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Книга Ханни Арендт – одного з найвидатніших мислителів ХХ століття – написана за матеріалами судового процесу над нацистським лідером Адольфом Айхманом 1961 р. Висвітлюючи роль Айхмана в Остаточному Розв’язанні єврейського питання, дослідниця детально аналізує події, що відбувались під час Голокосту в різних країнах Європи. Авторитетна та вражаюча розповідь Ханни Арендт вперше з’явилась у вигляді серії статей в газеті New Yorker у 1963 році та збурила хвилю дискусій серед інтелектуалів США та Європи. У книзі є післямова, написана авторкою у відповідь на палкі суперечки, що довгий час точились навколо видання, після його першої публікації. Книгу відкриває передмова відомого ізраїльського журналіста та публіциста Амоса Елона.

367 pages, Hardcover

First published January 1, 1963

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About the author

Hannah Arendt

338 books3,639 followers
Hannah Arendt (1906 – 1975) was one of the most influential political philosophers of the twentieth century. Born into a German-Jewish family, she was forced to leave Germany in 1933 and lived in Paris for the next eight years, working for a number of Jewish refugee organisations. In 1941 she immigrated to the United States and soon became part of a lively intellectual circle in New York. She held a number of academic positions at various American universities until her death in 1975. She is best known for two works that had a major impact both within and outside the academic community. The first, The Origins of Totalitarianism, published in 1951, was a study of the Nazi and Stalinist regimes that generated a wide-ranging debate on the nature and historical antecedents of the totalitarian phenomenon. The second, The Human Condition, published in 1958, was an original philosophical study that investigated the fundamental categories of the vita activa (labor, work, action). In addition to these two important works, Arendt published a number of influential essays on topics such as the nature of revolution, freedom, authority, tradition and the modern age. At the time of her death in 1975, she had completed the first two volumes of her last major philosophical work, The Life of the Mind, which examined the three fundamental faculties of the vita contemplativa (thinking, willing, judging).

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Profile Image for Lobstergirl.
1,749 reviews1,266 followers
September 1, 2010
In order to pronounce judgment on this book, on Arendt, on the idea of "the banality of evil," you can't simply read reviews, summaries, excerpts, chunks, sentences. You have to read the entire book. You have to. Only by reading the entire book will you acclimate yourself to Arendt's tone, her idiosyncratic writing style, the way a word on p. 252 seems like an odd choice until you recall how she used the same word on p. 53.

In the wake of the book came a flood of criticism (in both senses) that continues still. Here's an example of what I consider a misleading statement about the book (the misleading part is bold), from Michael Massing's October 17, 2004 article in the New York Times:

...Eichmann rose to become the senior Nazi official in charge of deporting and transporting Europe's Jews to the death camps. Yet Arendt seems always to find a mitigating circumstance. ''He did not enter the party out of conviction, nor was he ever convinced by it,'' she writes. It was not any fanatical hatred for the Jews but a desire to advance his career that drove his work as a Nazi, she maintains. Although Eichmann had repeatedly visited Auschwitz and seen the killing apparatus there, Arendt, noting he did not personally participate in the slaughter, insists that his role in the Final Solution ''had been wildly exaggerated.'' She even has the occasional kind word for Eichmann, citing evidence, for instance, that he was ''rather decent toward his subordinates.'' Over all, Arendt concludes, Eichmann ''was not Iago and not Macbeth. . . . Except for an extraordinary diligence in looking out for his personal advancement, he had no motives at all.''

I would hardly describe those things as "mitigating circumstance[s:]." After each one I ask, So? And? Are we all such simpletons that we require mass murderers to be 100% uncompromising monsters, in every aspect of their lives and motives? Why do we require this of Eichmann - that he be a perfervid, sadistic Jew-hater who would have liked to beat every one of his victims to death with a club, if only he'd had the time? Furthermore, what would these circumstances be mitigating? Arendt believes Eichmann is guilty of genocide and should be put to death - where's the mitigation, again?

Massing writes:

Arendt's solicitous treatment of Eichmann seems all the more unaccountable when compared to her relentlessly harsh portrayal of Europe's Jewish leaders. In a book dripping with sarcasm and scorn, Arendt reserves some of her bitterest comments for the Jewish leaders who cooperated with the Nazis. Had these leaders not so obligingly provided lists of Jewish residents, had they not so diligently compiled accounts of Jewish possessions, had they not so uniformly counseled submission to German deportation orders, many of the millions who perished during the war could have been saved, Arendt contends. ''To a Jew,'' she writes, ''this role of the Jewish leaders in the destruction of their own people is undoubtedly the darkest chapter of the whole dark story.''

First, Arendt's treatment of Eichmann is hardly "solicitous," a strange word indeed, making me wonder if Massing and I read the same book. Her treatment is relentlessly scornful. I found nearly every word she wrote about him "dripping with sarcasm and scorn." Arendt clearly finds Eichmann beneath contempt in every respect, utterly guilty of crimes against humanity, and deserving of his death sentence. On the subject of the Jewish Councils to which Massing refers, Arendt does indeed blame them to a degree. As Amos Elon notes in his excellent introduction to this edition, her criticism of them went over better in Israel than America, because "Zionism, after all, had been a movement of Jewish self-criticism." Massing goes on to pretend that Arendt is establishing a moral equivalency between the Nazi authorities and the Jewish authorities, which is a ridiculous assertion and belied by everything in the book. Isn't it at least conceivable that Jews might find the role of their Jewish leaders in their destruction "the darkest chapter" - the same way a parent who accidentally causes the death of her child would grieve in a darker, more profound way than if the child had been killed by someone else?

Michael A. Musmanno's review of the book in the May 19, 1963 New York Times is also full of groaners. (Musmanno was a presiding judge at the Nuremberg Tribunal and also testified against Eichmann at his trial.) I'll just pick one. He quotes Arendt: "...no punishment has ever possessed enough power of deterrence to prevent the commission of crimes." Seems about right to me...all around us we see punishments, yet fresh crimes blossom anew every morning. But Musmanno concludes: "This, in effect, says it was a terrible mistake to punish Eichmann at all!" Except, her book says the opposite, over and over. He lifts this from a section in which Arendt is writing about the necessity and protection of international law in dealing with genocide and crimes against humanity.

What Does She Mean By the Banality of Evil?

Most of us have some of idea of what she must mean by "the banality of evil" before we pick up the book. But she only uses the phrase twice - in the subtitle, and in the last sentence of text before the Epilogue. She uses it in the context of Eichmann's last words as he goes to the gallows. I'll quote at length:

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 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.

So here she is making no mention of the paper-pushing bureaucrat, just-following-orders aspect that everyone commonly associates with the phrase (she does touch on these things elsewhere in the book). Rather, she is writing about the "grotesque silliness," the clichéd quality, of his words. Elsewhere she notes that Eichmann would come up with "stock phrases," slogans, nonsensical and meaningless (particularly to an intellectual like Arendt), such as his claim to the court that he "would like to find peace with [his:] former enemies;" i.e., this director of administrative massacres (Arendt's term) wished to make nice with Holocaust victims. Eichmann's vocabulary was so limited and inelastic that sometimes the Israeli authorities couldn't understand him, and he couldn't find another way to express the same idea. He apologized to the court, saying, "Officialese [Amtssprache:] is my only language." Arendt thought he had a mild case of aphasia, and adds: "But the point here is that officialese became his language because he was genuinely incapable of uttering a single sentence that was not a cliché." And, "The longer one listened to him, the more obvious it became that his inability to speak was closely connected with an inability to think, namely, to think from the standpoint of somebody else. No communication was possible with him, not because he lied but because he was surrounded by the most reliable of all safeguards against the words and the presence of others, and hence against reality as such." Over and over, Eichmann's nonsensical rhetorical idiocies transformed him from monster into clown; this, for Arendt, was what made him the face of the banality of evil.
Profile Image for Orsodimondo.
2,191 reviews1,817 followers
December 31, 2022


Capita che il male non lambisca la banalità, anzi, capita che proprio nel caso si tratti di un nazista, il Male non sia una serie di procedure burocratiche o stupidità.

Oggi ho letto un articolo di Susanna Nirenstein (da non confondersi con la sorella Fiamma) che ho trovato esprimesse perfettamente il mio pensiero e sentimento su questo libro.

Susanna Nirenstein non è certo la prima, e non sarà l’ultima a dire queste cose: il favore che ha goduto il libro di Hanna Arendt è da tempo messo in discussione, in Europa e oltre oceano.
Ma Susanna Nirenstein riesce nell’impresa senza astio o livore, che invece accompagnano spesso altri critici, feriti dalla “banalità” dell’interpretazione di Arendt.

Eccolo integralmente:

S’intitola "Il processo. Eichmann a giudizio", ma potrebbe quasi chiamarsi "Processo ad Hannah Arendt" la mostra che arriva da Berlino ed è pronta ad aprirsi negli spazi delle Murate, le ex-prigioni di Firenze, il 23 gennaio (fino al 18 febbraio), quattro giorni prima del Giorno della Memoria. La visione e la lettura dei numerosi video e documenti del procedimento che iniziò l'11 aprile 1961 a Gerusalemme dopo il clamoroso rapimento da parte del Mossad, l'11 maggio 1960, del direttore del Dipartimento Affari Ebraici IV B 4 delle SS rifugiato in Argentina – dell'organizzatore prima dell'espulsione degli ebrei dalla Germania, del loro trasferimento a Est e poi dei trasporti verso i campi di sterminio da tutta l'Europa occupata – la lettura proposta dai curatori tedeschi, dicevamo, si differenzia infatti dalla diffusa interpretazione della filosofa tedesca che seguì (ma solo in parte!) l'avvenimento epocale nella capitale israeliana per il New Yorker e vide in Eichmann "la banalità del male". Il Male che Eichmann incarna non ha niente di "banale", come mette in luce il percorso creato dalle fondazioni berlinesi Topografia del Terrore e Memoriale degli Ebrei Assassinati in Europa, la statura di Eichmann non è affatto quella di un grigio burocrate incastrato nel motore della tirannia come una qualsiasi rotella inconsapevole e necessaria al meccanismo. La visione della filosofa tedesca era senz'altro legata alla sua tesi sulla cappa psicologica invincibile del totalitarismo, e serviva forse a salvare dalla colpa collettiva il popolo tedesco in mezzo a cui si era formata e forse persino Heidegger, il suo maestro, che al nazismo aveva aderito. Arendt alla fin fine così si dimostrava aperta alla tesi della difesa di Eichmann: «ho solo obbedito agli ordini, sono stato solo un dente di un ingranaggio, non sono mai stato antisemita», senza attribuire la giusta importanza né allo svelamento inedito dei testimoni, né alla personale convinzione ideologica nazista che aveva spinto lui come milioni d'altri "volenterosi carnefici" al genocidio.
Ecco invece le tappe della sua biografia: legato fin da giovanissimo alla destra austriaca che chiedeva l'annessione alla Germania e si nutriva di antisemitismo, presente nell'estremismo militante, lettore attento fin dalla fine degli anni Venti di giornali nazional-socialisti, parte di quel misero 3% che nel '30 in Austria votò per il partito nazista a cui aderisce definitivamente nel '32. Nel Reich dal '33, all'indomani della vittoria di Hitler, Eichmann riceve una formazione paramilitare nelle SS e nel '34 entra nel Servizio di Sicurezza del Reichfuehrer Himmler, e ben presto con gradi sempre più alti nell'unità "Affari ebraici", dedita a forzare gli ebrei a lasciare la Germania. Alla conferenza di Wansee del '42 che mise a punto il piano della "soluzione finale" fu uno degli organizzatori (e lì, lo vediamo dire in tribunale, si sentì sollevato come Ponzio Pilato perché erano stati "i protagonisti, i papi del Reich" a decidere, anche se era lui stesso a prospettare le soluzioni possibili). Himmler lo definì "lo specialista" quando nel '44 lo chiamò come sempre a deportare velocemente mezzo milione di ebrei ungheresi ad Auschwitz, un "maestro" della spoliazione, dell'emigrazione forzata, e ben presto del trasferimento nei lager. Persino nella sua deposizione nel '61 in Israele Eichmann chiama gli ebrei "parassiti".
Cosa ci vide di "banale" Hannah Arendt? La sua intuizione, o la sua forzatura, che tanto ha condizionato la riflessione sulla Shoah come di un evento fatale perpetrato da uomini senza volto, non funziona (fu l'autorevole Raul Hilberg a dirlo per primo, seguito ben presto da tanti altri storici): una mappa mostra gli infiniti spostamenti di Eichmann in tutti i luoghi caldi dello sterminio, la storiografia più recente ne certifica le continue iniziative, la partecipazione attiva alla macchina della morte, la conoscenza esatta di quel che stava avvenendo, l'antisemitismo convinto (il comandante di Auschwitz Rudolf Hoess l'aveva definito "ossessionato dalla questione ebraica"). Un quadro confermato anche dall´intervista data nel 1957 da Eichmann a Willem Sassen, un giornalista ex SS (in Italia nel '61 la pubblicò Epoca)

Profile Image for Trevor.
1,301 reviews22k followers
March 31, 2016
It is hard to know what to say about this book. The subtitle is pretty well right: the banality of evil. Eichmann comes across as a complete fool, utterly lacking in any ability to see things from the perspective of the other. As Arendt says at one point, the idea that he could sit chatting to a German Jew about how unfair it was that he never received a promotion for his work in exterminating the Jews pretty much sums up the man.

It seems Eichmann felt he was doing his best not only for his masters, but also for the Jews too. This was the part I found most surprising. He knew the Jews were being exterminated, that this was more or less inevitable, and so given this inevitability the ‘moral’ thing to do was to make the whole process as clean and ‘painless’ as possible. I kept thinking of Bauman talking about the holocaust as a huge exercise in ‘hygiene’. There really is no part of this that doesn’t quickly sink into a horrible kind of absurdity.

The problem with the holocaust is the sheer scale of it makes trying to hold it in your head comparable to trying to understand the universe, you can feel yourself sinking into insanity. And it is not just the whole ‘so many!’ problem, although, obviously, it is that as well, but mingled with that is the remarkable level of planning involved, to which Eichmann was clearly dedicated and hardworking to a fault. The problem this book raises isn’t the reassuring ‘you would need to be a monster’ – because how much better the world would be if that were true. It isn’t even the ‘we would all be Eichmann if placed in similar circumstances’. That, in fact, simply and demonstrably isn’t the case. We have endless examples of people who actively chose not to be Eichmann, people who knowingly paid for not being Eichmann with their lives, and did so as an active choice. The thing that this book makes terribly clear is that simple bureaucratic processes can be used to remarkable effect in normalising the unthinkable – in fact, you can commit genocide on an unprecedented scale if you have people worrying about train timetables and the supply of gas rather than where the trains will go and what the gas is for. There was an insanely horrible part of this where she says that many Germans would have preferred suicide to defeat, and that some may well have felt those damn Jews had used up all of the gas. The world really can be endlessly perverse in the most unspeakable of ways.

A particularly interesting part of the book was the discussion of why the Nazis dealt with the Zionists. All Jews were bad, but at least the Zionists had some sense of national feeling. I’d never thought of the monstrous consistency that might lie at the heart of nationalism.

