Wednesday, May 23, 2007

On May 23, ...

... 1949, the Federal Republic of Germany was established, and its Parliamentary Council promulgated the Grundgesetz ("Basic Law"), which declares in Article 1: "Human dignity shall be inviolable. To respect and protect it shall be the duty of all state authority." Aspects of this Constitution were amended in 1990, when, following the collapse of the Berlin Wall the preceding year, the eastern part of the country, which had been part of the Soviet bloc since the end of World War II, reunited with its western half.
... 1960, Israel's Prime Minister David Ben-Gurion announced the capture of the mastermind of the deportation of 3 million Jews to concentration camps during the Nazi era, Adolf Eichmann. Eichmann had been seized in Argentina, where he was living under an assumed name. As depicted at left and reported in "Eichmann in Jerusalem: A Report on the Banality of Evil" by Hannah Arendt, Israel eventually put Eichmann on trial for crimes against the Jewish people; he was convicted and hanged. His kidnapping by Israeli agents prompted diplomatic protest from Argentina; the U.N. Security Council settled the dispute by resolution. A California-based member of Congress now is citing Eichmann to justify extraordinary renditions, the Bush Administration's post-September 11 policy of extralegal seizures of terrorism suspects.