Associated Press Copyright 2000.
Monday, February 28, 2000
to release Eichmann memoirs to aid in Holocaust
By LAURIE COPANS
Associated Press Writer
JERUSALEM (AP) - Israel
announced Sunday that it will release the memoirs
of Nazi war criminal Adolf Eichmann and
offer them in defense of an Emory University
professor facing a libel
suit for accusing a
British writer of denying the Holocaust.
Israel will give the public access to the
1,300-page, handwritten papers, penned in an
Israeli prison and kept under wraps for nearly 40
years, the Justice Ministry said in a statement. In
the memoirs, the overseer of the Nazi death machine
reportedly says the mass killing of Jews during the
Holocaust was the worst crime in human history.
Israel had agreed in August to publish the diary
after one of Eichmann's sons, Dieter,
threatened legal action to claim the book as family
property. Only a few scholars have seen it.
Israeli officials had originally planned to
compile the papers and let a German research
institution prepare them for scholarly publication.
The publication of the uncensored, untranslated
memoirs has been a key demand of Holocaust
According to the decision Sunday by Israeli
Attorney General Elyakim Rubinstein, the
public will be allowed to obtain typed versions of
the memoirs and view the original, handwritten
notes in the state archive, subject to conditions
set by archive officials.
"It has been decided that there is importance,
as part of the historical commitment of the state
of Israel, to let the memoirs be viewed by the
public," read the release. The diary was expected
to be released in the coming days.
A copy will also be given to Emory professor
Deborah Lipstadt "in her defense of a suit
by a Holocaust denier," read the statement,
released after a meeting of top judges, legal
officials and historians at Rubinstein's
British writer David
Irving is suing Lipstadt for libel in Britain
for writing in a 1994 book that he denied the
Holocaust and distorted the truth of what
happened in World War II.
Irving says he does not deny that Jews were
killed by the Nazis, but challenges the number and
manner of Jewish concentration camp deaths.
Under British law, a libel claimant only needs
to prove that his reputation has been damaged.
Truth is not necessarily a defense.
Lipstadt and her codefendant, Penguin Books,
Israel hopes that publication of the memoirs
will reveal proof of the Nazi machine to disprove
Irving's case. Irving has in the trial disputed
historically accepted witness accounts that
hundreds of thousands were gassed to death at
wrote the diary while in jail from 1961 to 1962,
after Israeli agents captured him in Argentina and
brought him to trial in Israel.
In what appeared to be a first draft of the
diary, 127 pages sent to Germany after Eichmann's
execution and released
last year include complaints about an unfairly
strict upbringing, descriptions of his inability to
disobey an order and thoughts on the meaning of
Eichmann wrote in the final copy that the
killing of the Jews was the worst crime in the
history of mankind, Israel radio reported. Scholars
who have seen the memoir say that it repeats
arguments Eichmann made at his trial, insisting
that he was only a midlevel official following