And yet, this book left me feeling terribly uneasy. Once Eichmann was in Israel it was clear he was going to die – for as much as Israel may not have wanted this to be seen as a show trial, clearly this was a story with only one possible ending. The concern I had was that this guy really couldn’t be called a ‘mastermind’ in any sense that doesn’t inspire the bitterest of ironic laughs. He was, in some ways, proof that the Nazis recognising that to promote him beyond where he was would only result in an exemplar case of the Peter Principle. He was highly effective at organising logistics, but his motivation was not genocide or hatred of the Jews – I dread to say it, but that would at least make sense. Instead he was just some guy pitifully obsessed with following orders in the hope of getting a promotion, seeking to impress his superiors and completely obsessed with efficiency. I certainly cannot bring myself to be sorry for his fate, but then neither can I feel the world is all that much better without him. He was a fool, a terrifying fool doing his job.

And that fact is the most terrifying of all about this book, I fear.
Profile Image for Dream.M.
505 reviews90 followers
November 17, 2020
امیدوارم حالا که این کتاب خوب، با ترجمه‌ای خوبتر در دسترس همه‌هست، دیگه از "ابتذال شر" در جا و معنای درست استفاده کنید و ابتذال شر رو به ابتذال نکشید.
"ابتذال شر " یعنی چه؟
اصطلاح ابتذال شر، ابداع خانم آرنت، تنها دوجا در کتاب استفاده شده . یکی روی جلد و یکی هم اواخر کتاب . اما مشهورترین اصطلاح ساخته ایشونه و پرکاربردترین ( اغلب نابجا ) توسط مردم .
یک تعریف ساده و روشن از این اصطلاح وجود داره که میگه:
ابتذال شر یا بهنجاری شر، نظریه ای ست که میگه شر های بزرگ تاریخ، اعمالی هستند که بوسیله مردم عادی( نه افراد روانی، جاه‌طلب، متعصب ) و تحت سیستم بوروکراسی اداری انجام میشن.
( در واقع میگه افراد مبتذل با انگیزه های سطحی این اعمال شرورانه رو مرتکب میشن که کاملا آدمهای عادی بنظر میان و به اصطلاح مامورن و معذور)
این اعمال از نظر مردم تحت سلطه اون نظام سیاسی ،اعمال طبیعی، عادی و سلسله مراتبی هستن و با هدفهای سطح پایین مثل ارتقای جزئی شغلی و انجام وظیفه‌ی بی‌نقص انجام میشن.
برای اینکه یک شرور مبتذل باشید باید چکار کنید؟
در مرحله اول فقط کافیه فکر نکنید ( همه‌ی فکرها رو دولت_سیستم میکنه) و به دستور العمل های دیکته شده عمل کنید. در مرحله بعد با تهی کردن اعمال ضد انسانی از معنا، دچار فلج وجدان و تبدیل به ماشین کشتار میشید.
با توجه به توضیحات بالا، چند مثال از ابتذال شر در دنیا پیدا کنید و بنویسید یا ننویسید یا حتی پیدا هم نکنید. ۵نمره
Profile Image for Maziyar Yf.
529 reviews278 followers
June 3, 2022
هانا آرنت کبیر در کتاب آیشمن در اورشلیم تصویری متفاوت از جلاد و قربانی ، ظالم و مظلوم نشان می دهد ، تصویری بس متفاوت با کلیشه هایی که در فیلم های مربوط به هولوکاست قبلا دیده شده است ، نه نازی های کتاب او روانی هایی مانند آمون گوت فهرست شیندلر هستند و نه قربانیان کتاب انبوه جماعت یهود بی گناهان . آرنت هر دو را به شدت نقد می کند ، او قهرمان نمی سازد ، هیولا یا شیطان هم نمی سازد .
آرنت روایت خود را از دادگاه آیشمن می گوید ، او به دادگاه آمده تا هیولایی را ببیند اما ناامید می شود . آرنت یک انسان معمولی را می بیند ، یک کارمند اداری ، یک فرد شهرنشین عادی . اما این فرد نقشی مهم در فرآیندی ضد بشری داشته ، او عنصری مهم در چرخه ترور و نابودی سازمان داده شده رژیم نازی بوده . در حقیقت آیشمن جرم نسبتا جدیدی مرتکب شده ، او بدون آنکه قربانیان عمل خود را ببیند مرتکب جنایت شده ، آیشمن یک دژخیم بوروکرات بوده .
آدولف آیشمن یک مهره کوچک در بوروکراسی عظیم نازی ها بوده ، او نه همانند هایدریش فردی مهم با قدرت نوآوری بوده و نه مانند هیملر معمار هولوکاست . او مانند آمون گوت فرمانده کمپ پلاشف هم نبود که خود حکم اعدام قربانی را اجرا کند . آیشمن نه به برتری نژادی اعتقادی داشته و نه از یهودیان متنفر بوده . او به کاری که به او سپرده شده بود دلبسته بوده و دغدغه او اجرای بهتر و سریعتر وظیفه محول شده به
او بوده . وظیفه راندن یهودیان از خانه به گتو و از گتوها به اردوگاه های کار اجباری و مرگ
آیشمن که تا قبل از این کار در اجرای هر وظیفه ای معمولی بوده در این کار از خود کفایت نشان داده و رضایت هیملر و هایدریش را جلب می کند و این باعث می شود که آیشمن به عنوان کارشناس امور یهود شناخته شود و وظیفه اخراج قوم یهود و سیاست تجمیع سازی یا اسکان مجدد به او سپرده شود .
همان طور که از آرنت انتظار می رود به دادگاه آیشمن از زوایای مختلفی نگاه کرده و به نتایج جالبی هم می رسد ، آرنت از همان ابتدا تکلیف خود را با دادستان دادگاه ، آقای هاوزنر مشخص می کند . از نظر او رفتار نمایشی دادستان نشان می دهد که او فقط عروسک دستی دولت اسرائیل و شخص نخست وزیر ، بن گورین هست و عدالت را تا جایی پیگیری می کند که منافع دولت یهودرا به خطر نیاندازد . اما آرنت قضات دادگاه را تحسین می کند ،در راس آنها قاضی لاندو که با تمام وجود تلاش می کند تا دادستان دادگاه را به نمایش تبدیل نکند .
کلام آرنت هر زمان که به آیشمن می رسد تحقیر کننده و گزنده می شود ،از آیشمن به عنوان یک موجود به تمام معنی مبتذل یاد می کند که حتی از سخن گفتن ساده هم عاجز است . کلیشه ای صحبت می کند و حرفهایش سر و ته ندارد ؛ زبانش خشک و اداری و رفتارش کارمند وار و عاجز از تفکر است . اما هر چه باشد یک هیولا یا یک شر مطلق نیست ، از روی علاقه به حزب ملحق نشده و هیچ عناد و دشمنی با یهودیان ندارد و اگر آیشمن تصمیم گیرنده نهایی قضیه یهود بود احتمالا کار به تبعید یهودیان به ماداگاسکار یا هر کشور دیگری ختم می شد .
در یکی از بهترین فصل های کتاب آرنت به روند اخراج یهودیان از کشورهای اروپایی و برخورد مختلف مردم آن کشورها به این قضیه می پردازد . در این فصل های کتاب خواننده بهتر می تواند به معنای ابتذال شر یا همگانی شدن شر پی ببرد . مردم اکثر کشورهای اروپا به جز دانمارک و ایتالیا ( آرنت رفتار مردم ایتالیا را نجیبانه با ریشه تاریخی می داند ) با سکوت خود یا بستن درب خانه های خود یا لودادن یهودیان به کشته شدن آنها کمک کرده و نقشی در این ماجرا داشته اند ، نقشی که در هیچ دادگاهی به آن رسیدگی نشد .
همین طور آرنت با صراحت به نقش شورای یهود و پلیس یهود در اجرای اوامر نازی ها و همکاری کامل با آنها اشاره می کند ، تا جایی که شورای یهود را دست راست آیشمن در قضیه انتقال می داند . واضح است که تمام تلاش دادستان و دولت اسرائیل سرپوش گذاشتن بر این داستان است .
در صفحات پایانی کتاب آرنت بخشی از حکم طولانی قضات را خطاب آیشمن بازگو می کند :
شما حامی و مجری سیاستی بودید که نمی خواست زمین را با مردم یهود و مردم چند ملت دیگر سهیم باشد – گویی شما و مافوق هایتان اساسا حق داشتید تعیین کنید که چه کسی باید یا نباید در جهان زندگی کند – ما هم به این نتیجه رسیده ایم که از هیچ کس ، یعنی از هیچ یک از اعضای نژادانسان نمی توان
. انتظار داشت که بخواهد زمین را با شما سهیم باشد . به این دلیل و فقط به همین دلیل شما باید به دار آویخته شوید

کتاب علی رغم حجم نسبتا کم آن (376 صفحه ) دارای مفاهیم عمیقی ایست ، هنر آرنت علاوه بر بی طرف بودن در این دادگاه ( که خوش آیند دولتهای آمریکا و اسرائیل نبوده) نگریستن به یک موضوع از زوایای مختلف است ، آرنت تعریف جدیدی از شر ارائه می دهد ، شری که آرنت در کتاب نشان می دهد ناشی از سکوت ، بی تفکری ، اطاعت محض و کورکورانه است ، ناشی از یک نظام رعب و وحشت است که نه تنها آلمانیها بلکه اکثریت مردم در سرتاسر اروپا را به خاموشی مغز و تسلیم در برابر موج ترور واداشته بود .شاید بتوان گفت از نگاه آرنت سکوت و بی عملی در برابر انجام ظلم را بتوان همانند مشارکت در ارتکاب آن دانست . با این تعریف می توان برای توده های ضعیف نقشی حیاتی در مبارزه با ستم در نظر گرفت و البته در صورت سکوت همین توده ها را هم همدست قدرت دانست .
Profile Image for Matt.
935 reviews28.6k followers
September 7, 2017
“[T]hese defendants now ask this Tribunal to say they are not guilty of planning, executing, or conspiring to commit this long list of crimes and wrongs. They stand before the record of this Tribunal as bloodstained Gloucester stood by the body of his slain king. He begged of the widow, as they beg of you: ‘Say I slew them not.’ And the Queen replied: “Then say they are not slain. But dead they are…’”
-- from Robert Jackson’s closing argument at the Nuremberg Tribunal.

In my opinion, one of the central failings of the International Military Tribunal at Nuremberg was its list of defendants. Leave aside all questions of international law, “victor’s justice,” and tu quoque arguments, and this is what you notice: that the Nuremberg dock was filled with the lesser lights of the Nazi Party.

Absent was Hitler, Goebbels, and Himmler, dead by their own hands. Absent was the troll Bormann, who never escaped Berlin. Absent was Heydrich the hangman, killed by Czech partisans long before the tide turned.

The most (in)famous Nazi in the dock was the suave and corpulent Goering, but even he was not destined for the noose. He escaped with the aid of smuggled cyanide.

This left the victorious Allies punishing halfwits and lackeys and avatars of evil: the Jew-baiter Streicher, so foul and vile even Hitler despised him; the lapdog Keitel, without a brain in his head; the incompetent von Ribbentrop; the furiously backpedaling Doenitz; the quite-possibly insane Hess.

Destroying this grab-bag of thugs and louts was a cold comfort. Today, aside from Goering and the unctuous and self-serving Speer, the Nuremberg defendants are mostly forgotten. We don’t think of Nazism extinguished at the end of a rope; instead, we think of Hitler and his goofy mustache and wild gesticulations and struggle with the notion he somehow escaped justice.

Thus, it is quite possible that the mantel of most (in)famous Nazi war criminal falls upon the thin shoulders of balding, bespectacled Adolf Eichmann. There are a few reasons for this. First of all, he was captured by the Mossad during a brazen raid in Argentina. Next, he was at the center of a widely publicized show trial in Jerusalem. Mainly, though, we remember Eichmann (while we forget Frick, Funk, Sauckel and Schirach) because of three words:

Banality of evil.

Coined by political theorist Hannah Arendt, the phrase has stood the test of time. It has a pseudo-intellectual patina that has become a kind of shorthand in discussions of the Nazi regime. If you want to sound smart without knowing much at all, just spit it out (just make sure you pronounce “banal” correctly). As such, it is ripe for misuse (see, e.g., http://www.slate.com/articles/life/th...).

From a marketing standpoint, “banality of evil” is solid gold, the politico-historical equivalent of “show me the money!” It has kept Arendt’s Eichmann in Jerusalem relevant and in print since the 60s, and there is no indication the book or the phrase is going anywhere.

Interestingly, though, the phrase only appears once in the text: as the book’s last lines. It is only explained by Arendt in a postscript. And that's fine, really. There are plenty of people around willing to argue about what those words mean and whether they are correct.

Eichmann in Jerusalem is, in Arendt’s words, a “trial report.” The book version is cobbled together from her reporting for The New Yorker, as well as some later research.

I don’t like to disagree with an author over her own creation, but Eichmann in Jerusalem doesn’t really feel like a trial report, or at least not as I conceive such a thing. This book doesn’t concern itself with the nuts-and-bolts of the trial; it does not analyze opening and closing statements, witness credibility, or the incisiveness of cross examination. To be sure, some of these things are touched on, but if you want the story of the trial itself, how it went down, day by day or week by week, you’ll have to look elsewhere.

(By my rough count, there are about seven chapters devoted mainly to Eichmann’s activities during the Holocaust, while there are only two chapters devoted solely to the trial).

Instead, Arendt has written Eichmann’s story as based upon what she learned at the trial. Indeed, the bulk of Eichmann in Jerusalem reads like any other nonfiction book about the Nazis. It covers the Wannsee Conference, forced emigrations, deportations, and finally the rail-lines to the death camps. The only unique angle is that Eichmann is at the center of this narrative. And this is saying something, I suppose.

Despite his infamy, and despite the fact I’ve read more than my share of Nazi-centric books (my wife would say far more than my fair share), I’ve never really learned a lot about Adolf Eichmann. He is almost always mentioned, but never explored. This is due to the fact that however involved he was in the Holocaust, he was, at the end of the day, a functionary.

Accordingly, I don’t mind Arendt’s decision to focus on the man at the center of the trial, rather than the mechanics of the trial itself.

The problem I had, however, is with Arendt’s writing style. For the last few minutes, I’ve struggled to find the best way to express what I mean. The words “clunky” and “inelegant” spring to mind, as does the phrase “dense prose.” I would also venture to say she displays “curious sentence structure.” Whatever the actual diagnosis – I’m a lawyer, not a grammarian – the result forces the reader to grapple with the material, rather than absorb it. This is a book I had to force my way through. Sometimes I’d read entire pages before realizing I had no idea what’d just been said. Despite being only 300 odd pages, it felt like a long, plodding slog.

(None of this is helped by the massively long paragraphs and Arendt’s curious hesitation about indentations. This makes for aesthetically displeasing pages).

Eichmann in Jerusalem carries a lot of baggage with it, which I suppose is the reason people continue to read it, despite its literary shortcomings. Some of the recent controversy involves Arendt’s relationship with crypto-Nazi cum philosopher Martin Heidegger. Frankly, I don’t have much to say on that score, and it feels a little too insider-academics to me.

Still, there is plenty of controversy right there on the page, in black and white, without delving into Arendt’s sex life.

While reading, I picked out three major areas of potential criticism.

