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Eichmann Trial -- Session 114 -- Closing statement of the Defense

Film | Accession Number: 1999.A.0087 | RG Number: RG-60.2100.234 | Film ID: 2234

Session 114. The Judges say they are ready to hear the summing up by the Defense. Dr. Servatius says that the accusations of the Attorney General Hausner, if true, would be worthy of a monument to Jew-haters, saying that Eichmann was some superman able to commit all of these atrocities. Instead, he says, it was the top brass that decided that Eichmann would be the scapegoat for their actions (duplicate footage from Tape 2232).

00:04:18 Tape jumps, and the Judges enter the courtroom and tell Dr. Servatius to continue his summing up. Servatius comes to the main count of the case, the charge of the extermination in the death camps. He begins by saying that the camps were under the Office of Economy and Administration, and no evidence proves cooperation with Eichmann. The visits of Eichmann to the camps shows that he did not have jurisdiction over them, but instead that he had to plead with them to accomplish anything.

00:15:03 Tape jumps. Dr. Servatius says that the facts have all been discussed, and that the court has had the opportunity to hear the opinions of Eichmann. It is up to the court to weigh the evidence. Servatius stresses the importance of the documents (only a small fragment of what originally existed), which are the only thing that allows a defense of Eichmann.

00:22:18 Servatius suggests the weakness of testimony and memory and the ability to fill in missing parts of stories. He says that this should be kept in mind with this case. He says that he could not attack any of the witnesses, they had been through too much already.

00:26:49 Tape jumps. Dr. Servatius addresses the testimony of Eichmann, saying that the accusations of the Prosecution, and Eichmann's testimony, is a bunch of lies. He points out that Eichmann was always very willing to talk, and through the course of the questioning, remembered more petty details. He says that it is wrong to use cooperation against Eichmann. 00:31:59 The testimony of Rademacher, who said that Eichmann recommended shooting prisoners, is refuted based on the Nuremberg trials. The continuous calmness of Eichmann is addressed, saying that he could not stay so calm in defending a pack of lies. Servatius also discusses the Sassen memoirs, suggesting that alcohol, provocation, and sensationalism evoked the quotations used by the Prosecution. He says that was exacerbated by not bringing up Sassen in cross-examination.

00:37:00 Tape jumps. Dr. Servatius cites an Israeli law concerning the legality of orders at the time, and refutes the other laws that Eichmann is accused of breaking. He cites the Pentateuch, and what the state did to Moses. The leaders set who was the enemy, regardless of what state of war existed. Persecution is not new to the Jewish people, he says, even though what happened here was unprecedented. The murder of various other peoples, from Native Americans to Huguenots are mentioned, and how none of these peoples' deaths resulted in criminal prosecution.

00:52:06 Tape jumps. Dr. Servatius addresses the retroactive application of the law, saying that these laws did not exist, and citing precedents that prevents this trial from being carried out. 00:55:40 The statute of limitations is addressed, along with Eichmann's abduction from Argentina, saying that he is beyond the time for prosecution, and that being in Israel violates international law. He says that this trial should not be about revenge, but justice. Separating the individual from the collective is essential. Dr. Servatius asks that they close the case on Eichmann and judge him no more.

01:04:15 Tape jumps. The President of Court closes the trial, and says that the verdict will not be until at least November. They leave, and others leave the courtroom.

Film Title
Eichmann Trial
Event:  1961 August 14
Production:  1961 August 14
Jerusalem, Israel
Accessed at United States Holocaust Memorial Museum, courtesy of The Steven Spielberg Jewish Film Archives of the Hebrew University of Jerusalem
Record last modified: 2022-07-28 21:56:38
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