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Eichmann in Jerusalem A Report on the Banality of Evil

Free read Eichmann in Jerusalem A Report on the Banality of Evil

Originally appearing as a series of articles in The New Yorker Hannah Arendt’s authoritative and stunning report on the trial of Nazi leader Adolf Eichmann sparked a flurry of debate upon its publication This re. The horror and enigma surrounding the Holocaust trials is probably best exhibited in Peter Weiss’s play The Investigation Based on the actual testimonies given during the Frankfurt Auschwitz trials reading it is an experience that is cold brutal and almost physical in ways unexpected Witnesses try to communicate the incommunicable suffering of victims and survivors; Defendants try to deny or extenuate their respective roles in the heinous crimes and Judges try to measure up an appropriate sentence against the evil involved that keeps on getting bigger hideous and unbearable In the course of brief dialogues Weiss deftly manages to raise some inconvenient uestions and leaves the tough task of contemplation for the readers In that sense where this play ends Eichmann in Jerusalem begins One last uestion the most disturbing of all was asked by the judges and especially by the presiding judge over and over again Had the killing of Jews gone against his conscience But this was a moral uestion and the answer to it may not have been legally relevantI am tempted to say that Hannah Arendt followed Eichmann’s trial as an impartial third party whose aim was to view things in the light of a relevant objectivity but it would be too bold a claim given my superficial knowledge about the concerned subject matter Still I can say that she definitely strives to penetrate the colossal intricacy of Nazi machinery along with the challenges faced by a wary legal system It’s not a coin we are talking about but a demonic labyrinth of ‘crimes against humanity’ and the difficulty in analyzing its structure must have been enormous From the outset only Arendt’s lucid and assured writing conveys the much needed message that whatever shall follow will not complicate the already complicated events but rather deconstruct the methods and conseuences of venomous indoctrination What stuck in the minds of these men who had become murderers was simply the notion of being involved in something historic grandiose uniue which must therefore be difficult to bear This was important because the murderers were not sadists or killers by nature; on the contrary a systematic effort was made to weed out all those who derived physical pleasure from what they did And in the centre of all this is a man sitting in the bullet proof glass cage recounting the whys and hows and wheres of the gross injustice he perpetrated while Arendt carefully observes his various stances actuated by a thorough research and presents a ‘report’ that is worth reading for the sheer amount of information and new perspectives it offers for our perusal Although all her arguments bear a force that warrants some sort of reaction even from the unaffected there are instances where things appears to be stretched a little too far on her part especially when it comes to pass judgments on Eichmann’s character And no I’m not referring to the ‘banality’ which is most likely a foregone conclusion and Arendt herself regretted the use of that word but certain extraneous assumptions The ‘banality’ however whether that of a person or some invisible evil force can’t be dismissed in its entirety when one reads the following words Just as the law in civilized countries assumes that the voice of conscience tells everybody “Thou shalt not kill” even though man's natural desires and inclinations may at times be murderous so the law of Hitler's land demanded that the voice of conscience tell everybody “Thou shalt kill” although the organizers of the massacres knew full well that murder is against the normal desires and inclinations of most people Evil in the Third Reich had lost the uality by which most people recognize it the uality of temptation Maybe there are many philosophies at play here that I didn’t able to differentiate or even recognize but one thing that is apparent against the tragic backdrop of wars is the dwelling place of truth that usually gets blurred or wiped out under the layers of black and white right and wrong good and evil Arendt has explored those very places in a manner that is admirable and brave