The first critique, which I agree with, is in Arendt’s treatment of Jewish leaders during the war. It is a matter of historical fact that Jewish leaders were utilized by the Nazis in order to expedite the Holocaust. The trouble with Arendt’s interpretation, though, is that she essentially accuses them of collaboration. This just isn’t the case. Yes, the Judenrat assisted the Nazis, but they did so with a knife at their throats, and that’s an important piece of the puzzle that Arendt ignores. Had the Judenrat resisted, Spartacus-style, as she clearly wished they had, they would’ve been liquidated and replaced, and nothing would’ve changed. Instead, the Judenrat, for the most part, did what they could to ease the situation for their people. And in return, they are blamed in hindsight for lacking complete knowledge of all the Nazis’ contemporary machinations.

(On this topic: the idea of Jewish resistance, or lack thereof, is far more complicated than Arendt makes it out to be. First of all, most of these people had no formal military training. Unlike in the movies, where one can learn all the arts of war during a brief montage, in the real world, one must be taught to be a soldier. Second of all, the Jews of Europe were not a monolithic group: they came from Germany and France and Austria and Poland and on and on. Who’s going to coordinate this resistance? And how? Finally, the Germans had a certain tendency to respond unfavorably to partisan action. Indeed, Hitler’s Partisan Order spelled out mathematically how many enemy were to be killed for each lost German life. After Heydrich’s assassination, 1,300 Czechs were murdered, 13,000 were deported. And these were non-Jews that Hitler needed as labor. With all these disadvantages, Judah Maccabee himself, risen from the grave, couldn’t have fomented serious resistance).

The second major criticism leveled at Arendt has to do with her portrayal of Eichmann, and her choice of those three magic words to sum him up.

The Eichmann that Arendt presents is indelible: a high school dropout and intellectual dud; a bureaucratic ladder-climber; an unoriginal man who spoke in catchphrases and slogans like some kind of evil Abed from Community. His “banality,” as Arendt explains, is in his lack of imagination. He never would have murdered someone with his own hands, but he was perfectly willing – operating within the Nazi framework, in which his actions were lawful – to facilitate the deaths of millions.

It’s impossible to say whether Arendt’s portrait is entirely correct. It is, after all, impossible to know the human heart. However, she has come under criticism for taking Eichmann too much at his word, and failing to realize Eichmann was minimizing his role. To be honest, I’m not sure that Eichmann was shrewd enough to reframe himself in that way. Anyway, one has to ask, even if he was, what end he was hoping to achieve? He was damned either way, and whether he came off as an unquestioning bureaucrat or a mustache-twirling villain, he was going to stretch. In other words, Eichmann didn't really have all that much motive to lie.

On that point, however, I must admit that I’m predisposed to Arendt’s conception of Eichmann in particular, and Nazi-era Germans in general (which places me contra anything Daniel Jonah Goldhagen writes). I'm no expert on human nature, but I just can't believe that somehow, for some reason, the Germany of 1933-1945 had an astronomically high percentage of psychopaths and sociopaths and sadists operating outside the realm of fundamental human morality.

Instead, to use Christopher Browning’s phrase, I think most Nazis were “ordinary men.” That is, they were men (and women) subject to national-political pressures, social pressures, and group pressures that coerced them follow Hitler’s will. Some of them undoubtedly believed in the mission, wholeheartedly, but this was the result of their complex existence within a paradigm that effectively convinced people that up was down, left was right, and evil was good. The farther away from the killing, the easier this became.

A third and final criticism of Arendt is in her vigorous attacks on the fairness of the Jerusalem trial. Like the first controversy, discussed above, I don't think this one carries much weight. There is nothing groundbreaking in her critique of the process and procedures of the Eichmann Trial; indeed, the items she cites are in line with what other legal scholars (such as Nuremberg prosecutor Telford Taylor) have written.

Importantly, at the end of the day, she acknowledges Eichmann’s guilt, and states flatly that he deserved to die:

And just as you [Eichmann] supported and carried out a policy of not wanting to share the earth with the Jewish people…as though you and your superiors had any right to determine who should and who should not inhabit the world…we find that no one, that is, no member of the human race, can be expected to want to share the earth with you. This is the reason, and the only reason, you must hang.

It would’ve been more satisfying were Eichmann a monster. So too with Hitler, Himmler, Goering and the rest. Monsters can be recognized; monsters can be destroyed. But these men weren’t monsters. They were of this earth. When Hitler put a gun in his mouth and pulled the trigger, it turned out that he was flesh and bone and soft tissue, just like the rest of us.

That, I suppose, is why Arendt’s Eichmann is so discomforting.
Profile Image for Manny.
Author 30 books14k followers
February 1, 2023
[Original review, Aug 24 2013]

We just saw the movie Hannah Arendt , and it is extremely good - possibly the best thing I've seen this year. Margarethe von Trotta's direction and script are excellent, and Barbara Sukowa is terrific in the title role.
[And a mere ten years later I got around to reading the book...]

In 1960, Adolf Eichmann, who had played a key role in organising the Holocaust, was captured in Argentina by Israeli agents. The following year, he was put on trial in Jerusalem. The philosopher Hannah Arendt attended and wrote this book based on her observations. It got her into a great deal of trouble, because she was incautious enough to say what she actually thought, as opposed to repeating the accepted wisdom on this sensitive topic. In the postscript, Arendt, clearly somewhat exasperated by the public reaction, says that many people seemed to have misunderstood what she was doing. She did not set out to write a history of the Third Reich, or an account of the Holocaust, or a treatise on the nature of evil. Of course all of these issues were highly relevant, and she in no way avoided them. But basically she was describing a trial, and the focus of her attention was the concerns of a trial: primarily, what was the defendant accused of, what was the evidence, what was the verdict, and, above all, was justice done. She had grave reservations about a great deal of the process.

Arendt argues persuasively that Eichmann had committed a new kind of crime, which the law was not well equipped to deal with. He was evidently one of the main actors involved in the murder of several million Jews, which he did not deny. But, as he pointed out, he had never actually killed any Jew, or even directly ordered any individual Jew's death. He did not harbour any particular animosity towards Jews. He generally got on well with Jews and had had a Jewish mistress for a while. But he was working for the Third Reich, he had got himself a job where his responsibility was for "Jewish Affairs", and he wanted to make a success of it; also, he had a great admiration for Hitler.

Initially, Eichmann's task was to get Jews out of Germany by forcing them to emigrate to other countries, generally taking most of their money in the process. In this phase of his career, I was surprised to find that he worked closely with Zionists; they both wanted the same thing, to move Jews to, as it then was, Palestine. He said he liked and respected Zionists, and this could have been true. But then the war started, emigration became logistically impossible except for the very rich, and the Führer had moved on to the second part of his master plan: the Jews would not be forced to emigrate, but rather would be killed. At first, Eichmann said he didn't like this at all and for a few weeks put up token resistance, creating minor bureaucratic difficulties. But quickly he overcame his scruples. He didn't consider himself competent to question the Führer's judgement. Above all, he needed to get on with the job.

Arendt convincingly describes Eichmann as being neither sadistic, nor mad, nor even completely conscienceless. She thinks it absurd, as some people would like to have had it, to claim that he came up with this fantastically wicked scheme himself and talked Himmler and Hitler into okaying it. The reverse was the truth. He was low down in the military hierarchy; incredibly, he complained to his Israeli captors that he had never been promoted higher than a rank corresponding to lieutenant-colonel. He was not very bright, or imaginative, or charismatic, though he was a reasonably efficient administrator. He was just doing his job, which was to organise the transportation of hundreds of thousands of innocent men, women and children to their deaths.

The book makes very uncomfortable reading: you can absolutely understand why so many people at the time were furious with Arendt. It would have been so convenient if everything had been Eichmann's fault. Equally, and in a different way, it would have been convenient to be able to say that it was everyone's fault. (Another thing that made people furious was her detailed descriptions of how the Jewish councils systematically organised the arrest and transportation of their own people, closely liaising with the Nazis). But Arendt concludes that neither of these positions are tenable. The Final Solution was not just Eichmann's idea, or even just Hitler's idea. Neither was it the case that every country occupied by the Nazis had to collaborate in rounding up Jews and sending them to the death camps. Several countries, Denmark being a shining example, just refused. Nothing happened to them: it was quite possible not to carry out the Nazis' orders. The fact of the matter was that some people, in fact a great many people, helped carry out the massacre of the European Jews, and some people, at varying degrees of risk to themselves, decided they would have nothing to do with it. In the first group, Arendt is scathing about the behaviour of the post-war German courts, who gave light sentences to many people documented as instrumental in thousands of murders. Arendt says Eichmann was clearly guilty and deserved to hang: unfortunately, the trial was not well enough organised to create an appropriate precedent for this unprecedented crime.

Even if Arendt explicitly says she is not writing a book about the nature of evil, she describes such a striking example that it's impossible not to generalise. Eichmann's kind of evil is undramatic, and he seems not even to have considered his actions evil while he was carrying them out. It is only in retrospect that their nature becomes clear. If things continue as they are currently doing, I wonder how future generations will, for example, view the fossil fuel company executives who decided to suppress the accurate climate modelling they had commissioned and continue with strategies that maximized short-term profits. While they were doing it, I'm sure they didn't think they were committing mass murder. It probably didn't even cross their minds, it would be ridiculous. How can you attach a label like "genocide" to an action that is so, as one might put it, banal?
Profile Image for Garima.
113 reviews1,789 followers
January 21, 2015
The horror and enigma surrounding the Holocaust trials is probably best exhibited in Peter Weiss’s play The Investigation. Based on the actual testimonies given during the Frankfurt Auschwitz trials- reading it is an experience that is cold, brutal and almost physical in ways unexpected. Witnesses try to communicate the incommunicable suffering of victims and survivors; Defendants try to deny or extenuate their respective roles in the heinous crimes and Judges try to measure up an appropriate sentence against the evil involved that keeps on getting bigger, hideous and unbearable. In the course of brief dialogues, Weiss deftly manages to raise some inconvenient questions and leaves the tough task of contemplation for the readers. In that sense, where this play ends, Eichmann in Jerusalem begins.

One last question, the most disturbing of all, was asked by the judges, and especially by the presiding judge, over and over again: Had the killing of Jews gone against his conscience? But this was a moral question, and the answer to it may not have been legally relevant.

I am tempted to say that Hannah Arendt followed Eichmann’s trial as an impartial third party whose aim was to view things in the light of a relevant objectivity but it would be too bold a claim given my superficial knowledge about the concerned subject matter. Still I can say that she definitely strives to penetrate the colossal intricacy of Nazi machinery along with the challenges faced by a wary legal system. It’s not a coin we are talking about but a demonic labyrinth of ‘crimes against humanity’ and the difficulty in analyzing its structure must have been enormous. From the outset only, Arendt’s lucid and assured writing conveys the much needed message that whatever shall follow will not complicate the already complicated events but rather deconstruct the methods and consequences of venomous indoctrination.
What stuck in the minds of these men who had become murderers was simply the notion of being involved in something historic, grandiose, unique, which must therefore be difficult to bear. This was important, because the murderers were not sadists or killers by nature; on the contrary, a systematic effort was made to weed out all those who derived physical pleasure from what they did.
And in the centre of all this is a man sitting in the bullet proof glass cage, recounting the whys and hows and wheres of the gross injustice he perpetrated while Arendt carefully observes his various stances actuated by a thorough research and presents a ‘report’ that is worth reading for the sheer amount of information and new perspectives it offers for our perusal. Although all her arguments bear a force that warrants some sort of reaction even from the unaffected, there are instances where things appears to be stretched a little too far on her part especially when it comes to pass judgments on Eichmann’s character. And no, I’m not referring to the ‘banality’ which is most likely a foregone conclusion (and Arendt herself regretted the use of that word) but certain extraneous assumptions. The ‘banality’ however, whether that of a person or some invisible evil force can’t be dismissed in its entirety when one reads the following words:
Just as the law in civilized countries assumes that the voice of conscience tells everybody “Thou shalt not kill,” even though man's natural desires and inclinations may at times be murderous, so the law of Hitler's land demanded that the voice of conscience tell everybody: “Thou shalt kill,” although the organizers of the massacres knew full well that murder is against the normal desires and inclinations of most people. Evil in the Third Reich had lost the quality by which most people recognize it- the quality of temptation.
Maybe there are many philosophies at play here that I didn’t able to differentiate or even recognize but one thing that is apparent against the tragic backdrop of wars is the dwelling place of truth that usually gets blurred or wiped out under the layers of black and white, right and wrong, good and evil. Arendt has explored those very places in a manner that is admirable and brave.
Profile Image for Francesc.
458 reviews223 followers
June 1, 2022
Impresionante ensayo sobre el juicio de Jerusalén y el rol de Adolf Eichmann en la llamada "Solución final".
Sólo los capítulos referentes a todas las deportaciones de los judíos se me ha hecho repetitivo.
Arendt es capaz de separar la personalidad de Eichmann y su rol en la matanza de judíos. Además, hace unas valoraciones morales muy acertadas en cuanto al proceso judicial: ¿es justo que un tribunal judío juzgue sobre crímenes a los judíos? ¿Crímenes contra la humanidad o crímenes contra los judíos?
Sería muy pretencioso por mi parte resumir en un párrafo un ensayo tan profundo.
No conocía este apartado de la historia y Arendt me ha ayudado a entenderlo.
Más allá de sus consideraciones, es un ensayo largo y complejo que requiere una buena dosis de tiempo.

