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January 23, 1987 - Image 38

Resource type:
Text
Publication:
The Detroit Jewish News, 1987-01-23

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/flitted in Israel and whose vic-
tims were not Israelis.
"We argued that Israel has a
special interest in bringing
Nazi criminals to trial and that
the Jewish state now repre-
sents the victims.
"Once Demjanjuk has been
tried, Israel will take indi-
vidual decisions about seeking
the extradition of other Nazi
criminals from the United
States."
Ironically, however, De-
mjanjuk's extradition — and
the prospect of many more
aging Nazi war criminals
standing trial in Israeli courts
— has not met with universal
approval in Israel.
Some legal experts have
pointed out that while there
was an enormous body of solid,
documented proof against
Eichmann, the case against
Demjanjuk must rely largely
on the memories of a handful of
survivors, 40 years after the
event.

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3a Friday, January 23, 1987

THE DETROIT JEWISH NEWS

399 - 3130/31

According to Dr Yitzhak
Ravel', one of the three judges
who sentenced Eichmann,
there is no longer any educa-
tional, legal or historic value
in putting Nazis on trial in
Israel, "unless we are talking
of criminals who held senior
positions during the Holo-
caust and against whom
there is real proof."
"The Eichmann trial was
right on target," he says, "but
I • wouldn't touch a low-level
Nazi."
Judge Haim Cohn, a retired
Supreme Court judge who
now heads an Israeli civil
liberties group, is also critical
of the trial: "The world today
will not understand why
Israel is putting Nazi war
criminals on trial two genera-
tions after they committed
their crimes.
"It is likely to be seen as an
attack on human rights. The
questions are hard, but one
thing is clear: we should not
put the small fish among
them on trial."
Hanna Zemer, editor-in-
chief of the Hebrew language
daily Davar and a Holocaust
survivor, has declared herself
"unhappy, definitely un-
happy" with the trial of
Demj anjuk.
She would have preferred to
see him stand trial in the
Soviet Union: "I do not an-
ticipate with joy a repeat
spectacle of the accused in a
glass booth and an execution
in Israel—for at the conclu-
sion of a trial such as this, no
other punishment is possible.
"Nor am I enthusiastic
about a trial in which the
boundary between the educa-
tional component and the
spectacle component is
unavoidably blurred.
"In the Eichmann trial, too,
there was this bewildering
mixture of realms. But we
knew it was a one-time act,
that the Eichmann trial had
a horrific uniqueness which

was without precedent and
without continuation — as
was appropriate in the case of
someone accused of playing a
central role in a crime without
precedent and without ex-
ample.
"And behold, there will now
be an additional trial, pale by
comparison, which will
detract from the singularity
of the Eichmann trial and
thereby diminish its value."
Fearing that Israel will con-
tinue to seek the extradition
of Nazi criminals from the
United States and elsewhere,
Zemer adds: "Perhaps we will

"There is no longer
any educational,
legal or historic
value in putting
Nazis on trial in
Israel."

time and again use the glass
booth and the execution
facility, and time and again
dwarf the Eichmann trial.
"For in comparison to him,
all the criminals currently
under discussion are devil's
apprentices and the exter-
mination machine needed
thousands of their ilk."
But there are no such
doubts in the mind of Mr
Gideon Hausner, former
attorney-general and chief
state prosecutor in the
Eichmann trial: "It is the
duty of the State of Israel to
bring to justice all Nazi war
criminals whom we can lay
our hands on," he says.
"Now, when there is a
scheme to repudiate the
Holocaust by denying that it
ever happened, it is important
to hold the trial in Jerusalem
and to ensure that all the
terrible atrocities of the Nazis
be brought to light.
"It is important that every
single piece of evidence be
recorded. The world must
know and remember so that
such a tragedy should never
happen again."
Hausner does not neces-
sarily believe that Israel
should try every alleged Nazi
criminal. Other countries also
bear a responsibility to bring
them to justice.
But if those other countries
show signs of timidity, he
says, "then Israel is charged
with the task:'
Dr. Yitzhak Arad, director
of the Yad Vashem Holocaust
Memorial Authority in Jeru-
salem, believes moreover that
the Demjanjuk trial will
highlight an aspect of the
Holocaust that has been
largely ignored.
"Demjanjuk was not a Ger-
man, he was a Ukrainian. It
is important to understand
that Nazi Germany was not

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