Adolf Eichmann, dubbed the architect of the Holocaust, while on trial in Israel. A newly found letter has shown how he begged not be executed
A handwritten letter penned by Adolf Eichmann dubbed the architect of the Holocaust has been revealed showing how he begged not to be executed as he was only following orders.
Eichmann was one of the main organisers of the murder of Jews and oversaw their rounding up and deportation to death camps such as Auschwitz.
He fled to Argentina after escaping a prison camp after the Second World War but was captured in Buenos Aires in May 1960 and smuggled back to Israel.
After a trial two years later for war crimes he was executed by the Israelis for his role in the Holocaust.
Now a letter to then President Yitzhak Ben-Zvi has been found, where he describes himself as a 'mere instrument' of leaders responsible for the deaths of six million Jews.
He then pleads for his death sentence to be overturned in the letter, wrote in ballpoint pen, which is dated two days before his hanging.
It reads: 'There is a need to draw a line between the leaders responsible and the people like me forced to serve as mere instruments in the hands of the leaders.
'I was not a responsible leader, and as such do not feel myself guilty.
'I am not able to recognise the court’s ruling as just, and I ask, Your Honour Mr President, to exercise your right to grant pardons, and order that the death penalty not be carried out.'
The letter was signed and dated: 'Adolf Eichmann Jerusalem, May 29, 1962.'
A spokesman for current Israeli president Reuven Rivlin said although the plea for clemency had been public knowledge since Eichmann’s trial in Jerusalem, the actual letter had only recently been found when documents were being scanned for digital archiving.
In the letter, pictured, to then President Yitzhak Ben-Zvi he describes himself as a 'mere instrument' of leaders responsible for the deaths of six million Jews
Eichmann also begs not to be executed and signs off his letter, wrote two days before his death, 'Adolf Eichmann Jerusalem, May 29, 1962'
It was released to the media to coincide with Holocaust Memorial Day and Rivlin said during a ceremony at his official residence that he would like the document to be put on display at Israel’s Yad Vashem Holocaust memorial.
The ability of the security services to bring him to justice was a source of pride for the Jewish state, and Rivlin referred to the trial as a momentous moment in Israel’s history.
Rivlin said: 'In the first years after the Holocaust, the people in Israel were busy rebuilding and founding an independent state.
'The renewed Israeli society was not in the mindset to or able to remember.
The letter, pictured, was released to the media to coincide with Holocaust Memorial Day, which is being marked around the world today
Israel president Reuven Rivlin is now calling for the letter to be put on display at Israel’s Yad Vashem Holocaust memorial
'The Eichmann trial broke the dam of silence. The ability of the young Jewish state to capture the Nazi murderer afforded a basic sense of security to the survivors of the Holocaust.'
Israel and its allies have continued to use their resources across the globe to pursue those responsible for carrying out the Holocaust, even though the majority of perpetrators are now close to death.
On Tuesday, the Simon Wiesenthal Center - named after a famous Nazi hunter - produced a list of 10 alleged Nazis who could be prosecuted in 2016.
Of the 10, four have trial dates already in Germany for this year.
The letter was released to mark Holocaust Memorial Day and current Israeli president Reuven Rivlin, pictured centre, said he would like the document to be put on display at Israel’s Yad Vashem Holocaust memorial
Mr Riviln embraces Rafi Eitan who headed the operation to recapture Adolf Eichmann who escaped a prisoner of war camp and fled to Argentina
Mr Eitan looks at a photocopy of the letter of the handwritten note by Gideon Hausner wrote his opening statement before Eichmann's trial
Efraim Zuroff, director of the centre, said they would continue to chase every remaining perpetrator as 'we owe it to the victims.'
He said: 'The passage of time in no way diminishes the guilt of the killers. Old age should not afford protection to people that committed such heinous crimes.
'The trials send a powerful message about the significance of the Holocaust.'