Hannah Arendt was a German Jew, a political theorist, and one of the most admired thinkers in the world then and still well respected today. This review is about her film of the same name, “Hannah Arendt.” She coined the phrase “Banality of Evil” when she covered and wrote for “The New Yorker” from the trial of the former Nazi, Adolf Eichmann in Jerusalem in 1961.
Adolf Eichmann was the hated head of the Gestapo, and a self-proclaimed Jewish specialist. He was responsible for keeping the trains rolling from all over Europe, filled with Jews to the death camps.(www.historyplace.com)
Eichmann followed what is now called, “the Nuremberg defense,” arguing he was just following orders and couldn’t be charged with war crimes, because there there other people who drove the train, and acted as guards. He asked, “Why are you trying me? Everyone killed Jews?”
Hannah had fled the Nazis’ and come to the United States. Her friends feared she would be thrown into depression reliving her own journey. But surprisingly ,she was intrigued that she came to see Eichmann not as a monster but as a man who was a pen-pushing bureaucrat, doing his job while intent on furthering his career. This was not the opinion the Jews and many of Hannah’s friends were furious and shocked to say the least.
Hannah in her personal conflict in this situation, reached this conclusion:
“As such, the atrocities committed against European Jews during the war took on a more horrific, and universal meaning. When appropriately motivated, all humans are capable of inhuman acts.”
And now today with all the disquieting news. . . . Israel/Hamas and the conflicting news reports. What is truth, what we see and it appears or maybe something we have not seen and all together differently perceived? (I recommend the play or film “Doubt” as a wonderful thoughtful eye opener in this re-guard.)
Are we obligated to ourselves and the world to research important challenges in life in our best possible search for truth? Are we capable of “inhuman acts?” Do we blindly follow?
I would sincerely appreciate any comments, pro or con. We are all pilgrims along the way of life and can learn from each other. . .
Text from : http://www.rogerebert.com/reviews
Adolf Eichmann was found guilty on all counts and put to death by hanging on May 31, 1962.
Banality : noun ; synonyms: triteness, staleness, lack of originality, platitudes, cliche’, truism