- a Nazi official who helped Germany carry out the mass murder of six million Jews during World War II;
- both a skilled bureaucrat and a committed anti-Semite;
- helped the party answer to the “Jewish question,” Nazi terminology for a debate over how European Jews should be treated;
- attended the Wannsee Conference, the meeting at which a group of high-ranking Nazi officials coordinated the details of what they called the “Final Solution;”
- helped implement the genocide, coordinating the deportation and murder of hundreds of thousands of Jews in German-occupied areas;
- was given aid by Catholic priests and bishops with pro-Nazi sympathies in Italy, and fled to Buenos Aires, Argentina in 1950.
“Banality of Evil”
- is a sobering reflection on “the lesson that this long course in human wickedness had taught us—the lesson of the fearsome, word-and-thought-defying banality of evil;”
- made by Hannah Arendt in 1962;
- is a banality reflected in Eichmann himself, who embodied “the dilemma between the unspeakable horror of the deeds and the undeniable ludicrousness of the man who perpetrated them;”
The Origins of Totalitarianism
- was first published in 1951, and was based on research and writing done during the 1940s;
- anti-Semitism, imperialism, racism, the post-World War I crises of multinational empires, the displacement of peoples by war and by technological change;
- a generalized crisis of legitimacy in the 1930s throughout Europe—people feeling dispossessed, disenfranchised, disconnected from dominant social institutions.