Eichmann in Jerusalem

Adolf Eichmann Character Analysis

The central figure of Arendt’s book, Eichmann spent 12 years working in the S.S., primarily coordinating European Jews’ deportation to Nazi extermination camps in the Gestapo division of the R.S.H.A. He then went into hiding in Argentina for more than a decade before being kidnapped by Israeli agents, who brought him to trial in Jerusalem. In his youth, Eichmann was a mediocre and unmotivated student until his father found him a sales job; after his firing, he joined the S.S. at the urging of family friend, Ernst Kaltenbrunner, and quickly moved up the ranks as he became his office’s resident expert on “the Jewish question.” Despite his early affinity for Zionism and failed efforts to establish a homeland for the Jewish people, he quickly signed onto the Final Solution and began traveling around Europe to help ensure that as many Jews as possible were sent to their deaths; even after Heinrich Himmler ordered the Final Solution to end, Eichmann continued enthusiastically carrying it out. While the prosecution portrays Eichmann as a bloodthirsty, anti-Semitic killer, Arendt suggests that the reality is far more mundane—but also more terrifying. Eichmann was not an unfathomable incarnation of pure evil, she argues, but merely a thoughtless and status-obsessed bureaucrat whose blind obedience to his superiors and inability to see the moral horror of what he was doing led him to play a central role in the murder of millions of people. Throughout his trial, during which he sits inside and is framed by a glass booth next to the witness stand, Eichmann seems to expect sympathy from his victims and speaks in canned Nazi clichés that betray his inability to understand the reality of his actions. After the three judges, led by Moshe Landau, sentence him to death (and the Israeli Supreme Court upholds the verdict), Eichmann writes a plea for mercy to the President of Israel—something he promised he would never do, as he claimed not to regret his actions—and is summarily hanged after flaunting his banality one last time, by jovially declaring that he does not believe in an afterlife and immediately promising that “we shall all meet again.”

Adolf Eichmann Quotes in Eichmann in Jerusalem

The Eichmann in Jerusalem quotes below are all either spoken by Adolf Eichmann or refer to Adolf Eichmann. For each quote, you can also see the other characters and themes related to it (each theme is indicated by its own dot and icon, like this one:
The Banality of Evil Theme Icon
). Note: all page numbers and citation info for the quotes below refer to the Penguin edition of Eichmann in Jerusalem published in 1963.
Chapter 1 Quotes

Justice demands that the accused be prosecuted, defended, and judged, and that all the other questions of seemingly greater import—of “How could it happen?” and “Why did it happen?,” of “Why the Jews?” and “Why the Germans?,” of “What was the role of other nations?” and “What was the extent of co-responsibility on the side of the Allies?,” of “How could the Jews through their own leaders cooperate in their own destruction?” and “Why did they go to their death like lambs to the slaughter?”—be left in abeyance. Justice insists on the importance of Adolf Eichmann, son of Karl Adolf Eichmann, the man in the glass booth built for his protection: medium-sized, slender, middle-aged, with receding hair, ill-fitting teeth, and nearsighted eyes, who throughout the trial keeps craning his scraggy neck toward the bench (not once does he face the audience), and who desperately and for the most part successfully maintains his self-control despite the nervous tic to which his mouth must have become subject long before this trial started. On trial are his deeds, not the sufferings of the Jews, not the German people or mankind, not even anti Semitism and racism.

Related Symbols: The Glass Booth
Page Number: 5
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Chapter 2 Quotes

Alas, nobody believed him. The prosecutor did not believe him, because that was not his job. Counsel for the defense paid no attention because he, unlike Eichmann, was, to all appearances, not interested in questions of conscience. And the judges did not believe him, because they were too good, and perhaps also too conscious of the very foundations of their profession, to admit that an average, “normal” person, neither feeble-minded nor indoctrinated nor cynical, could be perfectly incapable of telling right from wrong. They preferred to conclude from occasional lies that he was a liar—and missed the greatest moral and even legal challenge of the whole case. Their case rested on the assumption that the defendant, like all “normal persons,” must have been aware of the criminal nature of his acts, and Eichmann was indeed normal insofar as he was “no exception within the Nazi regime.” However, under the conditions of the Third Reich only “exceptions” could be expected to react “normally.” This simple truth of the matter created a dilemma for the judges which they could neither resolve nor escape.

