Talk:Eichmann in Jerusalem

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'Arendt suggested that this most strikingly discredits the idea that the Nazi criminals were manifestly psychopathic and different from common people. From this document, many concluded that situations such as the Holocaust can make even the most ordinary of people to commit horrendous crimes with the proper incentives, but Arendt adamantly disagreed with this interpretation, as Eichmann was voluntarily following the Führerprinzip.' This neither-nor account leaves unspecified what Arendt thought was the relationship between the Nazi leaders and 'ordinary people'. They are not intrinsically different (or just not 'manifestly different'?) from ordinary people; but some explanation is still required as to why and how they became advocates and practitioners of genocide. Reportedly, Arendt refused to say that it was 'environmental' influence. Is her explanation an 'existential' one, then - a free choice of personal philosophy? If this is so, the article should say so more clearly. Mporter 08:39, 19 January 2006 (UTC)

categorical imperative[edit]

I have not read the book, and this question should perhaps be under the heading of criticisms of the CI, but I would like to know how "doing my job" is in accordance with the categorical imperative. As I understand it, only the first formulation of the CI would be applicable, and even then, probably not. As for the second, it seems that Eichmann did not see his victims as anything but means towards furthering his career.

  • I tired to expand on this a little, since it was really glossed-over by the first writer Iluvcapra 21:58, 16 June 2006 (UTC)

The article states that the golden rule is inherent in the categorical imperative; any knowledge of both the ethic of reciprocity or the categorical imperative would show this to be false. The 'Golden Rule' is flawed in that, not only is it biblical, historically, but also that it relys on the subjects own personal desires. The categorical imperative is merely a law that wills itself, devoid of any personal pleasure or displeasure towards its consequences. -M.S. 4/12/2009

Ayn Rand: "pseudo-philosopher"[edit]

As much as I dislike Ayn Rand, I think calling her a "pseudo-philosopher" is inappropriate. It's clear that she put a great deal of thought and effort into her writings, and whatever issues one may have with her premises or her conclusions, she did attempt to present her arguments in a rational manner.--Eric 06:58, 29 July 2006 (UTC)

Could we get some other critic of Kant who makes this connection besides Ayn Rand? After all, we're now employing the plural term "critics," which logically requires at least two. --Christofurio 20:54, 19 August 2006 (UTC)

Some Basic Chronology[edit]

This article needs a lot of work. I can't do it right now, but I'll make a suggestion. Give it the skeletal support of basic chronological facts. When was Eichmann captured and brought to Jerusalem. When did The New Yorker hire Arendt to write stories on the subject? When did the stories begin to appear? When was Eichmann executed? When were Arendt's articles turned into a book? --Christofurio 20:46, 19 August 2006 (UTC)

Correction: The article states that "banality of evil" does not appear in Arendt's text. However, it does. (See p. 90 of the new Penguin edition.) (I'm new around here, so I hope I haven't screwed this up. the text editing instructions are impenetrable)GlennS 21:58, 28 August 2006 (UTC)GlennS

I don't know why you're making this claim, Glenn. I just checked my 1994 Penguin edition, p. 90. Is that the "new" one to which you refer? It doesn't use the phrase "banality of evil" or anything very close to it. The statement in the article is correct as it stands. Although there are many passages backing up the general idea, that famous phrase is only on the subtitle. --Christofurio 03:54, 29 August 2006 (UTC)

If you're using the Penquin edition, Arendt uses the phrase "banality of evil" only once that I know of, at the very end, when Eichmann was being hanged. However, she doesn't exactly define the term when she uses it (that, or it's above my head, and above the head of everyone I know who's read the book). Also, it is possible that the final section where she uses the phrase did not appear in the original edition - she did add to the book after its first appearance. And in the context she uses it with, it simply could not have appeared in her New Yorker articles (since Eichmann wasn't hanged until after an appeal, long after the trial and her reporting ended). Hope that helps. --67.174.15.145 01:48, 30 August 2006 (UTC)

