Scrapbookpages Blog

January 17, 2016

Hannah Arendt is the subject of a new book

Hannah Arendt

Hannah Arendt is famous for coining the expression “Banality of Evil.”

I previously blogged about Hannah Arendt at https://furtherglory.wordpress.com/2015/09/15/hannah-arendt-and-her-opinion-about-the-role-of-the-jewish-leaders-in-the-holocaust/

and on this previous blog post:  https://furtherglory.wordpress.com/2010/11/24/anton-schmidt-two-minutes-of-silence-in-his-honor-at-eichmanns-trial/

Hannah Arendt is back in the news in a news article headlined:

Hannah Arendt’s angst was born in the US, says author

Don’t ever tell anyone that you have never heard of Hannah Arendt or that you don’t know the meaning of the expression that she invented: “Banality of Evil.” This will immediately mark you as a person who has never been to college, at least not in America, where the writing of Hannah Arendt is taught in many different classrooms.

The German word “angst” has a different meaning in America.  In Germany, one might say “Ich habe Angst gegen der Hundt.” In America, the word “angst” is used to show that you are sophisticated and educated, not that you are afraid. It is hard to define the word, as it is used in America.

The following quote is from the article, cited above:

Begin quote
In his latest book, “Arendt And America,” King argues that living in the United States allowed the German philosopher [Hanna Arendt] to think far beyond the simple dichotomies of political divisions — such as left and right — that led to the endless slaughter and complete break down of the European social order, before and during World War II.

In Arendt’s interpretation of Nazi history, Adolf Eichmann did not display any original thoughts of his own. It was this sheer banality of existence, she claimed, that allowed him to become the chief orchestrator and faceless bureaucrat of the Final Solution, one of the most horrific systematic mass murders ever known to mankind.

But what perhaps caused the most controversy among Jews was Arendt’s criticism of the Nazi-appointed “Jewish Councils” (Judenräte ). She contended that they became a sinister Nazi method to eliminate a maximum number of Jews with a minimum amount of administrative effort and cost. Or, to put it more bluntly: a system that ensured certain Jews would be made responsible for the organization of transport to their fellow Jews, as they made their way to the gas chambers.

End quote

At his trial Eichmann was put into a cage with bullet proof glass

At his trial Eichmann was put into a cage made with bullet proof glass

Why was Eichmann put into a glass cage at his trial? Supposedly, it was because he was so evil that someone might shoot him before his trial was over.

I wrote the following about Eichmann on my scrapbookpages.com website:  http://www.scrapbookpages.com/AuschwitzScrapbook/History/Articles/HungarianJews2.html

The following information is from the book “Auschwitz, a New History” by Laurence Reese:

On April 25, 1944, in his office at the Hotel Majestic in Budapest, Eichmann met with Joel Brand, another leading member of the Jewish Relief and Rescue Committee. Brand had already attended previous meetings with Eichmann and other SS officers in an attempt to bribe them to allow a number of Jews out of Hungary. Now Eichmann said to Brand, “I am prepared to sell one million Jews to you.”

Eichmann proposed an exchange of “Blood for Goods,” in which the British and the Americans would give the Nazis one new truck for every one hundred Jews. Eichmann promised that the trucks would only be used on the Eastern front where the Germans were fighting against the Communist Soviet Union. Brand was asked to go to Istanbul in Turkey to negotiate the deal. Eichmann hoped to obtain 10,000 trucks in exchange for one million Jews. But even before Brand reached Turkey on May 19, 1944, Eichmann had already ordered the deportation of the Hungarian Jews, which began on April 29, 1944.

According to Laurence Rees, SS officer Kurt Becher, who was a Lt. Col., equal in rank to Eichmann, was trying to blackmail the Weiss family, owners of the biggest industrial conglomerate in Hungary, into giving its shares to the SS in return for safe passage out of the country.

Rees wrote:

By the time of his meeting with Brand, Eichmann knew that his rival Becher had successfully arranged for shares of the Manfred-Weiss works to be transferred to the Nazis; in return, about fifty members of the Weiss family were allowed to leave and head for neutral countries.

Brand was accompanied to Istanbul by another man named Bandi Grosz, a former agent of the Abwehr, the German intelligence agency, whose operations in Hungary had been taken over by an SS officer, Lt. Col. Gerhard Clages. At the last meeting with Brand, SS officers Clages, Becher and several other Nazis had been present.