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am 2. Dezember 2015
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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am 19. September 2000
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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am 5. Februar 1999
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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am 27. Juni 2002
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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am 21. April 1998
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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am 4. August 1997
I am astonished by the comments 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 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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am 17. Oktober 1999
Arendt explores the man who superficially seems to be the mastermind of the death of countless Jews and other undesireables. However, Arendt examines the "banality" of evil, thus concluding that neither Eichmann nor the Germans were entirely responsible for these attrocities, instead, she spreads the guilt to others as well (including the Jewish communities that cooperated with the Nazi authorities, much to the disgust of many Jews). Her intelligent argument points out that the Holocaust was not a phenomenon that can only be ascribed to the immensely evil Eichmann or German people because they were passive sheep who either pretended not to notice the attrocities or actively cooperated and shed their guilt by believing the huge lies from the Nazi state and propaganda machine. This may lead the reader to the conclusion that many other societies are not immune to the stupefaction that the Germans underwent during the Third Reich. Third Reich Germany may seem to many an ethereal and ghoulish nightmare, seperated from our world by eons but it is not. How do you like them apples mate?
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am 11. Februar 1998
Arendt provides an in-depth examination of the trial of Adolf Eichmann, and leads one to believe that although he is responsible for the death of millions of jews during World War II, he is not the criminal mastermind nor the sociopath he was suspected to be. Arendt's account paint's Eichmann as a bumbling fool who is willing to sacrifice lives in order to please his superiors and experience the pleasure one derives from being obedient. By the end of the book I could see him as nothing but a sickening buffoon, one who is aware of morality but defies it so that he may ascend through the ranks of the Third Reich. However, Arendt also poses interesting questions in regards to the legality of this highly peculiar trial. By the end, I came to the conclusion that although Eichmann was guilty of heinous acts of carnage, he was not fairly tried. I would feel more comfortable with his execution if I believed he had received a trial more conducive to the defence's needs and less irregular.
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am 1. Dezember 1999
This book contained an incredible mix of philosophy, journalism, sociology and psychology. How many writers would have had the skill, let alone the knowledge to pull off a work like this...not many. Regarding its content, the book almost requires its reader to prepare to read it by reading philosophy and history beforehand. I don't know that one could truly appreciate the book without having done that. A couple of the more memorable segments of the book are when Eichmann tries to invoke the moral philosophy of Immanuel Kant to justify his actions and those of his comrades and when (on more than one occasion) Arendt poses the haunting question of how the jews could have let themselves be led off to their deaths like lambs to the slaughter. This book warrants more than being read once; multiple readings would be worth the time and effort.
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am 13. August 1997
Arendt wrote the original version in the mid-sixties, based on her press coverage for the trial. Back then it was a controversial and it took tens of years for WW2 researches to take a wide look as she did 30 years ago.

I wonder where find a "defense of Eichmann" in her words. She presents various original and incisive arguments... non of them advocating his innocense. I think that the main feature is how Eichmann and his trial is put in context with perspective, and this makes the book an excellent history work.

The subtitle of the book summarizes it all: it is indeed a case of "evil" but it was banalized during the trial.
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