In May 1960, the Israeli Security Service concluded a fifteen-year manhunt by capturing Adolf Eichmann in Buenos Aires, Argentina. They took him to Israel, handed him over to the Israeli police, and set into motion a trial that brought the full brutality and logistical detail of the Holocaust before a court and the public for the first time.
Eichmann, a former Nazi official, played a key role in implementing the genocidal policies of the so-called “Final Solution.” He organized the Wannsee Conference, where the implementation of the operation was laid out, and served as the chief SS officer in charge of transporting the Jews to the extermination centers. For these crimes and others, he was indicted on fifteen separate counts, including “crimes against the Jewish people” and “crimes against humanity.”
The Trial of Adolf Eichmann, a feature-length documentary narrated by David Brinkley, offers an in-depth look at the trial, as well as the history of the Holocaust. The video combines interviews with individuals who participated in the trial with filmed excerpts of trial proceedings and archival footage documenting the Holocaust. Much of the documentary consists of original footage of survivors giving emotional testimony on the witness stand about the pain and loss they suffered through Eichmann’s machine of death. Their combined testimonies underscore the catharsis this trial provided for many Holocaust survivors worldwide and highlight the tremendous impact the trial had on those who learned about the Holocaust from those who survived to tell about it.
The film covers the eight months of the trial from April 10 to December 15, 1961, when the court of three judges found Eichmann guilty of all charges and sentenced him to death by hanging. Eichmann was executed at midnight on June 1, 1962, his body cremated, and his ashes scattered at sea beyond Israel’s territorial borders.
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