Eichmann in Jerusalem

by

Hannah Arendt

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Reinhardt Heydrich Character Analysis

The head of the S.D. and later R.S.H.A., as well as the central organizer of Kristallnacht, the Wannsee Conference, the Einsatzgruppen, and ultimately the Final Solution, Heydrich was Eichmann’s second-order superior (after Heinrich Müller, head of the R.S.H.A. Gestapo bureau) and answered only to Himmler and Hitler. He was also the one to inform Eichmann of Hitler’s plan for the Final Solution, and Eichmann was elated when he seemed to open up to him in a meeting. He was assassinated in Prague in 1942.

Reinhardt Heydrich Quotes in Eichmann in Jerusalem

The Eichmann in Jerusalem quotes below are all either spoken by Reinhardt Heydrich or refer to Reinhardt Heydrich. 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 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:
Quotes explanation long mobile
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Reinhardt Heydrich Character Timeline in Eichmann in Jerusalem

The timeline below shows where the character Reinhardt Heydrich appears in Eichmann in Jerusalem. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Chapter 3: An Expert on the Jewish Question
The Banality of Evil Theme Icon
Justice and Legal Responsibility Theme Icon
When Eichmann joined the S.D. in 1934, Reinhardt Heydrich was its head, and its mission was to spy on other Nazis for the S.S.... (full context)
Conscience, Authority, and Totalitarianism Theme Icon
...longer voluntary but now forced. His expulsion policy was remarkably successful, but only because of Heydrich’s plan to make rich Jews pay a fee that could be used to fund poor... (full context)
Chapter 5: The Second Solution: Concentration
The Banality of Evil Theme Icon
Conscience, Authority, and Totalitarianism Theme Icon
Justice and Legal Responsibility Theme Icon
...police (including the Gestapo) into the Head Office for Reich Security (R.S.H.A.), headed by Reinhardt Heydrich (and later Ernst Kaltenbrunner), which became one of the S.S.’s twelve main offices. The Nazis... (full context)
The Banality of Evil Theme Icon
Conscience, Authority, and Totalitarianism Theme Icon
...Eichmann worked directly for him in Subsection IV-B, dealing with Jewish matters. Müller answered to Heydrich (later Kaltenbrunner), who answered to Himmler, who directly carried out Hitler’s orders. Himmler also directed... (full context)
The Banality of Evil Theme Icon
Conscience, Authority, and Totalitarianism Theme Icon
...jumps around among “human-interest stories of the worst type,” like the time he first saw Heydrich’s “more human side” and the time the Slovakian government invited him to Bratislava, where he... (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 Heydrich informed... (full context)
Chapter 7: The Wannsee Conference, or Pontius Pilate
The Banality of Evil Theme Icon
Conscience, Authority, and Totalitarianism Theme Icon
...the January 1942 Wannsee Conference, at which various Ministers in the Nazi government assembled at Heydrich’s request to plan the Final Solution. Heydrich was understandably worried about their willingness to participate,... (full context)
Conscience, Authority, and Totalitarianism Theme Icon
Storytelling and Resistance Theme Icon
...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 the fates of “prominent” and... (full context)
Chapter 12: Deportations from Central Europe—Hungary and Slovakia
Conscience, Authority, and Totalitarianism Theme Icon
Storytelling and Resistance Theme Icon
...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 as they “would... (full context)
Chapter 13: The Killing Centers in the East
Conscience, Authority, and Totalitarianism Theme Icon
Justice and Legal Responsibility Theme Icon
...matter was even worse than the court in Jerusalem assumed.” According to the court’s judgment, Heydrich was in charge of the Final Solution; Eichmann was “his chief deputy in the field”... (full context)