August 11, 1999
spectre haunts Israel anew
Eichmann snatches a victory from the
writes Abraham Rabinovich in
THE release for
publication of Adolf Eichmann's
version of the Holocaust, written just
before he was hanged for directing the
mass extermination of European Jewry, has
been a subject of controversy in
Eichmann's sons in Germany, as well as
Israeli Holocaust researchers, have
demanded release of the 1300-page memoir
written by Eichmann while in an Israeli
prison in 1961 and 1962 awaiting
completion of his trial.
After Eichmann was executed at age 52,
then Israeli prime minister David
Ben-Gurion ordered the manuscript be
kept secret for 15 years, which the
petitioners note has long passed.
The Israeli Justice Ministry decided
yesterday to release the memoir, but did
not set a date.
Leading the fight against release has
been Jerusalem attorney Amos
Hausner, the son of Gideon
Hausner, who led the prosecution at
The younger Hausner cited the memoirs
published by his late father, 15 years
after the trial, in which he revealed the
existence of the Eichmann manuscript.
Hausner, who was Israel's
attorney-general, revealed that he told
Ben-Gurion that publication "would
challenge the verdict (of guilt against
Eichmann) and raise doubts in the world
as to its validity".
The official said that Eichmann "had
rewritten the history of the Holocaust so
as not to include Eichmann". He added:
"There is no need for us to publish his
lies across the world."
The attorney-general said that Eichmann
took true details, removed them from their
context, and then added completely
"There is always a grain of truth to
each story," Gideon Hausner said. "This is
a clever last attempt to portray himself
as different than he really is."
The younger Hausner says that
publication of the Eichmann memoirs could
assist Holocaust deniers, who contest the
fact that some 6 million Jews were
murdered. It is inconceivable, he says,
that Eichmann's family should profit
financially from publication of the
Israel must legislate, he says, that
income from publication of such a book
must belong to the State.
However, Israeli author Tom
Segev, who has written books on the
Holocaust, says refusal to publish the
memoirs would itself be a form of denying
it. "All material on the Holocaust must be
published," he says. "Eichmann's memoirs
are an important historical document."
Eichmann is the only man to have ever
been executed in Israel by court
judgement. He was kidnapped by Mossad
agents from Argentina, where he had been
living with his family under an assumed
name after escaping from Europe after the
One of the few historians to have read
the memoirs, Evyatar Friesel, of
Israel's State archives, says that
Eichmann remained unrepentant in his
writings. He says the memoirs offer no
substantial new historical insights.
The Austrian-born Eichmann contended,
as he had at the trial, that he had only
been a cog in the Nazi bureaucratic
machine and had simply followed