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Nazi Tapes Provide a Chilling Sequel to the Eichmann Trial

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Tel Aviv — 60 years after Adolf Eichmann’s historic trial in Jerusalem, one of the Holocaust’s chief engineers, the new Israeli documentary series brought a dramatic coder: the bragging confession of Nazi war criminals. In his own voice.

The time of the old tape recording, which was rejected by Israeli prosecutors at the time of Mr. Eichmann’s trial, provided the basis for a series called “The Devil’s Confession: The Lost Eichmann Tape.” It was broadcast last month.

The tape was created by Nazi sympathizers in the Netherlands in 1957, then fell into the hands of various individuals and was eventually archived in the German government’s archives, and in 2020 was the Israeli co-creator of the series. KobiSitt is now the producer. Director Yariv Mozer — Permission to use the recording.

Eichmann went to the gallows, denying responsibility for the crime he was found guilty and claiming he was just an official who obeyed the order. He described himself as a small cog in the state equipment responsible for the train schedule, and his professed mediocrity gave rise to the theory of evil mediocrity of the philosopher Hannah Arendt.

The documentary series is studded with the cool words of Holocaust advocate Eichmann, who recreated a gathering of Nazi sympathizers in 1957 in Buenos Aires, where the recording was made.

This series, which reveals Eichmann’s visceral and ideological anti-Semitism, his enthusiasm for hunting down Jews, and his role in the genocide mechanism, brings to the public the evidence lost from the trial for the first time.

You can hear Eichmann hitting a noisy fly around the room and describing it as having a “Jewish character”.

He told the interlocutor that he “did not care” whether the Jews he sent to Auschwitz were alive or dead. He denied knowledge of their destiny in court and said on tape: Jews who are unfit for work must be sent to a final solution, a period that means their physical destruction.

“If we killed 10.3 million Jews, I would be happy to say,’OK, we destroyed our enemies.’ Then we will fulfill our mission. He would have mentioned all the Jews in Europe. “

“This is evidence for Holocaust denials and a way to see Eichmann’s identity,” said director Mozer, the author of the series and the grandson of the Holocaust survivors.

“With all humility, through the series, the younger generation will come to know the trials and ideologies behind the final solution,” he added.

This documentary was recently screened for intelligence commanders and officers. This demonstrates the importance of documentary in Israel.

Eichmann’s trial took place in 1961 after Mossad’s agents kidnapped him in Argentina and sent him to Israel. The shocking testimony of the survivors and the complete horror of the Holocaust was outlined in horrifying details for the Israelites and others in the world.

The court had a wealth of documents and testimony on which Eichmann’s conviction was based. The prosecution also obtained a copy of more than 700 pages of tape recorded in Buenos Aires and marked it up with Eichmann’s handwritten corrections.

However, Eichmann claimed that the writing brush distorted his words. The Israeli Supreme Court did not accept them as evidence other than handwritten notes, and Eichmann told Prosecutor Gideon Hausner to make the original tape, believing that they were well hidden. I challenged.

In his account of the trial “Jerusalem’s Justice,” Hausner described how he tried to get the tape until the final day of Eichmann’s cross-examination. His own voice. “

Hausner wrote that the tape was offered for a huge amount of $ 20,000 at the time and was ready to approve the spending “in view of its historical significance.” However, the unidentified seller stipulated that he would not be taken to Israel until the trial was over, Hausner said.

The tape was created during World War II by Dutch journalist and Nazi propaganda Willem Sassen. He and Eichmann, members of the Nazi fugitive group in Buenos Aires, embarked on a recording project aimed at publishing a book after Eichmann’s death. Members of the group gathered at Mr. Sassen’s house for hours each week, where he drank and smoked together.

And Eichmann spoke and spoke.

After Eichmann was captured by the Israelis, Sassen sold a copy to Life magazine. Life magazine has published a two-part excerpt summarized. Hausner described the version as “cosmetics.”

After Eichmann’s execution in 1962, the original tape was sold to a European publisher and eventually bought by the company that kept the tape in the German Federal Archives in Koblenz, hoping to remain anonymous. Academic research only.

German philosopher and historian Bettina Stangnes is partly based on the tape of her 2011 book, Eichmann before Jerusalem. German officials released just a few minutes of audio for public consumption “to prove it exists” more than 20 years ago, Mozer said.

Sit, the producer of the new documentary, made a film for Israeli television about Hausner 20 years ago. Since then, he said, the idea of ​​getting Eichmann’s tape has been crazy about him. Like director Mozer, he is the Israeli grandson of the Holocaust survivors.

“I’m not afraid of memory. I’m afraid of oblivion,” Sit said of the Holocaust, adding that “we want to provide tools to bring memory to life” as the generation of survivors declines. ..

He approached Mozer after watching the 2016 documentary Ben-Gurion, Epilogue, which revolved around a long-lost tape interview with the founding Prime Minister of Israel.

German authorities and tape owners have provided filmmakers with 15 hours of free access to surviving audio. (Sassen recorded for about 70 hours, but after transcribing many of the expensive reels, he taped them.) Mozer said that the owners of the tapes and archives eventually gained access to the filmmakers. He said he agreed to allow. We treat the materials politely and responsibly.

The project has grown into a $ 2 million collaboration between Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer. Sipur, an Israeli company formerly known as Tadmor Entertainment. And Kan11, Israeli public broadcaster.

108 minute version Premiered as the opening film of the Doka Bib Film Festival In Tel Aviv this spring. A 180-minute television version aired in Israel in June in three episodes. Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer is looking for a partner to license the series and air it around the world.

Mr. Sassen’s living room conversation is studded with archived footage and interviews with surviving participants in the trial. According to the filmmaker, the footage in the archive is colored because young people consider the black-and-white footage to be unrealistic as if it were from another planet.

Professor Dina Porat, chief historian of Yad Vashem, the official monument to the Holocaust in Israel, said he heard the Eichmann trial “from morning till night” on the radio as a 12th grader.

“The whole Israeli society was listening. The driver was listening. It was a national experience,” she said.

Professor Polat said that the last major Holocaust-related event in Israel was probably John Demyanjuk’s Trial His successful appeal to the Israeli Supreme Court in the late 1980s and later.

“Every decade, different types of Israeli society are listening,” she said. “Young people today are not the same as they were in the last few decades.”

This documentary also examines the interests of Israeli and German leaders in expanding cooperation and how they influenced the proceedings.

David Ben-Gurion, then Prime Minister of Israel, worked with Eichmann for embarrassing details that might emerge about the former Nazis who worked at the German Prime Minister’s residence, and helped the security of many Jews. Rudolf Kathner, a Hungarian Jew accused of being.

Listening to the tape now, Eichmann’s obvious confession is amazing.

“It’s hard for me to tell you,” Eichmann says in the recording. But I can’t tell you anything else. That is the truth. Why do I have to deny it? “

“Nothing bothers me more than someone who later denies what I did,” he added.

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