings has been fully revised and whenever necessary has been compared with the transcript in the original language in which the evidence was given and also with the tape recording. The translation of the judgments of the District Court and the Supreme Court is based on the official version which was published together with the original text of the judgments.

The entire project of publication has been co-ordinated by Dr. Daniel Fraenkel of the Israel State Archives. The team of translators who took part in this onerous task was led by Sam Levin, Ruth Morris, Hava Hareli and Mordechai Shalev. The major part of the transcript was typed by Esther Herskovics, who also read the proofs. A final comprehensive revision of the manuscript was done by Shlomo Ketko, who was also responsible for the production of the volumes in the press. All of them are to be highly commended for their labours.

This first volume contains the record of the proceedings in the District Court up to and including the thirtieth session. The following volumes will complete the record of the trial and will contain the testimonies taken outside Israel, the final addresses of the Prosecution and Counsel for the Defence and the judgments in both instances. There will also be a glossary of terms and an index. Further volumes will contain the statement given by Adolf Eichmann to the Israel police, as well as the main exhibits produced at the trial.

The publication of the proceedings of the Eichmann Trial has been undertaken by the Board of Directors of a Civil Trust constituted under Israeli law. The Directors of the Trust were Justice Moshe Landau, who acted as Chairman, the late Mr. Gideon Hausner, in his capacity as Chairman of the International Committee of Yad Vashem, Justice Gabriel Bach, and State Archivist Paul A. Alsberg, who also acted as Honorary Secretary. Dr. Josef Burg, the present Chairman of the International Committee of Yad Vashem, joined the Board of Directors after the death of Mr. Hausner.

Jerusalem, June 1992

[ Index | Next ] [an error occurred while processing this directive]