Impressive essay on the judgment of Jerusalem and the role of Adolf Eichmann in the so-called "final solution ".
Only the chapters relating to all the deportations of the jews have become repetitive to me.
Arendt is able to separate Eichmann's personality and his role in the killing of jews. Furthermore, she makes a very good moral assessment of the judicial process: is it right for a jewish court to judge crimes to jews? Crimes against humanity or crimes against jews?
It would be very pretentious of me to summarize in one paragraph such a profound essay.
I didn't know this section of history and Arendt has helped me to understand it.
Beyond her considerations, it is a long and complex essay that requires a good deal of time.
Profile Image for Ruby Granger.
Author 3 books46.8k followers
January 20, 2021
Highly philosophically enlightening and important -- if not a disturbing truth to reckon with. Ardent proposes the idea of "the banality of evil" in this text, recognising that "normal" people can do truly horrific and evil things in the modern world.
Offers a detailed history of the Nazi Genocide (in part, this text reads like a history book) and, more interestingly, the circumstances of Eichmann himself.
Profile Image for Aubrey.
1,357 reviews794 followers
May 26, 2016
What has come to light is neither nihilism nor cynicism, as one might have expected, but a quite extraordinary confusion over elementary questions of morality—as if an instinct in such matters were truly the last thing to be taken for granted in our time.
I've been entertained by my fair share of WWII/Nazi/Holocaust media, a glut in the marketable masses of reality's intersection with fiction the never fails to rear its head every year. Of course, that's the US for you, with its isolation and capitalism and pride. It's no use saying that I wish I had never sought out such things to fill my time, for reasons of a complete undermining of reception of this book if nothing else. But oh, how I would like to.
For politics is not like the nursery; in politics obedience and support are the same.
What I have faith in these days is a future of ever increasing alignment between morality and legality. In the present I only supplicate in front of a reassurance that there indeed exists a concept of progress between my modern day and the ones before. A progress more aligned with my personal sensibility of ethics and individual level of comfort, at any rate.
...and if he suffers, he must suffer for what he has done, not for what he has caused others to suffer.
What we have here, in this book, is a collusion of time, place, and people. Hannah Arendt went to Jerusalem to report on the trial of Adolf Eichmann, doing so through means of fact, analysis, and the lines of legal and politic that governments trundle along their way on. As a result of my reading, my thinking has undergone a paradigm shift on the level that it did upon encountering The Second Sex. The subject material differs, but my interpretation is the same: I can never afford to become cynical, for that implies I've learned enough to be so. Fear, anger, and a burning desire to know more? That's acceptable.
And if he did not always like what he had to do...he never forgot what the alternative would have been. Not only in Argentina, leading the unhappy existence of a refugee, but also in the courtroom in Jerusalem, with his life as good as forfeited, he might have still preferred—if anybody had asked him—to be hanged as Obersturmbannführer a.D. (in retirement) rather than living out his life quietly and normally as a traveling salesman for the Vacuum Oil Company.
According to the primary evidence Arendt utilized, Eichmann was deemed both sane and normal by six psychologists. He suffered from neither guilt nor anger, but from at most the frustration of one who has always been down on their luck, someone who joined a movement in history in hopes of a promising potential and never quite fulfilled it. His memory consisted not of the timeline of the war, but of the timeline of this potential: his study of Jewish texts, his interaction with fellow members of the S.S., the hows and wherefores of his coming to be and the end all question of his reasons for staying on.
The net effect of this language system was not to keep these people ignorant of what they were doing, but to prevent them from equating it with their old, "normal" knowledge of murder and lies. Eichmann's great susceptibility to catch words and stock phrases, combined with his incapacity for ordinary speech, made him, of course, an ideal subject for "language rules."
Eichmann was banal in the least sense of the word. His lack of intelligence not only spelled his doom due to little caution and less attention paid to his bragging tongue, it also made him perfectly happy to appropriate the words the far more discreet Nazi Party told him and construct his thinking with such. In view of the Jewish Question, he termed himself both "expert" and "idealist", the former a lie and the latter a peculiar trait that led to largely respectful collaborations with Jewish Elders all over Europe regarding evacuations/deportations and related matters. Using these phrases, working towards a higher rank in the S.S., claiming responsibility for millions of deaths with both complete lack of guilt and oddly lofty sense of history; all of that, each and every time, made him "elated."
In [Eichmann's] mind, there was no contradiction between "I will jump into my grave laughing," appropriate for the end of the war, and "I shall gladly hang myself in public as a warning example for all anti-Semites on this earth," which now, under vastly different circumstances, fulfilled exactly the same function of giving him a lift.
The facts here are ugly, awkward, and fucking sadistic. Eichmann's trial by sheer happenstance touches on, amidst so much more, the defining of "crimes against humanity", genocide versus "administrative massacres", the history of anti-Semitism and subsequent conflict between the Jewish understanding of pogroms and the world's views of crime and punishment, and the limits of current laws of warfare, and indeed the very terms of "justice", in the face of World War Two. Here, the trial in Jerusalem faltered in the face of a completely legal indictment and subsequent explanation of such, as did every other trial of WWII war criminals and lesser collaborators. Here, history will repeated, not because we do not know it but because we now know the punishment and, as such, can act accordingly. Here, the world took action, and one wonders whether that result was worth the trigger, and whether worse things could have happened had not the final push occurred.
Evil in the Third Reich had lost the quality by which most people recognize it—the quality of temptation.
A banality of evil is the necessity of mid-civilization crises of morality like this when it comes to eliciting a legal, political, worldwide recognition of what humanity cries for, religion aspires to, and human instinct, well. I don't have much faith in that last bit anymore.
But this was a moral question, and the answer to it may not have been legally relevant.
Profile Image for Darwin8u.
1,599 reviews8,731 followers
August 13, 2013
This book is amazing. In it, Arendt struggles with three major issues: 1) the guilt and evil of the ordinary, bureaucratic, obedient German people (like Eichmann) who contributed to the attempted genocide of the Jewish people, 2) the complicity of some jews in the genocide (through organization, mobilization, passive obedience, and negotiations with the Nazis, 3) the logical absurdity the Eichmann and Nuremberg Trials, etc.

In this book (and the original 'New Yorker' essays it came from) Hannah Arendt isn't going for easy, cliché answers. She isn't asking rhetorical or weightless questions. While some of her positions might not be fully supportable, the very act of asking tough questions (that don't fall into easy boxes) is a gift to humanity. Arendt's tactic of giving no one an automatic free pass, while also not allowing people like Eichmann to become cartoonish characters of evil, allows her the room to push the idea that the potential for evil exists not just in dark, scary places, but in well-lit, and very efficient bureaucracies and we all (even Israel) might be asked to push or pull a lever if we aren't paying close attention.
Profile Image for Masoud.
38 reviews17 followers
December 1, 2020
مشکل آیشمن دقیقا همین بود که افراد زیادی شبیه او بودند که نه منحرف بودند و نه سادیست، آنها به شکلی اسفبار و هولناک معمولی بوده و هستند.
از منظر نهادهای حقوقی و معیارهای اخلاقی ما برای قضاوت، این معمولی بودن به مراتب از کل فجایعی که رخ داده بود وحشتناک تر بود، این نکته تلویحاً بدین معنا بود که این نوع جدید از مجرم، که به معنای واقعی کلمه دشمن تمام بشریت است، تحت شرایطی دست به ارتکاب جرم می زند ک�� تقریباً محال است بداند یا احساس کند که دارد کار غلطی انجام می دهد.
Profile Image for Jon Nakapalau.
5,096 reviews723 followers
August 21, 2016
A truly disturbing look at what motivates individuals to follow orders. While there are some who may disagree with some of the conclusions that Hannah Arendt draws I still think this is a groundbreaking study in the connection betweeen conformity and criminal compliance.
Profile Image for رزی - Woman, Life, Liberty.
221 reviews96 followers
February 13, 2023

آیشمن، ص 227: «فرمان‌گزار حکومت خوب، خوش‌شانس است و فرمان‌گزار حکومت بد، بدشانس. من شانس نیاوردم»
آرنت، ص 157: «مگر او که بود که بخواهد قضاوت کند؟ مگر او که بود که بخواهد افکار خودش را درباره این موضوع داشته باشد؟»
هانا آرنت سعی نمی‌کند بار تقصیر را از دوش آیشمن بردارد یا مسئولیت اصلی کارهای خود او را به گردن دیگران بیندازد، بلکه از نسبت دادن «شر» به آیشمن بیزار است و «شر» جدیدی تعریف می‌کند. شرّی مبتذل و ریشه‌گرفته از برده‌ی سیستم بودن و فکر کردن را به مافوق‌ها سپُردن.

با توجه به این‌که اکثر انتخاب‌های ما واقعاً «انتخاب» نیستند و تاثیرگرفته از تک‌تک جزئیات محیط زندگی و رشد و تربیتمان‌اند، آیا آیشمن واقعاً هیچ انتخابی جز این‌که رئیس اداره‌ی مربوط به یهودیان شود، نداشت؟


یادم نیست دقیقاً بحث درباره چی بود که سینا کتاب رو بهم پیشنهاد کرد، اما درباره شخصیت یه داستانم بود. فکر کنم چون اون شخصیته هم بدون این‌که خودش بخواد عضو یه سیستم سرکوب شده بود و اوامرش رو انجام می‌داد، سینا به ابتذال شر تشبیهش کرد. هممم مطمئن نیستم ولی فکر کنم شخصیتم با آگاهی به این‌که چه گندی داره می‌زنه و از درد نان اون کارها رو می‌کرد تا چیزِ دیگر. و اتفاقاً کل پوینت من این بود که اتهام اصلی به سمت سیستمه نه محصول‌هاش در حالی که هانا آرنت کلاً سعی داره نوع جدیدی از شر تعریف کنه. به‌هرحال بسی سپاسگزارم از پیشنهادش.
Profile Image for رێبوار.
92 reviews76 followers
September 15, 2021
در این کشور و در این دوران تاریک شدیدا جای هانا آرنت خالی هستش.
ما ایرانی ها هم به یک هانا آرنت نیازمندیم(شاید صدها هانا آرنت)،تعداد آیشمن هایی که صرفا انجام وظیفه میکنند و در خدمت ایدئولوژی و تاریکی هستند و به معنای واقعی کلمه نماد ابتذال شر هستند در این کشور کم‌‌ نیستند.بیراه نیست اگر بگوئیم این افراد سالهاست که اقلیت محسوب نمیشوند.
یک روزی در این کشور انسان های زیادی به مانند آیشمن محاکمه خواهند شد و در مقابل خون های ریخته شده، بی مسئولیتی ها، خیانت ها، دزدی ها و تمامی ظلم هایی که به مردم شده مورد بازخواست قرار می‌گیرند.در اون روز به کسانی مانند آرنت که بی طرفانه و صرفا با توجه به امور واقع اقدام به یاداشت برداری و تحلیل میکنند نیاز خواهیم داشت، تا تاریخ را بار دیگر تکرار نکنیم.
و من آن روز را انتظار میکشم، حتی روزی که نباشم.
Profile Image for Cynnamon.
571 reviews102 followers
May 8, 2019
This book is a highly educational and very neutral report about the Eichmann trial in Jerusalem with comprehensive information about the administrative processes that enabled the holocaust.

Full reading recommendation.


Dieses Buch ist eine Gerichtsreportage über den Eichmann-Prozess in Jerusalem. Hanna Arendt beschreibt sehr genau den Fortgang des Prozesses, die handelnden Personen (Richter, Staatsanwälte, Verteidiger, den Angeklagten und auch einige der aufgerufenen Zeugen) sowie sehr detailreich die politischen und historischen Hintergründe.

Arendt schreibt nicht in einer gefühlvollen, im Sinne einer auf emotionale Rührung ausgerichteten Sprache, sondern auf den ersten Blick sehr nüchtern und sachlich, manche mögen vielleicht sogar sagen kalt und ungerührt. Aber schließlich handelt es sich um eine Reportage und ich für meinen Teil hätte es nicht ertragen, dieses Buch zu lesen, wäre der Schreibstil emotionaler gewesen.

Besonders gut hat mir auch Arendts (aus meiner Sicht ideologisch) unverstellter Blick auf die Dinge gefallen und auch ihr Mut, ihre Kritikpunkte durchaus in alle Richtungen anzubringen. Sie sagt beispielsweise, dass der Prozess in Jerusalem letztlich ein Schauprozess war und sie weigert sich, Eichmann als das personifizierte Böse darzustellen, was ihn an vielen Stellen übel genommen wurde.

Ich habe aus diesem Buch enorm viel mitgenommen, sowohl unglaublich viele Informationen als auch in der Gesamtheit ein viel umfassenderes Verständnis darüber, was im Holocaust geschehen ist.

Ich habe während des Lesens sehr viel darüber nachgedacht, wie es zu einem faschistischen Schreckensregime kommen konnte, das dann darin gipfelte, dass Millionen von Menschen mit öffentlicher Billigung oder Duldung umgebracht wurden. Mit ihrer Analyse von Eichmanns Persönlichkeit hat Hannah Arendt mir gezeigt, wie leicht das geht.
Profile Image for Anastasia Fitzgerald-Beaumont.
113 reviews648 followers
May 2, 2012
Hannah (sometimes) in Jerusalem: a Report on the Banality of a Book

A new group of deportees has arrived at Auschwitz. There they are, men, women and children, all fearful, all apprehensive. A truck drives by, piled high with corpses. The arms of the dead are hanging loose over the sides, waving as if in grim farewell. The people scream. But no sooner has the vehicle turned a corner than the horror has been edited out of their minds. Even on the brink of death there are some things too fantastic for the human imagination to absorb.

This is a true account, though unfortunately I can’t remember exactly where I read it. I think it was Anus Mundi, Wiesaw Kielar’s memoir of the five years he spent in the death camp, but I can’t be certain. It came to mind on reading Hannah Arendt’s Eichmann in Jerusalem; A Report on the Banality of Evil. Why, you may wonder? Simply because Hannah Arendt had a prefect, retrospective knowledge; she is wise after the event. She knows what the outcome is going to be for those people on that platform. They did not, even so far as that final stage. But Arendt assumes that they and their leaders did; that they collaborated with the machinery of death. That is the worst failure of the greater failure in her account of the Eichmann trial.

This is not a review; it’s a literary post-mortem. Arendt’s book is too well-known, a controversial ‘classic’ over which a prefect avalanche of words has descended. These are my own, an exposure of what I consider to be possibly the worst example of bad-faith, dissimulation and prejudgement ever penned. It’s a dishonest book that attempts to hide its dishonesty in the way that Eichmann attempted to hide his guilt. It is a book, if I can put it like, this that was ‘only obeying orders.’

What do I mean exactly? Precisely this: before a word of evidence had been heard in that court in Jerusalem Arendt had set an agenda. She came armed with preconceptions, all drawn from The Origins of Totalitarianism, her magnum opus. In a sense Eichmann’s guilt or innocence were irrelevant to the main point, which was to repackage him as a perfect example of ‘totalitarian man’, a cog in a machine, programmed simply to obey orders.

One thing worked in her favour: people came to Jerusalem expecting to see a monster. What they saw was a rather tawdry, balding, bespectacled middle-aged German of wholly forgettable appearance. This was the sort of individual one would pass in the street without a second glance. He was disappointingly banal, which gave Arendt her leitmotiv, the theme she played throughout Eichmann in Jerusalem.

What she gave us in the end was an account that did much to obscure the real Eichmann, even so far as setting aside altogether the anti-Semitism which formed such a part of his character and political outlook. Eichmann may have been a colourless mediocrity, but his actions, the evil behind his actions, was most assuredly anything but banal.

There is opportunism here that also has to be understood, the opportunism not just of Arendt, who also had an anti-Zionist agenda, but the opportunism of those who latched their wagons to her star. The person who comes first to mind here is Stanley Milgram, author of a famous experiment on obedience and authority, so flawed in methodology and scientific rigour that it verges on the fraudulent. People like Eichmann, he concluded, were not sadistic monsters. They were simply individuals who had abdicated all moral choice to a greater authority. Had Arendt not proved this to be so?

What we were given was a form of psychological profiling devoid of history, of context, of politics, of ideology and of all cultural preconceptions. But the Arendt-Milgram Axis, if I can express it so, worked. It was a great influence on those who needed excuses, those who sought to dissolve a particular set of historical factors into a more ‘universal’ explanation, one which served to relativise the Holocaust, robbing it of all uniqueness. The Holocaust, as David Cesarani says in Eichmann and his Crimes, was simply depicted as a function of modernity.

Arendt did not spend long in Jerusalem; she did not need to; she had already made up her mind, exposed initially in reports which were not reports in the New Yorker. She vacuum-packed the Holocaust for a modern audience, for people who were trying to make sense of the complexity of it all; people who were trying to make sense of the colourless executioner in Jerusalem. She gave people an Eichmann who was ‘like us’, who demonstrated a latent potential present in everyman.

The best critique of the disingenuousness of Eichmann in Jerusalem comes, in my view, from Yaacov Lozowick, a one-time admirer of the book;

There was very little that was banal about Eichmann or any of his accomplices, and the little that could be found was not relevant to what they had done. Arendt’s point of departure was wrong. Although she was primarily a philosopher, she had written an historical analysis – and without checking the facts. Moreover, she had refrained from taking into account much potentially relevant information. Above all, her position was the result of ideological considerations, not careful scholarship.

