1960

1960

► The seizure of Eichmann and the beginning of his trial. It was the biggest event since the Nuremberg trials. Adolf Eichmann was the main coordinator of the "Final Solution to the Jewish question" and called "the architect of the Holocaust". After the war, thanks to the help of Bishop Hudal (see year 1948), Eichmann fled to Argentina where he was employed at the Mercedes-Benz factory. He lived on the outskirts of Buenos-Aires. Hudal's subordinates and the related organization ODESSA which operated with fund from Deutsche Bank (see year 1946), helped Eichmann in escaping and hiding. Eichmann process was filmed and translated into three languages, being watched by 450 journalists. Adolf Eichmann's youngest son was only five years old when the Israeli forces captured his father on their way home in Buenos Aires. Today he is a professor of archaeology in the Middle East and very strongly condemns the actions of his father: "I do not support the death penalty but considering the crimes committed by my father I have no problem with his execution."

Adolf Eichmann making notes during his trial in Jerusalem. Bulletproof glass windows were supposed to protect him from assassination (source:    wbur.org   )

Adolf Eichmann making notes during his trial in Jerusalem. Bulletproof glass windows were supposed to protect him from assassination (source: wbur.org)

Eichmann's crimes, his escape, the search conducted by Simon Wiesenthal and finally the capture and process in Israel were subjects of an infinite number of studies, books, movies. Next to Eichmann the entire German society was placed in the accused dock. The sensational circumstances of capturing the criminal and a great process in Jerusalem brought back the memories and discussions on the causes and mechanisms of the war crimes in Germany.
► The first book giving war losses suffered by Poland during World War II was published, "Polish war losses" ed. Poznan 1960 (ed. II Poznan 1962). The publication was translated into several languages. The authors discussed the Third Reich occupation policy, Polish personal, economic and cultural losses, extermination of the Polish intelligentsia, the destruction of Warsaw. Previously the first estimates of Polish war losses was calculated by the War Compensation Bureau of the Council of Ministers Presidium in 1947 (Report on losses and damage caused by war in Poland 1939-1945). The total value of the losses was set at 258 billion zloty (currency value before war), which was equivalent to about 50 billion US dollars in 1939. These losses translated to a value of approx. 650-700 billion US dollars in 2004. Where just losses of the Polish capital Warsaw amounts to the equivalent of $ 45 billion.
► January 20th. The Prime Minister of Poland appointed the Interdepartmental Commission for the Affairs of the Peace Treaty with Germany. The problem was that according to the Potsdam Agreements the final settlement of reparations was "postponed until a peace treaty with Germany." Unfortunately the peace treaty with Germany was never signed. This complicated the matter of reparations. Although the German government in 1951 decided on the payment of compensations for victims of pseudo-medical experiments, this only applied to countries with which Germany maintained diplomatic relations and therefore not Poland. In this situation the Polish victims began to seek international support. They received support from, among others, the Hiroshima Peace Committee which publicized the issue in the United States and invited the Polish victims to present their claims. The United NationsSecurity Council also got engaged to find a solution to the problem of the victims. The German government in an article published in the "Bulletin of the Press and Information Office of the Government" of 15 November 1960 announced a will to seek the possibility of compensation payments to all victims of the experiments. The International Red Cross Committee presented a proposal to create a committee that would have a freedom in gathering evidence and a task to review Polish applications and to calculate the compensation for damages. Still it was unknown if the payment would be an one-off or a permanent pension. At the end payments of benefits in the years 1961-1971 progressed however very slowly. These were the individual compensations. There were around 6.5 thousand financial assistance requests registered (Germany did not use term "compensation" but "financial assistance") only 1,357 were finalized.
The issue of reparations has gained a new dimension when, in April 1969, the UN adopted a convention stating that war crimes and crimes against humanity are not subject to the statute of limitations.
► May 3rd. The opening of the Anne Frank House - museum in Amsterdam devoted to Anne Frank author of The Diary of a Young Girl. Anne Frank, her closest family and four friends spent two years hiding in the back of the building where her father worked from Nazi persecution during the World War II. Annex where Anne's father Otto Frank arranged a hideout was located at the rear part of the company's building. It was hidden from the eyes of the public and surrounded by other homes from four sides. It was a perfect hiding place for Otto, his wife Edith, daughters Margot and Anne and their four friends: Hermann van Pels, his wife Auguste, their son Peter and a friend dentist Fritz Pfeffer. The total area of the hideout was about 46 m2. All eight remained in hiding for more than two years until anonymously revealed to the German authorities in 1944. They were all sent to concentration camps. Otto Frank was the only survivor.

Anne Frank

Anne Frank

After the arrest Franks' hiding place was searched and clothes, furniture and other everyday items were seized and transferred to German families. Luckily Anne Frank's diary which the girl began to write in hiding when she was 13 years old was found and handed over to her father. Several films were made based on the diary and Anne Frank's life. Anne Frank House in Amsterdam is visited annually by over one million people.
► December 14th. Establishment of Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development OECD. Under the convention signed by 20 countries - including Germany, the new organization was formed replacing the Organization for European Economic Cooperation OEEC, founded on 16th April 1948 which was aiming at integration of European economies devastated by the war using aid under the Marshall Plan (see years 1947, 1948). Poland joined the OECD in 1996.