Page Number: 26-7
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From a humdrum life without significance and consequence the wind had blown him into History, as he understood it, namely, into a Movement that always kept moving and in which somebody like him—already a failure in the eyes of his social class, of his family, and hence in his own eyes as well—could start from scratch and still make a career.

Page Number: 33
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Chapter 3 Quotes

This supposition seems refuted by the striking consistency with which Eichmann, despite his rather bad memory, repeated word for word the same stock phrases and self-invented clichés, (when he did succeed in constructing a sentence of his own, he repeated it until it became a cliché) each time he referred to an incident or event of importance to him […] The longer one listened to him, the more obvious it became that his inability to speak was closely connected with an inability to think, namely, to think from the standpoint of somebody else. No communication was possible with him, not because he lied but because he was surrounded by the most reliable of all safeguards against the words and the presence of others, and hence against reality as such.

Related Characters: Adolf Eichmann
Page Number: 49
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In his mind, there was no contradiction between “I will jump into my grave laughing,” appropriate for the end of the war, and “I shall gladly hang myself in public as a warning example for all anti-Semites on this earth,” which now, under vastly different circumstances, fulfilled exactly the same function of giving him a lift.

Related Characters: Adolf Eichmann (speaker)
Page Number: 53-4
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Chapter 6 Quotes

Thus, we are perhaps in a position to answer Judge Landau’s question—the question uppermost in the minds of nearly everyone who followed the trial—of whether the accused had a conscience: yes, he had a conscience, and his conscience functioned in the expected way for about four weeks, whereupon it began to function the other way around.

Related Characters: Adolf Eichmann, Moshe Landau
Page Number: 95
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Chapter 8 Quotes

Eichmann, much less intelligent and without any education to speak of, at least dimly realized that it was not an order but a law which had turned them all into criminals. The distinction between an order and the Führer’s word was that the latter’s validity was not limited in time and space, which is the outstanding characteristic of the former. This is also the true reason why the Führer’s order for the Final Solution was followed by a huge shower of regulations and directives, all drafted by expert lawyers and legal advisers, not by mere administrators; this order, in contrast to ordinary orders, was treated as a law.

Page Number: 149
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Chapter 9 Quotes

Eichmann himself, after “consulting Poliakoff and Reitlinger,” produced seventeen multicolored charts, which contributed little to a better understanding of the intricate bureaucratic machinery of the Third Reich, although his general description—“everything was always in a state of continuous flux, a steady stream”—sounded plausible to the student of totalitarianism, who knows that the monolithic quality of this form of government is a myth.

Related Characters: Adolf Eichmann, Heinrich Himmler
Page Number: 152
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What for Hitler, the sole, lonely plotter of the Final Solution (never had a conspiracy, if such it was, needed fewer conspirators and more executors), was among the war’s main objectives, with its implementation given top priority, regardless of economic and military considerations, and what for Eichmann was a job, with its daily routine, its ups and downs, was for the Jews quite literally the end of the world.

Related Characters: Adolf Eichmann, Adolf Hitler
Page Number: 153
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Chapter 10 Quotes

Politically and psychologically, the most interesting aspect of this incident is perhaps the role played by the German authorities in Denmark, their obvious sabotage of orders from Berlin. It is the only case we know of in which the Nazis met with open native resistance, and the result seems to have been that those exposed to it changed their minds. They themselves apparently no longer looked upon the extermination of a whole people as a matter of course. They had met resistance based on principle, and their “toughness” had melted like butter in the sun, they had even been able to show a few timid beginnings of genuine courage. That the ideal of “toughness,” except, perhaps, for a few half-demented brutes, was nothing but a myth of self-deception, concealing a ruthless desire for conformity at any price, was clearly revealed at the Nuremberg Trials, where the defendants accused and betrayed each other and assured the world that they “had always been against it” or claimed, as Eichmann was to do, that their best qualities had been “abused” by their superiors. (In Jerusalem, he accused “those in power” of having abused his “obedience.” “The subject of a good government is lucky, the subject of a bad government is unlucky. I had no luck.”) The atmosphere had changed, and although most of them must have known that they were doomed, not a single one of them had the guts to defend the Nazi ideology.

