July 6, 1961 - Adolf Eichmann (pictured in 1942) proclaimed today his innocence of charges that he had been a key accomplice in the Nazi annihilation of millions of Jews. The former Gestapo officer told the Israeli tribunal that his only connection with Auschwitz and other extermination camps had consisted of visiting them as an observer. He never gave "advice or tips" to the Nazis running the gas chambers and crematories, he asserted. Eichmann testified that he hated what he saw on his reporting assignments, particularly a "fountain of blood" he had observed spouting from a mass grave at Lvov, in western Ukraine. He made four trips, "most reluctantly," to extermination sites. At Minsk, he saw a baby shot in its mother's arms, he testified. At Auschwitz, in southern Poland, he saw corpses burning on a pyre. He expressed indignation that he, a sensitive man, had been forced to witness such things. Murmurs of disbelief and a derisive whistle were heard from the public gallery when Eichmann, speaking rapidly, declared his abhorrence of genocide.
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