The bottom line is that (a) two anonymous non-members have now challenged the statement in the text of this article that the famous phrase doesn't appear in the text properly speaking, of the book (b) they disagree with each other over where it supposedly does appear (c) and neither has quoted the sentence in which it supposedly appears! I suggest use of the "search inside this book" feature of amazon.com, which will reveal that the phrase appears in "front matter" and "back matter," i.e. post-first-edition prefaces, blurbs, etc., as well as of course the original subtitle. But the sentence in this article about where it doesn't appear happens to be true. --Christofurio 20:51, 30 August 2006 (UTC)


The "new" edition is indeed new--2006. Part of Penguin's Great Ideas series. The introduction says the material is "excerpted" from her New Yorker articles, and doesn't indicate that the edition contains any material she may have added later. The sentence I'm looking at appears in the section "Execution," concerning the hanging (p.90): "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." Eichmann was hanged on May 31,1962, and, according to this Penguin edition, all of the five-part New Yorker series appeared in 1963, after his hanging. So it seems to me likely the phrase did occur in the text of the original. Also, the conclusion of his appeal was not "long after the trial"--it took less than three months (p. 85).GlennS 23:05, 2 September 2006 (UTC)GlennS --It further seems to me that the "banality of evil" phrase refers to his guy-next-door quality. She explicitly said he was "not a 'monster'" (p. 27), and somehow that makes the evil he and all the other "ordinary" Germans perpetrated somehow that much more terrible.GlennS 23:05, 2 September 2006 (UTC)GlennS (btw, how does one become a "member"?)

Page 90?? Talks about the hanging? That would be about a 90 page book, then? That's very strange. Page 90 in the 1994 edition is discussing Eichmann's own trips to the death camps and what he did or didn't see, or allow himself to see, when he was there. His execution comes roughly 150 pages later. There is a chapter called "Judgment, Appeal, and Execution," but it begins on p. 234. I have no idea how you could think you're quoting from something in that chapter, but from something on page 90!
For the record, the book ends with an "epilogue" and then a "postscript." In the epilogue, Arendt quotes from a speech the prosecutor never gave but she evidently wishes he had -- a speech that would have justified the execution better than anything he actually said. So this epilogue ends with the final sentence of that imaginary speech, "This is the reason, and the only reason, you must hang." Then there's a postscript, which ends, "The present report deals with nothing but the extent to which the court in Jerusalem succeeded in fulfilling the demands of justice."
And the next time you log on to wikipedia, you should see a query near the top of the screen, asking about setting up your own account. --Christofurio 00:02, 3 September 2006 (UTC)
As noted above, the 2006 Penguin edition I have provides excerpts from the original New Yorker articles. The book I have does in fact exist, it's 130 pages long. The book I have does in fact have the quote on p. 90 I provided, and the quote you provided from her magnificent imagining of the prosecutor's closing argument appears on p. 107. Possibly your edition is an extended treatment she did later that rearranged material and took out the quote I've provided from her original articles. The point remains, because the "banality of evil" phrase appears to have occurred in at least her original New Yorker articles, I think the Wikipedia article is incorrect in implying otherwise. Thanks, btw, for all this. I'm enjoying the discussion. Also, as best I can tell, I do have an account set up with Wikipedia.GlennS 04:24, 3 September 2006 (UTC)GlennS
My bad. The phrase does appear at the end of chapter 15. Italicized yet. Your book's pagination is very strange, though, implying a lot of excluded material. Still, you're right about the ending, which means I should change what's in the article. (If you have an account with wikipedia, then your name shouldn't be showing up in red letters. It should be in blue letters.) --Christofurio 15:30, 3 September 2006 (UTC)
The book Glenn has is Eichmann and the Holocaust in the Penguin 'Great Ideas' series. As it says at the beginning 'The following selections are excerpted from Eichmann in Jerusalem...' Skittle 17:31, 10 April 2007 (UTC)

bad edits[edit]

Cesarani's conclusions are presented as established fact. This is a mistake; there is no such thing as the final word on such questions. This material should be presented as Cesarani's opinions. --Zerotalk 08:47, 23 February 2007 (UTC)

Hadn't read your comment Zero0000 (:), but I completely agree with you and have put a "POV" template because of that. The original author could be so nice as to present Cesarani's conclusions as his personal ones, and not as objective assertions as if he detained the truth. In particular the attack on Arendt being racist needs either to be entirely removed, or to be further explained, and in a bit less "sure of himself" way. Tazmaniacs

