The Eichmann Trial and the State of Israel

The televised trial of Adolf Eichmann was a powerful symbol of the development of the State of Israel that was just 13 years old in 1961.

The trial of Adolf Eichmann was an important moment in the development of the State of Israel that was just 13 years old in 1961. The television broadcast was symbolic in how the balance of power had changed since World War 2, with a formerly powerful SS Officer now on trial in an Israeli court. We hear from historian, Professor David Cesarani, who explains that this the moment where 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 details of the Holocaust itself.

Teacher Notes

This clip can be used to provoke a debate about the role played by the Holocaust/Shoah (1939-45) in the creation of the State of Israel (1948) and how the trial had 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 was not discussed at the Nuremburg Trials. Why do you think so?

Curriculum Notes

This clip 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.