The Eichmann Trial by Deborah Lipstadt *** (of 4)
In 2001 Deborah Lipstadt was brought to trial in Britain for libeling by David Irving in Britain after she described him as a Holocaust denier. Sitting on the witness defending the experiences of victims and survivors, Deborah Lipstadt recognized the parallels to the last great Holocaust trial. Nearly 40 years earlier Adolph Eichmann stood inside a glass booth in an Israeli courtroom and insisted his actions were neither criminal nor anti-Semitic. The Eichmann Trial is an excellent follow-up to Hunting Eichmann as Lipstadt places the trial in historical and global context. Only 15 years after the end of WWII, Israeli prosecutors called a string of survivors to the witness stand. The world’s reporters relayed the stories of individual suffering not abstract millions. Jews the world over, Israelis, and gentiles were forced to ask themselves if they had been Germans would they have had the courage to risk their lives to save others. If they had been European Jews would they have tried to preserve their own lives and the lives of their loved ones, no matter how slim the chances, by acquiescing, or would they have fought their captors, in an act of certain suicide. This book dissects the question of what makes a fair trail in a situation like this? It asks us to think about who we can judge — Eichmann, modern-day deniers — and maybe who we cannot, i.e., those Jews that worked for Germans to rule other Jews rather than defy Germans and die. It’s a short book, more like a long academic essay that is packed with wrenching ethical questions.
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