I revised the section extensively, based on the helpful suggestions of Zero000 and Tazmaniacs. I would ask that the POV tag now be removed. Tamardc

Fair use rationale for Image:Eichmann in Jerusalmen book cover.jpg[edit]

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Fair use rationale for Image:Eichmann in Jerusalmen book cover.jpg[edit]

Nuvola apps important.svg

Image:Eichmann in Jerusalmen book cover.jpg is being used on this article. I notice the image page specifies that the image is being used under fair use but there is no explanation or rationale as to why its use in this Wikipedia article constitutes fair use. In addition to the boilerplate fair use template, you must also write out on the image description page a specific explanation or rationale for why using this image in each article is consistent with fair use.

Please go to the image description page and edit it to include a fair use rationale. Using one of the templates at Wikipedia:Fair use rationale guideline is an easy way to insure that your image is in compliance with Wikipedia policy, but remember that you must complete the template. Do not simply insert a blank template on an image page.

If there is other fair use media, consider checking that you have specified the fair use rationale on the other images used on this page. Note that any fair use images lacking such an explanation can be deleted one week after being tagged, as described on criteria for speedy deletion. If you have any questions please ask them at the Media copyright questions page. Thank you.

BetacommandBot (talk) 20:46, 13 February 2008 (UTC)

The Article has turned into Rubbish[edit]

The criticism section has been completely deleted ( I have just reinserted it ) and the so-called Overview section is nothing but uncritical repetition of Arendt's favorite quotes. Clearly some Arendt devotee has decided to turn this article into an internet shrine for his demi-godess. This rubbish needs to be reedited with a machete. The brainless worshipers, for their part, must take their noisome puppy love for Arendt elsewhere Soz101 (talk) 00:19, 5 July 2010 (UTC)

Insulting other editors as you have just done is a good step towards getting yourself banned. Kindly desist. Zerotalk 06:27, 5 July 2010 (UTC)
I think the criticism section is totally misleading and should be deleted. To accuse Arendt of anti-Semitism and racism is completely below the belt and unworthy of an entry in Wikipedia. Www3cubed (talk) 03:51, 3 December 2013 (UTC)

Already found guilty beyond a reasonable doubt?[edit]

One of the quotes is:

"If he had not been found guilty before he appeared in Jerusalem, guilty beyond any reasonable doubt, the Israelis would never have dared, or wanted, to kidnap him in formal violation of Argentine law."

I don't have the book, but this needs some explanation. This can be read to imply that Eichmann had already been found guilty by a court of law with jurisdiction over the matter and that he had been literally -- not figuratively -- convicted in absentia. To those who believe a 'fair trial' is one where the defendant has a chance of 'getting away with it', this suggests Eichmann did not have a 'fair trial'. Further to that, if he was already convicted, his actual trial was a show trial, a kangaroo court.

Or does it mean that the Israelis took great care to ensure they not only had the right man but that they could secure a conviction? That is, they needed to be sure the putative Argentinian really was Eichmann, obtained an 'arrest warrant' and 'search warrant', in American terms, and they conducted something like a grand jury hearing to ensure they had a strong case, but not an actual trial.

Without the book I can't really even be sure which interpretation Arendt favored.

Also, the Nuremburg indictment for war crimes[1] and for crimes against humanity[2] does mention the killing of Jews specifically a number of times.

Roches (talk) 18:03, 10 April 2013 (UTC)

She means that he had already been judged guilty by history. That is, the established facts of history proved his guilt. She is saying that the Israelis would not have kidnapped him if they were not certain that the evidence against him would lead to a conviction. Zerotalk 14:30, 9 August 2013 (UTC)

Merger proposal[edit]

I'm suggesting merging Banality of evil into this article. The topics are so linked that one is, almost, never talked about without the other. The other article is very short and readers will be better served with all the information in one place. BayShrimp (talk) 13:09, 9 August 2013 (UTC)

Yes, unless there is a way to considerably expand Banality of evil, it should become just a section of this article. Zerotalk 14:12, 9 August 2013 (UTC)
I will wait a little to see if anyone else says something. BayShrimp (talk) 14:39, 9 August 2013 (UTC)
I merged in the other article. This article could be a little more clear to the non-expert. It seems to be written for insiders. BayShrimp (talk) 19:02, 10 August 2013 (UTC)