Eichmann in Jerusalem

by

Hannah Arendt

Teachers and parents! Struggling with distance learning? Our Teacher Edition on Eichmann in Jerusalem can help.

Third Reich Term Analysis

The Third Reich (meaning the “Third Realm”) refers to the Nazi government that ruled much of Europe from 1933-1945, and also the geographical territory that it formally ruled. At its greatest extent, this included much of Western Poland and Prussia, the Czech Protectorate of Moravia and Bohemia, and Germany and Austria.

Third Reich Quotes in Eichmann in Jerusalem

The Eichmann in Jerusalem quotes below are all either spoken by Third Reich or refer to Third Reich. 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

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 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:
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:
Chapter 10 Quotes

The story of the Danish Jews is sui generis, and the behavior of the Danish people and their government was unique among all the countries of Europe—whether occupied, or a partner of the Axis, or neutral and truly independent. One is tempted to recommend the story as required reading in political science for all students who wish to learn something about the enormous power potential inherent in non-violent action and in resistance to an opponent possessing vastly superior means of violence.

Page Number: 171
Explanation and Analysis:
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
Explanation and Analysis:
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
Explanation and Analysis:
Get the entire Eichmann in Jerusalem LitChart as a printable PDF.
Eichmann in Jerusalem PDF

Third Reich Term Timeline in Eichmann in Jerusalem

The timeline below shows where the term Third Reich 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
...many Zionist groups to collaborate with the Nazis in the early years of the Third Reich. (full context)
Chapter 2: The Accused
The Banality of Evil Theme Icon
Conscience, Authority, and Totalitarianism Theme Icon
...also implies that he should have realized he was acting criminally—in fact, under the Third Reich, “only ‘exceptions’ could be expected to react ‘normally.’” (full context)
Chapter 4: The First Solution: Expulsion
The Banality of Evil Theme Icon
Justice and Legal Responsibility Theme Icon
Zionism and Nazism Theme Icon
...belief that he was working in Jews’ self-interest in the early days of the Third Reich, saving them by helping them leave Germany, perhaps because this would have proven that he... (full context)
Chapter 9: Deportations from the Reich—Germany, Austria, and the Protectorate
Conscience, Authority, and Totalitarianism Theme Icon
Storytelling and Resistance Theme Icon
The German Reich, where deportations began, included Germany, Austria, the Czech Protectorate of Moravia and Bohemia, and annexed... (full context)
Conscience, Authority, and Totalitarianism Theme Icon
Justice and Legal Responsibility Theme Icon
Zionism and Nazism Theme Icon
...it, he was transferred to primarily coordinating deportations, and the top priority was making the Reich “judenrein” (“clean” of Jews). The Nazis first passed legislation forcing Jews to wear yellow stars,... (full context)
Zionism and Nazism Theme Icon
...their Jews, and “we shall see shortly” what became of them. Ultimately, Hitler declared the Reich judenrein in 1943; 265,000 were deported, and few escaped. (full context)
Chapter 12: Deportations from Central Europe—Hungary and Slovakia
Zionism and Nazism Theme Icon
Storytelling and Resistance Theme Icon
...functional at the end of the war, Eichmann began marching Jews on foot towards the Reich, but was ordered to stop by Himmler. Less than 160,000 of Hungary’s 800,000 Jews survived. (full context)
Postscript
Conscience, Authority, and Totalitarianism Theme Icon
...according to their own judgment, even when everyone around them disagrees. But under the Third Reich, the usual “moral maxims which determine social behavior” had disappeared. Similarly, in the public controversy... (full context)