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F singular influence Eichmann in Jerusalem is as shocking as it is informative an unflinching look at one of the most unsettling and unsettled issues of the twentieth century that remains hotly debated to this day. Hannah sometimes in Jerusalem a Report on the Banality of a Book A new group of deportees has arrived at Auschwitz There they are men women and children all fearful all apprehensive A truck drives by piled high with corpses The arms of the dead are hanging loose over the sides waving as if in grim farewell The people scream But no sooner has the vehicle turned a corner than the horror has been edited out of their minds Even on the brink of death there are some things too fantastic for the human imagination to absorb This is a true account though unfortunately I can’t remember exactly where I read it I think it was Anus Mundi Wiesaw Kielar’s memoir of the five years he spent in the death camp but I can’t be certain It came to mind on reading Hannah Arendt’s Eichmann in Jerusalem; A Report on the Banality of Evil Why you may wonder Simply because Hannah Arendt had a prefect retrospective knowledge; she is wise after the event She knows what the outcome is going to be for those people on that platform They did not even so far as that final stage But Arendt assumes that they and their leaders did; that they collaborated with the machinery of death That is the worst failure of the greater failure in her account of the Eichmann trial This is not a review; it’s a literary post mortem Arendt’s book is too well known a controversial ‘classic’ over which a prefect avalanche of words has descended These are my own an exposure of what I consider to be possibly the worst example of bad faith dissimulation and prejudgement ever penned It’s a dishonest book that attempts to hide its dishonesty in the way that Eichmann attempted to hide his guilt It is a book if I can put it like this that was ‘only obeying orders’ What do I mean exactly Precisely this before a word of evidence had been heard in that court in Jerusalem Arendt had set an agenda She came armed with preconceptions all drawn from The Origins of Totalitarianism her magnum opus In a sense Eichmann’s guilt or innocence were irrelevant to the main point which was to repackage him as a perfect example of ‘totalitarian man’ a cog in a machine programmed simply to obey orders One thing worked in her favour people came to Jerusalem expecting to see a monster What they saw was a rather tawdry balding bespectacled middle aged German of wholly forgettable appearance This was the sort of individual one would pass in the street without a second glance He was disappointingly banal which gave Arendt her leitmotiv the theme she played throughout Eichmann in Jerusalem What she gave us in the end was an account that did much to obscure the real Eichmann even so far as setting aside altogether the anti Semitism which formed such a part of his character and political outlook Eichmann may have been a colourless mediocrity but his actions the evil behind his actions was most assuredly anything but banal There is opportunism here that also has to be understood the opportunism not just of Arendt who also had an anti Zionist agenda but the opportunism of those who latched their wagons to her star The person who comes first to mind here is Stanley Milgram author of a famous experiment on obedience and authority so flawed in methodology and scientific rigour that it verges on the fraudulent People like Eichmann he concluded were not sadistic monsters They were simply individuals who had abdicated all moral choice to a greater authority Had Arendt not proved this to be so What we were given was a form of psychological profiling devoid of history of context of politics of ideology and of all cultural preconceptions But the Arendt Milgram Axis if I can express it so worked It was a great influence on those who needed excuses those who sought to dissolve a particular set of historical factors into a ‘universal’ explanation one which served to relativise the Holocaust robbing it of all uniueness The Holocaust as David Cesarani says in Eichmann and his Crimes was simply depicted as a function of modernity Arendt did not spend long in Jerusalem; she did not need to; she had already made up her mind exposed initially in reports which were not reports in the New Yorker She vacuum packed the Holocaust for a modern audience for people who were trying to make sense of the complexity of it all; people who were trying to make sense of the colourless executioner in Jerusalem She gave people an Eichmann who was ‘like us’ who demonstrated a latent potential present in everyman The best critiue of the disingenuousness of Eichmann in Jerusalem comes in my view from Yaacov Lozowick a one time admirer of the book; There was very little that was banal about Eichmann or any of his accomplices and the little that could be found was not relevant to what they had done Arendt’s point of departure was wrong Although she was primarily a philosopher she had written an historical analysis – and without checking the facts Moreover she had refrained from taking into account much potentially relevant information Above all her position was the result of ideological considerations not careful scholarship There was also a paradox that of a Jew who herself had anti Semitic not just anti Zionist tendencies In a letter to Karl Jaspers dated April 1961 she describes Gideon Hauser the chief prosecutor at the Eichmann trial as a “typical Galician Jew very unsympathetic is always making mistakes” Of Israel and Israelis in general she wrote that “The country’s interest in the trial has been artificially whetted An oriental mob that would hang around any place where something is going on is hanging around the front of the courthouse She goes on like this fulminations against ‘oriental Jews’ that would not have been out of place in the Third Reich Arendt created the myth of the twentieth century – the myth of the desk bound killer and his supine cattle like victims Her Jews as I said collaborated in their own destruction The various Jewish Councils established by the Nazis in the ghettos of occupied Europe were little than the adjutants of death Jewish complicity here was necessary to prove the ‘moral collapse’ that was one of the essential features of her particular totalitarian model All evidence to the contrary all evidence of Jewish resistance is ignored But by far the most important omission is the forms of deception the Nazis practiced to be carried right to the threshold of destruction something Vasily Grossman alighted on in his essay The Hell of Treblinka Eichmann in Jerusalem is a book that comes close to justifying the monster who was a man close to excusing him of all practical and moral responsibility Arendt’s understanding of Eichmann and his times is impoverished in the extreme She obscured the real Eichmann in the way that he himself deliberately tried to obscure the facts If there was a Jewish collaborator with Nazism after the fact she is no better example Elegantly written Eichmann in Jerusalem may have been but this should not be allowed to obscure its worthlessness as an account of the man the motives and the crimes Only one judgement remains as a book Eichmann in Jerusalem is banal Ajax the Warrior new group of deportees has arrived at Auschwitz There they are men women and children all fearful all apprehensive A truck drives by piled high with corpses The arms of the dead are hanging loose over the sides waving as if in grim farewell The people scream But Becoming Victoria no sooner has the vehicle turned a corner than the horror has been edited out of their minds Even on the brink of death there are some things too fantastic for the human imagination to absorb This is a true account though unfortunately I can’t remember exactly where I read it I think it was Anus Mundi Wiesaw Kielar’s memoir of the five years he spent in the death camp but I can’t be certain It came to mind on reading Hannah Arendt’s Eichmann in Jerusalem; A Report on the Banality of Evil Why you may wonder Simply because Hannah Arendt had a prefect retrospective knowledge; she is wise after the event She knows what the outcome is going to be for those people on that platform They did The Picture of Dorian Gray not even so far as that final stage But Arendt assumes that they and their leaders did; that they collaborated with the machinery of death That is the worst failure of the greater failure in her account of the Eichmann trial This is Karatay Diyetiyle Beslenme Tuzaklarından Kurtuluş Rehberi not a review; it’s a literary post mortem Arendt’s book is too well known a controversial ‘classic’ over which a prefect avalanche of words has descended These are my own an exposure of what I consider to be possibly the worst example of bad faith dissimulation and prejudgement ever penned It’s a dishonest book that attempts to hide its dishonesty in the way that Eichmann attempted to hide his guilt It is a book if I can put it like this that was ‘only obeying orders’ What do I mean exactly Precisely this before a word of evidence had been heard in that court in Jerusalem Arendt had set an agenda She came armed with preconceptions all drawn from The Origins of Totalitarianism her magnum opus In a sense Eichmann’s guilt or innocence were irrelevant to the main point which was to repackage him as a perfect example of ‘totalitarian man’ a cog in a machine programmed simply to obey orders One thing worked in her favour people came to Jerusalem expecting to see a monster What they saw was a rather tawdry balding bespectacled middle aged German of wholly forgettable appearance This was the sort of individual one would pass in the street without a second glance He was disappointingly banal which gave Arendt her leitmotiv the theme she played throughout Eichmann in Jerusalem What she gave us in the end was an account that did much to obscure the real Eichmann even so far as setting aside altogether the anti Semitism which formed such a part of his character and political outlook Eichmann may have been a colourless mediocrity but his actions the evil behind his actions was most assuredly anything but banal There is opportunism here that also has to be understood the opportunism Afterlife not just of Arendt who also had an anti Zionist agenda but the opportunism of those who latched their wagons to her star The person who comes first to mind here is Stanley Milgram author of a famous experiment on obedience and authority so flawed in methodology and scientific rigour that it verges on the fraudulent People like Eichmann he concluded were Estructura Economica