Eichmann in Jerusalem

by

Hannah Arendt

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The notorious autocratic leader of the totalitarian Third Reich, who ordered the massacre of millions of people (most notably the majority of Europe’s Jewish population) and started World War Two in his attempt to create more “living space” for the German people, which he considered racially superior to other groups.

Adolf Hitler Quotes in Eichmann in Jerusalem

The Eichmann in Jerusalem quotes below are all either spoken by Adolf Hitler or refer to Adolf Hitler. 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 2 Quotes

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
Explanation and Analysis:
Quotes explanation long mobile
Chapter 6 Quotes

In actual fact, the situation was just as simple as it was hopeless: the overwhelming majority of the German people believed in Hitler—even after the attack on Russia and the feared war on two fronts, even after the United States entered the war, indeed even after Stalingrad, the defection of Italy, and the landings in France. Against this solid majority, there stood an indeterminate number of isolated individuals who were completely aware of the national and of the moral catastrophe; they might occasionally know and trust one another, there were friendships among them and an exchange of opinions, but no plan or intention of revolt. Finally there was the group of those who later became known as the conspirators, but they had never been able to come to an agreement on anything, not even on the question of conspiracy.

Related Characters: Adolf Hitler
Page Number: 98-9
Explanation and Analysis:
Quotes explanation short mobile
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
Explanation and Analysis:
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Chapter 9 Quotes

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
Explanation and Analysis:
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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
Explanation and Analysis:
Quotes explanation short mobile
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Adolf Hitler Character Timeline in Eichmann in Jerusalem

The timeline below shows where the character Adolf Hitler appears in Eichmann in Jerusalem. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Chapter 1: The House of Justice
Justice and Legal Responsibility Theme Icon
Zionism and Nazism Theme Icon
...in order to expose the truths of Nazi anti-Semitism. Of course, this is a paltry justification—Hitler already discredited anti-Semitism, and the world’s Jews hardly need a reminder of the Holocaust. In... (full context)
Chapter 2: The Accused
The Banality of Evil Theme Icon
Justice and Legal Responsibility Theme Icon
...ground. Eichmann considers himself “a law-abiding citizen” following the Nazi regime’s highest law of all: Hitler’s orders. He never pretends to have opposed the Holocaust or to regret his actions, but... (full context)
The Banality of Evil Theme Icon
...older members for a drink. He joined the Nazi Party without reading its platform or Hitler’s Mein Kampf; he joined the S.S. because, “why not?” Frustrated with his job, the Nazis... (full context)
The Banality of Evil Theme Icon
After Hitler’s election in 1933, Austria banned the Nazi Party, so Eichmann went to Germany, where he... (full context)
Chapter 5: The Second Solution: Concentration
The Banality of Evil Theme Icon
Conscience, Authority, and Totalitarianism Theme Icon
...matters. Müller answered to Heydrich (later Kaltenbrunner), who answered to Himmler, who directly carried out Hitler’s orders. Himmler also directed the separate regional S.S. and Police Leaders, who also outranked Eichmann—ultimately,... (full context)
Chapter 6: The Final Solution: Killing
The Banality of Evil Theme Icon
Conscience, Authority, and Totalitarianism Theme Icon
A few weeks after Germany attacked the Soviet Union in June 1941, Hitler tasked Heydrich with “the implementation of the desired final solution of the Jewish question” and... (full context)
Conscience, Authority, and Totalitarianism Theme Icon
Zionism and Nazism Theme Icon
Storytelling and Resistance Theme Icon
...Nazis were more worried about “this question of conscience” than they needed to be—even the anti-Hitler “conspirators” were mostly Nazis worried about preventing civil war within Germany; they paid no attention... (full context)
Conscience, Authority, and Totalitarianism Theme Icon
Zionism and Nazism Theme Icon
...death by euthanasia if Germany lost a war; another remembered a woman enthusiastically declaring that Hitler “will gas us” before he lets the Russians “get us.” (full context)
Chapter 7: The Wannsee Conference, or Pontius Pilate
Conscience, Authority, and Totalitarianism Theme Icon
Zionism and Nazism Theme Icon
Storytelling and Resistance Theme Icon
...course, Eichmann was always “overawed by ‘good society’” and reverent toward his social superiors (especially Hitler), who controlled his conscience and led him to the same moral collapse. In Nazi society,... (full context)
Conscience, Authority, and Totalitarianism Theme Icon
Storytelling and Resistance Theme Icon
...therefore justified the general rule of extermination. The Nazis even saved certain prominent and friendly Jews—Hitler exempted 340 people, and Heydrich was actually half-Jewish. even after the war, Germans commonly lament... (full context)
Chapter 8: Duties of a Law-Abiding Citizen
The Banality of Evil Theme Icon
Conscience, Authority, and Totalitarianism Theme Icon
Justice and Legal Responsibility Theme Icon
...Eichmann began eagerly following not universal moral laws but the laws of Nazi Germany—and, specifically, Hitler’s will. (full context)
The Banality of Evil Theme Icon
Conscience, Authority, and Totalitarianism Theme Icon
Justice and Legal Responsibility Theme Icon
...never raises the matter, this proves not his fanatical anti-Semitism but merely his reverence for Hitler and dedication to carrying out the Final Solution (Himmler kept his order for its end... (full context)
Conscience, Authority, and Totalitarianism Theme Icon
Justice and Legal Responsibility Theme Icon
At trial, Eichmann emphasizes the difference between Hitler’s orders, which were law, even if only spoken, and Himmler’s, which Eichmann demanded in writing.... (full context)
Chapter 9: Deportations from the Reich—Germany, Austria, and the Protectorate
Zionism and Nazism Theme Icon
...they call back their Jews, and “we shall see shortly” what became of them. Ultimately, Hitler declared the Reich judenrein in 1943; 265,000 were deported, and few escaped. (full context)
Chapter 10: Deportations from Western Europe—France, Belgium, Holland, Denmark, Italy
The Banality of Evil Theme Icon
Conscience, Authority, and Totalitarianism Theme Icon
Storytelling and Resistance Theme Icon
Scandinavia posed significant trouble for the Nazis. They never occupied Sweden, and Hitler so respected Finland that he did not even try to deport its Jews. Denmark retained... (full context)
Justice and Legal Responsibility Theme Icon
Storytelling and Resistance Theme Icon
Although “Italy was Germany’s only real ally in Europe,” by the time of the war Hitler and Mussolini no longer saw eye-to-eye. Italy sabotaged the Final Solution, not only by offering... (full context)
Chapter 11: Deportations from the Balkans—Yugoslavia, Bulgaria, Greece, Rumania
Zionism and Nazism Theme Icon
...Balkan states. Many minority groups celebrated Germany’s invasion because it promised them political rights, and Hitler won loyalty from Hungary, Rumania, and Bulgaria by promising to expand their territories and deport... (full context)
Conscience, Authority, and Totalitarianism Theme Icon
Justice and Legal Responsibility Theme Icon
...its Jews of political rights. The government quickly made them stateless after the war began—even Hitler complained at Rumania’s “far more radical” policies—and began massacring them at a horrific speed, mostly... (full context)
Postscript
Justice and Legal Responsibility Theme Icon
...on superior orders.” The former makes little sense—“the most elementary sense of justice” requires that Hitler stand trial for his actions, and indeed the “acts of state” justification is meant to... (full context)