Saturday, April 9, 2011

by Deborah E. Lipstadt

It was the trial of the century. All over the world, newspapers printed the event on their front pages. In May 1960, Adolph Eichmann was captured by the Mossad in Argentina and brought to Israel to be tried. When Prime Minister David Ben-Gurion announced this news to members of the Knesset, there was, at first, stunned silence and then joyful celebration.
Professor Deborah E. Lipstadt, a renowned Holocaust historian (she was sued for libel by Holocaust denier David Irving), writes about how Eichmann was discovered in the first place, how he was kidnapped and debunks Simon Wiesenthal's claims that he was the one responsible for helping in his capture.
In Lipstadt's analysis, she writes about the arguements over what country the trial should take place in, whether survivors should testify, the languages that were spoken, the attorneys for the prosecution and the defense, the judges (three of them) who would make their own decisions, and Eichmann, himself, who came across as ordinary looking.
Hannah Arendt would write articles for the New Yorker and the critics' responses were all over the place: magnificent, outstanding, claptrap, half-truths, brilliant, inaccurate, etc. She almost caused more controversy than the trial itself.
Though a small book, The Eichmann Trial is steeped in facts and evidence. Lipstadt clarifies and examines all that went on during this tumultuous time.
An important read of a horrendous time in history that must not be forgotten.