Related Characters: Adolf Eichmann
Page Number: 175
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Chapter 14 Quotes

It quickly turned out that Israel was the only country in the world where defense witnesses could not be heard, and where certain witnesses for the prosecution, those who had given affidavits in previous trials, could not be cross-examined by the defense. And this was all the more serious as the accused and his lawyer were indeed not “in a position to obtain their own defense documents.”

Page Number: 221
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Chapter 15 Quotes

In other words, and despite pages and pages of legal argument, based on so many precedents that one finally got the impression that kidnaping was among the most frequent modes of arrest, it was Eichmann’s de facto statelessness, and nothing else, that enabled the Jerusalem court to sit in judgment on him. Eichmann, though no legal expert, should have been able to appreciate that, for he knew from his own career that one could do as one pleased only with stateless people; the Jews had had to lose their nationality before they could be exterminated.

Related Characters: Adolf Eichmann, David Ben-Gurion
Page Number: 240
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“I, the undersigned, Adolf Eichmann, hereby declare out of my own free will that since now my true identity has been revealed, I see clearly that it is useless to try and escape judgment any longer. I hereby express my readiness to travel to Israel to face a court of judgment, an authorized court of law. It is clear and understood that I shall be given legal advice [thus far, he probably copied], and I shall try to write down the facts of my last years of public activities in Germany, without any embellishments, in order that future generations will have a true picture. This declaration I declare out of my own free will, not for promises given and not because of threats. I wish to be at peace with myself at last. Since I cannot remember all the details, and since I seem to mix up facts, I request assistance by putting at my disposal documents and affidavits to help me in my effort to seek the truth.” Signed: “Adolf Eichmann, Buenos Aires, May 1960.”

Related Characters: Adolf Eichmann
Page Number: 241
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“Expressing his activities in terms of Section 23 of our Criminal Code Ordinance, we should say that they were mainly those of a person soliciting by giving counsel or advice to others and of one who enabled or aided others in [the criminal] act.” But “in such an enormous and complicated crime as the one we are now considering, wherein many people participated, on various levels and in various modes of activity—the planners, the organizers, and those executing the deeds, according to their various ranks—there is not much point in using the ordinary concepts of counseling and soliciting to commit a crime. For these crimes were committed en masse, not only in regard to the number of victims, but also in regard to the numbers of those who perpetrated the crime, and the extent to which any one of the many criminals was close to or remote from the actual killer of the victim means nothing, as far as the measure of his responsibility is concerned. On the contrary, in general the degree of responsibility increases as we draw further away from the man who uses the fatal instrument with his own hands.”

Related Characters: Moshe Landau (speaker), Adolf Eichmann
Page Number: 246-7
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The judges now stated that “the idea of the Final Solution would never have assumed the infernal forms of the flayed skin and tortured flesh of millions of Jews without the fanatical zeal and the unquenchable blood thirst of the appellant and his accomplices.” Israel’s Supreme Court had not only accepted the arguments of the prosecution, it had adopted its very language.

Related Characters: Adolf Eichmann, Moshe Landau
Page Number: 249
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Adolf Eichmann went to the gallows with great dignity. He had asked for a bottle of red wine and had drunk half of it. He refused the help of the Protestant minister, the Reverend William Hull, who offered to read the Bible with him: he had only two more hours to live, and therefore no “time to waste.” He walked the fifty yards from his cell to the execution chamber calm and erect, with his hands bound behind him. When the guards tied his ankles and knees, he asked them to loosen the bonds so that he could stand straight. “I don’t need that,” he said when the black hood was offered him. He was in complete command of himself, nay, he was more: he was completely himself. Nothing could have demonstrated this more convincingly than the grotesque silliness of his last words. He began by stating emphatically that he was a Gottgläubiger, to express in common Nazi fashion that he was no Christian and did not believe in life after death. He then proceeded: “After a short while, gentlemen, we shall all meet again. Such is the fate of all men. Long live Germany, long live Argentina, long live Austria. I shall not forget them.” In the face of death, he had found the cliché used in funeral oratory. Under the gallows, his memory played him the last trick; he was “elated” and he forgot that this was his own funeral.

It was as though in those last minutes he was summing up the lesson that this long course in human wickedness had taught us—the lesson of the fearsome, word-and-thought-defying banality of evil.

