ABC News and PBS Present The Trial of Adolf Eichmann

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WWII, the Holocaust, and Eichmann

From Capture to Trial

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Teacher's Guide

Eichmann DiscussionQuestions

Discussion Questions

1. Why did Eichmann agree to be extradited to Israel to standtrial?

2. Did Eichmann believe he had a reasonable chance of beingfound innocent by theCourt?

3. Once in Israel, why did Eichmann cooperate in the judicialprocess?

4. Once the trial was underway and Eichmann realized that theCourt was notlikely to be sympathetic to his plight, why did he continue to cooperate?

5. Why did the United Nations vote to accept Israel's right tokeep Eichmann andput him on trial?

6. How might people with various backgrounds likely have viewedthis trial?

    --A Holocaust survivor who immigrated to Israel in 1946.
    --A 16-year-old Israel high school student who was born in Israel.
    --An Israeli high government official who was born in Israel.
    --A Jew from the United States.
    --A non-Jew from the United States.
    --A U.S. Army liberator of the death camps.
    --a French collaborator of the Nazis.
    --A German S.S. officer still in hiding.

7. Was this a "show trial" -- that is an activity designed morefor publicrelations than to obtain justice? Were the results of the trial successful fromeither a criminal justice standpoint or a public relations standpoint?

8. Is there any value in continuing to search for Nazi warcriminals and bringingthem to trial, when most are feeble old men who are unlikely to cause any moreharm to anyone?

9. If you had been a teacher in pre-war Germany and AdolfEichmann had been inyour class, what types of lessons/courses would you feel might have beeneffective in order to have affected how he participated in mass murder?

10. Was Eichmann convincing in his argument that he wasdispassionately just"following orders"? Had this argument been accepted, would Eichmann have beenfound not guilty? What was the defense strategy, and what were alternativestrategies? Was there any possibility of Eichmann being found "notguilty"?

11. Were these three judges capable of presiding over a fairtrial? Why did theIsraeli government seek to try Eichmann themselves rather than turn him over toan international court?

12. How would the trial have turned out had Eichmann been triedat Nuremberg?

13. Discuss the sentence Eichmann received. Would there havebeen any value inhaving him sentenced to life imprisonment?

14. Compare and contrast the differences between the valueswhich we feel areimportant to those who live in a democracy and those values which were importantto Eichmann and his fellow Nazis.

15. What were some of the pros and cons relating to the IsraelCourt agreeing tohave the entire trial televised?

16. What were the pros and cons of all three of the judges beingJews who werenatives of Germany?

17. Where in the world is genocide occurring today? What is theworld communitydoing to stop it and bring the perpetrators to justice?

18. Why, after all of this public education concerning theHolocaust, doesgenocide recur? What strategies can you devise to minimize outbreaks ofgenocide?

19. Could the United States ever become a left-wing orright-wing dictatorship? Why or why not? If it did, what would be the principal sources ofresistance?

20. Why did the Nazis keep such detailed records of theirgenocide?

21. After the end of the war, the U.S. government encouraged theimmigration ofhundreds of German scientists, many with Nazi backgrounds and questionableactivities during the war, to the United States. Discuss whether this wasappropriate.

22. Was the kidnapping of Adolf Eichmann by the Israelgovernment legal? Was itjustified? What would have happened if the Israel government had providedinformation to the Argentina government about Eichmann and requested hisextradition to Israel? What risks did Israel take in capturing Eichmann?

23. Today's newspapers are filled with a controversy concerningthe assets ofHolocaust victims which found their way into Swiss banks, and the efforts of theJewish community to return those assets to their rightful owners. DoesSwitzerland bear responsibility for relinquishing these assets after more than 50years? Does the U.S. government have the responsibility for returning land toNative Americans which may have been illegally confiscated three hundred yearsago?

24. Had Eichmann not had such an obsession with killing Jews,how effective couldhe have been in saving Jews from extermination?

by Gary Grobman
copyright © 1997 Gary M. Grobman

Note: Material in all capital letters is copyrighted by otherindividuals/organizations.

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