Tuesday, July 16, 2019

Banality of Evil? No.

"...As I dug deeper, I grew more and more uncomfortable with [Hannah] Arendt's explanations. The more I came to know these bureaucrats, the less familiar they became. I realized that this was a group of people completely aware of what they were doing, people with high ideological motivation, people of initiative and dexterity who contributed far beyond what was necessary. And there could be no doubt about it: they clearly understood that their deeds were not positive except in the value system of the Third Reich. They hated Jews and thought that getting rid of them would be to Germany's good. They knew that not everyone thought this way, and they deliberately hid information that might have deterred others from cooperating. While most of them sat behind desks rather than behind machine guns, from time to time some were called upon to face flesh and blood Jews and decide their fate, and this they did, ferociously, without batting an eyelid.

"The facts that stare one in the face, it seems to me, indicate the opposite of Arendt's thesis. There was nothing banal about the evil of Eichmann and his comrades."

- From Hitler's Bureaucrats: The Nazi Security Police and the Banality of Evil by Yaacov Lozowick

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