Commentary by Dr. Eugene Fisher
Covert Israeli forces captured SS Lieutenant Colonel Adolf Eichmann in 1960 in Argentina. |He was tried in a court in Jerusalem. What was revealed about the Holocaust captured the world's attention. It also raised numerous questions. Could secret foreign agents enter a neutral country and take away a person living there? Who or what entities have right to try alleged Nazis guilty of atrocities? War criminals must be brought to justice, but how and by whom? International courts? The survivors of the death camps who had sought refuge in the fledgling Jewish tate? These questions and more swirled around the trial. They also helped the world to understand better what genocide, in this case the systematic murder of six million innocent Jews and hundreds of thousands of other innocents, is, and how the rest of the population acted in such a time of peril for their neighbors.
Deborah E. Lipstadt is one of the leading scholars and historians in the field of Holocaust studies. In this riveting book she provides the reader a seat at the trial. She presents the testimony of the survivors at the trial. She shows how humanity at large, which had by then learned about the Holocaust now began to understand what those who died and those who survive had gone through.
Today, we are seeing a resurgence of antisemitism both in Europe and in the United States. Revisiting what was called the trial of the century, gives the reader of this important book the larger historical and moral framework with which to understand the significance and danger to all citizens of our country of this rise in hatred for one group of our citizens. It is the canary in the coal mine that we should all heed when contemplating the racial, ethnic and religious tensions of our own perilous times.