June 1 - 1962 - The Execution of Adolf Eichmann
Adolf Eichmann was executed by hanging for war crimes in Israel, although his crimes did not happen in Israel. He was, however, a former Nazi who, as a high ranking party official, was responsible for the transportation of people to concentration and death camps. Eichmann's capture by Mossad agents in Buenos Aires in 1960 was a sensation, and his five month trial in 1961 was followed around the world. Eichmann's claim was that he was simply "following orders" and bore no responsibility for the events of the Holocaust. Actually, he had deep responsibility, as he was the person in charge of "Jewish Affairs" from 1933. This initially meant arranging mass emigration, but after the Wannsee Conference in 1942, this basically made Eichmann in charge of logistics for the Holocaust. He claimed he was not fully aware of what was going on. The writer Hannah Arendt, who attended some of the trial, said he exemplified the "banality of evil," because he was a pencil pusher more than the typical idea of a war criminal. The judges who heard Eichmann's case saw it differently, and that's why he was sentenced to die by hanging.