Related Characters: Adolf Eichmann
Page Number: 252
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Epilogue Quotes

In the eyes of the Jews, thinking exclusively in terms of their own history, the catastrophe that had befallen them under Hitler, in which a third of the people perished, appeared not as the most recent of crimes, the unprecedented crime of genocide, but, on the contrary, as the oldest crime they knew and remembered. This misunderstanding, almost inevitable if we consider not only the facts of Jewish history but also, and more important, the current Jewish historical self-understanding, is actually at the root of all the failures and shortcomings of the Jerusalem trial. None of the participants ever arrived at a clear understanding of the actual horror of Auschwitz, which is of a different nature from all the atrocities of the past, because it appeared to prosecution and judges alike as not much more than the most horrible pogrom in Jewish history. They therefore believed that a direct line existed from the early anti-Semitism of the Nazi Party to the Nuremberg Laws and from there to the expulsion of Jews from the Reich and, finally, to the gas chambers. Politically and legally, however, these were “crimes” different not only in degree of seriousness but in essence.

Page Number: 267
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Just as a murderer is prosecuted because he has violated the law of the community, and not because he has deprived the Smith family of its husband, father, and breadwinner, so these modern, state-employed mass murderers must be prosecuted because they violated the order of mankind, and not because they killed millions of people. Nothing is more pernicious to an understanding of these new crimes, or stands more in the way of the emergence of an international penal code that could take care of them, than the common illusion that the crime of murder and the crime of genocide are essentially the same, and that the latter therefore is “no new crime properly speaking.” The point of the latter is that an altogether different order is broken and an altogether different community is violated.

Related Characters: Adolf Eichmann
Page Number: 272
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It is essentially for this reason: that the unprecedented, once it has appeared, may become a precedent for the future, that all trials touching upon “crimes against humanity” must be judged according to a standard that is today still an “ideal.” If genocide is an actual possibility of the future, then no people on earth—least of all, of course, the Jewish people, in Israel or elsewhere—can feel reasonably sure of its continued existence without the help and the protection of international law. Success or failure in dealing with the hitherto unprecedented can lie only in the extent to which this dealing may serve as a valid precedent on the road international penal law.

Related Characters: Adolf Eichmann
Page Number: 273
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“You yourself claimed not the actuality but only the potentiality of equal guilt on the part of all who lived in a state whose main political purpose had become the commission of unheard-of crimes. And no matter through what accidents of exterior or interior circumstances you were pushed onto the road of becoming a criminal, there is an abyss between the actuality of what you did and the potentiality of what others might have done. We are concerned here only with what you did, and not with the possible noncriminal nature of your inner life and of your motives or with the criminal potentialities of those around you. You told your story in terms of a hard-luck story, and, knowing the circumstances, we are, up to a point, willing to grant you that under more favorable circumstances it is highly unlikely that you would ever have come before us or before any other criminal court. Let us assume, for the sake of argument, that it was nothing more than misfortune that made you a willing instrument in the organization of mass murder; there still remains the fact that you have carried out, and therefore actively supported, a policy of mass murder. For politics is not like the nursery; in politics obedience and support are the same. And just as you supported and carried out a policy of not wanting to share the earth with the Jewish people and the people of a number of other nations—as though you and your superiors had any right to determine who should and who should not inhabit the world—we find that no one, that is, no member of the human race, can be expected to want to share the earth with you. This is the reason, and the only reason, you must hang.”

Related Characters: Adolf Eichmann
Page Number: 278-9
Explanation and Analysis:
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Adolf Eichmann Character Timeline in Eichmann in Jerusalem

