Adolf Eichmann goes on trial in Jerusalem
April 11 1961 — The trial of Nazi war criminal Adolf Eichmann begins before a special tribunal of the Jerusalem District Court. The German-Austrian SS-Obersturmbannführer was one of the major organisers of the Holocaust — in Nazi terminology the “Final Solution to the Jewish Question”. He was tasked by SS-Obergruppenführer Reinhard Heydrich with facilitating and managing the logistics involved in the mass deportation of Jews to ghettos and extermination camps in Nazi-occupied Eastern Europe during World War 2. Eichmann was arrested by US authorities after the war, but managed to escape. Using false documents, he made his way to Buenos Aires, Argentina, where he was captured by Mossad on May 20 1960. The prosecution case is presented over the course of 56 days, involving hundreds of documents and 112 witnesses (many of them Holocaust survivors). Eichmann insists he had no choice but to follow orders, as he was bound by an oath of loyalty to Hitler. He is found guilty on December 12 1961, sentenced to death three days later and executed by hanging on June 1 1962, aged 56. It is the only execution in the history of the state of Israel, which has capital punishment as a legal penalty.