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The Eichmann Trial

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The Eichmann Trial

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The Eichmann Trial
By Deborah E. Lipstadt
Nextbook - Shocken (2011)
ISBN: 978-0805242607

Reviewed by Simone Bonim - April 6, 2011

On April 11, 1961, the trial of Adolf Otto Eichmann began. A high-ranking Nazi and SS officer, Eichmann was charged with crimes against humanity, war crimes, and other charges. The largest charge levied against Eichmann was for the role he played in organizing the mass deportation of Jews to ghettos and extermination camps throughout Eastern Europe - crimes that occurred during World War II. One of the things that made this trial extraordinary is that Eichmann was tried in Israel, a country that did not even exist when the crimes occurred. After the war, Eichmann escaped justice by fleeing to Argentina, where he remained until 1960, when he was captured by Israeli Mossad and Shin Bet agents and returned to Israel for trial. After an emotional and detailed trial, Eichmann was found guilty, and sentenced to death and died by hanging on May 31, 1962.

In The Eichmann Trial, famed historian Deborah E. Lipstadt presents a concise and readable account of not only Eichmann's trail, but also the events leading up to the trail, and its aftermath. Lipstadt also looks at the current state of Holocaust studies and research, the ongoing problem with Holocaust deniers, the value (in legal cases) of the testimonies of Holocaust survivors, as well as the dialog engendered by the Eichmann trial itself - a dialog that is still ongoing today.

Considering the amount of information contained in this book, it is a surprisingly short book. Yet within its pages, Lipstadt does an outstanding job of describing and outlining the events surrounding the trial of Adolf Eichmann. Along the way she separates the myth from reality, and examines what the Eichmann trial, and that of other Nazi war criminals, means for the prosecution of war criminals today. This book will make you conversant with the event and its importance, and it will prepare you for further study into this pivotal moment in world history. While she had not included a bibliography, the book does include extensive endnotes, from which you can easily derive a list of titles for further reading.

The year 2011 marks the fiftieth anniversary of the Eichmann trial, making it an ideal time to read this engaging, albeit sometimes painful, book. Lipstadt's The Eichmann Trial is an important addition to the body of works related to the Eichmann trial, and the Holocaust. As such, it is ideal for use as a supplemental text in both high school and college courses dealing with the Holocaust, World War II, genocide studies, and international law.

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