Eichmann In Jerusalem
Eichmann in Jerusalem
When the Israelis caught Adolph Eichmann, they believed that he was evil incarnate. After all, he had been in charge of transporting the Jews of Europe to the final solution. Israel wanted to remind the world that the Jews of Europe had borne the brunt of Nazi genocide. He turned out to be a real disappointment. This vilified figure was not a seething caldron of anti-Semitism, but rather he was the consummate bureaucrat concerned with the details of transportation.
Despite Israel?s claims that Eichmann would receive a fair trial, there remained significant legal problems. First and foremost was the reality that this former SS officer had been kidnapped from Argentina. This was a clear violation of international law.
Legally, neither the charge of crimes against humanity nor the state of Israel exited prior to the Nazi genocide. Therefore the entire proceeding was ex post facto. Arendt was able to dismiss this charge by appealing to a higher sense of justice. Additionally, the Nuremburg tribunals were also ex post facto.
The attorney for Eichmann protested that his client could not receive a fair trial in a Jewish state on charges of crimes against the Jewish people. The court and Ms. Arendt both argued that justice required a trial and in the post-Nuremburg world it was not unusual for a trial to take place in an ethnic homeland.
Eichmann was found guilty of crimes against the Jewish people and sentenced to death. His execution was a carried out a few years later. Israel and the world community learned important lessons from the trial. Israel found that it was difficult to tweak the world conscience for the length of a complicated trial. World interest peaked and at the end of the proceedings viewer ratings were down. The world learned that evil comes in many faces. That a banal pre-occupation with details can produce as much evil as pumped emotions.