In 1961, on this day the trial began of the man accused of helping Hitler in his plan to exterminate the Jews. Adolf Eichmann (pictured) faced fifteen charges, including crimes against humanity, crimes against the Jewish people and war crimes.
Eichmann on Trial in Buenos AiresHe sat in a bullet-proof glass dock flanked by two guards specially chosen because their families had not suffered directly at the hands of the Nazis. The three judges hearing the case in Buenos Aires were all refugees from the Nazi regime in Germany. The charges were read out in Hebrew by chief judge Mr Justice Moshe Landau and translated into German for the prisoner. It took one hour and 15 minutes to list all the details of the charges against Adolf Eichmann during which time the 55-year-old stood stiffly in the dock.
After the end of the Second World War Eichmann escaped from a prison camp and avoided facing the Nuremberg War Crimes Tribunal. In 1950 he arrived in Argentina which was a safe haven for many Nazi war criminals. Yet Argentina was a bad choice for Eichmann. Zionist commandos were operating from their nearby base at the colony of Colonia Lapin in the Buenos Aires Province (the Jewish home state had been founded by the Jewish Colonization Association led by Baron Maurice de Hirsch in 1891).