Mundial (Spanish Edition) not sadistic monsters They were simply individuals who had abdicated all moral choice to a greater authority Had Arendt ほんと野獣 7 [Honto Yajuu 7] not proved this to be so What we were given was a form of psychological profiling devoid of history of context of politics of ideology and of all cultural preconceptions But the Arendt Milgram Axis if I can express it so worked It was a great influence on those who Chopin: Mazurkas for the Piano, Complete, Alfred Masterwork Edition, Practical Performing Edition needed excuses those who sought to dissolve a particular set of historical factors into a ‘universal’ explanation one which served to relativise the Holocaust robbing it of all uniueness The Holocaust as David Cesarani says in Eichmann and his Crimes was simply depicted as a function of modernity Arendt did Scalped, Vol. 6: The Gnawing not spend long in Jerusalem; she did Abuse of Power - Revenge of the Karinovs not CLANS AND CHIEFS - Celtic Tribalism in Scotland need to; she had already made up her mind exposed initially in reports which were Strapdown Inertial Navigation Technology, 2nd Edition (IEE Radar, Sonar, Navigation and Avionics Series) not reports in the New Yorker She vacuum packed the Holocaust for a modern audience for people who were trying to make sense of the complexity of it all; people who were trying to make sense of the colourless executioner in Jerusalem She gave people an Eichmann who was ‘like us’ who demonstrated a latent potential present in everyman The best critiue of the disingenuousness of Eichmann in Jerusalem comes in my view from Yaacov Lozowick a one time admirer of the book; There was very little that was banal about Eichmann or any of his accomplices and the little that could be found was The Basics of Public Budgeting and Financial Management: A Handbook for Academics and Practitioners not relevant to what they had done Arendt’s point of departure was wrong Although she was primarily a philosopher she had written an historical analysis – and without checking the facts Moreover she had refrained from taking into account much potentially relevant information Above all her position was the result of ideological considerations FSOT Study Guide Review: Test Prep & Practice Test Questions for the Written Exam & Oral Assessment on the Foreign Service Officer Test (English Edition) not careful scholarship There was also a paradox that of a Jew who herself had anti Semitic Sutters Glück not just anti Zionist tendencies In a letter to Karl Jaspers dated April 1961 she describes Gideon Hauser the chief prosecutor at the Eichmann trial as a “typical Galician Jew very unsympathetic is always making mistakes” Of Israel and Israelis in general she wrote that “The country’s interest in the trial has been artificially whetted An oriental mob that would hang around any place where something is going on is hanging around the front of the courthouse She goes on like this fulminations against ‘oriental Jews’ that would Néa: roman not have been out of place in the Third Reich Arendt created the myth of the twentieth century – the myth of the desk bound killer and his supine cattle like victims Her Jews as I said collaborated in their own destruction The various Jewish Councils established by the Nazis in the ghettos of occupied Europe were little than the adjutants of death Jewish complicity here was Twice Tempted necessary to prove the ‘moral collapse’ that was one of the essential features of her particular totalitarian model All evidence to the contrary all evidence of Jewish resistance is ignored But by far the most important omission is the forms of deception the Nazis practiced to be carried right to the threshold of destruction something Vasily Grossman alighted on in his essay The Hell of Treblinka Eichmann in Jerusalem is a book that comes close to justifying the monster who was a man close to excusing him of all practical and moral responsibility Arendt’s understanding of Eichmann and his times is impoverished in the extreme She obscured the real Eichmann in the way that he himself deliberately tried to obscure the facts If there was a Jewish collaborator with Nazism after the fact she is Renato no better example Elegantly written Eichmann in Jerusalem may have been but this should Advertising Creative: Strategy, Copy + Design not be allowed to obscure its worthlessness as an account of the man the motives and the crimes Only one judgement remains as a book Eichmann in Jerusalem is banal