There was also a paradox, that of a Jew who herself had anti-Semitic, not just anti-Zionist tendencies. In a letter to Karl Jaspers dated April, 1961 she describes Gideon Hauser, the chief prosecutor at the Eichmann trial, as a “typical Galician Jew, very unsympathetic, is always making mistakes.” Of Israel and Israelis in general she wrote that “The country’s interest in the trial has been artificially whetted. An oriental mob that would hang around any place where something is going on is hanging around the front of the courthouse." She goes on like this, fulminations against ‘oriental Jews’ that would not have been out of place in the Third Reich.

Arendt created the myth of the twentieth century – the myth of the desk-bound killer and his supine, cattle-like victims. Her Jews, as I said, collaborated in their own destruction. The various Jewish Councils established by the Nazis in the ghettos of occupied Europe were little more than the adjutants of death. Jewish complicity here was necessary to prove the ‘moral collapse’ that was one of the essential features of her particular totalitarian model. All evidence to the contrary, all evidence of Jewish resistance is ignored. But by far the most important omission is the forms of deception the Nazis practiced, to be carried right to the threshold of destruction, something Vasily Grossman alighted on in his essay The Hell of Treblinka.

Eichmann in Jerusalem is a book that comes close to justifying the monster who was a man, close to excusing him of all practical and moral responsibility. Arendt’s understanding of Eichmann and his times is impoverished in the extreme. She obscured the real Eichmann in the way that he himself deliberately tried to obscure the facts. If there was a Jewish collaborator with Nazism after the fact she is no better example. Elegantly written Eichmann in Jerusalem may have been, but this should not be allowed to obscure its worthlessness as an account of the man, the motives and the crimes. Only one judgement remains: as a book Eichmann in Jerusalem is banal.
Profile Image for robin friedman.
1,814 reviews241 followers
April 27, 2023
Hannah Arendt's Study Of The Eichmann Trial

I had long wanted to read Hannah Arendt's (1906 -- 1975) study of the Eichmann trial, "Eichmann in Jerusalem: A Report on the Banality of Evil" and was prompted at last to do so when I found the book on sale at my local library. As I read, the controversial nature of Arendt's book was brought home to me. I decided I needed to read Arendt in tandem with a recent study of the trial, "The Eichmann Trial" (2011) by historian Deborah Lipstadt. Lipstadt devotes a lengthy chapter to analyzing Arendt's book. Lipstadt, perhaps with the passage of time, sees the trial and its significance differently than does Arendt. Her treatment of Arendt is critical but balanced. She offers many of the criticisms of Arendt's book that were made when the book was published but finds a good deal to praise in Arendt's account. Although Arendt's and Lipstadt's book take opposing positions in many respects, this is not at all unusual in serious historical study. There is much to be learned from both books. They are better read, I believe, as complementary, rather than as opposed. For all its flaws and datedness, Arendt's book remains tough minded, provocative, and deeply thoughtful. Even for readers who disagree with Arendt or who become angry with her, the book is worth reading and pondering.

Arendt was a political philosopher who received an extraordinary education in pre WW II Germany. Her teachers included the philosophers Martin Heidegger (with whom she had an affair) and Karl Jaspers. Arendt immigrated to the United States in 1941 and soon became a famous public intellectual.

On May 11,1960, Adolph Eichmann was captured by Israeli operatives in Argentina and brought back to Israel to stand trial for his activities in the Holocaust. The capture and kidnapping of Eichmann resulted in substantial international controversy as did the trial. Eichmann's trial began in April, 1961, with the accused sitting in a bullet-proof glass booth which became famous in itself. The trial was held before three distinguished Israeli Judges, each of whom had received his legal training in Germany. The chief prosecutor was Israeli Attorney General Gideon Hausner. Eichmann was defended by counsel of his choice, Robert Servatius, who had also been a lawyer for Nuremberg defendants. After a lengthy trial, in which Eichmann testified and was cross-examined in great detail, the court found Eichmann guilty and sentenced him to death in December, 1961. The Israeli Supreme Court rejected Eichmann's appeal on May 29, 1962; and Eichmann was hanged two days later on May 31, 1962. Arendt covered the trial for "The New Yorker". Critics point out that she was not present for the entire trial. Her book is based not only on observation of the trial but upon Arendt's reading of the transcripts, affidavits and other materials, including Eichmann's extensive pretrial statements, that Israel's government made available to the media at the time as well as upon additional sources.

With all the criticism the book received at the time, Arendt's account of the trial was careful. The book is difficult to read and, in spite of her protestations to the contrary, is as much a work of political philosophy as it is a journalistic account of a trial. Arendt criticized the kidnapping of Eichmann and the manner in which prosecutor Hausner conducted the trial. She praised the Israeli judges and their approach to the case. It is sometimes overlooked that Arendt found that the Israelis were in the right in kidnapping Eichmann and in trying him before an Israeli court. Arendt found that Eichmann amply deserved the sentence of death, and she approved of the Israelis carrying the sentence out expeditiously in the face of widespread arguments for commutation.

Among other things, Arendt is criticized for applying the term "banal" to Eichmann. He appeared to her and to others as a mediocrity interested in his own career and in carrying out his orders rather than as a rabid Nazi and anti-Semite. She emphasized as do many modern writers the pervasive character of evil in WW II Germany and the lack of resistance. Documents that were not available to Arendt suggest to some historians that she overstated Eichmann's "banality", and that he was a far more committed Nazi and vicious anti-Semite than she realized. Arendt was also criticized for emphasizing the lack of resistance of the Jewish victims and the alleged cooperation of the Jewish leaders with Eichmann in carrying out the transports to the camps. Her manner of presentation was thought to be insensitive and ahistorical. Arendt attempted, with some plausibility, to respond to these criticisms. I don't think Arendt was as insensitive or as mistaken as her strongest critics suggest. There is still, as Lipstadt acknowledges, a great deal of historical discussion about the means in which the Holocaust was carried out. Arendt's tone, however, was that of a detached academic, and it sometimes became provocative and unduly combative.

The main issues raised with Arendt's book seem to me her understanding of the purpose of the trial and her view of the nature of the Holocaust and of Eichmann's crimes. The prosecutor, Hausner, wanted to use the trial to educate the world further about the nature of the Holocaust. He put on the stand 100 witnesses, most of whom were Holocaust survivors. Many of these witnesses offered testimony that had little to do with Eichmann or that was unreliable. The Israeli court frequently grew impatient with Hausner and criticized his conduct of the trial, describing it as "picture painting." For Arendt, the trial was a legal proceeding that should have been focused on a single question, the actions of the accused and his guilt or innocence of the charges. She found overwhelming evidence to convict Eichmann. In this, the Israeli court at the time agreed with her. Many more recent scholars, including Lipstadt praise Hausner's approach to the trial.

Arendt saw Eichmann's guilt as a "crime against humanity" directed against the Jewish people against the background of a long history of anti-Semitism. Her approach tended towards universalism. Lipstadt and Hausner, in contrast, see the Holocaust as the final and direct result of centuries of anti-Semitism and violence. She, of course, does not deny the universal character of the Holocaust. The different approaches are important but matters of emphasis. It is here that I think that Arendt and Lipstadt may both be right.

Arendt's book remains worth reading as a historical document and for the views, sometimes ingraciously expressed, about the nature of law, government, evil, and personal responsibility.

Robin Friedman
Profile Image for Hessam Ghaeminejad.
134 reviews14 followers
June 20, 2021
اینم جز کتاب هایی که باید هضمش کنم تا درموردش بنویسم

در همین حد که عالی بود کافیه
Profile Image for Mohamed Al.
Author 2 books4,935 followers
May 30, 2019
هنالك اعتقاد خاطئ بأن الثقافة مرتبطة بالمعرفة، وجرى بناء على ذلك تسويق مصطلح المثقف على أنه الشخص الذي يعرف كثيرًا، حتى أصبحت الدرجة العلمية للشخص مقياسًا لدى البعض لثقافة الفرد. شخصيًا أعتقد بأن الثقافة موقف أخلاقي وإنساني أما المعرفة والعلوم مجرد أدوات داعمة لها.

لنأخذ مثالاً على ذلك العالم الأمريكي جيمس واتسون، الذي اكتشف البنية اللولبية للDNA، حيث صرح بأن "البيض أكثر ذكاءً من السود" وأثار عاصفة من ردات الفعل الغاضبة، أما عربيًا فقد نشر المفكر السوري فراس السواح مؤخرًا على الفيسبوك منشورًا يقول فيه بأنه لن يقبل صداقة المحجبات "لأن حجاب الرأس يعني حجاب العقل". الأول عالم والثاني عارف وكلاهما للأسف بعيدان كل البعد عن أخلاق المثقف الحقيقي.

إذا كنت سأقدم نموذجًا على المثقف الحقيقي فلن أجد أفضل من الفيلسوفة اليهودية حنة آردنت، فمنذ قرأت هذا الكتاب وأنا لا أستطيع إبعادها عن تفكيري ولا إبعاد نفسي عن التفكير في مقدار الحكمة والشجاعة التي امتلكتها هذه المرأة لتتصدى بكل جرأة لانتقاد إجراءات المحاكمة الصورية، أو التمثيلية بحسب وصف آرندت، التي أقامتها إسرائيل للضابط النازي أدولف أيخمان.

بدأت الحكاية عندما قام الموساد الإسرائيلي باختطاف أيخمان من الأرجنتين، حيث كان مختبئًا بعد نهاية الحرب العالمية الثانية، واحضاره للقدس بهدف محاكمته أمام أنظار العالم لتهم عديدة أهمها جرائمه ضد الإنسانية وجرائمه ضد اليهود.

ما إن سمعت حنة آرندت بأخبار المحاكمة حتى استقلت طائرة للقدس لتقوم بتغطية جلساتها لصالح مجلة ذه نيو يوركر، ومنذ البدء أدركت آرندت بأن هذه المحاكمة ليست إلا استعراضًا لعضلات "بن غوريون" الذي صرح بأن هذه المحاكمة ستقتص من كل أعداء اليهود ليكونوا عبرة لمن يعتبر وخصوصًا للعرب.

أثارت مقالاتها فور نشرها جدلاً حاداً وتعرضت آرندت لهجوم حاد وعملت الآلة الدعائية الصهيونية على اغتيال شخصيتها من خلال وصفها بأنها يهودية كارهة لذاتها، ومعادية لليهود والصهيونية، ومنحازة للنازية .. إلخ إلخ

يمكن اختصار المآخذ على مقالات آرندت والتي جمعت لاحقًا في كتاب تحت عنوان "أيخمان في القدس: تقرير عن تفاهة الشر" (كان الكتاب ممنوعًا في إسرائيل ولم يترجم إلى العبرية ويفسح إلا في عام ٢٠٠٠) في ثلاثة جوانب:

الأول: انتقادها لإجراءات المحاكمة التي رأت بأنها غير قانونية وارتكبت الكثير من الأخطاء منذ اختطاف أيخمان وحتى إعلان الحكم، مع أنها رأت بأن حكم الإعدام كان نتيجة طبيعية ومستحقة نظرًا لأفعال المجرم.

الثاني: فجرت آرندت فضيحة عندما كشفت عن دور المجالس اليهودية، التي تعاونت مع النازيين، في الإبادات الجماعية ووصفتها بأنها أكثر الصفحات ظلمة في التاريخ البشري، وذهبت أبعد من ذلك عندما زعمت بأنه لولا وجود هذه المجالس، التي كان يشكلها النازيون لتسهيل عمليات شحن اليهود لمعسكرات الإبادة، لكان عدد الضحايا أقل بكثير.

الثالث: الانطباع الذي شكلته حنة آرندت عن أدوف أيخمان، فعندما ذهبت للقدس توقعت بأنها ستشاهد مسخًا بشريًا ينضح الشر من كافة مسامات جسده، ولكنها رأت شيئاً مختلفاً، رأت مجرمًا أقل ما يوصف به أنه تافه، عاجز عن التفكير (والعجز عن التفكير ليس مرادفًا للغباء)، ولا يدرك خطورة أفعاله ولا يقبل تحمل مسؤوليتها، وعلى استعداد لأن يرتكب أعظم الشرور، ولكن ليس من أجل الأيدولوجيا النازية أو بسبب طبيعته الشري، وإنما لسبب تافه جدًا .. لأجل أن يحصل على منصب رفيع في وظيفته، وهذا ما أطلقت عليه آرندت مصطلح "تفاهة الشر" والذي أحدث ثورة مفاهيمية في حقل الدراسات الفلسفية والإجتماعية.

مصطلح "تفاهة الشر" في هذا السياق يعني بأن المرء الذي يرتكب الشرور لا يقوم بذلك بناء على دوافع عميقة ووعي فكري، بل على العكس من ذلك فالدوافع تكون غالبًا سطحية وتافهة، وما يمنع المرء من إدراكه لعواقب أفعاله هو عجزه عن التفكير كإنسان لا كآلة أو موظف بيروقراطي ينفذ عمله بكل إتقان وتفان.

الأمر الآخر الذي أشارت له آرندت عند حديثها عن الدول الأوروبية التي شاركت النازيين في جرائمهم، هو أهمية وجود وعي إنساني لدى الشعوب يمنعها من التحول إلى قطعان من الوحوش. فالدنماركيين على سبيل المثال وقفوا حجر عثرة في وجه النازيين ورفضوا تسليم اليهود، سواء كانوا من مواطنين أو لاجئين، إلى النازيين، بل ردوا بكل شجاعة على القانون النازي الذي كان يجبر اليهود على وضع نجمة داوود صفراء على أرديتهم لتمييزهم، قائلين بأن ملك الدنمارك سيكون أول من يضع هذه النجمة. على العكس من رومانيا التي بدأت بإبادة اليهود قبل النازيين تملقًا لهم، وفرنسا التي كانت (ولا تزال) مصابة بلوثة وطنية شوفينية فقامت بتقديم اليهود الأجانب في فرنسا على طبق من ذهب للنازيين.

مشكلتي الوحيدة مع الكتاب، وهي مشكلتي وليست مشكلة الكتاب، أنني قرأته في رمضان إما صباحًا بدون تركيز لأنني لم أتناول قهوتي، أو مساء بعد الإفطار بدون تركيز أيضًا لأنني أكون مصابًا بالتخمة، مما دفعني لإعادة قراءة بعض الفصول أكثر من مرة.

