Eichmann in Jerusalem: Fifty Years Later

panel discussion of

Eichmann in Jerusalem

with

STEPHEN WHITFIELD and SUSANNAH HESCHEL 

moderated by JOSHUA RUBENSTEIN 

Co-sponsored by Facing History and Ourselves

This event includes a book signing

Date

Oct
4
Friday
October 4, 2013
3:00 PM

Location

Harvard Book Store
1256 Massachusetts Ave., Cambridge, MA 02138

Tickets

This event is free; no tickets are required.

Harvard Book Store and Facing History and Ourselves is pleased to welcome STEPHEN J. WHITFIELD, JOSHUA RUBENSTEIN, and SUSANNAH HESCHEL for a panel discussion of the 50th Anniversary of HANNAH ARENDT's classic work, Eichmann in Jerusalem.  

Originally appearing as a series of articles in The New Yorker, Hannah Arendt’s authoritative and stunning report on the trial of Nazi leader Adolf Eichmann sparked a flurry of debate upon its publication. This revised edition includes material that came to light after the trial, as well as Arendt’s postscript directly addressing the controversy that arose over her account. A major journalistic triumph by an intellectual of singular influence, Eichmann in Jerusalem is as shocking as it is informative—an unflinching look at one of the most unsettling (and unsettled) issues of the Twentieth Century.

While living in Argentina in 1960, Nazi leader Adolf Eichmann was kidnapped and smuggled to Israel where he was put on trial for crimes against humanity. The New Yorker magazine sent Hannah Arendt to cover the trial. While covering the technical aspects of the trial, Arendt also explored the wider themes inherent in the trial, such as the nature of justice, the behavior of the Jewish leadership during the Nazi Régime, and, most controversially, the nature of Evil itself.

Far from being evil incarnate, as the prosecution painted Eichmann, Arendt maintains that he was an average man, a petty bureaucrat interested only in furthering his career, and the evil he did came from the seductive power of the totalitarian state and an unthinking adherence to the Nazi cause. Indeed, Eichmann's only defense during the trial was "I was just following orders."

Arendt's analysis of the seductive nature of evil is a disturbing one. We would like to think that anyone who would perpetrate such horror on the world is different from us, and that such atrocities are rarities in our world. But the history of groups such as the Jews, Kurds, Bosnians, and Native Americans, to name but a few, seems to suggest that such evil is all too commonplace. In revealing Eichmann as the pedestrian little man that he was, Arendt shows us that the veneer of civilization is a thin one indeed.

Stephen J. Whitfield
Stephen J. Whitfield

Stephen J. Whitfield

Stephen J. Whitfield is Max Richter Chair in American Civilization at Brandeis University. He is the author of A Death in the Delta: The Story of Emmett Till and A Critical American: The Politics of Dwight Macdonald

Susannah Heschel
Susannah Heschel

Susannah Heschel

Susannah Heschel is the Eli Black Associate Professor of Jewish Studies in the Department of Religion at Dartmouth College. She is the coeditor of Insider/Outsider: Multiculturalism and American Jews and the editor of On Being a Jewish Feminist: A Reader and Moral Grandeur and Spirited Audacity: Essays on Abraham Joshua Heschel.

Harvard Book Store
1256 Massachusetts Ave., Cambridge, MA 02138

Walking from the Harvard Square T station: 2 minutes

As you exit the station, reverse your direction and walk east along Mass. Ave. in front of the Cambridge Savings Bank. Cross Dunster St. and proceed along Mass. Ave for three more blocks. You will pass Au Bon Pain, JP Licks, and TD Bank. Harvard Book Store is located at the corner of Mass. Ave. and Plympton St.

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