● In his trial, he was charged with 15 counts—crimes against humanity, war crimes, and they added a crime called crimes against the Jewish people—they felt it hadn’t been fully defined of the Nuremburg court. Many scholars would argue that the Eichmann trial had an enormous impact on the Holocaust consciousness of the West—this was the first time people heard survivors testifying. One reason of organizing the trial was to bring him to justice, and another was a pedagogic—teaching a lesson—here’s what happened—look how important it is to have a Jewish independent state so people like this don’t kill them…, another reason was to tell the story of the Holocaust. ● His plea was not guilty in the sense of the indictment—first he argued he had nothing to do with killing the Jews, claimed he never gave an order to kill a Jew, he said he never had anything against the Jews, said he was not an anti-Semite, and he said he simply did what he did because it was the law of the land—just following orders, this is what almost all the Nazis plead on the
stand, following orders of superior. Nuremburg and this trial both would not accept this as a defense. He said he could only be accused of aiding and abetting the annihilation, not of originating the ideas or carrying them out (meaning they were just accomplices in the state crime) ● Prof. Gillerman wants to highlight Arendt’s argument about Eichmann: she wrote the “banality of evil”. She was trying to come to terms with why Germans participated in this annihilation. She believed Eichmann was terrifyingly normal, he was not a monster. She uses Eichmann as a paradigm for trying to analyze the normality of evil, people get caught up in evil not because they are evil, smart, dumb, but that modern bureaucracy produces a new form of evil or mass death. Eichmann was in her opinion an unemotional desk murderer—he didn’t actively engage in murder by passion, anger, or rage, he ordered it from the comfortable desk of his office—why? What were his motivations? Not hate, passion, or ideology, people were impervious to the horrors of their deeds, he was arguing against the western philosophical thought of evil that was done because of anger, passion, ideology…Eichmann committed evil with no intention at all as similar to 20th century crimes. She is trying to say that evil can be committed by people who don’t intend it, the greatest fault is thoughtlessness. He was thinking it was not his job to think about the consequences of his orders. Sense of moral responsibility is absent. They needed a whole army of Eichmanns to do the Holocaust, people who don’t think about the consequences of their actions or laws, did he wonder if it was legal or not? NO. Heartlessness and thoughtlessness is at the heart of evil, on the basis of people who are thoughtless—it applies to modern state and people who do jobs without thinking. She claims that ideology didn’t motivate him—Prof Gillerman thinks this is a little wrong, that ideology DID somewhat motivate him.
You've reached the end of your free preview.
Want to read all 14 pages?
- Summer '07
- The Bible, Germans