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Eichmann's Memoirs Released

Adolf Eichmann was executed in 1962 for his role in the Nazi extermination of 6 million Jews during World War II. Now, his secret memoirs have been released in which Eichmann seeks to portray himself as someone who was only following orders. CBS News Correspondent Jesse Schulman reports.

Under lock and key for almost 40 years, the 1,300-page manuscript is a firsthand account of the Nazi mass murder machine by one who kept it running. The keeper of Israel's archives released Eichmann's manuscript for the first time Tuesday.

Eichmann had been hiding out in Argentina when Israeli agents captured him and brought him to Israel. Eichmann wrote the story of his life in 1961 as he awaited trial and later execution in an Israeli jail.

Israel's attorney general, Elyakim Rubinstein, said he is releasing the manuscript now because of a libel suit being tried in a British court.

British historian David Irving is suing American professor Deborah Lipstadt over a book she wrote in which she allegedly maintains that Irving has denied the Holocaust and distorted statistics.

Irving says he does not deny Jews were killed by the Nazis, but challenges the number and manner of Jewish concentration camp deaths.

Israel has a moral obligation to fight those trying to play down the genocide, Rubinstein said.

Although Eichman is self-serving in his memoirs, he admitted that the Holocaust was the worst crime in history.

Amos Hausner, the son of Eichmann's Israeli prosecutor, Gideon Hausner, questioned the wisdom of using the memoirs in court.

"We still have many Holocaust survivors with us. They can testify on the gas chambers," said Hausner. "But instead of believing those people we take the document of a Nazi criminal before he was executed."

The manuscript isn't likely to reveal major surprises. Eichmann testified extensively during the trial, admitting the scale of the Nazi crimes while playing down his own role. What may be new is a glimpse into the mind of the man, a first-person account from the heart of darkness.