Eichmann in Jerusalem

by

Hannah Arendt

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The “Schutzstaffel” or S.S. (“Protective Echelon”) was the enormous force of German “political soldiers” under Heinrich Himmler, tasked with enforcing racial policies, the surveillance of Germans and potential enemies to the Nazis, managing concentration and extermination camps, and numerous other duties. Eichmann joined the S.S. in 1933 and worked for it until the end of the war.

S.S. Quotes in Eichmann in Jerusalem

The Eichmann in Jerusalem quotes below are all either spoken by S.S. or refer to S.S.. For each quote, you can also see the other terms 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:
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
Explanation and Analysis:
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Eichmann in Jerusalem PDF

S.S. Term Timeline in Eichmann in Jerusalem

The timeline below shows where the term S.S. appears in Eichmann in Jerusalem. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Chapter 2: The Accused
The Banality of Evil Theme Icon
...all joy” in work and was fired soon thereafter. He joined the Nazi Party and S.S. in the same year. Ernst Kaltenbrunner invited him, as the two men’s fathers were friends—but... (full context)
The Banality of Evil Theme Icon
...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 offered him a chance to become... (full context)
The Banality of Evil Theme Icon
...Eichmann went to Germany, where he still had citizenship, and started military training with the S.S. But he hated “the humdrum of military service” and decided to apply for a job... (full context)
Chapter 3: An Expert on the Jewish Question
The Banality of Evil Theme Icon
Justice and Legal Responsibility Theme Icon
...Heydrich was its head, and its mission was to spy on other Nazis for the S.S. Eichmann was disappointed—he thought it was the personal security service for Nazi officials, and he... (full context)
The Banality of Evil Theme Icon
Conscience, Authority, and Totalitarianism Theme Icon
...to complain to a Jewish police officer about his inability to get promoted in the S.S., and seems to expect sympathy from the world for his difficulties and failures. Meeting an... (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
Soon after the beginning of the war, Heinrich Himmler combined the S.S. Security Service (S.D.) with the state police (including the Gestapo) into the Head Office for... (full context)
The Banality of Evil Theme Icon
Conscience, Authority, and Totalitarianism Theme Icon
...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, Eichmann’s rank was not particularly high, and his... (full context)
Chapter 6: The Final Solution: Killing
The Banality of Evil Theme Icon
Conscience, Authority, and Totalitarianism Theme Icon
...it was better for Jews to die immediately than suffer, and he grows agitated when S.S. torture comes up at trial. (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
...which began swiftly and efficiently. However, trouble soon arose between Eichmann and Kurt Becher, the S.S.’s main horse buyer. Becher is called as a defense witness, but has his testimony dismissed.... (full context)
Chapter 10: Deportations from Western Europe—France, Belgium, Holland, Denmark, Italy
Justice and Legal Responsibility Theme Icon
Storytelling and Resistance Theme Icon
...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 chagrin, since they seemed most able to quash... (full context)
Zionism and Nazism Theme Icon
Storytelling and Resistance Theme Icon
...begin deportations in 1943, Danish shipyard workers went on strike and even German government and S.S. officials refused to carry out their orders. (full context)
Chapter 11: Deportations from the Balkans—Yugoslavia, Bulgaria, Greece, Rumania
Conscience, Authority, and Totalitarianism Theme Icon
Justice and Legal Responsibility Theme Icon
...understandably ignores this absurd claim—the events in Rumania make his suggestion vaguely probable. “Even the S.S. were taken aback” by Rumania’s enthusiasm for killing Jews, and often tried to ensure that... (full context)
Chapter 14: Evidence and Witnesses
Conscience, Authority, and Totalitarianism Theme Icon
Justice and Legal Responsibility Theme Icon
Zionism and Nazism Theme Icon
The S.S. spent the war’s final weeks forging papers for themselves and destroying evidence of their crimes.... (full context)
Chapter 15: Judgment, Appeal, and Execution
Justice and Legal Responsibility Theme Icon
...first set of counts. The last three counts are for belonging to “criminal organizations”: the S.S., S.D., and Gestapo (but not the Nazi leadership in which the prosecution wanted to prove... (full context)