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May 31: Eichmann’s Execution

May 31, 2013

Adolf Eichmann, 56, was hanged, cremated, and had his ashes scattered in the Mediterranean on this date in 1962. His execution is the only instance of capital punishment by a civilian court in Israel’s history. He drank a glass of red wine before mounting the scaffold. Eichmann joined the Nazi party in 1932 and came to head the “Jewish desk” of the Gestapo. He spent the six years of World War II organizing and managing the destruction of Jews through confinement in ghettos and transport to death camps. To see a newsreel about his indictment, look at the first video, below. To see witnesses testifying at his trial, including Abba Kovner, commander of the Jewish underground in the Vilna Ghetto, look at the second video, below.

“I was standing a few feet from him, and looked him straight in the eye. He refused to have his face covered, and he was still wearing those trademark checkered slippers. Then I pulled the lever and he fell, dangling by the rope.”—Shalom Nagar

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