Anti-Semitism and Holocaust

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EICHMANN JOURNALS RUSHED TO LONDON HOLOCAUST TRIAL
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Israeli authorities have approved the prompt release of classified memories written in prison by Nazi war criminal Adolph Eichmann before his execution in 1962, for use as possible evidence by defendant Prof. Deborah Lipstadt in the libel suit brought against her by Holocaust-denier David Irving.

While in prison awaiting trial in Israel in the early 1960s, Eichmann received permission to write a journal of his role in overseeing the "Final Solution," the Nazi plan to exterminate European Jewry during World War II. The memories have been kept secret, but are now being made public in response to an urgent request from the defense team for Lipstadt. The defense is expected to conclude its case by the weekend, and Lipstadt's attorney believes the journal should help their case by refuting Irving's central claim that Hitler did not know about the "Final Solution" until near the end of the war.

Hitler apologist Irving, a self-taught British historian, sued Lipstadt, a professor at Emory University, and her publisher Penguin Books, charging her with destroying his reputation by labeling him a Holocaust denier and asserting he promotes fraudulent accounts on the Holocaust in his books and lectures.

The high-profile trial is nearing completion, and many observers have been worrying that - since the burden of proof is on the defendant Lipstadt under British libel laws - the verdict could be a major setback to efforts at countering an upsurge in Holocaust denial and neo-Nazism. Under British law, a libel claimant only needs to prove that his reputation has been damaged, and truth is not necessarily a defense.

Irving challenges the statistics and manner in which Jews died in concentration camps, conceding that while one million Eastern European Jews were shot by roving SS squads, there were no gas chambers which exterminated millions of others at Auschwitz and elsewhere. With extensive knowledge on the Third Reich, Irving also claims there is no evidence Hitler ordered the annihilation of Jews or that he even knew about it until 1943. Irving even suggests European Jewry was responsible for bringing the tragedy upon itself and accuses Jews today of cashing in on the Shoah.

Lipstadt describes Irving as a "Hitler partisan" and says he twists history and relies on discredited findings to support his racist ideology. In recent weeks, one leading history professor testified in court that Irving does not deserve to be called an "historian" due to his "distortions and manipulations," while a noted British military historian subpoenaed by Irving himself described his views as "perverse." But apparently, the defense felt it desperately needed access to the Israeli archives of Eichmann's memories.

Attorney General Elyakim Rubinstein decided to hand over the material last night after urgent discussions with top judges, legal officials and historians in response to the request. The Israeli state archives will transfer copies of the journals, printed and on diskette, to the representative for Lipstadt in London, Richard Rampton.

Eichmann 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 the handwritten 1,300-pages, the overseer of the Nazi death machine reportedly says the mass killing of Jews during the Holocaust was the worst crime in human history. Scholars who have seen the memoir say that it repeats arguments Eichmann made at his trial, insisting that he was only a mid-level official following orders.

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