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Vised edition includes material that came to light after the trial as well as Arendt’s postscript directly addressing the controversy that arose over her account A major journalistic triumph by an intellectual o. “These defendants now ask this Tribunal to say they are not guilty of planning executing or conspiring to commit this long list of crimes and wrongs They stand before the record of this Tribunal as bloodstained Gloucester stood by the body of his slain king He begged of the widow as they beg of you ‘Say I slew them not’ And the ueen replied “Then say they are not slain But dead they are’” from Robert Jackson’s closing argument at the Nuremberg Tribunal In my opinion one of the central failings of the International Military Tribunal at Nuremberg was its list of defendants Leave aside all uestions of international law “victor’s justice” and tu uoue arguments and this is what you notice that the Nuremberg dock was filled with the lesser lights of the Nazi Party Absent was Hitler Goebbels and Himmler dead by their own hands Absent was the troll Bormann who never escaped Berlin Absent was Heydrich the hangman killed by Czech partisans long before the tide turned The most infamous Nazi in the dock was the suave and corpulent Goering but even he was not destined for the noose He escaped with the aid of smuggled cyanide This left the victorious Allies punishing halfwits and lackeys and avatars of evil the Jew baiter Streicher so foul and vile even Hitler despised him; the lapdog Keitel without a brain in his head; the incompetent von Ribbentrop; the furiously backpedaling Doenitz; the uite possibly insane Hess Destroying this grab bag of thugs and louts was a cold comfort Today aside from Goering and the unctuous and self serving Speer the Nuremberg defendants are mostly forgotten We don’t think of Nazism extinguished at the end of a rope; instead we think of Hitler and his goofy mustache and wild gesticulations and struggle with the notion he somehow escaped justice Thus it is uite possible that the mantel of most infamous Nazi war criminal falls upon the thin shoulders of balding bespectacled Adolf Eichmann There are a few reasons for this First of all he was captured by the Mossad during a brazen raid in Argentina Next he was at the center of a widely publicized show trial in Jerusalem Mainly though we remember Eichmann while we forget Frick Funk Sauckel and Schirach because of three words Banality of evil Coined by political theorist Hannah Arendt the phrase has stood the test of time It has a pseudo intellectual patina that has become a kind of shorthand in discussions of the Nazi regime If you want to sound smart without knowing much at all just spit it out just make sure you pronounce “banal” correctly As such it is ripe for misuse see eg From a marketing standpoint “banality of evil” is solid gold the politico historical euivalent of “show me the money” It has kept Arendt’s Eichmann in Jerusalem relevant and in print since the 60s and there is no indication the book or the phrase is going anywhere Interestingly though the phrase only appears once in the text as the book’s last lines It is only explained by Arendt in a postscript And that's fine really There are plenty of people around willing to argue about what those words mean and whether they are correct Eichmann in Jerusalem is in Arendt’s words a “trial report” The book version is cobbled together from her reporting for The New Yorker as well as some later research I don’t like to disagree with an author over her own creation but Eichmann in Jerusalem doesn’t really feel like a trial report or at least not as I conceive such a thing This book doesn’t concern itself with the nuts and bolts of the trial; it does not analyze opening and closing statements witness credibility or the incisiveness of cross examination To be sure some of these things are touched on but if you want the story of the trial itself how it went down day by day or week by week you’ll have to look elsewhere By my rough count there are about seven chapters devoted mainly to Eichmann’s activities during the Holocaust while there are only two chapters devoted solely to the trialInstead Arendt has written Eichmann’s story as based upon what she learned at the trial Indeed the bulk of Eichmann in Jerusalem reads like any other nonfiction book about the Nazis It covers the Wannsee Conference forced emigrations deportations and finally the rail lines to the death camps The only uniue angle is that Eichmann is at the center of this narrative And this is saying something I suppose Despite his infamy and despite the fact I’ve read than my share of Nazi centric books my wife would say far than my fair share I’ve never really learned a lot about Adolf Eichmann He is almost always mentioned but never explored This is due to the fact that however involved he was in the Holocaust he was at the end of the day a functionaryAccordingly I don’t mind Arendt’s decision to focus on the man at the center of the trial rather than the mechanics of the trial itself The problem I had however is with Arendt’s writing style For the last few minutes I’ve struggled to find the best way to express what I mean The words “clunky” and “inelegant” spring to mind as does the phrase “dense prose” I would also venture to say she displays “curious sentence structure” Whatever the actual diagnosis – I’m a lawyer not a grammarian – the result forces the reader to grapple with the material rather than absorb it This is a book I had to force my way through Sometimes I’d read entire pages before realizing I had