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Eichmann in Jerusalem (Penguin Classics) (Englisch) Taschenbuch – 22. September 2006

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While living in Argentina in 1960, Nazi leader Adolf Eichmann was kidnapped and smuggled to Israel where he was put on trial for crimes against humanity. The New Yorker magazine sent Hannah Arendt to cover the trial. While covering the technical aspects of the trial, Arendt also explored the wider themes inherent in the trial, such as the nature of justice, the behavior of the Jewish leadership during the Nazi Régime, and, most controversially, the nature of Evil itself.

Far from being evil incarnate, as the prosecution painted Eichmann, Arendt maintains that he was an average man, a petty bureaucrat interested only in furthering his career, and the evil he did came from the seductive power of the totalitarian state and an unthinking adherence to the Nazi cause. Indeed, Eichmann's only defense during the trial was "I was just following orders."

Arendt's analysis of the seductive nature of evil is a disturbing one. We would like to think that anyone who would perpetrate such horror on the world is different from us, and that such atrocities are rarities in our world. But the history of groups such as the Jews, Kurds, Bosnians, and Native Americans, to name but a few, seems to suggest that such evil is all too commonplace. In revealing Eichmann as the pedestrian little man that he was, Arendt shows us that the veneer of civilization is a thin one indeed. -- Dieser Text bezieht sich auf eine andere Ausgabe: Taschenbuch.

Synopsis

Hannah Arendt's authoritative and controversial report on the trial of German Nazi leader Adolf Eichmann first appeared as a series of articles in the New Yorker in 1963. This revised edition of Eichmann in Jerusalem contains further factual material that came to light after the trial, as well as Arendt's postscript commenting on the controversy that arose over her book.

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An intriguing journey through the life and the thoughts of this shockingly normal and ordinary man called Adolf Eichmann, who was one of the biggest mass murderers in history. Also a detailed summary of the deportation and extermination of the jewish population in different states in Europe. Very recommendable!
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Format: Taschenbuch
Hannah Arendt is probable one of the most astute political and moral thinkers of the previous century.
The book approaches Eichmann as a competent but morally vacant burueacrat who sinks into the 'banality of evil' not out of a malicious hatred of the Jews but rather out of a perverted sense of duty and respect for authority. He perverts the Kantian categorical imperative to read - you have the duty to do what society instructs of you - instead of - you have the duty to act in yourself as you would expect society to act towards you. Some reviewers have misread this moral emphasis of Arendt as a defence of Eichmann This is completely false and a basic misunderstanding of her moral argument.
Her brave mentioning of the fact that the Eichmann Trial was probable not in truth a trial but a show to justify retribution as well as the illegality of his kidnapping deserves praise. The fact that Eichmanns council never used this in his defence as well as the fact that technically Eichmann contravened no law in Germany whilst exercising his duties ,gave me the idea that if there was someone in Israel that could saved him from the gallows it would have been Hannah Arendt. Ironic as I have not read a better condemnation of the man from any other author.Then again she also paints the picture of a man making no real effort to avoid his fate but being without the moral fibre to actively seek it out made no effort to hide his identity from anyone. Eichmann wanted to get caught and seeked in his trial and sentence final recognition for his contorted sense of remorse Although the sincerity of his remorse is not doubted it is the nature of his remorse that remains highly questionable. And that is Hannah Arendts exclamation mark behind the banality of this mans' evil.
Her synopsis of the fate of the Jews in various countries during the holocaust is also very valuable to casual students of the Shoah.
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Format: Taschenbuch
Eichmann in Jerusalem -- perhaps Arendt's most accessible volume -- is truly a masterwork. In addition to the copius summaries already given I would add several things.
In this book, Arendt, a female Jew and Holocaust survivor, gets inside Adolf Eichmann's head. She begins speaking like him, losing her normally depressed and indignant tone (see Imperialism in _The Origins of Totalitarianism_ for classic examples) for a colder tone, Eichmann's tone, that doesn't feel affected, as one might suspect that it would.
When Eichmann's sentencing comes around, Arendt herself seems to struggle a bit to regain her normal tone and condemn him to death herself. It feels as thought Arendt's empathy has led her to pity this man, rather than hate him. How can you kill someone you pity?
This same dilemma, it seems, arises in her relationship with Heidegger, only she resolves it in the opposite direction.
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Although I found the book informative, well researched, and well-structured, the level of English used was more than a bit disturbing. There is only one reasonable, acceptable excuse - Hannah Arendt wrote it herself in English. However, I am not sure whether that is the case. So, it is important to note, when deciding to purchase this book, that the confusing grammatical structure and word choice is almost comparable to that of "English for Runaways." In addition to taking the time to ponder the contents, most readers will also need to tack on at least an hour, in order to digest the overall language use.
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Von Ein Kunde am 21. April 1998
Format: Taschenbuch
Hannah Arendt first wrote this book as a series of articles before she compiled all her materials and published "Eichmann in Jerusalem" in 1963. This book is truly fantastic because it brings the trial, life, times, and death of Adolf Eichmann into light and life. It is truly a work of history which especially sheds light on the startling fact that numerous Jewish councils had helped the Nazis deport the millions that went to their deaths in the killing centers of the East. (Over time, of course, those members of the councils were also deported). It does not attempt to be apologetic and defensive of Eichmann--as the reviews above so claim this to be. It shows his guilt through a recreation of the events--the Wannsee Conference, his relations with Auschwitz kommandant Rudolf Hoess, the deportations from all of Europe, the killing centers...Auschwitz, Sobibor, Bergen-Belsen, Theresienstadt (the latter was in fact a model ghetto but was classified as a concentration camp by the SS and was intended to make the camps look better than they actually were)...Eichmann's life, and finally, his death. Need I go on? I hope that I have proven that this book--one which caused so much trouble among the Jews and Arendt--is for anybody interested in one of the most capturing, magnifying, and horrifying eras in the history of mankind.
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Von Ein Kunde am 4. August 1997
Format: Taschenbuch
I am astonished by the comments Amazon.com includes under *Eichmann in Jerusalem*: to characterize Arendt's book as a "defense" of Eichmann is either a deliberate falsehood or a comment written by someone who has never read the book. I assume the comment was written on the basis of Michael Musmanno's incompetent review of *Eichmann* for the *New York Times*. Musmanno's review blatantly misrepresented Arendt's work, and I would expect Amazon.com to be able to do better.

Far from "defending" Eichmann, Arendt portrays him as a willing participant in mass murder, and, in her Epilogue, she strongly agrees with the death sentence that he received. The myth of Arendt's "defense" of Eichmann is a result of her belief that Eichmann was motivated more by immersion in the totalitarian "system" of Nazi Germany than by hatred of Jews. In no way does she excuse him or the Germans, and, indeed, she argues that complicity in the Holocaust was ubiquitous in Germany. Her thesis is certainly open to debate, but to suggest that this brave and decent thinker sought for a moment to defend Eichmann or the Nazis is outrageous. Her book remains one of the most thought-provoking studies of the perpetrators of the Holocaust ever written.
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