أخيرًا، للمهتمين هنالك فيلم في اليوتيوب بعنوان "حنة أرندت" مترجم بالعربية وهو مستوحى من هذا الكتاب.
Profile Image for Mahla.
78 reviews34 followers
September 30, 2020
روایتِ جذاب، تکان دهنده و تامل برانگیزِ هانا آرنت از دادگاه آدولف آیشمن.
.او کیست؟ متخصص امور یهود.
تخصص در چه؟! فراری دادن، اخراج و به‌مسلخ سپردنِ یهودیانِ بی‌پناه در گرماگرمِ جنگ جهانی دوم.
ما در انتظار چه بودیم؟! نتیجه محکِ نهادهای قضایی در تحقق شعارِ دیروز و امروزشان، یعنی برپا داشتِ عدالت؛ آنهم در برابر جرمِ مجرمی که وسعت و ابعادش قدِ دهانِ هیچ قاضی و دادستان و وکیل مدافعی نمی‌شود.
آیشمن یک مردِ معمولی با هیبتی متوسط و انگیزه‌های کاملاً رایج، همچون وظیفه‌شناسی، قانون‌مداری، کارآمدی و اندکی شهرت، که گناه بزرگش این بود که طعم قدرت کم کم به‌دهانش مزه کرد و ندای وجدانش را خاموش کرد؛ حالا در جایگاه متهم درجه اولِ "جنایت علیه بشریت" و نماد زنده ابتذالِ شر، در اتاقک شیشه‌ای ایستاده است.
جایگاه شیشه‌ای کوچکی که برای تمام آن مللی که در ناخودآگاه‌شان خط قرمزی فرضی با مردمان اقلیتِ کشورشان کشیده بودند و نژادپرستی شیره جانشان بود جا نداشت؛ قدر همه آن مردمی که در برابر اخراج و قتل عامِ همسایه، دوست، همکار، هم‌وطن و هم‌نوعشان به‌جرم یهودیت، مهر سکوت بر لب زدند، آوارگی و جان دادن میلیون‌ها انسان را دیدند و کلاه‌شان را سفت‌تر چسبیدند؛ تمام آن افسران و سربازانی که برای خوش رقصی، چرخ‌های این ماشین کشتار را روغن‌کاری کردند و "هایل هیتلر" گویان شب و روز را با شوق و افتخارِ خدمتگذاریِ شایسته به‌میهن و اهداف والای پیشوا گذراندند.

دادگاهِ اورشلیم در انبارِ کاهِ هزارتویِ عوامل، انگیزه‌ها، عواطف و پیچیدگی‌های انسان دنبال سوزنی به‌نام عدالت بود و تا آرژانتین در پیِ آدولف آیشمنِ همه‌کاره، و به‌همان اندازه هیچ کاره، در قضیه یهود راه افتاد.
دادگاه اورشلیمی که می توانست دادگاهِ برلین شود، اگر جنگ نتیجه دیگری داشت. .
رایش می‌توانست افتخار تاریخ باشد و آیشمن قهرمان لقب بگیرد اگر هیتلر هوسِ حمله به‌روسیه را نکرده بود.
این سندی بر اثباتِ تزلزلِ جایگاه عدالت است؛ وقتی شعاع کشف حقیقت به دادگاه و قاضی محدود شود و امر اخلاقی با وزنه عوامل متغیر و بیرونی در کفه ترازو قرار بگیرد.
ترازوی حقیقت، قلب انسان است. اگر با سکوتش، ظلم را تغذیه نکند و مقابل تبعیض و جنایت، لحظاتی با وجدان به‌قضاوت بنشیند.
با پا گذاشتن بر صدای وجدان، هریک از ما به‌سهم خود، متهم به جنایت علیه بشریت هستیم.
دادگاه اورشلیم صدای حق‌خواهی قوم یهود بود، آیشمن را به‌طناب دار سپرد اما عدالت را ن��افت. حقیقت آن صدایی است که در نهاد آدمی فریاد می‌کشد؛ تبدیل به ضجه‌هایی خفه و گنگ می‌شود که اخلاق و انسانیت را گوشزد می‌کند و رفته رفته از نا می‌افتد تا ما را به‌جسدی متحرک و مستعدِ عظیم‌ترین جنایات بشری مبدل کند.
. مطالعه کتاب را توصیه نمی‌کنم؛ خواندنش را تکلیفی در جهت حمایت از انسانیت می‌دانم.
Profile Image for Emiliya Bozhilova.
1,361 reviews225 followers
December 12, 2022
”С изключение на необикновеното си усърдие да гони собственото си повишение, той нямаше никакви други мотиви. […] Казано с прости думи, той никога не е разбирал какво върши.”

Той е Адолф Айхман, полковник от СС, логистикът на Холокоста. В течение на четири години (1941 - 1945 г.) той организира и координира влаковите композиции към Аушвиц и останалите лагери на смъртта. Съвестен, усърден и неподкупен. Съжалява единствено, че усърдието не му е донесло достатъчно високо повишение. Никога в живота си не е убивал човек, жалостив е и му прилошава при вида на кръв. Порядъчен гражданин, винаги е спазвал законите на страната и режима си, нито едно негово действие не е било незаконосъобразно или неподплатено със съответните заповеди.

Когато израелските тайни служби отвличат Айхман от Аржентина през 1960 г., за да го изправят пред съд в Йерусалим, това предизвиква немалко проблеми в международен план.

Мащабният процес (наблюдаван лично от израелския премиер и съоснивател на Дътжавата Израел Бен Гурион) е световно събитие, на което са поканени журналисти от цял свят. Сред тях е и Хана Аренд, немска еврейка, посветила сe на философията почти колкото своите учители и приятели Карл Ясперс и Мартин Хайдегер. С определен интерес и трудове по темата за тоталитаризма и тоталитарната държава. Предава, така да се каже, на живо от съдебната зала. И се опитва да осмисли всички проблеми, които този показен процес въплъщава. А те са невероятно много.

Първо, престъпникът е необикновен. Банален. Бурмичка в строгата организирана и раздута бюрокрация по убийствата. Зак��нът инадминистративният ред заместват съвестта му. Съвестта му винаги зависи от околните. Той не е изключение - почти всички негови сънародници реагират по същия начин. Той е съвсем нормален, както доказват и психиатричните експертизи.

Второ, престъплението е необикновено по своите мащаби. Подпомагано от индустриализацията и технологичния напредък, то води до безпрецедентен брой избити - предимно евреи. Но по-същественото е, че не е предизвикано от военните действия. Тъкмо обратното - цялата логистика с отнемането на гражданство на евреите, концентрирането им в гета, депортирането и избиването на толкова мирни хора всъщност е пречка за германците в хода на войната. Никое законодателство, включително международното, все още не е достатъчно прецизирано спрямо това ново явление.

Трето, процесът се води не просто от победителите (което е проблем и за Нюрнбергския процес), а от конкретна държава, за престъпления срещу народ, който по времето на холокоста не е имал собствена държава. И постепенно обхватът му се премества от престъпление срещу човечеството към престъпление срещу еврейския народ. Теза, която Хана Аренд яростно атакува, показвайки, че с това стеснено тълкуване без присъда остават деянията, ненасочени срещу евреи, но реално извършени от обвиняемия.

Четвърто, подходът на обвинението и прокурора е често генерален вместо насочен към конкретно извършените ит Айхман действия. Справедливостта, настоява Аренд, е винаги много конкретна. В цялото това “кърваво шоу” тя оценява високо професионализма и безмилостната безпристрастност на тримата съдии.

Хана Аренд се придържа строго към темите по процеса. И е логично-безпристрастна. Което води до много критики, най-вече където тя атакува вината на самите евреи. Парадоксално, но голяма част от евреите подпомагат активно геноцида срещу себе си. Еврейските съвети активно съдействат на нацистите със списъци на едноверците си и организация на въдворяването им в гета и последващото депортиране към Треблинка и Аушвиц.

Също така тя доказва, че това съдействие не е било неизбежно, въпреки рисковете, и представя Дания и България като двете държави, където “окончателното решение” на Хитлер катастрофира. (Макар от окупираните от българската войска райони извън стара България евреите да са изловени и депортирани, а датски евреи да се озовават в по-“лекия” лагер Терезиенщат). Самите германци се оказват неспособни да доведат политиката си там докрай.

Хана Аренд дълбае толкова навътре, че косите на читателя се изправят. Защото баналността на злото може да се повтори, и всъщност би било доста лесно. Достатъчно е да се сетим за експеримента на Милграм и Станфордския затворнически експеримент. Всяка една тоталитарна държава превръща функционерите си в подобия на Айхман. Достатъчно е да въведе за целта “езикови правила” и да нарече избиването с далеч по-технократския и неутрален термин “окончателно решение”. Протестират само онези, които не влизат в категорията “нормални”.

”Никое наказание не притежава достатъчно възпираща сила, за да предотврати извършването на нови престъпления. Тъкмо обратното - колкото и сурово да е наказанието, след като дадено специфично престъпление се е появило за първи път, неговото повторно извършване е много по-вероятно, отколкото първоначалната поява.”

4,5 ⭐️
Profile Image for Ali Karimnejad.
313 reviews164 followers
August 3, 2022

آیشمن نه شرور بود، نه پست یا فرومایه. آیشمن "بی‌مایه" بود و هر اونچه که ازش سر زد، جز به خاطر همین یک خصلت نبود

چه دروغ‌های کثیفی که آدم‌ها برای دیده شدن و جلب توجه نمی‌گن. چه کارها که صرفا به سبب مورد تشویق و تحسین قرار گرفتن انجام نمی‌شن. و چه حقیقت‌هایی که بخاطر هم‌سو شدن با افکار، اعتقادات، امیال و هوس‌های ما تحریف نمی‌شن. و همه‌ی اینها رو وقتی از دور نگاه می‌کنیم، بسیار شنیع، و بعضا غیر انسانی به نظر می‌رسن. اما اگر نزدیک بریم و خوب دقیق بشیم، متوجه می‌شیم که چیزی جز دست‌و‌پا زدنی بی‌وقفه برای چنگ انداختن به یک هویت نیست. همه ما می‌خوایم در زندگی کسی باشیم. چنانکه آیشمن می‌خواست. و از این جهت بود که در ملاء عام لاف می‌زد و به دروغ می‌گفت که "خون پنج میلیون دشمن رایش (منظور یهودی‌ها) به گردن منه!" در حالی که این جمله با واقعیت فرسنگ‌ها فاصله داشت و همین لاف زدن‌ها و همی�� دروغ‌ها بود که گناهش رو بعدا خیلی مهیب‌تر از اون چیزی که واقعا بود نشون داد.

لاف زدن و نیاز دائمی به جلب توجه، مهم‌ترین مشخصه فرد بی‌مایه است. و چنین آدمی دائما درگیر تصویری هست که در بیرون از خودش بازتاب پیدا می‌کنه. به عبارتی، آدم بی‌مایه نه با خودش که با تصویر خودش در بین مردم زندگی می‌کنه. به همین جهت هم بود که آیشمن در پایان دادگاه برگشت و گفت که "با کمال میل خودم را به عنوان مایه عبرتی برای همه یهودستیزان روی زمین در ملا عام دار خواهم زد!" و دادستان و قضات همه سخت گیج و مبهوت مونده بودن از این همه تناقض بین آنچه که آیشمن قبلا گفته بود و آنچه که امروز به زبون میاورد و از همین جهت گمان می‌بردن که با آدمی زیرک و حیله‌گر طرف هستن. جالب اینکه خودش هم این تناقضات رو انکار نمی‌کرد و اساسا تناقضی در اینها نمی‌دید! در حالی که مساله این بود که آیشمن در هر لحظه از زندگی خودش قادر بود کلیشه‌ای دهن‌پر کن و در خور توجه پیدا کنه تا اعمالش رو بر مبنای اون کلیشه مشعوف کننده تعریف کنه. به طوری که همواره احساس مهم بودن و "کسی بودن" بکنه. غافل از اینکه تمام زندگیش جز بی‌مایگی نبود و ناراحت‌کننده اینکه تا پای چوبه دار هم این رو نفهمید.

اما هانا آرنت به جز تشریح شخصیت آیشمن، به تشریح جنبه‌های حقوقی و اخلاقی این دادگاه هم می‌پردازه که اگرچه خوندنش طاقت‌فرساست اما جالب توجهه. آیشمن در آخرین دفاعیات خودش، مجددا تاکید کرد که نه تنها هیچ وقت یهودستیز نبود بلکه برای برخی یهودیان (خصوصا صهیونیست‌ها که آرمانگرایی مشابهی به اونچه نازی‌ها داشتن رو دارا بودن) احترام قابل توجهی قائل بود و همواره تلاش داشت تا فردی مطیع و فرمان‌بردار در خدمت حکومت رایش باشه. چنانکه این فرمان‌برداری جزو فضلیت‌های اخلاقی جامعه اون زمان تلقی می‌شد و این رو ابدا نباید فراموش کرد. هیچ کدوم از این حرف‌ها ابدا دروغ، یا دوز و کلک نبود. آیشمن حقیقتا چنین بود و بر این باور بود که اگر من نکنم دیگری خواهد کرد. ترس از تخلف و تخطی از دستورات از یک طرف، حس وظیفه‌شناسی نسبت به رایش از طرف دیگه، میل به رسیدن به جاه و مقام، و نهایتا نوعی حس ترحم برای یهودیان در جهت تخفیف و پایان دادن رنج و درد اونها، شاکله اصلی افکار آیشمن رو تشکیل می‌داد.

بله. این چنین حقیقت در ذهن آیشمن استحاله کرده بود و خطرناک‌ترین اشتباه اینه که فکر کنیم آیشمن آدم فرومایه‌ای بود یا این مساله، مورد بخصوصی بود. در حالی که چنین نیست و چه بسا بسیاری از انسان‌های دیگه هم در چنین موقعیتی گرفتار بشن؛ چرا که این از خصائل زمانه ماست و ابتذال شر دقیقا یعنی همین. این ادعای آیشمن در دادگاه که حتی مسبب مستقیم یک نفر هم نبوده، عین حقیقت بود. آیشمن صرفا بخشی از دستگاه بروکراسی بزرگی بود که فوج فوج یهودیان و سایر عناصر غیر مفید رو به درک واصل می‌کرد. انتظار بروز دادن وجدان، از چنین آدمی، اگرچه کار غیرممکنی نبود اما قطعا خواسته‌ای گزاف بود. چنانکه همین امروز چه بسیارن افراد بی‌مایه‌ای که غرق در بروکراسی اداری، صرفا درگیر جاه‌طلبی‌های حقیر خودشون هستن. از این جهت، شاید ادعای آیشمن در خصوص اینکه "صرفا آدم بدشانسی بوده"، ادعای چندان بی‌راهی هم نبود. خاصه اینکه دست دولت‌مردانی که آیشمن رو برخلاف قوانین بین‌المللی ربودند و در اورشلیم دادگاهی کردند، هم چندان پاک نبود. اما در این خصوص، نباید این دو مقوله رو با هم یکی کرد.