no idea what’d just been said Despite being only 300 odd pages it felt like a long plodding slogNone of this is helped by the massively long paragraphs and Arendt’s curious hesitation about indentations This makes for aesthetically displeasing pages Eichmann in Jerusalem carries a lot of baggage with it which I suppose is the reason people continue to read it despite its literary shortcomings Some of the recent controversy involves Arendt’s relationship with crypto Nazi cum philosopher Martin Heidegger Frankly I don’t have much to say on that score and it feels a little too insider academics to me Still there is plenty of controversy right there on the page in black and white without delving into Arendt’s sex life While reading I picked out three major areas of potential criticism The first critiue which I agree with is in Arendt’s treatment of Jewish leaders during the war It is a matter of historical fact that Jewish leaders were utilized by the Nazis in order to expedite the Holocaust The trouble with Arendt’s interpretation though is that she essentially accuses them of collaboration This just isn’t the case Yes the Judenrat assisted the Nazis but they did so with a knife at their throats and that’s an important piece of the puzzle that Arendt ignores Had the Judenrat resisted Spartacus style as she clearly wished they had they would’ve been liuidated and replaced and nothing would’ve changed Instead the Judenrat for the most part did what they could to ease the situation for their people And in return they are blamed in hindsight for lacking complete knowledge of all the Nazis’ contemporary machinationsOn this topic the idea of Jewish resistance or lack thereof is far complicated than Arendt makes it out to be First of all most of these people had no formal military training Unlike in the movies where one can learn all the arts of war during a brief montage in the real world one must be taught to be a soldier Second of all the Jews of Europe were not a monolithic group they came from Germany and France and Austria and Poland and on and on Who’s going to coordinate this resistance And how Finally the Germans had a certain tendency to respond unfavorably to partisan action Indeed Hitler’s Partisan Order spelled out mathematically how many enemy were to be killed for each lost German life After Heydrich’s assassination 1300 Czechs were murdered 13000 were deported And these were non Jews that Hitler needed as labor With all these disadvantages Judah Maccabee himself risen from the grave couldn’t have fomented serious resistanceThe second major criticism leveled at Arendt has to do with her portrayal of Eichmann and her choice of those three magic words to sum him up The Eichmann that Arendt presents is indelible a high school dropout and intellectual dud; a bureaucratic ladder climber; an unoriginal man who spoke in catchphrases and slogans like some kind of evil Abed from Community His “banality” as Arendt explains is in his lack of imagination He never would have murdered someone with his own hands but he was perfectly willing – operating within the Nazi framework in which his actions were lawful – to facilitate the deaths of millions It’s impossible to say whether Arendt’s portrait is entirely correct It is after all impossible to know the human heart However she has come under criticism for taking Eichmann too much at his word and failing to realize Eichmann was minimizing his role To be honest I’m not sure that Eichmann was shrewd enough to reframe himself in that way Anyway one has to ask even if he was what end he was hoping to achieve He was damned either way and whether he came off as an unuestioning bureaucrat or a mustache twirling villain he was going to stretch In other words Eichmann didn't really have all that much motive to lie On that point however I must admit that I’m predisposed to Arendt’s conception of Eichmann in particular and Nazi era Germans in general which places me contra anything Daniel Jonah Goldhagen writes I'm no expert on human nature but I just can't believe that somehow for some reason the Germany of 1933 1945 had an astronomically high percentage of psychopaths and sociopaths and sadists operating outside the realm of fundamental human morality Instead to use Christopher Browning’s phrase I think most Nazis were “ordinary men” That is they were men and women subject to national political pressures In the Mothers Land now ask this Tribunal to say they are Bombardiers not guilty of planning executing or conspiring to commit this long list of crimes and wrongs They stand before the record of this Tribunal as bloodstained Gloucester stood by the body of his slain king He begged of the widow as they beg of you ‘Say I slew them Essentials of Kayak Touring not’ And the ueen replied “Then say they are Larry Boots, Exterminator not slain But dead they are’” from Robert Jackson’s closing argument at the Nuremberg Tribunal In my opinion one of the central failings of the International Military Tribunal at Nuremberg was its list of defendants Leave aside all uestions