Deborah Lipstadt on Adolf Eichmann's trial (Hr. 3)

Former Gestapo officer Adolph Eichmann, in glass cage at left, at his war crimes trial, Dec. 11, 1961 (AP Photo)

Former Gestapo officer Adolph Eichmann, in glass cage at left, at his war crimes trial, Dec. 11, 1961 (AP Photo)

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On April 11, 1961, in an auditorium in downtown Jerusalem, Israeli Attorney General Gideon Hausner delivered his opening statement  in the case against Adolf Eichmann.

Eichmann had been the Nazi official in charge of the deportation of Europe's Jews during the Second World War.

Eichmann's arrest had made headlines around the world, but his trial would make history.

Eichmann escaped Germany - and justice - in the aftermath of the war, eventually settling in a German exile community in Argentina.

In 1960, Israeli agents kidnapped him and smuggled him back to Israel, setting the stage for that young country's most important and dramatic court case. Eichmann was, and remains, the only person to be executed in Israel under its civil law.

But the case had deep resonance outside the Israeli justice system. Millions all over the world watched the proceedings live on television.

The trial helped define the State of Israel both inside and outside its borders.

Last year marked the 50th anniversary of his trial and conviction in Jerusalem. Deborah Lipstadt is a Holocaust scholar and the Dorot Professor of Modern Jewish History and Holocaust Studies at Emory University in Atlanta. And, she is the author of The Eichmann Trial.

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