کتاب، بجز این موارد توضیحات بسیار مبسوطی در مورد تخلیه یهودیان در هر یک از کشورهای اروپایی درگیر جنگ می‌ده که حقیقتا طاقت‌فرسا بود و گاهی اوقات بنظر می���رسید که کتاب سمت و سوی خودش رو گم کرده. همچنین اطلاعات جالبی در مورد صهیونیست‌ها و بعضی همکاری‌هایی که بین نازی‌ها و اونها وجود داشت به ما می‌ده که وخامت وضعیت یهودیان اروپایی اون دوران رو بیشتر در نظر من تیره و تاریک کرد. سر جمع، از خیلی جهات کتاب جالب توجهی هست اما بسیار دچار پراکنده‌گویی شده و از این جهت خوندنش خسته‌کننده است.
Profile Image for نیما اکبرخانی.
Author 3 books122 followers
November 23, 2020
آیشمن در اورشلیم، واجب‌تر از نان شب
جنگ جهانی دوم را هیتلر شروع کرد و جانش را هم پای آن داد. اما بر سر پایان بندی آن تا به امروز همچنان دعواست. چپ‌ها این پایان را از آن اتحاد جماهیر شوروی می‌دانند و غربی‌ها هر کدام بر حسب علایقشان آن را پای روزولت، ترومن، چرچیل و آیزنهاور می‌نویسند. البته فرانسوی‌ها هم هستند که دوگل را علم کنند اما کسی جدی شان نمی‌گیرد.
من هم همینطور.
اما واقعا پایان رشته‌ای از وقایع که با توافق مولوتوف-ریبنتورپ شروع شد و ما اسمش را می‌گذاریم جنگ جهانی دوم بالاخره کی بود ؟ کجا بود؟ تسلیم آلمان و سقوط رایشتاگ؟ بمباران اتمی‌ناکازاکی و هیروشیما؟ تسلیم ژاپن ؟‌هانا آرنت رحمه الله علیه معتقد است در 1962، وقتی جنازه ی آدولف آیشمن از دار مجازات پایین کشیده شد. وقتی به کوره ی جسد سوزی رفت. وقتی خاکسترش به باد و دریا سپرده شد.
وقتی رئیس پروژه ی راه حل نهایی، توسط قوم یهود به جهنم فرستاده شد.
بن گوریون نخست وزیر رژیم منحوس و جعلی اسرائیل، آن روزها هنوز زنده بود. هنوز اسمش نشده بود نام فرودگاه و برای نشان دادن اقتدار حکومتش عملیاتی متهورانه را توسط موساد ترتیب داد تا آن گردن کلفت قدر قدرت آدمکش را که حالا مثل موش به سوراخی در آرژانتین خزیده بود را زنده دستگیر کند و برباید و بردارد بیاورد تا قوم یهود محاکمه اش کنند.
برای تبیین این خواسته‌ها هم رفت سراغ مرحومه آرنت تا بیاید به عنوان یک روشنفکر مطرح زمانه و گریخته از چنگال آیشمن برایش رپورتاژ تبلیغاتی بنویسد.
تیرش به سنگ خورد. خدا نصیب گرگ بیابان نکند.
کتاب آیشمن در اورشلیم در واقع گزارش و روزنوشت‌های نویسنده است از حضور در تمامی‌جلسات یک دادگاه طولانی. دادگاهی که آرنت از همان ابتدا در دادگاه بودنش و بی طرفی اش تشکیک می‌کند و معتقد است این دادگاه از همان ابتدا نتیجه اش معلوم است. آیشمن با هیچ فرضی محتمل نیست بی گناه شناخته شود و ممکن نیست صهیونیست‌ها اجازه ی هدر رفتن آن همه پول و پله ای که خرج موساد کرده اند را بدهند.
اما آنچه سبب می‌شود آرنت چنین اثر درخشانی را خلق کند مواجهه اش با این محکوم به مرگ است. بر خلاف آنچه او و همه گان انتظار دارند آیشمن نه شر مجسم است، نه شاخ و دم دارد و نه از چشم‌هایش آتش می‌بارد.
آیشمن پیرمردی ست لاغر و دراز، با صورتی تکیده، زبانی الکن و به شدت فرمان پذیر. آیشمن شر مبتذل است.
نام گذاری درخشان تر از این می‌شود آیا ؟
آیشمن این قاتل کثیف، این خونریز پلید و این کشنده ی زنان و کودکان در تیراژ بسیار بالا، هیچ خصومتی یا کینه ای از هیچ کسی ندارد. اصلا درک درستی از ایدئولوژی و سوسیالیسم هیتلری ندارد. اصلا نمی‌فهمد دشمن ملت یعنی چه! آیشمن بروکراتی فرومایه است که صرفا برای رشد و پیشرفت در دستگاه حکومت به عضویت حزب و اس اس درآمده و فقط و فقط کار اداری کرده است.
متاسفانه درست خواندید. آیشمن فقط کار اداری انجام داده است.
آیشمن قطار تهیه کرده است برای حمل غیر نظامیان به سمت شرق.
آیشمن بودجه تهیه کرده است برای تحقیق و توسعه روشی مدرن جهت از بین بردن چند میلیون جسد.
آیشمن استعداد یابی کرده و رودولف هوس را پیدا کرده است.
آیشمن در جلسات سازمان برنامه و بودجه، درخواست نوشته و دفاع کرده برای ساخت آشویتس.
و همه ی این کارها را کرده برای اینکه بتواند از سرهنگ دومی‌ ارتقاع یابد به سرهنگ تمامی.
به همین مبتذلی که خواندید.
در دادگاه دفاع می‌کند و محکم بر سر موضع خود می‌ایستد که من مامور بودم و معذور و اگر می‌توانید فقط و فقط یک نفر را معرفی کنید که من کشته باشم.
از منظری دیگر هم راست می‌گوید، مگر نامه نگاری اداری و پاسخ دادن به مکاتبات را می‌شود به عنوان فعل قتل در نظر گرفت ؟
همه ی حرف آرنت هم همین است. بالاخره می‌خواهیم بپذیریم که چیزی به نام مامور پس آنگاه معذور وجود دارد ؟
مثلا شاید هم یک مامور شهرداری در بندرعباس خودمان هم بگوید من مامور بودم و معذور و طبق دستور رفتم خانه ای را بر سر آن زن تنهای سرپرست خانواده خراب کردم. به من چه ؟ همه ی کتاب پاسخ به همین سوال است. شر هست ولی نه شاخ و دم دارد و نه چشمانی آتشین. مبتذل است.
آن ملعون‌ها هم جلوی مختار احتمالا سعی کرده باشند که بیندازند گردن یزید و پسر سعد و ابن مرجانه!
البته راستش را بخواهید من نبودم که ببینم. این یکی را از خودم گفتم.
خودتان بخوانید تا نظر آرنت را در یابید.
قسمت تاریخی کتاب هم برای خودش حسابی جذاب است و می‌طلبد با بخش‌های دیگری از تاریخ هم آشنا باشید و اگر نیستید انگیزه ی مناسبی ایجاد می‌کند برای مطالعه ی بیشتر.
مثلا پناه گاه این یابو در آرژانتین رژیم پرون است و پرون همان دیکتاتوری ست که آنقدر ظلم کرد تا ارنستو گوارای مبتلا به آسم حاد درس و مدرسه را رها کند تا بشود چه. همان چه گوارای معروف.
اینکه آیشمن از بده بستان‌هایش با صهیونیست‌ها پرده برداری می‌کند و اینکه همان‌ها ترغیبش می‌کردند به خشونت بیشتر تا بتوانند یهودیان اروپا را هرچه بیشتر ترغیب کنند به مهاجرت و اشغال سرزمین فلسطین. در واقع دو قطبی ساز‌های قهاری بودند. مهاجرت به فلسطین یا آشویتس.
از برگن اند بلسن می‌گوید، همان جایی که آن فرانک کشته شد. از‌هایدریش می‌گوید رئیسش که در عملیات آنتروپوید به جهنم فرستاده شد.
از آینزاتس گروپن‌های خونریز و بی رحم تعریف می‌کند و نامه نگاری‌هایش با رودولف هوس ملعون. اگر خواستید مرگ کسب و کار من است از روبرت مرل را بخوانید.
خلاصه کنم بخوانید از نان شب واجب تر است.
Profile Image for Quo.
292 reviews
May 23, 2023
Hannah Arendt's Eichmann in Jerusalem reads like a murder mystery wherein there is no doubt about the culprit responsible for the homicides, in the case of Adolf Eichmann, the systematic extermination of Europe's Jews.

The point of this amazing Holocaust case study is that Eichmann does not seem to fit the image of a mass-murderer, never himself having murdered anyone, even suggesting that he was incapable of killing anyone. He is portrayed to the reader as a menial functionary, quite miscast in his role within the Third Reich, performing primarily as a "conveyor belt" to the gas chambers, while even seeming not to be particularly anti-Semitic.

But if not a mindless beast, "a dirty bastard in the depths of his heart", who exactly was Adolf Eichmann? How can the reader of this book or the judges in Jerusalem assess abnormal behavior in someone declared to be "normal"?
As for base motives, he had only done what he was ordered to do--to ship millions of men, women & children to their death with great zeal & the most meticulous care. Half a dozen psychiatrists had certified him as "normal"--"More normal at any rate than I am after having examined him", one was said to have exclaimed.

Another found that Eichmann's psychological outlook, his attitude toward his wife & children, mother & father, brothers, sisters & friends was "not only normal but most desirable." And finally, the minister who had paid regular visits to him in prison declared Eichmann to be "a man of positive ideas."
And, in rereading Hannah Arendt's book, one comes to understand the reason for her subtitle, "the banality of evil", a phrasing that caused so much grief for this gifted writer, with a PhD in Philosophy from the University of Heidelberg, with her dissertation on the subject of love in Saint Augustine.

Throughout her life, Hannah Arendt seems a quintessential free spirit, including her presence at the trial proceedings in Jerusalem & with it, the quest to comprehend both the trial formalities and the persona of Adolf Eichmann, the fabled "man in the glass booth". Her witness to the trial testimony represents a masterful attempt at clarity but more than that, an unflinchingly objective rendering of her observations.

Otto Adolf Eichmann was a misfit in a middle class German family, a failure at almost everything he did in life, except following orders as a Nazi and completely submerging his own identity within that of his Führer, with his loyalty not to Germany but irrevocably to Adolf Hitler. Thus, Eichmann had at all times done his best to make the "Final Solution", final.

As Eichmann himself put it: "Hitler may have been wrong but he was able to work himself up from a lance corporal to Führer of 80 million people and this proved to me that I should subordinate myself to this man."

In fact, when Germany was on the verge of utter defeat in WWII, with Himmler declaring that the concentration camps should be dismantled & Hitler bypassed in the command structure, Eichmann considered Himmler a traitor. Only after Hitler's suicide did Eichmann seem to regain a sliver of his own identity.

Eichmann in Jerusalem also examines the role of Jews in their own destruction, another topic that made Hannah Arendt anathema to so many Jews & others after the book's publication.
Without Jewish help in administrative & police work--the rounding up of Jews, done entirely by Jewish police--there would have been either complete chaos or an impossibly severe drain on German manpower.

The Nazis gave enormous power to members of the Jewish Councils, the locally recognized Jewish leaders--until, they, too were deported to Theresienstadt or Bergen-Belsen or Auschwitz. To a Jew, this role of the Jewish leaders in the destruction of our own people is undoubtedly the darkest chapter of the whole dark story.
In Arendt's view, the prosecution, the judges & those in the courtroom were constantly trying to understand a mass murderer and to prove individual murder on someone who had not personally killed anyone.

Arendt praised the 3 judges presiding at the trial, while being very critical of the legal efforts of both the prosecution & the defense. But almost more than that, she is disconcerted by the questions that were never asked during the long trial and the attempt by Prime Minister Ben Gurion to use the trial for diplomatic gain.

Equally baffling is Eichmann's seeming complicity in his own capture while in Argentina. He knew that he was being stalked & even knew that those who were tracking him were Jews. And yet, Eichmann declared that he chose not to interfere with his own capture & sub-legal deportation to Israel. (He had never obtained an Argentinian passport.)
It became an essential point of my inner life, around which many thoughts crystallized. This is why I did not escape. After conversations about the guilt among young people in Germany, which made a deep impression on me, I felt I no longer had the right to disappear.

This is why I offered, in a written statement, at the beginning of this examination...to hang myself in public. I wanted to do my part in lifting the guilt from the German youth, for those young people are innocent of all events & of the acts of their fathers during the last war, which incidentally was forced on the German people.
Eichmann in Jerusalem is a profoundly moving book, even more so with a 2nd reading. Following the execution of Adolf Eichmann just before midnight on July 31st, 1961, Hannah Arendt offers the reader a ray of hope by detailing the risks some good people took in sheltering Jews during WWII. "For the lesson of such stories is simple & within everyone's grasp. Humanly speaking, no more is required, and no more can be reasonably asked for this planet to remain a place fit for human habitation".

*Within my review are images of Hannah Arendt, including a German postage stamp and also 2 images of Adolf Eichmann, the 2nd showing his false Italian passport, under the name of Ricardo Klement, used when he fled to Argentina.
Profile Image for Margarita Garova.
450 reviews176 followers
August 20, 2021
„Неприятното в случая с Айхман бе тъкмо това, че толкова много бяха същите като него и всички те не бяха нито перверзни, нито садисти – те бяха, а и все още са ужасно нормални. От гледна точка на нашите правни институции и нашите морални стандарти за преценка, тази нормалност бе много по-ужасяваща от всички кланета, взети заедно, тъй като тя означава – показано в Нюрнберг стотици пъти от обвиняемите и техните адвокати, - че този нов тип престъпник, който в същността си е „hosatis generis humant” извършва престъпленията си при обстоятелства, които правят почти невъзможно да се усети или разбере, че върши зло.“

През 1961 г. в Йерусалим започва съдебно дело, по което нито престъпникът, нито престъплен��ето са сред обичайните. След като се е укривал повече от десетилетие в Аржентина, Адолф Айхман – нацистът, организирал сложната логистика по депортирането и избиването на евреи в „лагерите на смъртта“, е заловен от израелски агенти и изправен пред съда. Философът Хана Аренд отразява продължилите повече от пет месеца съдебни заседания, наблюденията над които водят до раждането на термина „банално зло“.

По време на процеса, привлякъл вниманието на световната общественост, очакванията на всички са, че обвиняемият е чудовище, психопат, архи-злодей. Със сигурност няма как човекът, изпратил милиони на смърт, да е нормален? Какъв е всеобщият потрес когато се изяснява обаче, че Айхман не само няма насилнически и садистични отклонения, но и е съвсем обикновен, посредствен, безличен бюрократ от средния нацистки ешелон, чийто словесен апарат е натъпкан с клишета, толкова праволинеен, че щеше да е комично, ако нямаше толкова трагични последици. Нещо повече – „работата“ на Айхман и необикновеното усърдие, с което я върши, не е резултат от антисемитизъм, злоба или идеология. Чистата амбиция за израстване в нацистката йерархия, нуждата да принадлежи към нещо по-голямо, и „липсата на мисъл“, по думите на Аренд, но не в смисъла на невъзможност за осъзнаване на собствените дела, а липса на критична мисъл и способност за морална преценка, е разделителната линия между изпълнителния функционер и масовия престъпник. Общата атмосфера на поругани морални императиви в Третия Райх също е допринесла неговото поведение да бъде извинено в собствените му очи, бидейки правилото, а не изключението.

Отразяването на процеса от Аренд преобръща втвърдени концепции за природата на злото и на тоталитарния човек в масовото съзнание – нещо, което Нюрнбергските процеси така и не успяват да доведат успешно до край. Обичайно от заловените нацисти се чуват едни и същи защитни опорки – съвестта ми е чиста, аз само следвах заповеди, не знаех нищо. Според Хана Аренд фактът, че състоянието на правото към онзи момент, не е могло да обеме в себе си напълно новото за човешката история престъпление срещу човечеството, организирано и осъществявано от „банални“ хора, не е извинение за произволното използване на термини като „колективна вина“ и „подчинение на заповеди“, зад които да се скрие личната отговорност. Приложени на практика до абсолютна крайност, тези понятия биха означавали, че на подсъдимата скамейка трябва да застанат или всички германци, или само Хитлер.

