Israeli lawyer and politician, probably best known as the lead prosecutor of Adolf Eichmann in 1960.

Quick sketch

Hausner's life in a nutshell:

His best speech

The Eichmann trial was arguably the high point of Hausner's career. His opening and closing statements gripped the world:

When I stand before you, oh judges of Israel, to lead the prosecution of Adolf Eichmann, I do not stand alone. With me here are six million accusers. But they cannot rise to their feet and point their finger at the man in the dock with the cry "J'accuse!" on their lips. For they are now only ashes -- ashes piled high on the hills of Auschwitz and the fields of Treblinka and strewn in the forests of Poland. Their graves are scattered throughout Europe. Their blood cries out, but their voice is stilled. Therefore will I be their spokesman. In their name will I unfold this terrible indictment.


The deeds of those classic figures of barbarism, Nero, Attila, Genghis Khan, pale into insignificance when set against the abominations, the murderous horrors, which will be presented to you in this trial. Only in our generation has an organized state set upon an entire defenceless and peaceful population -- men, women, and children, greybeards and babies -- incarcerated them behind electrified fences, imprisoned them in concentration camps, and resolved to destroy them utterly.


In this trial, we shall encounter a new kind of killer, the kind that exercises his bloody craft behind a desk, and only occasionally does the deed with his own hands ... But it was his word that put gas chambers into action; he lifted the telephone, and railway trains left for the extermination centres; his signature it was that sealed the doom of tens of thousands. He had but to give the order, and troopers took off to rout Jews out of their homes, to beat and torture them and drive them into ghettos, to steal their property and, after brutality and pillage, after all had been wrung from them, when even their hair had been taken, to transport them en masse to their slaughter. Even their dead bodies were not immune. Gold teeth were extracted and wedding rings torn from fingers.

Eichmann was the one who planned, initiated and organized, who instructed others to spill this ocean of blood, and to use all the means of murder, theft and torture. He is responsible, therefore, as though he with his own hands had knotted the hangman's noose, lashed the victims into the gas chambers, shot and thrust into the open pits every single one of the millions who were murdered. Such is his responsibility in the eyes of the law. And such is his responsibility by every standard of morality.


Eichmann will tell you that he carried out the orders of his superiors. But the conscience of the world, speaking with the voice of the International Military Tribunal, has declared that orders contrary to the principles of conscience and morality, orders that violate the essential imperatives on which human society is based and negate the basic rules without which men cannot live together -- such orders constitute no defence, legal or moral. Therefore, in the light of the ruling, our own law in Israel has denied the accused the legal right to submit such a defence. But that is by no means all. We shall prove to the court that he went far beyond his actual orders, that he took the initiative in extermination operations for which he had been given no orders whatsoever, and carried them out only because of his devotion to the task in which he saw his life's mission.


At Auschwitz the killings were carried out by every method -- shooting, hanging and beating, but mainly in the massive gas chambers. In each such chamber, 2,000 people were herded together for a "shower." A flow of poison gas. The death factory operated unceasingly. The extermination of 2,000 people lasted 25 minutes, after which the bodies were taken to one of the five giant furnaces. Medical experiments were made on human beings as if they were guinea pigs. Parts of female sex organs were cut out, or limbs were subjected to X-rays until the unfortunate creatures writhed in pain prior to their deaths. Men were castrated. Experiments were made on the influence of paraffin and gasoline injections on human skin and the effects of chemical substances on mental resistance. The methods of punishment would not have shamed the most cruel barbarians on history. Beating on the naked body was a comparatively light punishment. Water was poured into people's ears, fingernails were extracted, prisoners starved until they went out of their minds. In the bunker of those sentenced for punishment by starvation, a dead prisoner was found, bent over whom was a second prisoner, also dead, grasping at the liver from the corpse of the first. He had died while tearing at the liver of a fellow human being. The Nazi contribution to European culture was the re-introduction of cannibalism.


We shall prove that the accused performed all these deeds with the set purpose of destroying the Jewish people, wholly or in part. Adolf Eichmann will enjoy a privilege which he did not accord to a single one of his victims. He will be able to defend himself before the court. His fate will be decided according to law and according to the evidence, with the burden of proof resting upon the prosecution. And the judges of Israel will pronounce true and righteous judgment.

(It seems disrespectful, somehow, to put links to mundane items like "fingernails" in Hausman's speech, so I haven't.)

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