Eichmann in Jerusalem


Hannah Arendt

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Moshe Landau Character Analysis

The presiding judge at Eichmann’s trial, a German Jew who insisted on putting justice above the prosecution’s theatrics, which led him to frequently question the relevance and purpose of Hausner’s witnesses’ testimony. According to Arendt, the judgment Landau and the two other judges produced focused on Eichmann’s actions rather than the Jewish suffering the prosecution continually emphasized, but failed to define the nature of Eichmann’s crimes and guilt adequately enough to show that his lack of authority over German extermination camps did not render him innocent. Ultimately, in responding to Eichmann’s appeal, the Israeli Supreme Court threw out Landau and his colleagues’ impartial judgment and fully agreed with the prosecution’s exaggerated narratives about Eichmann.

Moshe Landau Quotes in Eichmann in Jerusalem

The Eichmann in Jerusalem quotes below are all either spoken by Moshe Landau or refer to Moshe Landau. 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
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
Explanation and Analysis:
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
Explanation and Analysis:
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
Explanation and Analysis:
Chapter 15 Quotes

“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
Explanation and Analysis:

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
Explanation and Analysis:
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Moshe Landau Character Timeline in Eichmann in Jerusalem

The timeline below shows where the character Moshe Landau 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
...honest men.” They do not pretend to wait for the Hebrew translation; presiding judge Moshe Landau even corrects the German translator and encourages the others to address Eichmann in German, which... (full context)
Chapter 14: Evidence and Witnesses
Zionism and Nazism Theme Icon
...again.” Arendt declares that “every once in a long while one was glad that Judge Landau had lost his battle” to keep the witnesses relevant. (full context)