Zionist and thought the Jews should be deported, so when Hitler ordered the “physical extemination of the Jews” he suffered: “I now lost everything, all joy in
my work, all initiative, all interest.” He says that he “never thought of such a solution through violence.” Nevertheless, he abetted Hitler with his plans to exterminate the Jews. •Arendt shows how this becomes a paradigm case in seeing how not particulary evil or smart people could allow and contribute to the genocide—by studying him she thought one could gain some insight on ordinary people could do this and evil on that scale invoves some banality (ordinary, common).•Arendt explains why Eichmann, like many other “ordinary germans” contributed. 1.)he suffered “early misfortunes” in his life—he was the only member of his family who didn’t finish high school and he was unable to graduate from the vocational school for engineering into which he was put. He ultimately was let go from the job that he got through his uncle so he faced a crisis in his life because he wasn’t sure how he would support himself.2.)Ambition: Arendt explains why he joined the party: he had been an ambitions young man who was fed up with his job as traveling salesman even before the Vaccuum Oil Company was fed up with him. From a humdrum life without significance and consequence the wind had blown him into History, as he and in which somebody like him—already a failure in the eyes of his social class, of his family, and hence in his own eyes as well—could start from scratch and still make a career…” (33). 3.)Another explanation for why he was able to do it when he was not an indoctrinated anti-Semite is through Arendt’s bureaucratic argument: the function of bureaucracy permits Eichman to kill by signing a paper which is different than pulling a trigger; it detaches one from a sense of responsibility. 4.)Eichamn also claims that he was just following Hitler’s orders and that Hitler’s orders were the law of a land so it was his duty to follow the law, since he was a law-abiding citizen. Even when Himmler tells him to stop killing the Jews he continues because he knew that Himmler’s orders ran directly counter to Hitlers (147). •Even though Eichmann wasn’t a fanatical anti-Semite and he was just “following orders” Arendt never the doubts the evil of his deeds and believes he should be held responsible for his actions and be put to death. Eichmann could have made other choices; he broke the law by having a Jewish mistress, so he could’ve broken the law by not following Hitler’s orders, and he helped his uncle’s daugter emigrate evein in 43 or 44. He also could’ve chose to follow Himmler’s orders to stop killing the Jews and instead “take good care of Jews.” Thus, he chose to do evil and should be held responsible.
- Spring '07
- Christopher Browning, Mr. Levi