Date of Award

Summer 8-2021

Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)


War and Society

First Advisor

Stephanie Takaragawa

Second Advisor

Jeffrey Koerber

Third Advisor

Nan Lee


This thesis argues that the act of recording the trial of Adolf Eichmann was an interpretation by director Leo Hurwitz, and that at the time it was recorded, and since then, the material has been used by different actors for different purposes. I examined the use made of that material by six individuals/countries: Leo Hurwitz, the accused, director Eyal Sivan, screenwriter Simon Block, West German presenters Joachim Besser and Peter Schier-Gribowsky, and the Israeli government under David Ben-Gurion. To understand the intent of Leo Hurwitz, footage of trial sessions was analyzed as were interviews with him by Professor Susan Slyomovics of UCLA and the work of Professors Sylvie Lindeperg and Annette Wieviorka. To see what Eichmann hoped to accomplish by his self-representation, his performance was analyzed using the work of Hajo Adam and Adam D. Galinsky. To appreciate the intention of Eyal Sivan, his writings, presentations, and interviews were examined as was his film The Specialist: A Modern Criminal Mind. Simon Block’s dialogue for The Eichmann Show and interviews with him were also studied to see his intention. To gain an insight into the West Germany program showing the trial, the work of Judith Keilbach of Utrecht University, and the first eight broadcasts of the program Eine Epoche vor Gericht were considered. Finally, to get an overview of the aim of Israel in having the trial video-taped and broadcast, its history, and the work of writers like Ari Shavit, Amos Oz, Tom Segev, and Haim Gouri were studied. This research shows that all six actors used the tapes for different purposes. Hurwitz tried to show the dangers of fascism. Eichmann worked to present himself a law-abiding German. Eyal Sivan countered the narrative established by the original recording. Simon Block revealed the dynamics of the two people most concerned with capturing the trial for posterity. The presenters of Eine Epoche vor Gericht revealed a reformed Germany that was still aware of its past misdeeds, and finally the Israeli government made used the recording to educate others about the Holocaust, pull Israelis together, and substantiate Israel’s right to exist.

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License.



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