Adolf Eichmann on trial in Jerusalem. (GPO) (GPO)
Eichmann trial

On International Holocaust Remembrance Day, Israel revealed a recently discovered historical tidbit that sheds further light on the former Nazi’s efforts to escape responsibility for his heinous crimes.  

Israel’s president displayed for the first time a recently discovered pardon plea submitted by Nazi mastermind Adolf Eichmann shortly before his execution.

Marking International Holocaust Remembrance Day, President Reuven Rivlin presented the document Wednesday detailing Eichmann’s 1962 request for a pardon from then Israeli President Yitzhak Ben-Zvi.

Eichmann was convicted of war crimes and crimes against humanity in 1961.

In the handwritten request, Eichmann claims he was not high-ranking enough to order the mass murder of Jews and was merely following orders.

“The judges made a critical mistake when assessing my personality, because they cannot place themselves in the time and situation I was in during the war years,” Eichmann wrote. “It is untrue that I was such an important person that I could oversee, or would independently oversee, the persecution of the Jews.”

Ben-Zvi rejected the request in a concise letter, saying he found no justification for giving Eichmann a pardon or mitigating the punishment.

Eichmann was hanged three days later, the only time to date Israel has carried out a death sentence.

Eichmann was in charge of implementing Adolf Hitler’s “Final Solution,” the plan to exterminate the Jews of Europe. Six million Jews were killed by the Nazis and their collaborators during World War II.

The Eichmann trial and the surrounding media coverage sparked renewed interest in wartime events, and the resulting increase in publication of memoirs and scholarly works helped raise public awareness of the Holocaust. It received widespread coverage by the press in Germany.

In Israel, the testimony of witnesses at the trial led to a deeper understanding of the impact of the Holocaust on survivors, especially among younger citizens who had never suffered state-sponsored oppression.

By: AP and United with Israel Staff

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