The timeline below shows where the character Adolf Eichmann appears in Eichmann in Jerusalem. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Chapter 1: The House of Justice
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An usher shouts “Beth Hamishpath” (“the House of Justice”) as Eichmann’s three judges walked to their seats on the courthouse’s highest tier, above translators who convey... (full context)
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...presiding judge Moshe Landau even corrects the German translator and encourages the others to address Eichmann in German, which proves his “remarkable independence of current public opinion in Israel.” Despite Landau’s... (full context)
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...stand in for the world at large. Hausner claims to “make no ethnic distinctions” in Eichmann’s crimes, which is the prosecution’s “key sentence” because its case is founded precisely on Jewish... (full context)
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...to rein the trial back in. Ben-Gurion explains even before the trial that he ordered Eichmann’s kidnapping in order to expose the truths of Nazi anti-Semitism. Of course, this is a... (full context)
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...community, West Germany begins zealously prosecuting Nazi criminals in the months leading up to the Eichmann trial. Despite Hausner’s insistence on making the trial about the totality of Jewish suffering during... (full context)
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The centerpiece of the trial is not Eichmann and not merely the Holocaust, but rather the history of anti-Semitism, starting with stories of... (full context)
Chapter 2: The Accused
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Eichmann was captured on May 11, 1960 outside Buenos Aires and brought to trial exactly 11... (full context)
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Servatius’s own explanation centers on the notion that Eichmann was committing “acts of state,” not crimes, because he was quite literally carrying out the... (full context)
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Meanwhile, the prosecution tries endlessly to prove that Eichmann had indeed killed people, and they end up focusing on a dubious handwritten note by... (full context)
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Eichmann tries to explain why he did not meet the indictment, which suggested that he acted... (full context)
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...“could be perfectly incapable of telling right from wrong.” This draws them into a dilemma: Eichmann was “normal” because he followed the Nazi law, but “normal” also implies that he should... (full context)
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Eichmann was born in 1906; in his memoirs, despite his professed atheism, he credited “a higher... (full context)
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Although Eichmann was happy and enthusiastic in his job for some time, after being transferred from Linz... (full context)
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From his childhood until the end of World War Two, Eichmann was a “joiner,” always a member of some organization or another—in fact, in 1932 he... (full context)
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After Hitler’s election in 1933, Austria banned the Nazi Party, so Eichmann went to Germany, where he still had citizenship, and started military training with the S.S.... (full context)
Chapter 3: An Expert on the Jewish Question
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When Eichmann joined the S.D. in 1934, Reinhardt Heydrich was its head, and its mission was to... (full context)
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In his new job, Eichmann was required to read Theodor Herzl’s crucial Zionist text Der Judenstaat and became an avowed... (full context)
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Zionism appealed to Eichmann because he considered Zionists just as “idealist” as himself—meaning they would live and die for... (full context)
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In 1938, Eichmann went to Vienna to begin coordinating Jewish emigration, which was—in violation of the official Nazi... (full context)
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One of Eichmann’s vices is bragging: he boasted about his role in the Holocaust and claimed responsibility for... (full context)
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Eichmann’s “more specific” and “more decisive” issue, however, is “his almost total inability ever to look... (full context)
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Arendt insists, however, that Eichmann is simply unable to think from anyone else’s perspective: he thought it wise to complain... (full context)
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Eichmann is no “ordinary criminal,” Arendt says; whenever he was unsure of himself, he would think... (full context)
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Eichmann’s memory is also horrible: he forgets most of the main events of the Nazi regime... (full context)
Chapter 4: The First Solution: Expulsion
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...normal trial, Arendt suggests, she could turn to the defense’s case. But the facts of Eichmann’s guilt were well-established, and even though the prosecution mostly fails in its attempts to show... (full context)
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Eichmann remembers almost none of this, however—besides one functionary who invited him to Palestine (from which... (full context)
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In March 1939, Eichmann was sent to Prague, where he implemented the same system as in Vienna and confronted... (full context)
Chapter 5: The Second Solution: Concentration
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Heinrich Müller headed the R.S.H.A. Gestapo bureau, Section IV. Eichmann worked directly for him in Subsection IV-B, dealing with Jewish matters. Müller answered to Heydrich... (full context)
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When Eichmann took his new post, “forced emigration” was the official policy but clearly no longer possible... (full context)
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Eichmann’s second idea was his plan to move Jews to Madagascar, which was occupied by the... (full context)
