Can Evil Ever Be Banal? Revisiting Hannah Arendt's Great Mistake

Even if Arendt was wrong in the case of Eichmann himself, the phrase, ‘banality of evil,’ that she coined can assist us in understanding a psychological phenomenon that is not easy to digest

Send in e-mailSend in e-mail
Send in e-mailSend in e-mail
Aner Govrin
Aner Govrin

Yariv Mozer’s 2022 documentary film “The Devil’s Confession: The Lost Eichmann Tapes,” in which Adolf Eichmann is heard speaking in his own voice to the Nazi journalist Willem Sassen about his attitude toward Jews, is an event of major importance for the field of Holocaust research. This is particularly so when it comes regard to understanding the psychological motives of those who participated actively in the project of annihilating the Jews of Europe. The film also provides an opportunity for a renewed reading of Hannah Arendt’s “Eichmann in Jerusalem: A Report on the Banality of Evil,” from 1963.

Comments

SUBSCRIBERS JOIN THE CONVERSATION FASTER

Automatic approval of subscriber comments.
From $1 for the first month

Already signed up? LOG IN

ICYMI

Charles Lindbergh addressing an America First Committee rally on October 3, 1941.

Ken Burns’ Brilliant ‘The U.S. and the Holocaust’ Has Only One Problem

The projected rise in sea level on a beach in Haifa over the next 30 years.

Facing Rapid Rise in Sea Levels, Israel Could Lose Large Parts of Its Coastline by 2050

Tal Dilian.

As Israel Reins in Its Cyberarms Industry, an Ex-intel Officer Is Building a New Empire

Queen Elizabeth II, King Charles III and a British synagogue.

How the Queen’s Death Changes British Jewry’s Most Distinctive Prayer

Newly appointed Israeli ambassador to Chile, Gil Artzyeli, poses for a group picture alongside Rabbi Yonatan Szewkis, Chilean deputy Helia Molina and Gerardo Gorodischer, during a religious ceremony in a synagogue in Vina del Mar, Chile last week.

Chile Community Leaders 'Horrified' by Treatment of Israeli Envoy

Queen Elizabeth attends a ceremony at Windsor Castle, in June 2021.

Over 120 Countries, but Never Israel: Queen Elizabeth II's Unofficial Boycott