Eichmann in Jerusalem

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budward
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Eichmann in Jerusalem

Post by budward » 17 Jul 2003 23:40

Accepting that Eichmann was as evil, guilty and as deserving of what happened to him as he was adjudged to be, I pose the following: Was it nonetheless wrongful for him to have been executed for his crimes given the extra- or even anti-legal means (i.e. kidnapping, violating the sovereignty of a legitimate and recognized nation) used to bring him to justice?

Yes, because lawless means to bring about even clear justice cannot justify the doing of justice;

No, because the crimes of the regime, of which Eichmann was both a symbol and a participant, transcended at least at the time the conceptual ability of the law to address; thus, received notions of lawlessness don't apply to the means used to bring him to justice.

Perhaps this is a longwinded way of asking whether the ends justify the means in relation to the execution of Eichmann.

I see merit both ways and invite your views.

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Re: Eichmann in Jerusalem

Post by Xanthro » 18 Jul 2003 00:12

budward wrote:Accepting that Eichmann was as evil, guilty and as deserving of what happened to him as he was adjudged to be, I pose the following: Was it nonetheless wrongful for him to have been executed for his crimes given the extra- or even anti-legal means (i.e. kidnapping, violating the sovereignty of a legitimate and recognized nation) used to bring him to justice?

Yes, because lawless means to bring about even clear justice cannot justify the doing of justice;

No, because the crimes of the regime, of which Eichmann was both a symbol and a participant, transcended at least at the time the conceptual ability of the law to address; thus, received notions of lawlessness don't apply to the means used to bring him to justice.

Perhaps this is a longwinded way of asking whether the ends justify the means in relation to the execution of Eichmann.

I see merit both ways and invite your views.
Normally Jurisdiction for a crime falls under two categories Territorial or Citizenship.

Territorial means the crime happened in territory under your control.

Citizenship means it happens to one of your citizens.

Isreal claimed jurisdiction based on the latter, arguing that because many of the surviving victims of Eichmann moved to Isreal, Isreal has jurisdiction to try crimes that were perpetuated against its citizens.

I do not have a problem with jurisdiction issues in his case. No in the manner he was apprehended. Quite often extra judical means are used to seize a wanted criminal.

Xanthro

michael mills
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Post by michael mills » 18 Jul 2003 00:49

The main fault of the trial of Eichmann was well expressed by Hannah Arendt in her book "Eichmann in Jerusalem".

She wrote that Eichmann was tried and convicted not so much for what he himself had done, but for what had been done to the Jewish people. In other words, the trial was an indictment of the entire process of destruction that had been inflicted on the Jews, with Eichmann being made the symbol of that process and held responsible for it on the basis of some rather dodgy evidence.

The nature of the trial is demonstrated by the fact that, while close to 100 witnesses were called to give evidence, only a handful had had any dealings with Eichmann and could report of his actions; the remainder only told of what had happened to them at camps etc, without being able to demonstrate any involvement by Eichmann. Most of the witnesses had never even heard of Eichmann during the war.

By contrast, certain Jewish witnesses who had had dealings with Eichmann, particularly in Hungary, were excluded from giving evidence, apparently because it was feared that their accounts would be embarassing to the Zionist establishment, ie it would reveal the extent to which Leftist Zionist leaders had collaborated in the deportations.

Eichmann himself always claimed to be a very small cog in a large machine, responsible only for organising the transportation of Jews to destinations that had been prescribed to him by his superiors. That claim was pooh-poohed by the prosecution at his trial, and has generally been ignored in popular history. However, more recently examined contemporary German documents tend to bear out Eichmann's claim.

For example, the recent book "Das Letzte Kapitel", by the German leftist historians Goetz Aly and Christian Gerlach, dealing with the 1944 deportation of the Hungarian Jews, contains a quote from one very interesting document, a report from the German Embassy in Budapest to the German Department of External Affairs, dated 2 August 1944. On page 127 of their book, Aly and Gerlach write, in relation to the role of SS-Standartenfuehrer Hans Geschke, the Commander of the Security Police and SD in Hungary:


Geschkes Einfluss auf die Judenverfolgung ist schwer fassbar, fuer seine Aktivitaeten in dieser Hinsicht liegen kaum Quellen vor. Doch beanspruchte er offenbar diesbezuegliche Kompetenzen. Nachdem deutsche Begleitmannschaften juedische Deportierte aus Ungarn auf einem belebten slowakischen Bahnhof erschossen hatten, was starkes Aufsehen erregte, meldete die Gesandschaft in Budapest naemlich: "Die Angelegenheit ist vom Befehlshaber der Sicherheitspolizei und des SD in Ungarn - das Sondereinsatzkommando des SS-Obersturmbannfuehrers Eichmann ist ausschliesslich fuer die techische Durchfuehrung der Judentransporte zustaendig - untersucht worden [....]".

