Bulletproof-glass enclosure where Nazi war criminal sat facing justice half a century ago to be displayed in Galilee museum after years in US exhibitions
The bulletproof glass booth in which Adolf Eichmann testified during his trial in Jerusalem District Court is displayed in the "Operation Finale: The Capture & Trial of Adolf Eichmann" exhibit at the Museum of Jewish Heritage, in New York, Friday, July 14, 2017. (AP Photo/Richard Drew)
After years on display at exhibitions across the United States, the bulletproof-glass booth where Nazi war criminal Adolf Eichmann sat during his 1961 trial in Israel for engineering the deaths of millions of Jews has returned to the country.
The booth, which most recently featured at Manhattan’s Museum of Jewish Heritage, will be the centerpiece of a new exhibit at the Ghetto Fighters’ House Museum in the Western Galilee, where it was originally housed after Eichmann’s execution.
“It is a powerful relic,” curator Yaara Galor told the Ynet news site. “The most enduring image from the trial is of Eichmann sitting inside the booth. It encourages discussion, as does the trial itself — and that may be the only positive thing one can say about the Eichmann trial.”
Eichmann, one of the main organizers of the Holocaust, escaped from a prisoner-of-war camp after World War II and fled to Argentina in 1950, where he lived until he was snatched by Mossad agents in Buenos Aires in May 1960 and smuggled to Israel.
The ability of the security services to bring him to justice was a source of pride for the fledgling Jewish state. His trial and execution riveted the nation and brought it face to face with the horrors of the Holocaust.
This 1961 file photo shows Adolf Eichmann standing in his glass cage in the Jerusalem courtroom where he was tried and convicted of war crimes committed during World War II. (AP Photo,b/w file)
In the Museum of Jewish Heritage exhibit, the booth was surrounded by screens with original video footage of the trial that was meant to make visitors feel like they were spectators at the 1961 proceedings.
The balding, 55-year-old German who once planned the routes of cattle-car trains that brought Jews to Auschwitz, Bergen-Belsen, Dachau and other camps sat stone-faced in footage rolling on a screen right behind the original booth.
The Ghetto Fighters’ House Museum exhibit will incorporate some similar elements to give visitors a sense of being at the trial, Galor said.
Eichmann was sentenced to death and hanged on June 1, 1962. His body was cremated and his ashes scattered at sea.