UNITED NATIONS – The UN marked the Holocaust on Thursday evening with the
opening of an exhibition on the 50th anniversary of the trial of Adolf Eichmann,
one of the key architects of the Final Solution.
Prominently displayed in
the UN’s visitor’s lobby, the exhibition documents the historic trial through
photographs, news clippings and works of art – from Eichmann’s capture by the
Mossad in Argentina in May 1960 to his execution in 1962.
Eichmann’s story, this exhibit sends a clear message to the international
community and to each visitor that passes through these halls,” said Ambassador
Ron Prosor, Israel’s representative to the United Nations. “As we learn what he
stood for, we understand what we must stand against... Eichmann’s trial did more
than expose the past, it taught the world a critical lesson for the
But perhaps that lesson has not yet been fully learned or
understood, warned Minister without Portfolio Yossi Peled, a Holocaust survivor
and retired general, with a not-so-veiled reference to Iranian president Mahmoud
“Every year, just a few meters from where we are sitting,
there is a president of a UN member state that stands on the podium of the
General Assembly and denies the Holocaust while his government threatens to
carry out another one.”
A 2005 UN resolution rejects any denial of the
Holocaust as an historical event and commends those states which have actively
engaged in the preservation of sites which served as Nazi death camps,
concentration camps, forced labor camps and prisons during the Holocaust. Two
years later, another resolution was passed urging all UN member states to reject
any denial of the Holocaust.
The UN has also designated 27 January – the
day Auschwitz was liberated in 1945 – as Holocaust Remembrance Day.
HAS been 50 years since the Eichmann trial in Jerusalem, but memories have not
faded. Tamar Hausner-Raveh, lawyer and daughter of Gideon Hausner, the trial’s
chief prosecutor, remembered when she was 14 years old, the day her father was
appointed to the case and Eichmann entered her life.
“My father shared
with us his doubts about whether he could represent the victims without being a
survivor himself,” she said. But he found the inner strength to do so, as
reflected in his opening remarks of the trial: “As I stand here before you,
judges of Israel, to lead the prosecution of Adolf Eichmann, I do not stand
With me, in this place and at this hour, stand six million
The trial was broadcast live, receiving extensive
international media attention, and was open to the public. Eileen Azif, a New
York exchange student studying at Hebrew University at the time, attended the
proceedings for several days.
“I clearly remember the image of this man
with headphones [for translation from Hebrew to German] sitting very still
behind a glass booth. He never moved a muscle,” she recalled.
Goldman was a member of Israeli Police Bureau 6, which was set up to prepare
witnesses for testimony.
“Eichmann never accepted blame or showed any
remorse for his acts, not during the investigation, not during the trial and not
before his death,” he said. “On the day of his execution, at which I was
present, he refused to confess.”
Adolf Eichmann was convicted on 15
criminal charges, including crimes against the Jewish people and humanity. He
was sentenced to death on June 1, 1962. His body was cremated and the ashes were
scattered at sea, beyond Israel’s territorial waters – very much like the
disposal of the remains of Osama bin Laden by the US in 2011 – in order to
prevent his burial place from becoming a memorial site. The execution of Adolf
Eichmann is the only time that Israel has enacted a death sentence.
Eichmann exhibition is one of several events being organized this week by the
Israeli Mission to the United Nations and the UN Holocaust program. On April 23,
there will be a roundtable discussion on the Eichmann trail with Minister Yossi
Peled, Nobel Laureate Elie Wiesel and Amos Hausner, an attorney and son of the
trial’s chief prosecutor Gideon Hausner.
The exhibition, With me are six
million accusers: The Eichmann Trial in Jerusalem, is curated by Yad Vashem. It
will be on view at the United Nations in New York through May 28, 2012.