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...of Russia, different offices had different policies and proposals for addressing “the Jewish question,” but Eichmann believed his efforts to unify them all by creating a Jewish state failed because of... (full context)
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Three months after the invasion, in September 1941, Eichmann tried his third plan: to create a homeland for German Jews inside Nazi territory. Someone... (full context)
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In telling his story, Eichmann disregards the chronological order of events and instead jumps around among “human-interest stories of the... (full context)
Chapter 6: The Final Solution: Killing
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...with “the implementation of the desired final solution of the Jewish question” and Heydrich informed Eichmann that the Nazis’ new policy would be extermination. At first, Eichmann was shocked, and at... (full context)
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Eichmann was mostly uninvolved in the details of the gassing. Although the prosecution falsely claims that... (full context)
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...facts, which were established and are certainly enough to warrant the death penalty, especially since Eichmann’s visits to the killing centers proves his knowledge of and legal responsibility for his deeds.... (full context)
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There is also the legally irrelevant but morally interesting question of whether and when Eichmann managed to “overcome his innate repugnance toward crime.” Interestingly, in September 1941, Eichmann uncharacteristically disobeyed... (full context)
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Eichmann mostly worried about German Jews getting killed, and paid no attention to Jews from other... (full context)
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...postwar negotiations with the Allies, and many wanted to continue the war after deposing Hitler. Eichmann, of course, considers all these men “traitors and scoundrels,” although he might have agreed with... (full context)
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...the “most gifted at solving problems of conscience,” and he invented many of the slogans Eichmann loved. These slogans needed no ideological justification; they simply reminded functionaries that they were “involved... (full context)
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...camps. The crucial “language rule” was replacing “murder” with “to grant a mercy death,” and Eichmann seemed to internalize this; he believed it was better for Jews to die immediately than... (full context)
Chapter 7: The Wannsee Conference, or Pontius Pilate
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Arendt explains that Eichmann forgot most of the evidence she has presented so far; the crucial moment in his... (full context)
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Eichmann was mostly excited at the opportunity to mingle with so many of his superiors, since... (full context)
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Most of all, Eichmann “could see no one, no one at all, who actually was against the Final Solution.”... (full context)
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...another, they talk endlessly about conditions at the camps, which had nothing to do with Eichmann. They also mention resistance by Jews of all persuasions. This backfires on the prosecution, which... (full context)
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...“the totality of the moral collapse the Nazis caused in respectable European society.” Of course, Eichmann was always “overawed by ‘good society’” and reverent toward his social superiors (especially Hitler), who... (full context)
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One peculiar witness is the Protestant minister Propst Heinrich Grüber, who negotiated with Eichmann to secure the safety of World War I veterans and their widows, then tried to... (full context)
Chapter 8: Duties of a Law-Abiding Citizen
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Eichmann conceives himself “as a law-abiding citizen” doing his duty to obey his orders as well... (full context)
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Eichmann was so dedicated to performing his legal duties that, when he occasionally made exceptions for... (full context)
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In 1944, Eichmann was sent along with three other officials to coordinate mass deportations from Hungary, which began... (full context)
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There is thus no question “that Eichmann had at all times done his best to make the Final Solution final.” However, although... (full context)
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At trial, Eichmann emphasizes the difference between Hitler’s orders, which were law, even if only spoken, and Himmler’s,... (full context)
Chapter 9: Deportations from the Reich—Germany, Austria, and the Protectorate
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Eichmann faced “no questions of conscience” between the 1942 Wannsee Conference and the end of the... (full context)
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...Germany, Austria, the Czech Protectorate of Moravia and Bohemia, and annexed parts of Western Poland. Eichmann began coordinating the earliest deportations in the Reich before the Final Solution was even official,... (full context)
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After some years, once the Final Solution had become official policy but Eichmann had not yet been informed about it, he was transferred to primarily coordinating deportations, and... (full context)
Chapter 10: Deportations from Western Europe—France, Belgium, Holland, Denmark, Italy
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...seems to forget its dimension of pure evil. This was a main criterion by which Eichmann’s office chose officials to oversee deportations in other countries around Europe. (full context)
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...government and police. There were not enough foreign Jews in Bordeaux to fill a train Eichmann sent, and Eichmann later coordinated the deportation of 4,000 children to concentration camps after their... (full context)
