Monday, February 11, 2013

February 11

The trial of Nazi mass-murderer Adolf Eichmann began on February 11th, 1961, in Jerusalem. He was charged with crimes against humanity and the Jewish people. He had become a Nazi early in Hitler’s rise, joining the SS (Schutzstaffel, or “Protection Squadron”) in Austria in 1932. He was assigned to the Dachau concentration camp near Munich, and by 1942 he masterminded the Holocaust as the meticulous "Transportation Administrator" for the “Final Solution,” overseeing rail transportation that took Jews and other groups to death camps in Poland. He boasted that his rail network’s efficiency had sent 5 million Jews to their deaths. Eichmann fled to Buenos Aires in 1947, where Israelis captured him in 1960. He was sentenced to death in late 1961 and hanged in 1962. Hannah Arendt’s book, Eichmann in Jerusalem, focused on “the banality of evil” evident in Eichmann’s plea, “I blindly obeyed my orders.”

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