Eichmann in Jerusalem

The Final Solution Term Analysis

Short for “the Final Solution to the Jewish Question,” the Nazi code word for the plan to systematically murder European Jews, originally formulated at the 1942 Wannsee Conference.

The Final Solution Quotes in Eichmann in Jerusalem

The Eichmann in Jerusalem quotes below are all either spoken by The Final Solution or refer to The Final Solution. 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 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
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Chapter 7 Quotes

True it was that the Jewish people as a whole had not been organized, that they had possessed no territory, no government, and no army, that, in the hour of their greatest need, they had no government-in-exile to represent them among the Allies (the Jewish Agency for Palestine, under Dr. Weizmann’s presidency, was at best a miserable substitute), no caches of weapons, no youth with military training. But the whole truth was that there existed Jewish community organizations and Jewish party and welfare organizations on both the local and the international level. Wherever Jews lived, there were recognized Jewish leaders, and this leadership, almost without exception, cooperated in one way or another, for one reason or another, with the Nazis. The whole truth was that if the Jewish people had really been unorganized and leaderless, there would have been chaos and plenty of misery but the total number of victims would hardly have been between four and a half and six million people.

Page Number: 125
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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
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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
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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
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Chapter 14 Quotes

It is true that totalitarian domination tried to establish these holes of oblivion into which all deeds, good and evil, would disappear, but just as the Nazis’ feverish attempts, from June, 1942, on, to erase all traces of the massacres—through cremation, through burning in open pits, through the use of explosives and flame-throwers and bone-crushing machinery—were doomed to failure, so all efforts to let their opponents “disappear in silent anonymity” were in vain. The holes of oblivion do not exist. Nothing human is that perfect, and there are simply too many people in the world to make oblivion possible. One man will always be left alive to tell the story. Hence, nothing can ever be “practically useless,” at least, not in the long run. It would be of great practical usefulness for Germany today, not merely for her prestige abroad but for her sadly confused inner condition, if there were more such stories to be told. For the lesson of such stories is simple and within everybody’s grasp. Politically speaking, it is that under conditions of terror most people will comply but some people will not, just as the lesson of the countries to which the Final Solution was proposed is that “it could happen” in most places but it did not happen everywhere. Humanly speaking, no more is required, and no more can reasonably be asked, for this planet to remain a place fit for human habitation.

Page Number: 232
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Chapter 15 Quotes

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
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Adolf Eichmann went to the gallows with great dignity. He had asked for a bottle of red wine and had drunk half of it. He refused the help of the Protestant minister, the Reverend William Hull, who offered to read the Bible with him: he had only two more hours to live, and therefore no “time to waste.” He walked the fifty yards from his cell to the execution chamber calm and erect, with his hands bound behind him. When the guards tied his ankles and knees, he asked them to loosen the bonds so that he could stand straight. “I don’t need that,” he said when the black hood was offered him. He was in complete command of himself, nay, he was more: he was completely himself. Nothing could have demonstrated this more convincingly than the grotesque silliness of his last words. He began by stating emphatically that he was a Gottgläubiger, to express in common Nazi fashion that he was no Christian and did not believe in life after death. He then proceeded: “After a short while, gentlemen, we shall all meet again. Such is the fate of all men. Long live Germany, long live Argentina, long live Austria. I shall not forget them.” In the face of death, he had found the cliché used in funeral oratory. Under the gallows, his memory played him the last trick; he was “elated” and he forgot that this was his own funeral.

It was as though in those last minutes he was summing up the lesson that this long course in human wickedness had taught us—the lesson of the fearsome, word-and-thought-defying banality of evil.

