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International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement

Eichmann's 1962 plea for mercy

Was SS-Obersturmbannfuhrer Adolf Eichmann, who played a central role in the deportation and annihilation of hundreds of thousands of Jews during the Holocaust just a cog in the Nazi killing machine?

Last Wednesday, on the 71st anniversary of the liberation of the Nazi death camp at Auschwitz, a day designated as International Holocaust Remembrance Day, Israeli President Reuven Rivlin made public Eichmann's 1962 handwritten letter asking then-Israeli president Yitzhak Ben-Zvi for a pardon.

"I was not a responsible leader, and as such do not feel myself guilty," he wrote. He argued, he was a low-level functionary following orders and should not be held responsible...