Sunday Gazette-Mail from Charleston, West Virginia on May 26, 1974 · Page 62
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May 26, 1974

Sunday Gazette-Mail from Charleston, West Virginia · Page 62

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Charleston, West Virginia
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Sunday, May 26, 1974
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Page 62
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Vi itnesses had lo remember ihe nightmare scenes they had been trying to forgel. Final Solution for Adolf Eichmann By Peter Bloxham It was 8 p. m. in a Buenos Aires suburb. A factory worker got off a bus and stepped out for home. Suddenly a man sprang from the shadows and grabbed him. Then, helped by others, he bundled the startled worker into a car. Former high-ranking Nazi officer Adolf Eichmann, author and central administrator of the evil "final solution" that sent six million Jews to their deaths, was now an Israeli prisoner. It happened 14 years ago -- in May, 1960. And something very like it could happen again tomorrow, or the next day. For throughout the world, week in and week out, grimly determined Israeli volunteers are still secretly on the trail of other Nazi war criminals who could remain alive. .. Ever since the war, the dossiers on all Hitler"s henchmen who are not known with certainty to be dead have been scrupulously and continuously updated. Headquarters for this global dragnet operation is a library in which all the per- sonnal records are filed. · Every newspaper headline which seems to offer the 6m CHARLESTON, W. VA. slightest clue to any Nzai leader's possible whereabouts, however factually suspect, is ca/efully checked out. The dogged few -- mostly themselves German concentration-camp survivors -are dedicated to sustaining their manhunt as long as any slim hope remains of flushing out yet more wanted men. The sensational capture of Eichmann followed a spate of headlines that he had been "seen" in Kuwait, Egypt, Damascus and a dozen other places -- none of which stood up to scrutiny. But then a secret report from a reliably-regarded foreign source was passed to the Israeli Ministry of Justice. It said Adolf Eichmann was living in Buenos Aires. At the end of December, 1960, one of the Israeli Secret Service's ablest investigators was sent to Argentina. After some initial difficulty, he succeeded in finding the house into which the suspect -- known as Ricardo Klement -- had recently moved with his wife and their three sons. ; The crucial problem was to establish the man's true identity as the former head of the Jewish Department in the German Reich's wartime main security office. This had to be done without arousing the slightest suspicion. For Eichmann, if he it was, had already more than once shown great skill at last minute disappearance. Once, the Israeli sleuth almost blew his cover. Trying to find out more about the Klement family, he visited a woman who lived nearby. The story he told her was that he represented a British sewing-machine firm interested in acquiring a site to build a factory in the area. The woman promptly shouted across through her w i n d o w to the Klement house: "Frau Klement, would you sell your house for a sewing- machine factory?" When Eichmann got home that evening, he admitted later, his suspicions were aroused. Who would want to build a factory in that isolated spot, still then awaiting water connection? But he wrote off his fears when n o t h i n g f u r t h e r seemed to happen, and for- got the incident. Next, the investigator needed photographs. He got his chance of taking them one Sunday morning, when Ricardo Klement was working in the garden. Then, back in Israel, the pictures were studied closely by people who had seen Eichmann at some time or other in their lives. No-one could positively check the identification. But when a police expert compared the pictures with an old photograph of Eichmann, and said there was no reason why they could not be of the same person, it was considered enough. In April. 1960. a four-volunteer capture mission left for Buenos Aires. The team, studied Eichmann's daily movements to and from the German car factory where he worked (he had previously managed a rabbit farm and worked for a juices extract business). Every evening, they discovered, he disembarked from his bus at a point near his home. So it was here, when the moment carne! that two cars waited. As soon as E i c h m a n n showed up. one of the Israe- lis grabbed him by the hand he held in his pocket, and pulled him to the ground. The scuffle lasted a mere five seconds; then the prisoner was quickly pushed into one of the cars and driven away. He had no gun, it was then found: the hand in his p o c k e t h a s s i m p l y been reaching for a flashlight. In the house to which he was taken. Adolf Eichmann immediately confessed his identify, and said: "I'm in the hands of Israelis." When he was asked in German whether he agreed to go to Israel to be tried for his wartime deeds, he said he did not wish this, but was prepared to stand trial in Argentina or in Germany. A f t e r several hours, apparently afraid of being liq- u i d a t e d on the spot, he agreed to go to Israel. In a dark room, lit only by the beam of a torch, some time after midnight. Eichmann signed a sheet of paper placed before him to this effect. »· On May 23 the late David Bcn-Gurion. then Prime Minister of Israel, informed his stunned Parliament that E i c h m a n n had been found and brought" to Israel -- and would be put on trial. The indictment against his was a lengthy 15 point document. What it said, in substance, was that Eichmann was criminally answerable for the deliberate, systematic murder of s i x ' m i l l i o n Jews -- more than one-third of t h e i r e n t i r e n u m b e r throughout the world. The trial in Jerusalem, staged in the glare of global publicity, drew hundreds of journalists. From the moment Eichmann entered his glass cubicle in the packed courtroom on April 11. 1961. a l i t t l e b e f o r e 9 a. m . . hundreds of eyes turned on him in an effort to decipher the enigma of a mass murder." The harrowing stories of human bestiality in the Nazi death camps, which unfol- deed day after day as the trial wore on. almost defied the world's belief. Through it all. Eichmann sal grey and colorless, a twilch around his moulh and his eyes narrowed behind his glasses. The vicious arrogance of Ihe Geslapo leader who devised Ihe master-plan for eliminating Ihe Jewish race was g o n e -- b u t for brief flashes under cross- examination. Witnesses now had to remember in close detail the nightmare scenes they had been trying for 20 years to . forget. Eichmann heard it all in his bullet-proof box and remained chillingly impassive. E v e n t u a l l y , prosecutor Gideon Hausner won a conviction on all counts, and told the court: "There stands before you a murderer of a people, an enemy of mankind, one who has shed the blood of the innocent. I pray you to judge that this man deserves the c a p i t a l p u n i s h m e n l o f death." *· Kichmann. in his closing remarks, reiterated yet again the argument he had maintained throughoul. "It was nol I who persecuted Ihe Jews with avidity and fervor." he said: "that was done by the government. The whole persecution could only have been carried out by a government, never by me. . . ." "I am not the monster I am made out to be. l a m the v i c t i m of a m i s c o n c e p - tion. . . But next day. on December 15.1961. Eichmann stood at attention, visibly petrified, and heard himself condemned to death. And. at about 8 p. m. on May 31. 1962. Eichmann was told that his petilion had been refused by Ihe President and that the execution would take place close to midnight. He asked for a bottle of wine, wrote a few Jetlers to his family - and, refusing Ihe black hood, died as the trap door was released. In the pre-dawn hours of J u n e 1 Eichmann's ashes were tossed overboard from a police boat, well beyond Israel's three-mile limit. II was the end of an infamous career. Bui if Marlin Hermann or any of Ihe others should even yet turn up. Ihe bullet-proof desk in the Jerusalem court slil! wails. Mav26. 1974. Sundav Gazette-Mail

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