History GCSE: The Eichmann Trial and the State of Israel

The trial of Adolf Eichmann was an important moment in the development of the State of Israel which was just 13 years old in 1961.

The television broadcast was symbolic of how the balance of power had changed since World War Two, with a formerly powerful SS officer on trial in an Israeli court.

We hear from historian, Professor David Cesarani, who explains that this was the moment when two Adolfs were seen as responsible for the Holocaust – Adolf Hitler and Adolf Eichmann.

For many people around the world, this was their first introduction to the details of the Holocaust itself.

This short film is from the BBC series, The Eichmann Show.

Due to the sensitive nature of the subject matter, we strongly advise teacher viewing before watching with your pupils.

Teacher Notes

This short film could be used to stimulate a debate about the role of the Holocaust (1939-45) in the creation of the State of Israel (1948) and how this trial defined the existence and maturity of the state by 1961.

Possible questions for class:

How did the Holocaust change what it meant/means to be Jewish?

Eichmann and his role were not discussed at the Nuremburg Trials (1945-46). Why do you think this was the case?

Curriculum Notes

This short film will be relevant for teaching history. This topic appears in OCR, Edexcel, AQA, WJEC KS4/GCSE in England and Wales, CCEA GCSE in Northern Ireland and SQA National 4/5 in Scotland.

More from The Eichmann Show

Adolf Eichmann: Architect of the Holocaust
How far can one person be held responsible for the Holocaust?
How Adolf Eichmann's trial revealed the horrors of Auschwitz
Managing evidence and the challenge of recording the trial of Adolf Eichmann