A New Documentary Lets Adolf Eichmann Speak in His Own Words

July 11 2022

During his 1961 trial, the Israeli court ruled that the prosecution could not use the extensive audio recordings of Adolf Eichmann’s conversations before his capture by the Mossad. Since then, the tapes have been kept away from the public; it was only in 2011 that a German researcher used them along with other evidence to demonstrate conclusively what had been apparent to many: that Eichmann was not the thoughtless cog in the machine that Hannah Arendt had made him out to be in her famous book, but a fanatical anti-Semite. Recently a group of Israeli filmmakers gained access to the tapes, and used them in producing a new documentary about the man who played a major role in coordinating the Holocaust. Isabel Kershner writes:

The tapes were made by Willem Sassen, a Dutch journalist and a Nazi SS officer and propagandist during World War II. Part of a group of Nazi fugitives in Buenos Aires, he and Eichmann embarked on the recording project with an eye to publishing a book after Eichmann’s death. Members of the group met for hours each week at Sassen’s house, where they drank and smoked together.

Exposing Eichmann’s visceral, ideological anti-Semitism, his zeal for hunting down Jews and his role in the mechanics of mass murder, the [documentary] brings the missing evidence from the trial to a mass audience for the first time. Eichmann can be heard swatting a fly that was buzzing around the room and describing it as having “a Jewish nature.”

He told his interlocutors that he “did not care” whether the Jews he sent to Auschwitz lived or died. Having denied knowledge of their fate in his trial, he said on tape that the order was that “Jews who are fit to work should be sent to work. Jews who are not fit to work must be sent to the Final Solution, period,” meaning their physical destruction.

“If we had killed 10.3 million Jews, I would say with satisfaction, ‘Good, we destroyed an enemy.’ Then we would have fulfilled our mission,” he said, referring to all the Jews of Europe.

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Read more at New York Times

More about: Adolf Eichmann, Anti-Semitism, Hannah Arendt, Holocaust

UN Peacekeepers in Lebanon Risk Their Lives, but Still May Do More Harm Than Good

Jan. 27 2023

Last month an Irish member of the UN Interim Force in Lebanon (UNIFIL) was killed by Hizballah guerrillas who opened fire on his vehicle. To David Schenker, it is likely the peacekeeper was “assassinated” to send “a clear message of Hizballah’s growing hostility toward UNIFIL.” The peacekeeping force has had a presence in south Lebanon since 1978, serving first to maintain calm between Israel and the PLO, and later between Israel and Hizballah. But, Schenker explains, it seems to be accomplishing little in that regard:

In its biannual reports to the Security Council, UNIFIL openly concedes its failure to interdict weapons destined for Hizballah. While the contingent acknowledges allegations of “arms transfers to non-state actors” in Lebanon, i.e., Hizballah, UNIFIL says it’s “not in a position to substantiate” them. Given how ubiquitous UN peacekeepers are in the Hizballah heartland, this perennial failure to observe—let alone appropriate—even a single weapons delivery is a fair measure of the utter failure of UNIFIL’s mission. Regardless, Washington continues to pour hundreds of millions of dollars into this failed enterprise, and its local partner, the Lebanese Armed Forces.

Since 2006, UNIFIL patrols have periodically been subjected to Hizballah roadside bombs in what quickly proved to be a successful effort to discourage the organization proactively from executing its charge. In recent years, though, UN peacekeepers have increasingly been targeted by the terror organization that runs Lebanon, and which tightly controls the region that UNIFIL was set up to secure. The latest UN reports tell a harrowing story of a spike in the pattern of harassment and assaults on the force. . . .

Four decades on, UNIFIL’s mission has clearly become untenable. Not only is the organization ineffective, its deployment serves as a key driver of the economy in south Lebanon, employing and sustaining Hizballah’s supporters and constituents. At $500 million a year—$125 million of which is paid by Washington—the deployment is also expensive. Already, the force is in harm’s way, and during the inevitable next war between Israel and Hizballah, this 10,000-strong contingent will provide the militia with an impressive human shield.

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Read more at Tablet

More about: Hizballah, Lebanon, Peacekeepers, U.S. Foreign policy