My translation:

Geschke's influence on the persecution of the Jews is difficult to get a grip on, there are hardly any sources for his activities in this respect. Nevertheless he obviously claimed competencies in that area. After German escorts had shot Jewish deportees from Hungary at a crowded Slovakian railway station, which caused great excitement, the embassy in Budapest reported: "the affair has been examined by the Commander of the Security POlice and SD in Hungary - the Special Action Commando of SS-Obersturmbannfuehrer Eichmann is solely responsible for the technical implementation of the transports of Jews......".
Thus, a contemporary German document shows that Eichmann was telling the truth about the limited nature of his responsibility.

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Post by Xanthro » 18 Jul 2003 00:57

Eichmann himself always claimed to be a very small cog in a large machine, responsible only for organising the transportation of Jews to destinations that had been prescribed to him by his superiors.
Even if such were completely true and verifiable, it's more than enough to warrant a death sentence.

There's no defense in stating, "I only made the operation as efficient as I could"

Without Eichmann's dedication to detail, far fewer people would have been murdered.

Xanthro

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Post by michael mills » 18 Jul 2003 01:16

Xanthro wrote:
Without Eichmann's dedication to detail, far fewer people would have been murdered.
This is a highly questionable statement, with little to back it up.

The number of Jews killed was not primarily a function of Eichmann's ability to arrange their transport from Point A to Point B.

It was more a function of how many Jews were made available for deportation at Point A, and what treatment they received at Point B. The first of these factors was a result of negotiations between the German Government and the authorities at Point A, and/or the activities of German occupation authorites, ie the Wehrmacht and Security Police commanders and the diplomatic staff and civilian administrators.

The second factor was the responsibility of the Concentration Camp and ghetto administrations, whose decisions were determined largely by the need for Jewish slave labour at any given time.

Given that Eichmann's reponsibility extended only to those Jews whose transport he actually organised, ie the German Jews deported to Riga, Minsk and other destinations in the occupied Soviet Union, and the Jews from Western and South-Eastern Europe sent primarily to Auschwitz, what would have resulted in "far fewer murdered" would have been not Eichmann's efficiency in transporting them, but a greater willingness on the part of the camp and ghetto administrations to use the Jews for labour to the greatest possible extent rather than selecting large numbers for death since that was easier administratively.

Remember that, whether Eichmann sent 10,000 or 20,000 Jews from Point A to Point B, the number who died at Point B was determined by decisions made by the authorities at Point B.

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Post by Caldric » 18 Jul 2003 01:23

What about the thousands that died during the deportation??


Not that I believe for one second he is anything but guilty. This whole upper circle of commanders and politicians should be held responsible. He may have been a cog, however all the cogs of this powerful wheel should hold responsibility.

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Post by Xanthro » 18 Jul 2003 01:57

Michael Mills wrote:The number of Jews killed was not primarily a function of Eichmann's ability to arrange their transport from Point A to Point B.
It matter not a wit whether or not Eichmann's effieciency was the PRIMARY cause of Jewish deaths.

There is no threshold of the number of Jews that need be murdered to warrant a capital sentence.

The fact is that Eichmann was in a position of authority, a position that he readily admitted to performing to the best of his ability, an ability for which he was very efficient. This cause more Jews to die than would have been the case for someone who wasn't as efficient, or tried to reduce the speed at which Jews were delieverd to death camps.

Michael Mills wrote:It was more a function of how many Jews were made available for deportation at Point A, and what treatment they received at Point B. The first of these factors was a result of negotiations between the German Government and the authorities at Point A, and/or the activities of German occupation authorites, ie the Wehrmacht and Security Police commanders and the diplomatic staff and civilian administrators.
Part of Eichmann's job was the negotiator for the German goverment on Jewish transport.

Had fewer Jews reached point B, fewer Jews would have died. Eichmann did everything in his power to ensure that as many Jews reach point B as possible, and that they did so in the much effiecent manner possible. The man deserved what he got.

Xanthro

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Post by David Thompson » 18 Jul 2003 02:36

Eichmann knew that there was a plan to murder those people, and knowing that, willingly assisted in the murders by transporting the victims to the killing grounds. In Anglo-Saxon law, an accomplice to murder is as guilty as the murderer himself.

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Post by michael mills » 18 Jul 2003 03:17

David Thompson wrote:
Eichmann knew that there was a plan to murder those people, and knowing that, willingly assisted in the murders by transporting the victims to the killing grounds. In Anglo-Saxon law, an accomplice to murder is as guilty as the murderer himself.
In fact, Eichmann himself acknowledged himself to be guilty as an accomplice (Beihilfe zum Mord).

What he objected to was the accusation of having been a prime mover in the decision to carry out mass-killing. His position was that the extermination decision had been taken by others without his input, and that thereby the program of deportations for which he had been responsible became part of an extermination process, which it had not originally been.

Eichmann had been organising deportations since late 1939, and at first they had been genuine resettlements. Even the first group of Jews whose deportation to Auschwitz he organised, those from Slovakia in march 1942, were not killed but were registered in the camp.

