Unit 3 Assignment 1 – Bryan Tran

Hannah Arendt

  • Hannah Arendt was born in Hanover, Germany in 1906.
  • Studied philosophy at the University of Marburg with Martin Heidegger
  • Had an affair with Heidegger.
  • Worked for the organization Youth Aliyah, which rescued Jewish youth.
  • Had a second husband named Heinrich Blücher.
  • She was imprisoned.
  • She and Blücher fled Nazi Europe and went to New York, in 1941.
  • She and Blücher lived on Riverside Drive in NYC and in Kingston, NY near Bard College where Blücher taught for 17 years.

https://hac.bard.edu/about/hannaharendt/

“Banality of Evil” in Arendt’s The Origins of Totalitarianism

  • Arendt – 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.”
  • She thought the essence of totalitarianism was to make functionaries and mere cogs in the administrative machinery out of men
  • Some accused her of suggesting that the atrocity of the Holocaust had been commonplace, which of course was the very opposite of her point 
  • Arendt argued that Eichmann, far from being a “monster,” as the Israeli prosecutor insisted, was nothing more than a thoughtless bureaucrat, passionate in his desire to please his superiors\
  • Arendt’s book was criticized by the Jewish community

http://archive.wilsonquarterly.com/essays/note-banality-evil

Adolf Eichmann

  • He was a German high official who was hanged by the State of Israel for his part in the Holocaust, the Nazi extermination of Jews during World War II
  • he became a member of Heinrich Himmler’s SS, the Nazi paramilitary corps
  • He was the coordinator of the “final solution” which was mass extinction
  • He was captured and was put under trial about his acts. And claimed to not be anti-Semite.
  • Eichmann portrayed himself as an obedient bureaucrat who merely carried out his assigned duties

https://www.britannica.com/biography/Adolf-Eichmann

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