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...utterly at the mercy of the Germans,” whom the prosecution falsely claims were all following Eichmann’s orders. In fact, Himmler mostly gave the S.S. and Police priority in Holland, to Eichmann’s... (full context)
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...round up 22,000 Jews in the Italian-occupied region of southern France, but by the time Eichmann’s officials arrived there, “the French police had destroyed all the lists of the registered Jews.”... (full context)
Chapter 11: Deportations from the Balkans—Yugoslavia, Bulgaria, Greece, Rumania
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Although Eichmann often claims that his proclivity for organization and coordination made Jews’ fate easier—and the court... (full context)
Chapter 12: Deportations from Central Europe—Hungary and Slovakia
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Eichmann brought his whole staff to Budapest and convened a Jewish Council, but its members knew... (full context)
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Eichmann tried to coordinate deportations from Hungary with “lightning speed,” and officers at Auschwitz prepared to... (full context)
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...of their wealth, which could be seized) but reluctant to kill them. In March 1942, Eichmann and then Heydrich came to coordinate deportations, and the Slovak government duly agreed, so long... (full context)
Chapter 13: The Killing Centers in the East
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...for while it “was the central scene of Jewish suffering,” there was little evidence that Eichmann had any power in the region. Indeed, for 23 of the trial’s 121 sessions, 56... (full context)
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...Hausner’s “‘tragic multitude’ of sufferers” feel they deserve the chance to testify about their experiences. Eichmann is also clearly presumed guilty—otherwise Israel never would have kidnapped him or been able to... (full context)
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...case would have been entirely destroyed “if the judges had not found reason to charge Eichmann with some responsibility for the crimes in the East,” although obviously his main crime was... (full context)
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There are four points in question. The first involves Eichmann’s role in the Einsatzgruppen’s mass murders. He was present at the planning meeting but not... (full context)
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The second point involves Eichmann’s role in deportations from Polish ghettos to extermination camps. While his main job was transportation,... (full context)
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The third question involves Eichmann’s responsibility for the camps themselves; despite the prosecution’s claims that “he had enjoyed great authority”... (full context)
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The final question is about Eichmann’s authority over the ghettos’ horrible conditions and ultimate liquidation. “Again,” Arendt explains, “Eichmann had been... (full context)
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...Jerusalem assumed.” According to the court’s judgment, Heydrich was in charge of the Final Solution; Eichmann was “his chief deputy in the field” and so responsible everywhere. But, in fact, the... (full context)
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If Eichmann were cleared on these charges, Arendt concludes, he still would have been found guilty and... (full context)
Chapter 14: Evidence and Witnesses
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...the war’s final weeks forging papers for themselves and destroying evidence of their crimes. While Eichmann’s office did this successfully, many of the people who received his correspondence did not, and... (full context)
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...was also a defense attorney at the Nuremberg Trials, which makes his willingness to defend Eichmann strange—he claims he’s in it for the money, but the Israeli government and Eichmann’s family... (full context)
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The trial’s most important evidence is Eichmann’s own long statement to the Israeli police, over the eleven months he spent in detention.... (full context)
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...witnesses’ memories. More than half of the 100 witnesses are “from Poland and Lithuania, where Eichmann’s competence and authority had been almost nil.” Only four testify about Theresienstadt, which Eichmann actually... (full context)
Chapter 15: Judgment, Appeal, and Execution
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At the end of the War, Eichmann had “nothing to do” and was even excluded from the R.S.H.A. officials’ daily lunch. His... (full context)
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Eichmann first went to Kaltenbrunner, who rebuked him, and then was caught by Americans and interned.... (full context)
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By July, Eichmann had fully adopted his new identity in Argentina, where he finally wrote to his family... (full context)
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...wonders how the Israelis did not find him out much sooner. While Ben-Gurion argues that Eichmann was “found out” but not necessarily kidnapped by Israeli agents, clearly this is an inversion... (full context)
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...to view the matter “as settled.” Arendt notes that this would never have happened were Eichmann a full citizen of Argentina. While he was still technically German, he certainly could not... (full context)
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Eichmann was kidnapped when he returned home from work on May 11, 1960 and brought to... (full context)
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Three counselors volunteered to defend Eichmann, but he immediately chose Servatius (who had directly contacted his stepbrother) and signed papers before... (full context)
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...trial and four months of deliberations, the judges deliver their judgment on December 11-12, 1961. Eichmann is found guilty on all 15 counts (but “acquitted on some particulars”). Four counts are... (full context)
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The court recognizes Eichmann’s argument that he was only “aiding and abetting” crimes, but responds that these concepts cannot... (full context)