Eichmann's position was that since 1939 he had been organising transports of people from one place to another, mostly Jews but not exclusively so. He claimed that at a certain point, officers superior to him had come to a decision to carry out selections at the destinations to which he was sending Jews, and to kill those unfit for work. That decision was not made by Eichmann, and he had no influence over it; if it had not been made, then the Jews deported by Eichmann would not have been killed on their arrival, as was the case up until about the middle of 1942.

What Eichmann considered unfair was to blame him for the decision to kill, although he freely acknowledged that for him to continue with his program of deportations, even after he had been informed that a proprtion of those he was deporting were being killed at their dcestinations, made him an accessory to murder.

Whether being an accessory to murder warrants the same punishment as that for those who plan or perpetrate a murder is a matter for legal experts to determine. However, the crucial point is that Eichmann was not convicted and sentenced for being an accomplice to murder, but rather for having been the architect and implementer of the whole extermination process, which is historically false. He was also adjudged responsible for the exterminations carried out in the Soviet Union and in the Generalgouvernment, which is likewise historically false.
Thus, Musmanno called his book about the Einsatzgruppen "The Eichmann Commandos", which is a falsification of history.

My concern is the distortion of history involved in holding Eichmann responsible for things that he did not do, rather than the punishment he merited for what he did do.

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Post by Scott Smith » 18 Jul 2003 03:37

michael mills wrote:My concern is the distortion of history involved in holding Eichmann responsible for things that he did not do, rather than the punishment he merited for what he did do.
Which was exactly the case in witchcraft trials of the Middle Ages. Satan is bad; witcraft is bad; the accused, therefore, must be guilty. God's people (and especially the innocents) must be protected from harm. Even the accused learn to play out their role and beg for punishment.
:)

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Eichmann

Post by PHILDHB » 26 Jul 2003 22:40

After writing his autobiography, Rudolf Höss the convicted commandant of Auschwitz-Birkenau was asked to write thumbnail sketches of all the higher SS leaders that he came into contact with on a regular basis. These can be found at the end of `Death Dealer`. One of these profiles is about Eichmann, With whom apparently he was quite well aquainted. According to Höss, Eichmann visited Auschwitz on multiple occasions on business matters, so it is hard to believe that he was not very well aware of the consequences of his actions supervising the `transports`. One has to read the whole piece but here are two quotes from Höss.
(1) `Eichmann was firmly convinced that if it were possible to destroy the biological foundation of Judaism by the process of total extermination, Judaism would never survive the blow`.
(2) `I had to fight for each transport train that I wished to delay. Most of the time I lost, in fact he often surorised me with unplanned transports. He just used every means means to carry out the Final Solution of the Jews as quickly as possible`.
There are many opinions about the veracity of Höss`s book, but pretty damning evidence all the same.
Phil B.

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Eichmann book

Post by RACPISA » 27 Jul 2003 01:25

I'm going to be reading Hannah Arendt's book about the Eichmann trial because I heard it was a really good reference about the subject. Has anyone else read it?

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Re: Eichmann book

Post by chalutzim » 28 Jul 2003 14:20

RACPISA wrote:I'm going to be reading Hannah Arendt's book about the Eichmann trial because I heard it was a really good reference about the subject. Has anyone else read it?
It's excellent! A critical and impartial approach to the subject. But it would be good to keep in mind that some of the information available to her at the time today was corrected or improved by real revisionist historians, like Christopher Browning. :)

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Post by General Hoth » 29 Jul 2003 16:20

The Jerusalem trial was a joke. A cynical PR exercise for Israel and nothing more. The whole thing was insulting.

Yes Eichmann was guilty. So when the Mossad knew where he was, they should have just eliminated him. Less hypocritical than the trial and perhaps even more legal.

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Post by Tarpon27 » 30 Jul 2003 04:37

Michael Mills wrote:
What he objected to was the accusation of having been a prime mover in the decision to carry out mass-killing. His position was that the extermination decision had been taken by others without his input, and that thereby the program of deportations for which he had been responsible became part of an extermination process, which it had not originally been.
In more basic terms, "I was following orders, orders that were implemented without my input, and therefore I am guilty of only following orders."
What Eichmann considered unfair was to blame him for the decision to kill, although he freely acknowledged that for him to continue with his program of deportations, even after he had been informed that a proprtion of those he was deporting were being killed at their dcestinations, made him an accessory to murder.

Whether being an accessory to murder warrants the same punishment as that for those who plan or perpetrate a murder is a matter for legal experts to determine.
I assume you would object, then to Nuremberg as the concept of innocence per following orders is not a justifiable defense, and the findings of US criminal courts, per "accessory to murder" as carrying, in cases, judgments as severe as the actual killer(s).

However, the crucial point is that Eichmann was not convicted and sentenced for being an accomplice to murder, but rather for having been the architect and implementer of the whole extermination process, which is historically false. He was also adjudged responsible for the exterminations carried out in the Soviet Union and in the Generalgouvernment, which is likewise historically false.
Points well taken but then again my own limited perception never made me feel that Eichmann was the architect of the Final Solution.

Eichmann was at Wannasee. Testified on it. Was certainly aware of the ramifications of it.

I guess I had best review the judgment of the Eichmann trial.

Regards,

Mark

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