Elly kleinman siyum hashas
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Elly Kleinman (born 1952) is an American business executive and philanthropist best known as the founder and CEO of The Americare Companies. He is the Co-Chairman of OHEL Board of Directors, Chairman of Camp Kylie Board of Trustees and Former Trustee of the Maimonides Medical Center. In 2012 he was the Chairman of 12th Siyum HaShas

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Elly Kleinman Siyum Hashas

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Elly kleinman siyum hashas

Elly Kleinman Siyum Hashas


Sparing eichmann

Sparing Eichmann

  • A few weeks have passed since the letter written by Adolf Eichmann, ym”sto Israel’s president was released to the public. Two days before he was executed, the Nazi criminal penned an unrepentant note in a last-ditch effort to save himself. Eichmann claimed the court had erred in its judgment and had not understood that he was simply doing his job under the circumstances of war.

  • When I first saw an image of the letter, written in neat German handwriting, my stomach knotted with revulsion. It was especially repulsive to see the name of our holiest city, Yerushalayim, inscribed by a hand that dripped with Jewish blood. Why do we need to see this? I wondered. After all, the Torah tells us that regarding such people—“Yemachshemov’zichro, their name and remembrance should be erased!”

  • But at the same time, I think the letter is an opportunity for some reflection. It reminds us of the international outcry that ensued when Eichmann was sentenced to death. There were hundreds more letters that poured in from all over the world. Martha Gellhorn, a respected war correspondent and the only woman to land on the beaches of Normandy on D-Day, wrote that Eichmann should be killed and cremated so that he would have no grave to serve as a Nazi Mecca. She also argued that Eichmann’s memoirs of his incarceration should not be published. Good for her.


Elly kleinman siyum hashas

  • However, most of the letters were predictable, reminders that some things stay the same. The Soviet Union did not approve, and from the academic community in the United States came a paper flurry of protest arguing that sparing Eichmann would provide an opportunity for the Jewish people to serve as a model and inspiration to the whole world. Intellectuals led by Martin Buber and (Shmuel) Hugo Bergman appealed to the Israeli president to spare Eichmann for the “good of the country and its moral reputation,” and in order not to enable antisemites to claim that a blood ransom had now been paid for Nazi crimes. Even Michael Arnon of the Israeli Embassy in Washington claimed that the majority of American Jews opposed the death penalty for Eichmann.

  • The vast majority of Israelis, however, expressed support for Eichmann’s execution, and many requested the honor of serving as hangman. Why the huge difference of opinion? Most likely, many Israelis at that time were either European survivors who had seen the true face of antisemitism in their home countries, or Israeli citizens who had withstood constant Arab attacks. They had seen the unbridled hatred of antisemitism and knew that sparing Eichmann’s life was not going to make any difference.


Elly kleinman siyum hashas

  • As the proceedings took shape, Israeli Prime Minister David Ben-Gurion tried to put things in perspective. “The main point is not the punishment,” he said, “because I do not see any appropriate punishment for these deeds; so what if they hang a man who murdered millions of children, women and old people? … [The trial] is necessary not only for us but for the whole world. The world wants to forget it, and it is tired of it all.”

  • Sixty years later, and the world is not tired of undermining Jewish interests. Recently, French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius put forward another initiative to restart Middle East peace talks. In case France’s motive seemed unclear, Fabius added that should the talks fail, Paris would recognize a Palestinian state. And UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon termed the recent spate of terror attacks in Israel “understandable.”

  • At times it seems that everything has changed and nothing has changed. Eichmann’s letter raised a flurry of emotion, but it serves to remind us that the past will only truly be erased when it ceases to repeat itself.


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