Chapter

A Generation's Response to <i>Eichmann in Jerusalem</i>

Cohen Richard I.

in Hannah Arendt in Jerusalem

Published by University of California Press

Published in print August 2001 | ISBN: 9780520220560
Published online May 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780520923669 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1525/california/9780520220560.003.0017
A Generation's Response to Eichmann in Jerusalem

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No single study of the Holocaust has come close to attracting the kind of public attention Eichmann in Jerusalem received. From its original publication in the New Yorker magazine in 1963 until today, Eichmann in Jerusalem continues to arouse interest, disagreement, and controversy. This chapter discusses Jewish and non-Jewish responses to Eichmann in Jerusalem. Responses to Arendt centered on issues of the Holocaust, and not on issues raised by the trial. The history of the reception of Eichmann in Jerusalem shows how different groups focused on issues that touched their particular experiences. Memory and respect for the past and for their forefathers' traditions and culture were strong motivating factors. Many a Jewish intellectual who previously refrained from dealing publicly with such issues joined the fray with a special intensity, revealing intertwining feelings of guilt and nostalgia. A generation later, the controversy over Eichmann in Jerusalem has given way to a greater appreciation of the author and to her theoretical contribution to understanding the nature of evil in modern society and the problem of individual choice and freedom of action.

Keywords: Hannah Arendt; Holocaust; Eichmann

Chapter.  10418 words. 

Subjects: Judaism and Jewish Studies

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