JERUSALEM, Israel, July 25th: The Court trying Adolf Eichmann for crimes against the Jews recessed today until August 3rd, ending the case-in-chief of the former Gestapo officer.
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Background: JERUSALEM, Israel, July 25th: The Court trying Adolf Eichmann for crimes against the Jews recessed today until August 3rd, ending the case-in-chief of the former Gestapo officer. The trial has lasted seventy days, so far.
The adjournment marks the formal end of the first major phase of the trial during which one hundred and twelve witnesses testified for the prosecution. No witnesses appeared on behalf of the accused. During the 1st twenty-five days Eichmann was under withering cross-examination by the Israeli Attorney-General, Dr. Gideon Hauener, but the prosecution never managed to crack Eichmann's basic defence that he was only a small cog in the Nazi murder machine; a man who went to his superiors with every little trifle.
Yesterday he gave way a little under the final searching questions of the presiding Judge. Mr. Justice Landau asked Eichmann: "I want to know if your ever tried to leave the Party and the S.S." Bichmann said he did not try to leave either, that he stayed on of his own free will "but not," he hastened to add, "in the functions and assignments I was given."
"I thought," he was asked, "that you remained in the S.S. despite your conscience because...there was no way of getting out of the Party. Now you say 'I remained in...of my own free will and choice.' This must be taken that you did choose to remain in the S.S. Correct.?"
Eichmann said: "Yes, that was true. Until 1939 it was possible..."
He was interrupted. "I am not speaking of the years up to the outbreak of war," Mr. Justice Landau said. "You are intelligent enough to see the contradiction in your words. Can you explain?"
Eichmann admitted there was a contradiction. But even if a man had wanted to leave he could not do so after the war because to some extent he was "frozen"...he was powerless.
"So what you are saying now is that you remained in the S.S. not of your own free will during the war years. Is that it?"the judge asked.
"To put it quite frankly, "Eichmann said, "one did not give it a thought in those day. There was chaos and confusion. it would have been easy for me here to answer 'yes' or 'no' but at the time there was no possibility... the draft boards would not have listened to me... they would not have called me up to hear me..."
The judge interrupted again. "Therefore, all you did was to refer verbally to Mueller?"
"Yes," said Eichmann. "There was no alternatives. The only way was to keep calling on my superior ask for other assignments.. not even to Berlin, because even that was against the officials line.
The judge stopped him with the words: "I have concluded my questioning."
The prosecution and defence summing up will be sets next month after the recess. The verdict is expected in October.