Eichmann in Jerusalem

Robert Servatius Character Analysis

Eichmann’s often incompetent and insensitive attorney, who had previously defended Nazi war criminals at the Nuremberg Trials. His motives for taking Eichmann’s case are mysterious—he was underpaid and knew he would face an uphill battle, given the prosecution’s relative abundance of resources and manpower—and, in addition to blaming Jews for their own persecution and calling mass murder a mere “medical matter,” he tended to miss obvious opportunities to challenge the legitimacy or validity of testimony by the prosecution’s witnesses. His case rested primarily on his claim that the Jerusalem court could not legitimately try Eichmann because it lacked jurisdiction over him, his crimes were “acts of state,” and judge Moshe Landau and his colleagues, as Jews, were supposedly incapable of impartially rendering judgment about the Holocaust.

Robert Servatius Quotes in Eichmann in Jerusalem

The Eichmann in Jerusalem quotes below are all either spoken by Robert Servatius or refer to Robert Servatius. 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

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:
Quotes explanation long mobile

Unlock explanations and citation info for this and every other Eichmann in Jerusalem quote.

Plus so much more...

Get LitCharts A+
Already a LitCharts A+ member? Sign in!
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
Explanation and Analysis:
Quotes explanation short mobile
Get the entire Eichmann in Jerusalem LitChart as a printable PDF.
Eichmann in jerusalem.pdf.medium

Robert Servatius Character Timeline in Eichmann in Jerusalem

The timeline below shows where the character Robert Servatius 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
...glass booth, and below them are the prosecutorial team and Eichmann’s lone defense attorney, Robert Servatius. (full context)
Justice and Legal Responsibility Theme Icon
Zionism and Nazism Theme Icon
...rather the history of anti-Semitism, starting with stories of persecution from the Hebrew Bible. Astonishingly, Servatius responds by blaming Jews for the violence committed against them and suggests that the Nazis,... (full context)
Chapter 2: The Accused
Justice and Legal Responsibility Theme Icon
...indictment” to each of them. No one bothered to ask him what this meant, but Servatius explains this to the press by claiming that “Eichmann feels guilty before God, not before... (full context)
Justice and Legal Responsibility Theme Icon
Servatius’s own explanation centers on the notion that Eichmann was committing “acts of state,” not crimes,... (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
...to talk about concentration and extermination “objectively,” in the unemotional terms of “administration” and “economy.” Servatius is the most objective of all: he insists that mass murder was “a medical matter.” (full context)
Chapter 7: The Wannsee Conference, or Pontius Pilate
Conscience, Authority, and Totalitarianism Theme Icon
Storytelling and Resistance Theme Icon
...tried to help Jews escape from a concentration camp and became imprisoned himself. At trial, Servatius asks Grüber whether he tried to morally influence Eichmann, and he says that he did... (full context)
Chapter 13: The Killing Centers in the East
Justice and Legal Responsibility Theme Icon
Zionism and Nazism Theme Icon
The judges have “a highly unpleasant dilemma.” Servatius attacks the possibility that Jewish judges can be impartial, and they declare that they are... (full context)
Chapter 14: Evidence and Witnesses
Conscience, Authority, and Totalitarianism Theme Icon
Justice and Legal Responsibility Theme Icon
Zionism and Nazism Theme Icon
...come to Israel, lest they be arrested and tried themselves. This puts significant pressure on Servatius, as does his inability to access most of the documents he wanted. Like at the... (full context)
The Banality of Evil Theme Icon
Justice and Legal Responsibility Theme Icon
In fact, Servatius was also a defense attorney at the Nuremberg Trials, which makes his willingness to defend... (full context)
Chapter 15: Judgment, Appeal, and Execution
The Banality of Evil Theme Icon
Three counselors volunteered to defend Eichmann, but he immediately chose Servatius (who had directly contacted his stepbrother) and signed papers before realizing that his newly-retained lawyer... (full context)
The Banality of Evil Theme Icon
Justice and Legal Responsibility Theme Icon
After the judgment, the prosecution again calls for the death penalty; Servatius again talks about “acts of state,” calls Eichmann a “scapegoat,” and argues that he should... (full context)
The Banality of Evil Theme Icon
Justice and Legal Responsibility Theme Icon
Zionism and Nazism Theme Icon
Eichmann appeals before the Israeli Supreme Court three months after his sentencing. Servatius appears with the same arguments and a new, badly fact-checked list of witnesses who are... (full context)
The Banality of Evil Theme Icon
Conscience, Authority, and Totalitarianism Theme Icon
Justice and Legal Responsibility Theme Icon
...all these pleas, Eichmann is hanged. Perhaps this quick turnaround is an effort to stop Servatius’s two last appeals, Arendt says; regardless, after Eichmann’s death, protests against the sentence arise around... (full context)