Between April 11th and December 15th, 1961, the trial of Adolf Eichmann, who was held responsible for his role in the murder of millions of European Jews, took place in Jerusalem. Eichmann had previously been captured by the Mossad in Argentina, where he had fled and gone into hiding in 1950, on the basis of information provided by Fritz Bauer, the Attorney General of Hesse.
The trial received international media attention and was prominently observed and commented on by Hannah Arendt, among others, who coined the formula of the “banality of evil” with regard to Eichmann’s behavior before the court. The Eichmann case triggered numerous debates that have exerted a lasting influence on the legal reappraisal of crimes against humanity as well as the memory of the Shoah.
On the one hand, global concepts and figures of memories of the Shoah emerged in the discussion of the trial; on the other hand, its impact depended on different conditions in the respective public spheres. This is why different dynamics and forms of memory and culture can be observed in Israel, Germany, and South America.