JERUSALEM, Israel -- Adolf Eichmann's body was cremated and the ashes scattered on the Mediterranean early today within hours of the moment he was hanged as history's most monstrous mass murderer -- still unrepentant for his role in the Nazi slaughter of 6 million Jews.
A slight smile played over the lips of the former SS colonel as a prison official announced "ready" and the trap door was sprung. He was pronounced dead at two minutes before midnight Thursday.
For Israel it was a shallow victor that could not possibly balance a carnage so bestial that the Israeli supreme court said no punishment could be severe enough.
To the end Eichmann remained defiant. He claimed in his trial he was only a little cog in the Nazi machine. In his final appeal for mercy he blamed the slaughter on other Nazi "leaders" whom he did not identify.
Walks to Gallows
As he walked his last steps to the gallows at Ramle prison outside Tel Aviv he told Dr. Robert Hull, a Canadian Protestant missionary:
"I'm taking it calmly with peace in my heart which is to me proof that I was correct."
Just before he died he proclaimed: "I tried to obey the laws of war and my flag."
The Rev. Dr. Hull, who had many talks with Eichmann the last few weeks of his life, pleaded with Eichmann on the last walk to "return to Jesus."
Eichmann seemed to ignore him. He refused a Bible. But among his last words were: "I lived believing in God, and believing in God I die."
Four and a half hours later the body of the 56-year-old Nazi race exterminator was removed from the fortress prison and cremated. The ashes were spread over the sea from an Israeli police boat.
The state of Israel wasted no time in snuffing out Eichmann's life after the supreme court turned down his legal appeal on Tuesday.