Related Characters: Adolf Eichmann
Page Number: 252
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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
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The Final Solution Term Timeline in Eichmann in Jerusalem

The timeline below shows where the term The Final Solution appears in Eichmann in Jerusalem. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Chapter 6: The Final Solution: Killing
The Banality of Evil Theme Icon
Conscience, Authority, and Totalitarianism Theme Icon
...and at trial he fails to remember that Heydrich also told him that this “ Final Solution ” would not be his office’s responsibility. Eichmann was one of the first lower-ranking Party... (full context)
The Banality of Evil Theme Icon
Conscience, Authority, and Totalitarianism Theme Icon
Justice and Legal Responsibility Theme Icon
...the gassing. Although the prosecution falsely claims that he informed many higher-ranking officers about the Final Solution , they certainly knew before him, and when one of these officers described the gassing... (full context)
The Banality of Evil Theme Icon
Conscience, Authority, and Totalitarianism Theme Icon
Unlike the early massacres conducted by Einsatzgruppen with the backing of the German army, the Final Solution was not associated with the war effort but rather with the “euthanasia program” that initially... (full context)
Chapter 7: The Wannsee Conference, or Pontius Pilate
The Banality of Evil Theme Icon
Conscience, Authority, and Totalitarianism Theme Icon
...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, since many of the most... (full context)
Conscience, Authority, and Totalitarianism Theme Icon
...since he was the meeting’s lowest-ranked member and secretary. After seeing his bosses praise the Final Solution , he quickly abandoned all his reservations about it and set about his new job... (full context)
The Banality of Evil Theme Icon
Conscience, Authority, and Totalitarianism Theme Icon
Zionism and Nazism Theme Icon
Storytelling and Resistance Theme Icon
...all, Eichmann “could see no one, no one at all, who actually was against the Final Solution .” He was surprised when the Hungarian Jewish leader Dr. Kastner asked him to stop... (full context)
Chapter 8: Duties of a Law-Abiding Citizen
The Banality of Evil Theme Icon
Conscience, Authority, and Totalitarianism Theme Icon
...was uncomfortable. Later, near the end of the war, Himmler ordered the end of the Final Solution and Eichmann was similarly uncomfortable with the break from the Nazis’ previous policy. (full context)
The Banality of Evil Theme Icon
Conscience, Authority, and Totalitarianism Theme Icon
Justice and Legal Responsibility Theme Icon
...thus no question “that Eichmann had at all times done his best to make the Final Solution final.” However, although the Jerusalem court never raises the matter, this proves not his fanatical... (full context)
Chapter 9: Deportations from the Reich—Germany, Austria, and the Protectorate
Justice and Legal Responsibility Theme Icon
Storytelling and Resistance Theme Icon
...faced “no questions of conscience” between the 1942 Wannsee Conference and the end of the Final Solution in 1944; he was focused on organizing and coordinating deportations across the massive, complex Nazi... (full context)
Conscience, Authority, and Totalitarianism Theme Icon
Storytelling and Resistance Theme Icon
...parts of Western Poland. Eichmann began coordinating the earliest deportations in the Reich before the Final Solution was even official, sending German Jews to Poland and Vichy France. These were designed to... (full context)
Conscience, Authority, and Totalitarianism Theme Icon
Justice and Legal Responsibility Theme Icon
Zionism and Nazism Theme Icon
After some years, once the Final Solution had become official policy but Eichmann had not yet been informed about it, he was... (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 time of the war Hitler and Mussolini no longer saw eye-to-eye. Italy sabotaged the Final Solution , not only by offering Jews a sort of de facto asylum in Italian-occupied areas,... (full context)
Chapter 13: The Killing Centers in the East
Conscience, Authority, and Totalitarianism Theme Icon
Justice and Legal Responsibility Theme Icon
...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” and so responsible everywhere. But, in... (full context)
Chapter 15: Judgment, Appeal, and Execution
Justice and Legal Responsibility Theme Icon
...the Jewish people’” (but restricted to the period after 1941, when he learned about the Final Solution ). Eight counts are “crimes against humanity,” which oddly include genocides against other groups and... (full context)
The Banality of Evil Theme Icon
Justice and Legal Responsibility Theme Icon
Zionism and Nazism Theme Icon
...Eichmann’s “fanatical zeal” and “unquenchable blood thirst” were crucial to the initial plan for the Final Solution . (full context)
Postscript
The Banality of Evil Theme Icon
Conscience, Authority, and Totalitarianism Theme Icon
Justice and Legal Responsibility Theme Icon
...does not matter if Eichmann was only “a ‘tiny cog’ in the machinery of the Final Solution ,” for he was still in part responsible, and totalitarianism functions precisely by making its... (full context)
Justice and Legal Responsibility Theme Icon
...the normal rule of law in Nazi Germany by ignoring Himmler’s order to stop the Final Solution . (full context)