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...prosecution again calls for the death penalty; Servatius again talks about “acts of state,” calls Eichmann a “scapegoat,” and argues that he should have been tried in Germany or Argentina (where... (full context)
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Eichmann appeals before the Israeli Supreme Court three months after his sentencing. Servatius appears with the... (full context)
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Later that day, Eichmann sends the Israeli President a handwritten “plea for mercy,” as do hundreds of people worldwide,... (full context)
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Jewish philosopher Martin Buber offers Eichmann’s own justification in reverse: he fears that the death penalty will make Germans lose their... (full context)
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“With great dignity,” Eichmann drinks half a bottle of wine, refuses to talk to a minister, and refuses to... (full context)
Epilogue
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...court made this abundantly clear in its judgment. There were three kinds of objections to Eichmann’s trials: first, that (like the defendants at the Nuremberg Trials) “Eichmann was tried under a... (full context)
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...of objection, the court responded that the Nuremberg Trials set the only valid precedent to Eichmann’s kind of unprecedented crime. Such laws “had to be” retroactive, but their adequacy was up... (full context)
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...punishments for those found guilty of them. And, while many observers celebrated the fact that Eichmann’s trial finally focused on Jewish suffering, this was precisely what had led to the new... (full context)
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...jurisdiction on two irrelevant principles. The first was “passive-personality,” meaning only Israel could speak for Eichmann’s victims. Yet crimes do not primarily violate victims, but rather “the community,” which means the... (full context)
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...court or tried to redefine territorial jurisdiction in order to claim the right to try Eichmann—but it did neither, for it was remarkably afraid to “break fresh ground and act without... (full context)
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Ultimately, Eichmann’s trial was no different than the other trials that were modeled after the Nuremberg Trials... (full context)
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Jews were largely unwilling to see Eichmann’s crime as unprecedented, for they see the Holocaust as another version of “the oldest crime... (full context)
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...perpetrated upon the body of the Jewish people.” While the Jerusalem court could legitimately try Eichmann’s “crimes against the Jewish people,” only an international court could fairly address his “crimes against... (full context)
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In fact, Israel tried Eichmann under an erroneous law: genocide is not like murder, because in genocide “an altogether different... (full context)
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This requires that judges act as legislators, however, and the Eichmann trial’s judges refused to do this just like numerous other Successor trials’ judges before them.... (full context)
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...criminal who committed these “crimes against humanity.” While it would have been comfortable to think Eichmann “the most abnormal monster the world had ever seen,” like the prosecution portrayed him, in... (full context)
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In closing, Arendt suggests what justice would have required the judges to have said to Eichmann: that he admitted his participation in “the greatest crime in recorded history” and that, even... (full context)
Postscript
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...transcripts (for matters conducted in that language). Other clearly reliable sources were the transcript of Eichmann’s interrogation, the prosecution’s documents, the 16 defense witnesses’ affidavits, and Eichmann’s 70 pages of notes... (full context)
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...leadership’s complicity in Nazi crimes has been well-established and was important to the substance of Eichmann’s trial. Most vocal Jewish Holocaust survivors have recognized their leadership’s moral failure, but this leadership’s... (full context)
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...subject”—a single trial about a single man, along with the historical circumstances that surrounded it. Eichmann in Jerusalem, Arendt emphasizes, is not a history of the Holocaust or Nazi regime, “nor... (full context)
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...the trial, but Arendt never meant to argue that all evil was banal, only that Eichmann “merely, to put the matter colloquially, never realized what he was doing.” He was thoughtless,... (full context)
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The nature of Eichmann’s crime was also important: it was not merely genocide, for “massacres of whole peoples are... (full context)
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...Arab civilians, since their order was an exception to the normal rule of law, but Eichmann in fact followed the normal rule of law in Nazi Germany by ignoring Himmler’s order... (full context)
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...for it assumes that these two will always coincide. And, according to this Israeli law, Eichmann therefore “acted fully within the framework of the kind of judgment required of him,” following... (full context)
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...the facts of administrative massacres organized by the state apparatus.” The judges clearly ruled against Eichmann because of his “monstrous deeds,” according to precedent (as in the Nuremberg Trials), and not... (full context)
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...“individual guilt or innocence” and just punishment in response to the former. Despite its failures, Eichmann’s trial was one such proceeding, and “the present report deals with nothing but the extent... (full context)