Sunday, July 18, 2021

Short Summary: Eichmann in Jerusalem by Hannah Arendt

Eichmann in Jerusalem: A Report on the Banality of Evil is a book of the philosopher Hannah Arendt , published in 1963. Hannah Arendt, German Jew who fled the regime Nazi , followed the trial of Adolf Eichmann in Jerusalem for The New Yorker , and produced 5 articles from which she wrote an account interspersed with political and philosophical reflections.

In addition to the trial itself, and historical reminders of the role of Eichmann taken from The Destruction of the European Jews by Raul Hilberg and The final solution of Gerald Reitlinger  (in) 1 , the book sets out the main political theses Arendt's thought and tackles the themes of the need for resistance, Realpolitik considered as an alienation from political action , and legalism , which “can constitute a criminal offense in the event of a crisis” .

Eichmann in Jerusalem develops in particular the idea that Eichmann is neither a born criminal, nor a mental patient, but a simple cog of a blind bureaucratic machine, whose clerks have lost all idea of ​​ethics. No longer hearing the categorical imperative , they blindly obeyed the regulations and laws promulgated by a legally elected government. This is the reason why Eichmann could safely say that he had never left the legality of the Third Reich . For Arendt, Eichmann is thus an ordinary civil servant among thousands of others.

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