(Друг е въпросът, и това е само лично мнение, че тоталитарната държава прави от всичките си граждани морални съучастници, без оглед конкретната вина или лисата на такава, като обръща наопаки презумпцията за невинност – щом си бил там, част от това общество по това време, значи си „знаел“ – психологическите ефекти на което можеха да се видят и все още се виждат, когато пуснаха на свобода поробените от съветската власт народи и те тръгнаха по широкия свят и отношението, с което се сблъскаха, недвусмислено показа, че хората от Запада приравняват облика на държавата с нейните граждани).

Репортажът на Аренд втрещява и с друго откритие – ролята, която са изиграли еврейските съвети в предаването на „своите“ на заколение – нещо, заради което авторката е силно порицавана от някои еврейски среди. Аренд не спестява и критиките си към процеса откъм юридически-формалната му страна – съдебната процедура и юрисдикция на съда, както и високия политически заряд, който е диктувал (вероятно неизбежно) дневния ред. Няма съмнение, че и най-големият престъпник заслужава справедлив процес – при който се дава възможност за изслушване и представяне на доказателства както на обвинението, така и на защитата. Дори и тук, в този случай, при който вината и деянието на обвиняемия са несъмнени още преди началото на съдебните прения, а процесът служи за публично възмездяване на жертвите.

Но това, заради което наистина не могат да й простят, е че е видяла в Айхман човешко същество, лишено от ореола на класическия злодей, прозряла е неговата ужасяваща обикновеност. Но как точно трябва да изглежда злото?

Освен че надгражда и уплътнява теорията й за тоталитаризма, репортажът на Хана Аренд предупреждава, подобно на Примо Леви, срещу бъдещи посегателства над човечеството, особено когато са организирани от престъпен държавен апарат:

„Никое наказание не притежава достатъчн�� възпираща сила, за да предотврати извършването на нови престъпления. Тъкмо обратното – колкото и сурово да е наказанието, след като дадено специфично престъпление се е появило за първи път, неговото повторно извършване е много по-вероятно отколкото първоначалната поява.“
Profile Image for Jafar.
728 reviews250 followers
November 14, 2012
This book is a great mix of investigative journalism and historical analysis. If you don’t have a detailed knowledge of the history of the Holocaust, this is a good place to start. Even though Arendt didn’t want to make it a philosophical or legal treatise, it makes a few bold philosophical and legal claims, the most controversial of which is the banality of evil.

Eichmann was in charge of transporting the Jews, first for forced emigration, and after the implementation of the Final Solution, to the death camps. He didn’t run the death camps, or command firing squads, or operate the gas chambers. He wasn’t in charge of finding and rounding up the Jews either. He was a mid-level S.S. officer who was just good enough to arrange for trains and take care of the logistics of the transportation. He put millions on those trains, knowing fully well where they were heading and what fate was awaiting them.

Without trying to lessen the magnitude of his crimes – and this is a very important point – what Arendt wants to add to our understanding of Eichmann (and our understanding of the nature of evil) is how utterly banal he was. Here’s a guy who couldn’t even finish high school. He’s a bit dim even though he tries to quote Kant during his trial. He has a limited vocabulary and can’t help using clichés. He’s constantly complaining about how he didn’t get promoted as high as he wanted. He’s adamant that he didn’t hate the Jews. He was just doing a job – nothing personal. He admits that the Nazis were committing genocide, and he theatrically (and obviously disingenuously) offers to hang himself in public to “teach a lesson to all the anti-Semites.” But when it comes to the question of his own personal guilt, he insists that he was just unlucky to be at the wrong time and place and working a particular job for a state that had its apparatus set upon genocide. “Anybody else would have done the same.” That’s the really scary part. Many others would have done the same.

People who refuse to believe how banal evil can be, who think that murderous evil can only come from a monstrous and sadistic psychopath who’s a freak of nature in the worst imaginable way, should look at any civil war. Pick your choice of the recent ones: Yugoslavia, Rwanda, Iraq, Syria. Look at all the good, normal people who were living happily with one another, but one day decide that it’s a good idea to hack their neighbors to death because ideology and a totalitarian state can cause what Arendt calls "a total moral collapse." Is banality of evil hard to accept because it makes us uncomfortable about ourselves, because it means that, if by the twist of fate, we’re put in a similar position, we’ll also be the one killing our neighbors or being an accessory to it or simply looking the other way?
Profile Image for Soheil Khorsand.
324 reviews196 followers
May 20, 2021
گفتار اندر معرفیِ کتاب
آیشمن در اورشلیم، کتابی به قلمِ خانم «هانا آرنت» در بابِ زندگیِ شخصی کاملا معمولی به نامِ «آدولف آیشمن» از دورانی که هیچ نبود تا زمانی‌که به چوبه‌ی داور آویخته شد.
این کتاب در ایران توسطِ خانمِ «زهرا شمس» ترجمه و نهایتا توسطِ «انتشارات برج» چاپ و منتشر گردیده است.
کتابی از نوعِ وقایع‌نگاری از نوعِ پیچیده با وقایعِ درهم تنیده که به شدت سخت‌خوان، خسته‌کننده، آزاردهنده و کسالت‌آور است، اما همه‌ی مواردی که عرض کردم دلیل بر بی‌ارزشیِ کتاب نیست بلکه در جای خود به دلیلِ پرداختِ کامل به مواردی همچون شخصیتِ آیشمن در تمام دورانش، موشکافی و واکاویِ دادگاهِ اورشلیم و نورنبرگ، برخورد کشورهای مختلفِ اروپایی و حتی برخی کشورهای خارج از اروپا همچون کشورهای امریکای لاتین با پدیده‌ی یهودستیزی، گردآوری متون با از کتاب‌های مختلف و همچنین بررسی رخدادها، تا حدی با ارزش است.

گفتار اندر معرفیِ شخصیت‌ها
آدولف آیشمن (متهم)
دکتر رابرت سرواتیوس (وکیل آیشمن در دادگاه )
موشه لاندائو (قاضی و ریاست دادگاه)
بنیامین هالِوی (یکی از سه قاضیِ دادگاه)
ییتساک راوه (یکی از سه قاضیِ دادگاه)
گیدیون هاوزنر (دادستان کل)
دیوید بن گوریون‌ (نخست وزیر وقت اسرائیل)
جان اف کندی (رئیس جمهور وقت امریکا)
آدناوئر (صدراعظم وقتِ آلمان)

توضیح نامه
از آنجایی که موضوع و ماهیت کتاب کاملا متفاوت با کتاب‌هایی بود که قبل از این کتاب خوانده‌ام، بر خلافِ چهارچوب‌ِ سایرِ ریویوهایی که پیش‌تر نوشته‌ام بجای نوشتنِ روایتی ساده از کتاب، نقل قول و ... به نوشتنِ پندهایی که از کتاب گرفته‌ام، نقدها و کاستی‌های آن کفایت می‌کنم.

شگفتی نامه
شعارهای مسخره‌ی ساخته شده توسطِ هیتر و گوبلز جهت شست و شوی مغزی!

حافظه‌ی معیوبِ آیشمن و حرف‌های ضد و نقیضش در دادگاه اورشلیم!

تغییر وضعیت و دگرگونیِ شخصیتیِ آیشمن قبل و بعد به ��درت رسیدن در سال یک هزار و نهصد و سی و نه!

آیشمن از سر عقیده به این حزب وارد نشد بلکه از کلافگی و بی‌حوصلگیِ دورانِ سربازی برای شغلی نام‌نویسی کرد!

در حلقه‌های بالاتر حزب، همه خبر داشتند قرار است یهودیان سر به نیست شوند اما آیشمن در حلقه‌های بالای حزب جایی نداشت!

آیشمن حاضر بود اعدام شود اما پشیمان نبود و متعتقد بود توبه کار بچه‌هاست!

آیشمن خود را گوت گلاوبیگر معرفی می‌کرد، اصطلاحی که در مورد اشخاصیست که از دین مسیحیت گریخته‌اند اما همچنان به خدا باور دارند، برای همین حاضر به سوگند با کتاب مقدس نبود اما در گذشته برای وفاداری به پیشوا سوگند یاد کرده بود!

نازی‌ها پس از آن‌همه افتضاحی که به بار آورده بودند حاضر نبودند با نام جعلی زندگی کنند و همچنان با نام حقیقی خود مشغول زندگی بودند.
انگار نه انگار که چه جنایتی مرتکب شده‌اند!

مسئولین دولتِ آلمان در قبال دادستان‌ها و قضاتی که با جنایت‌کاران نازی با ارفاق برخورد می‌کردند سکوت می‌کردند چون احساس می‌کردند خودشان هم مجرمند زیرا بدنه‌ی نظام فدرال آلمان همچنان متشکل از تعداد زیادی از نازی‌ها بود!

گفتار اندر آموخته‌های من از کتاب
تفاوت نظام قضاییِ ترافعی و نظام قضایی تفتیشی در تحقیق از شهود، دادرسی و صدور حکم.

انواع اردوگاه‌های نازی‌ها: تجمیع، کار اجباری، مرگ، انتقالی و اسرای جنگی.

آیشمن معتقد بود میان حرف و عمل فاصله بسیار است، به این معنی که حالا ما کاری که نمی‌دانیم چه نتیجه‌ای در بر دارد را انجام می‌دهیم و امیدواریم که در آینده زیاد مشکلی به وجود نیاد که شباهتِ بنیادین با اداره‌ی مملکت با سیستمِ مدیریتِ امام زمانی در ایران دارد و همه از نتایجِ آن واقفیم.

فرقی نمی‌کند انسان که باشد، از کجا آمده باشد، هر انسانی وقتی به قدرت می‌رسد زورگو می‌شود.

هیچ کشور، حکومت یا نظامی در دنیا معصوم نیست.

هیچ دادگاهِ عادلی در دنیا وجود ندارد.

نقل‌قول نامه
"چیزهایی زیادی وجود دارند که از مرگ به مراتب بدترند."

پایان نامه
نشستن پای پیک‌نیک و نشئه کردن و یا نشستن روبروی یک شومینه و جرعه جرعه بوربن نوشیدن و حرف زدن و شعار دادن و حرف‌های قشنگ زدن رو همه بلند، تاکید می‌کنم یک نفر دو نفر خاص نه‌ها... همه بلدند فقط کافی‌ست در موقعیتش قرار بگیرند!
آیا اگر خانمِ هانا آرنت پدر و مادرش در اتاق‌های گاز کشته شده‌ بودند و حالا در جایگاهِ دادستان بود به متهم بوسه تقدیم می‌کرد یا تقاضای اشدِ مجازات را می‌کرد؟
یا اگر در جایگاهِ ریاست دادگاه بود برای او حکم زنده ماندن و ساختنِ ساختمان‌های زیبا برای مردمِ یهود را می‌داد یا به چند بار اعدامِ مجدد محکومش می‌کرد؟
یا اگر بجای نخست‌وزیر اسرائیل بود، توسطِ موساد بخاطرِ دست داشتن در هولوکاست از او تقدیر و تشکر می‌کرد و برایش هدیه‌هایی از قبیلِ طلا، پول نقد و ... می‌فرستاد؟
من کامل نیستم، اما افکارم پس از خواندنِ این کتاب بدین نتیجه رسید که جهت‌گیری‌های نویسنده کاملا یک‌طرفه بوده و به سمتِ روشنفکری غش کرده بود، به قول معروف در زمانی‌که شروع به نگارش کتاب کرده شاید سوراخ موشِ را در غرب یافته بود!
هیچ‌شخصی بی‌گناه نیست و هرشخصی به اندازه‌ی اعمال خودش مقصره بله اما آیشمن نه آنقدر بی‌گناه بود که اعدام نشود و نه آنقدر گناه‌کار بود که به اتهامِ جنایت علیهِ بشریت محکوم شود.
اینکه امروزه به این نتیجه رسیده‌ایم که بگوییم نه به اعدام دلیلش این نیست که عده‌ای هر کاری بکنند اما اعدام نشوند، مگر همین الان که این ریویو را می‌نویسم تمامِ کشورهای مثلا متمدن، پیشرو و آزادی‌خواه تاکید می‌کنم مثلا... امریکا، فرانسه، کانادا و ... برای برخی جرم های خاص هنوز مجرمان را اعدام نمی‌کنند؟
منظور من این است که نباید شعارها ما را منحرف کند و هر کس برای خود تمدن و حقوق بشر را به شکل شخصی تفسیر کند.
یک مثال می‌زنم و این موضوع را خاتمه می‌دهم:
شخصی حتی در پایین‌ترین رده‌ی درجه‌ی نظامی در اتاق کنترل سامانه‌ی موشکی، دکمه‌ای را فشار می‌دهد و موشکی را به سوی هواپیمای تجاری و شخصی پرتاب می‌کند و منجر به قتل نزدیک به ۲۰۰ نفر انسانِ بی‌گناه می‌شود!
آیا عدالت از نظرِ خانمِ آرنت این است که شخصی که دکمه را فشار داده کاملا بی‌گناه است و چون تحتِ فرمانِ مافوق خود بوده باید تبرعه شود و جامعه‌ی جهانی هم فقط به صدور چند بیانیه‌ی مزخرفِ سیاسی علیهِ مافوق‌های آن شخص صادر کنند؟
اصلا جامعه‌ی جهانی، سازمان ملل، دادگاه‌های بین‌المللی کدوم خری هستند؟!؟
در هر ثانیه در دنیا هزاران جنایت داره رخ می‌ده، در همین ایران گاهی در یک روز ده‌ها اعدام رخ می‌ده بدون اینکه حتی ما ایرانی‌ها مطلع بشویم، دادگاه‌های عادل این وسط خر کی هستند؟
سیاست کثیف‌ترین، نجس‌ترین و لجن‌ترین چیزیه که در دنیا وجود داره و هر شخصی که وارد سیاست شد سعی می‌کنه از نظر خود به زیباترین شکل ممکن برقصه، همان ضرب‌المثل معروف ما ایرانی‌ها:
هیچ ماست بندی نمیگه ماست من ترشه.

بخاطرِ پیچیدگیِ بی دلیل و کسالت‌آور بودن کتاب یک ستاره، برای شعارهای پوچ و بی‌محتوای به ظاهر قشنگ یک ستاره، برخلافِ نظرِ اکثرِ ریویوهایی که از دوستانم که کتاب را خوانده‌اند خواندم برای یکطرفه به قاضی رفتن نویسنده هم یک ستاره از کتاب کم می‌کنم چون یقین دارم همین خانم هانا آرنت(نویسنده‌ی کتاب) اگر در جایگاهِ دادستان بود چه خشتک‌ها می‌درید و اگر در جایگاهِ مستشاران و یا ریاست دادگاه بود چه بسا حکمِ سنگین‌تری صادر می‌کرد و نهایتا دو ستاره آن‌هم به دلیلِ وقتی‌که به جهت جمع‌آوری داده‌ها و نگارش کتاب اختصاص داده بود ��نظور می‌کنم و من به شخصه خواندنِ این کتاب را به هیچکس پیشنهاد نخواهم کرد.

سی‌ام اردیبهشت‌ماه یک‌هزار و چهارصد
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Author 8 books222 followers
November 1, 2020
می‌تونست یک مقاله ۸۰-۱۰۰ صفحه‌ای خیلی خوب باشه اما نمی‌دونم چرا کش اومده. قطعا ارزشمنده ولی کل کتاب در اوج نبود.
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