Your email is not valid
Recipient's email is not valid
Submit Close

Your email has been sent.

Click here to send another


The Eichmann Trial At Fifty

Today on Tablet

Print Email
An original Israeli police documents, dated August 8, 1960, shows the fingerprints and signature of the Nazi war criminal Adolf Eichmann at the Yad Vashem Holocaust Memorial and Museum May 4, 2005 in Jerusalem. The Israeli police donated the unique records to Yad Vashem ahead of Israel's annual Holocaust remembrance day which this year also marks the 60th anniversary of the Nazi's World War II defeat in 1945.(David Silverman/Getty Images)

The Holocaust is hard enough to grasp. It is large and slippery and distorts history: Everything prior becomes a prologue. Yet in the same way that the Holocaust changed our view of history, the trial of Adolf Eichmann (which began 50 years ago today) changed the world’s view of the Holocaust.

“It is always bracing to recall the world in which the Eichmann trial was held,” notes Franklin Foer in his laudatory review of Nextbook author Professor Deborah Lipstadt’s The Eichmann Trial in the New York Times Book Review “—where the slaughter was largely unacknowledged (and even unknown).”

Speaking today at the US State Department, Professor Lipstadt explained,

The Eichmann trial accomplished many things. It brought one of the chief operating officers of the Final Solution to justice.

It served as a stark warning to other Nazi war criminals that they had not escaped justice and that they should not sleep so soundly in their beds.

It retold the history of the murder of European Jewry in a fashion that it had not been told in the sixteen years since it ended.

It illustrated the fact that when someone who has the power to do you harm, threatens to do so, you are best to take them at their word.

Above all, by putting close to 100 survivors in the witness box it demonstrated to the world that this act of horrific violence was committed against men, women, and children who were no different than you or I. It reminded a world which had quickly moved on from the tragedy that the victims were six million individuals. Ultimately it put a human face on genocide. It is those faces – the faces of the innocent – that we forget at our own peril.

Today in Tablet Magazine, Professor Lipstadt annotates footage of the six most significant moments of the four-month trial. Senior writer Allison Hoffman examines the original manuscript of Hannah Arendt’s seminal and controversial report “Eichmann in Jerusalem” and discusses its reception. Also be sure to check out Lipstadt’s essay on the lessons she learned from writing her book.

For those in the New York area on April 14, Deborah Lipstadt will be discussing her book with Jewish Week’s editor Gary Rosenblatt at The Center for Jewish History.

Film Study
Draft of History
Trial and Error
Why The Eichmann Trial Really Mattered [NYTBR]
The Eichmann Trial [Nextbook]

Print Email

Daily rate: $2
Monthly rate: $18
Yearly rate: $180

Tablet is committed to bringing you the best, smartest, most enlightening and entertaining reporting and writing on Jewish life, all free of charge. We take pride in our community of readers, and are thrilled that you choose to engage with us in a way that is both thoughtful and thought-provoking. But the Internet, for all of its wonders, poses challenges to civilized and constructive discussion, allowing vocal—and, often, anonymous—minorities to drag it down with invective (and worse). Starting today, then, we are asking people who'd like to post comments on the site to pay a nominal fee—less a paywall than a gesture of your own commitment to the cause of great conversation. All proceeds go to helping us bring you the ambitious journalism that brought you here in the first place.

Readers can still interact with us free of charge via Facebook, Twitter, and our other social media channels, or write to us at Each week, we’ll select the best letters and publish them in a new letters to the editor feature on the Scroll.

We hope this new largely symbolic measure will help us create a more pleasant and cultivated environment for all of our readers, and, as always, we thank you deeply for your support.

Gene says:

“It illustrated the fact that when someone who has the power to do you harm, threatens to do so, you are best to take them at their word.”

When that someone already has a power then it is too late to listen. He will not speak anymore, he will act. This is true not only for the past. this is true for the future in regard to Iranian threat, to Hamas and to “moderate” Arab leaders. This is something our “vegetarians” have been having real difficulty to understand.


Your comment may be no longer than 2,000 characters, approximately 400 words. HTML tags are not permitted, nor are more than two URLs per comment. We reserve the right to delete inappropriate comments.

Thank You!

Thank you for subscribing to the Tablet Magazine Daily Digest.
Please tell us about you.

The Eichmann Trial At Fifty

Today on Tablet

More on Tablet:

A Grandfather’s Hidden Love Letters From Nazi Germany Reveal a Buried Past

By Vox Tablet — Reporter Sarah Wildman’s grandfather escaped Vienna in 1938. Long after he died, she discovered the life—and lover—he left behind.