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Posted Thursday, August 12, 1999

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Associated Press

Paper Publishes Eichmann Excerpts

By Jack Katzenell
Associated Press Writer

JERUSALEM (AP), Aug. 11, 1999 -- An Israeli newspaper on Wednesday published what it said were excerpts from Adolf Eichmann's prison memoir, in which the convicted Nazi war criminal claimed he didn't hate Jews and never believed in the Nazi race theory.

The Holocaust mastermind's writings have been locked up in Israel's national archives since his execution in 1962. But the daily Yediot Ahronot said that 20 years ago, it received a handwritten synopsis of Eichmann's memoir, with excerpts translated into Hebrew, from a source it refused to identify.

The paper published those excerpts two decades ago. It republished them Wednesday, a day after the Israeli Justice Ministry said it plans to release the full memoir to a German research institute for publication.

Tom Segev, a leading Israeli writer on the Holocaust, said there was no way to determine whether the synopsis was accurate or genuine.

"The fact remains that the manuscript has not been published, so the excerpts cannot be compared with the original," Segev said.

Eichmann oversaw the deportation of millions of Jews to the death camps and promoted the use of poison gas to murder them. Six million Jews were killed in the Holocaust.

But in the excerpts published Wednesday, he claimed he didn't hate Jews and that he was upset over the death camps.

"When I went to see the death camps my sole consolation was in the bottle," he said, according to the excerpts.

Eichmann also wrote that he never believed in the Nazi race theory.

"The Holocaust was one of biggest crimes of history," one of the excerpts said.

Two historians contacted by The Associated Press said that in general, Eichmann's memoir tries to minimize his role in the Holocaust and tries to claim that he did not hate Jews. The historians had read only parts of the text, however, and were unable to provide specific quotes.

After World War II, Eichmann escaped to South America. Israeli agents caught him in Argentina in 1960 and took him to Israel. At his trial, he maintained that he was a mid-level official with no executive power who was only carrying out Adolf Hitler's orders.

Eichmann wrote the memoir in 1961 and 1962, during his trial. David Ben-Gurion, then prime minister, ordered the 1,300 handwritten pages locked away in the state archives.

One of Eichmann's sons, Dieter, has claimed the diary as his own property. Israeli officials have said the heirs will receive the manuscript only after it is published. square

© Copyright 1999 The Associated Press.

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