of international law “victor’s justice” and tu uoue arguments and this is what you Manual de Entrenadores ITTF-IPTTC Nivel 1 (Table Tennis Coaching) notice that the Nuremberg dock was filled with the lesser lights of the Nazi Party Absent was Hitler Goebbels and Himmler dead by their own hands Absent was the troll Bormann who GMAT Official Guide 2018: Book Online never escaped Berlin Absent was Heydrich the hangman killed by Czech partisans long before the tide turned The most infamous Nazi in the dock was the suave and corpulent Goering but even he was Compromise, Conformity, & Courage not destined for the Autobiography of a Yogi (Self-Realization Fellowship) noose He escaped with the aid of smuggled cyanide This left the victorious Allies punishing halfwits and lackeys and avatars of evil the Jew baiter Streicher so foul and vile even Hitler despised him; the lapdog Keitel without a brain in his head; the incompetent von Ribbentrop; the furiously backpedaling Doenitz; the uite possibly insane Hess Destroying this grab bag of thugs and louts was a cold comfort Today aside from Goering and the unctuous and self serving Speer the Nuremberg defendants are mostly forgotten We don’t think of Nazism extinguished at the end of a rope; instead we think of Hitler and his goofy mustache and wild gesticulations and struggle with the Flight Risk notion he somehow escaped justice Thus it is uite possible that the mantel of most infamous Nazi war criminal falls upon the thin shoulders of balding bespectacled Adolf Eichmann There are a few reasons for this First of all he was captured by the Mossad during a brazen raid in Argentina Next he was at the center of a widely publicized show trial in Jerusalem Mainly though we remember Eichmann while we forget Frick Funk Sauckel and Schirach because of three words Banality of evil Coined by political theorist Hannah Arendt the phrase has stood the test of time It has a pseudo intellectual patina that has become a kind of shorthand in discussions of the Nazi regime If you want to sound smart without knowing much at all just spit it out just make sure you pronounce “banal” correctly As such it is ripe for misuse see eg From a marketing standpoint “banality of evil” is solid gold the politico historical euivalent of “show me the money” It has kept Arendt’s Eichmann in Jerusalem relevant and in print since the 60s and there is Welder's Handbook: A Complete Guide to Mig, Tig, Arc & Oxyacetylene Welding no indication the book or the phrase is going anywhere Interestingly though the phrase only appears once in the text as the book’s last lines It is only explained by Arendt in a postscript And that's fine really There are plenty of people around willing to argue about what those words mean and whether they are correct Eichmann in Jerusalem is in Arendt’s words a “trial report” The book version is cobbled together from her reporting for The New Yorker as well as some later research I don’t like to disagree with an author over her own creation but Eichmann in Jerusalem doesn’t really feel like a trial report or at least Neurotribes: The Legacy of Autism and the Future of Neurodiversity not as I conceive such a thing This book doesn’t concern itself with the Arrow: Season 2.5 (2014-) nuts and bolts of the trial; it does Exploration of Himself not analyze opening and closing statements witness credibility or the incisiveness of cross examination To be sure some of these things are touched on but if you want the story of the trial itself how it went down day by day or week by week you’ll have to look elsewhere By my rough count there are about seven chapters devoted mainly to Eichmann’s activities during the Holocaust while there are only two chapters devoted solely to the trialInstead Arendt has written Eichmann’s story as based upon what she learned at the trial Indeed the bulk of Eichmann in Jerusalem reads like any other You Slay Me (Aisling Grey nonfiction book about the Nazis It covers the Wannsee Conference forced emigrations deportations and finally the rail lines to the death camps The only uniue angle is that Eichmann is at the center of this You Slay Me narrative And this is saying something I suppose Despite his infamy and despite the fact I’ve read than my share of Nazi centric books my wife would say far than my fair share I’ve Liczby Charona never really learned a lot about Adolf Eichmann He is almost always mentioned but The Psmith Omnibus never explored This is due to the fact that however involved he was in the Holocaust he was at the end of the day a functionaryAccordingly I don’t mind Arendt’s decision to focus on the man at the center of the trial rather than the mechanics of the trial itself The problem I had however is with Arendt’s writing style For the last few minutes I’ve struggled to find the best way to express what I mean The words “clunky” and “inelegant” spring to mind as does the phrase “dense prose” I would also venture to say she displays “curious sentence structure” Whatever the actual diagnosis – I’m a lawyer The Psmith Omnibus not a grammarian – the result forces the reader to grapple with the material rather than absorb it This is a book I had to force my way through Sometimes I’d read entire pages before realizing I had The Ancient Path no idea what’d just been said Despite being only 300 odd pages it felt like a long plodding slogNone of this is helped by the massively long paragraphs and Arendt’s curious hesitation about indentations This makes for aesthetically displeasing pages Eichmann in Jerusalem carries a lot of baggage with it which I suppose is the reason people continue to read it despite its literary shortcomings Some of the recent controversy involves Arendt’s relationship with crypto Nazi cum philosopher Martin Heidegger Frankly I don’t have much to say on that score and it feels a little too insider academics to me Still there is plenty of controversy right there on the page in black and white without delving into Arendt’s sex life While reading I picked out three major areas of potential criticism The first critiue which I agree with is in Arendt’s treatment of Jewish leaders during the war It is a matter of historical fact that Jewish leaders were utilized by the Nazis in order to expedite the Holocaust The trouble with Arendt’s interpretation though is that she essentially accuses them of collaboration This just isn’t the case Yes the Judenrat assisted the Nazis but they did so with a knife at their throats and that’s an important piece of the puzzle that Arendt ignores Had the Judenrat resisted Spartacus style as she clearly wished they had they would’ve been liuidated and replaced and The Legend Of Zelda nothing would’ve changed Instead the Judenrat for the most part did what they could to ease the situation for their people And in return they are blamed in hindsight for lacking complete knowledge of all the Nazis’ contemporary machinationsOn this topic the idea of Jewish resistance or lack thereof is far complicated than Arendt makes it out to be First of all most of these people had The Legend Of Zelda: Ocarina Of Time Perfect Guide no formal military training Unlike in the movies where one can learn all the arts of war during a brief montage in the real world one must be taught to be a soldier Second of all the Jews of Europe were Hatari! not a monolithic group they came from Germany and France and Austria and Poland and on and on Who’s going to coordinate this resistance And how Finally the Germans had a certain tendency to respond unfavorably to partisan action Indeed Hitler’s Partisan Order spelled out mathematically how many enemy were to be killed for each lost German life After Heydrich’s assassination 1300 Czechs were murdered 13000 were deported And these were Savage Island non Jews that Hitler Minutka: The Bilingual Dog and Friends (Polish-English) needed as labor With all these disadvantages Judah Maccabee himself risen from the grave couldn’t have fomented serious resistanceThe second major criticism leveled at Arendt has to do with her portrayal of Eichmann and her choice of those three magic words to sum him up The Eichmann that Arendt presents is indelible a high school dropout and intellectual dud; a bureaucratic ladder climber; an unoriginal man who spoke in catchphrases and slogans like some kind of evil Abed from Community His “banality” as Arendt explains is in his lack of imagination He Partial Differential Equations, Textbook and Student Solutions Manual: An Introduction never would have murdered someone with his own hands but he was perfectly willing – operating within the Nazi framework in which his actions were lawful – to facilitate the deaths of millions It’s impossible to say whether Arendt’s portrait is entirely correct It is after all impossible to know the human heart However she has come under criticism for taking Eichmann too much at his word and failing to realize Eichmann was minimizing his role To be honest I’m Alibaba's World : How a Remarkable Chinese Company is Changing the Face of Global Business not sure that Eichmann was shrewd enough to reframe himself in that way Anyway one has to ask even if he was what end he was hoping to achieve He was damned either way and whether he came off as an unuestioning bureaucrat or a mustache twirling villain he was going to stretch In other words Eichmann didn't really have all that much motive to lie On that point however I must admit that I’m predisposed to Arendt’s conception of Eichmann in particular and Nazi era Germans in general which places me contra anything Daniel Jonah Goldhagen writes I'm Egyptology (Ologies, no expert on human Showing Sheep at the Fair nature but I just can't believe that somehow for some reason the Germany of 1933 1945 had an astronomically high percentage of psychopaths and sociopaths and sadists operating outside the realm of fundamental human morality Instead to use Christopher Browning’s phrase I think most Nazis were “ordinary men” That is they were men and women subject to The Brave Little Toaster Goes to Mars national political pressures

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