Two days before he was hanged for war crimes, Adolf Eichmann, one of the main organizers of the Final Solution, argued for a pardon on his own life during his trial in Jerusalem in 1962. On Wednesday, International Holocaust Remembrance Day, the Israeli government released Eichmann’s handwritten plea, in which he wrote (to then Israeli President Yitzhak Ben-Zvi) that he was “mere instrument in the hands of the leaders.”
The BBC reported that Israeli President Reuven Rivlin, in a ceremony in Israel marking Holocaust Remembrance Day, said: “Not a moment of kindness was given to those who suffered Eichmann’s evil. For them this evil was never banal, it was painful, it was palpable. He murdered whole families and desecrated a nation. Evil had a face, a voice. And the judgement against this evil was just.”
After reading his plea, Ben-Zvi, reported the New York Times, replied with the following statement on May 31: “..There is no justification in giving Adolf Eichmann a pardon or easing the sentence.” He was hanged at midnight.
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Jonathan Zalman, a staff editor, runs The Scroll, Tablet’s news blog.
Jonathan Zalman is a writer and teacher based in Brooklyn.