Synopses & Reviews
***NATIONAL JEWISH BOOK AWARD FINALIST (2012)***
The capture of SS Lieutenant Colonel Adolf Eichmann by Israeli agents in Argentina in May of 1960 and his subsequent trial in Jerusalem by an Israeli court electrified the world. The public debate it sparked on where, how, and by whom Nazi war criminals should be brought to justice, and the international media coverage of the trial itself, was a watershed moment in how the civilized world in general and Holocaust survivors in particular found the means to deal with the legacy of genocide on a scale that had never been seen before.
Award-winning historian Deborah E. Lipstadt gives us an overview of the trial and analyzes the dramatic effect that the survivors’ courtroom testimony—which was itself not without controversy—had on a world that had until then regularly commemorated the Holocaust but never fully understood what the millions who died and the hundreds of thousands who managed to survive had actually experienced.
As the world continues to confront the ongoing reality of genocide and ponder the fate of those who survive it, this trial of the century, which has become a touchstone for judicial proceedings throughout the world, offers a legal, moral, and political framework for coming to terms with unfathomable evil. Lipstadt infuses a gripping narrative with historical perspective and contemporary urgency.
"For the Eichmann trial's 50th anniversary, Emory Holocaust studies professor Lipstadt (History on Trial: My Day in Court with David Irving) trains her gaze on this watershed event in Jewish history. Israeli attorney general Gideon Hausner, a commercial lawyer, lacked criminal or courtroom expertise, but Lipstadt contends that despite a couple of courtroom blunders, Hausner presented overwhelming incriminating evidence to prove that Eichmann's claim that he was just a low-level bureaucrat was a lie. Moreover, Hausner's decision to place victims' testimony center stage gave survivors an iconic authority. Lipstadt discounts critics who say Hausner failed to elicit an admission of guilt from Eichmann, believing it didn't matter because a confession from a brazen liar is worthless. In Eichmann's memoirs, contrary to claims made by Hannah Arendt, Lipstadt finds that he expresses himself as an inveterate Nazi and anti-Semite fully committed to his leaders' goals. Lipstadt also finds Arendt's famous New Yorker reportage on the trial disturbing because Arendt failed to reveal that she was absent for much of the trial, writing from transcripts that cannot convey subtleties of demeanor witnessed in court. This is a penetrating and authoritative dissection of a landmark case and its after effects. (Mar.)" Publishers Weekly (Copyright PWyxz LLC)
About the Author
Deborah E. Lipstadt is Dorot Professor of Modern Jewish History and Holocaust Studies at Emory University. She is the author of History on Trial: My Day in Court with David Irving (a National Jewish Book Award winner); Denying the Holocaust: The Growing Assault on Truth and Memory; and Beyond Belief: The American Press and the Coming of the Holocaust, 1933–1945. She lives in Atlanta.