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

Film | Digitized | Accession Number: 1999.A.0087 | RG Number: RG-60.2100.237 | Film ID: 2237

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


    Session 114. Dr. Servatius says that Eichmann did not have a position that would allow him to become part of the higher order of leadership. He says that the Prosecution has attempted to make him a key figure in the execution when he is not. The accusations of making decisions about the extermination are then challenged, saying that he only saw orders that were nearly completely decided. The charges of conspiracy must be dropped on this evidence, he says.

    00:11:09 Servatius says that the implementation of the deportations was left to Eichmann, but all of his underlings, as well as the Gestapo, would not let anybody tread on their jurisdiction, but would also not touch the Jewish problem. Dr. Servatius quotes something from a field manual which is not translated. The President of Court asks about the citation of this, and they argue for a bit (duplicate footage from Tape 2236). It is a passage from the British Field Manual that says that soldiers that work within orders cannot be punished for war crimes.

    00:24:20 Dr. Servatius cites Israeli law saying that those following orders can only be charged if those orders are illegal at the time it happens. He then finds a loophole in the law concerning Nazis and their collaborators. 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 (duplicate footage from Tape 2234).

    00:34:47 Time code skips to 00:00:48. No jump in the footage is apparent. Servatius continues to say that these actions of the state are not rectified, and probably never will be. The difference between them and the Nazis is that the Nazis failed. "If this policy is not successful, then the order appears to the victim as a crime. Then the man who was obedient is unfortunate, and he has to pay the price for his loyalty. The gallows or a decoration, that is the question. To fail is base crime, to succeed is holy action," Servatius says.

    00:05:18 Dr. Servatius says that obedience is the essential part of the state. The witness' claim that it was easy to disobey the state was nowhere near possible. If it was, resistance fighters would have had a better opportunity for success (duplicate footage from Tape 2236). Shirking duties was seen as traitorous, and abandoning one's comrades, and nowhere near as easy to accomplish as thought possible.

    00:13:19 The President of Court asks Dr. Servatius if there is anything said by Eichmann in this court or his police testimony that says that he internally rejected the orders, whether or not he acted upon it. There does not seem to be any, with the statements that Eichmann simply accepted his orders without argument.

    00:19:20 Tape jumps. Servatius says that the court has failed to show that an act of the state carries responsibility to the person, and it is refuted by the London charter. The punishment of the leadership reaches back to a fundamental wish to punish the losers of a conflict. These exceptional provisions apply directly to high ranking officials, not a low ranking person such as Eichmann.
    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
    Director: Leo Hurwitz
    Producer: Milton Fruchtman
    Camera Operator: Rolf M. Kneller
    Camera Operator: F. Csaznik
    Camera Operator: J. Jonilowicz
    Camera Operator: J. Kalach
    Camera Operator: Emil Knebel
    Producer: Capital Cities Broadcasting Corporation
    Emil Knebel was a cinematographer known for Andante (2010), Adam (1973), and Wild Is My Love (1963). He was one of the cameramen who recorded daily coverage of the Eichmann trial in Jerusalem (produced by Capital Cities Broadcasting Corp and later held academic positions in Israel and New York teaching filmmaking at universities. Refer to CV in file.

    Physical Details

    English German Hebrew
    B&W / Color
    Black & White
    Image Quality
    Time Code
    00:00:21:00 to 00:25:58:00
    Film Format
    • Master
    • Master 2237 Video: Digital Betacam - NTSC - large
      Master 2237 Video: Digital Betacam - NTSC - large
      Master 2237 Video: Digital Betacam - NTSC - large
      Master 2237 Video: Digital Betacam - NTSC - large
    • Preservation
    • Preservation 2237 Video: Betacam SP - NTSC - large
      Preservation 2237 Video: Betacam SP - NTSC - large
      Preservation 2237 Video: Betacam SP - NTSC - large
      Preservation 2237 Video: Betacam SP - NTSC - large

    Rights & Restrictions

    Conditions on Access
    You do not require further permission from the Museum to access this archival media.
    Public Domain
    Conditions on Use
    To the best of the Museum's knowledge, this material is in the public domain. You do not require further permission from the Museum to reproduce or use this material.

    Keywords & Subjects

    Administrative Notes

    Film Provenance
    Capital Cities Broadcasting Corporation recorded the proceedings of the Adolf Eichmann trial in 1961. The original recording was made on two-inch format videotape. One set of videotapes contained selected portions of the trial for distribution to television stations. The "selected portions" version remained in Israel and was later turned over to the Israel State Archives. Capital Cities Broadcasting retained the set of videotapes containing the complete trial proceedings at offices in New York City until 1965, when they gave the videotapes to the Anti-Defamation League of B'nai B'rith. The Anti-Defamation League, in turn, gave the complete set to the Steven Spielberg Jewish Film Archive at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem in 1972. With a grant from the Revson Foundation, Hebrew University transferred the two-inch videotapes to U-Matic format. During the transfer process, Hebrew University created three duplicate sets. One set was given to the Steven Spielberg Jewish Film Archive, one to the Israel State Archives, and one set to the Jewish Museum in New York City. In 1995, the Israel State Archives transferred the trial footage to digital videoformat with a grant from the Israeli Prime Minister's Office. Three subsequent digital videotape copies resulted from this transfer of footage. The Israel State Archives retained one digital copy and a second set was deposited at the Steven Spielberg Jewish Film Archive at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem. The Steven Spielberg Film and Video Archive at the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum received the third set of digital videotapes in May 1999.
    See official transcripts, published in "The Trial of Adolf Eichmann", Vol. I-V, State of Israel, Ministry of Justice, Jerusalem, 1994. Also available online at the Nizkor Project.
    Copied From
    2" Quad
    Film Source
    Steven Spielberg Jewish Film Archive
    File Number
    Legacy Database File: 2514
    Source Archive Number: VTEI 145
    Record last modified:
    2024-02-21 07:44:15
    This page:

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