Lesson Plan

The Eichmann Trial

Watch a video by author Deborah Lipstadt as she answers questions about the significance of the Eichmann Trial.

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Enduring Understanding

Allowing victims to testify at trial and confront their perpetrator can be part of the healing process.

Essential Question

  • 1What was the significance of the Eichmann Trial?


5 Min

Ask the class if they know who Adolf Eichmann is.

Explain to students that Eichmann was named chief executioner of the Final Solution. In this role he was responsible for organizing the identification, assembly, and transportation of Jews from all over Europe to Auschwitz and other extermination camps.


30 Min

Play the video The Eichmann Trial by Emory University (3 min) then ask the questions below in an open discussion. (Note: Some of the comments on the video on YouTube may be inappropriate.)

  1. What do you think of Eichmann being kidnapped and taken to Israel for trial? Do you think this was fair or unjust? Why do you think it was done?
  2. Deborah Lipstadt calls the Eichmann trial “A trial by the victims of one of the perpetrators.” What significance did this have on the proceedings?
  3. What do you think of what she said about the nature of evil? Why was it so important to put a face to the perpetrator?

Direct students to the resource ‘Eichmann Trial‘ by the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum. Have students pair up to read through the resource and answer the critical thinking questions.


10 Min

Eichmann, as well as other Nazi perpetrators put on trial, gave a similar defense. What do you think of Eichmann’s defense that he was “merely a little cog in the machinery” of destruction? Do you think there is any case where this defense could be valid?

Wisconsin Academic Standards

This lessons meets the following Academic Standards required by the Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction.

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