Humanities III prof. Boedeker Worksheet on Hannah Arendt (1906-1975), Eichmann in Jerusalem: a report on the Banality of Evil



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Humanities III Prof. Boedeker

Worksheet on Hannah Arendt (1906-1975), Eichmann in Jerusalem: A Report on the Banality of Evil (1963): first worksheet, pp. 3-67
1. How did Adolf Eichmann end up in Jerusalem?
(The Diaspora is the “dispersion” of Jews beyond their original home of Palestine, and which was well underway by the 5th Century AD.)
2. What did the Israeli Prime Minister, David Ben-Gurion, want Eichmann’s trial to accomplish? What “lessons” did he want people to learn from the trial?
(The Judenräte [p. 11] were Jewish Councils set up in Eastern Europe under Nazi occupation, and who collaborated with the Nazis in their program of exterminating Jews.

Realpolitik [p. 11] is the view that only national interest, not morality, should determine a nation’s policies.)
3. What is Arendt’s explanation of the fact that so many Jews (and non-Jews) simply followed the Nazis’ orders, and aided in their own executions? (pp. 11-12)
(Konrad Adenauer [p. 13] was the Christian Democratic Chancellor of West Germany after World War II, from 1949 to 1963.

Einsatzgruppen were the 4 mobile killing police units, each containing about 2000-3000 men, that were part of the S.S. [Schutzstaffeln = protection corps], or “black shirts”, the elite branch of the Nazi Party.

judenrein” [p. 15] means “free of Jews.”

“Immerwahr” [p. 16] means “always true”.

The “Bundesrepublik” [p. 16] is the Federal Republic of Germany, founded in 1949 after the Allied occupation and until 1990 known as West Germany.



Das Ausland [p. 16] is “the foreign world”.

Mens rea [p. 17] is a legal term meaning “criminal intent.”

Ministerialrat [p. 19] is something like a cabinet secretary;

Staatssekretär [p. 19] is an Undersecretary of State.)
4. What effect did the Eichmann trial have on Germans? What did this say about post-World-War-II Germany?
5. What charges were brought against Eichmann by the State of Israel (p. 21)?
6. What was Eichmann’s basic defense against these charges, as discussed throughout Chapter II?
7. Was Eichmann, according to psychiatric expert witnesses, either psychologically or morally abnormal (pp. 25-6)? Was he anti-Semitic?
8. What did the judges make of these psychiatrists’ testimony about Eichmann (pp. 26)? What “dilemma” (p. 27) does Arendt say this posed?
9. Why did Eichmann (in April 1932) join the Nazi party, then (in August 1933) the Army, and finally (in 1935) the S.S. (pp. 31-35)?
(Arbeitsfreude [p. 31] is someone’s joy in their work.

Modus vivendi [p. 40] is a way of living.

Der Judenstaat [p. 40] means The Jewish State.)
10. What were Eichmann’s personal qualities that made him a good worker in the S.S. bureaucracy (p. 45)? What were some of his “successes” as head of the Center for Emigration of Austrian Jews?
11. What does Arendt point out about the way Eichmann spoke (pp. 48-9)? What does she conclude about him from this (pp. 49)?
12. What is Arendt’s explanation for why so many Germans carried out their orders under the Nazi regime, and why so many post-World-War-II Germans still refuse to admit what occurred during the Holocaust (pp. 51-55)?
13. Why did Zionist leaders cooperate with the Nazi authorities during the first five years of the Nazi rule (1933-1938) (pp. 58-61)?
(The Reichsvertretung and Reichsvereinigung [p. 60] were Jewish representative political associations. The first was a Jewish-appointed group of Zionists and non-Zionists dissolved in 1939; the second was a Nazi-appointed group of only Zionists.

A plaidoyer [p. 65] is a lawyer’s speech in a court of law, usually for the defense.)






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