We are told (Isaiah 12:1): “And you shall say on that day [of the Messianic redemption], ‘I thank You, O L-rd, for You were wrathful with me!'”
A polarizing figure. The godmother for anti-Zionist far lefties who can crank up her rhetoric to an anti-semitic level. Her own disdain for the Eichmann trial, a “show trial” in her terms, was part snobbery and part Western European Jew lording it over the less urbane and “unwashed” lack of articulation handicapped Eastern European brethren, as if they and their uncouth , and unenlightened ways were the root cause; in addition to occupying the train lines when those same freight cars could have been put in service in the name of the Reich and its army.
Of course, to the people actually victimized in the holocaust, the trauma and terror was very real and hardly banal. The banality aspect may have been the ordered stripping away of dignity and the nihilism of the soul which led most, not screaming and kicking but walking passively to their death in the camps. Try as she might, an analysis of the phenomenon of totalitarianism non-withstanding, no explanation by Arendt or others will hold water. It is even plausible to surmise than nincompoops, mental cases and retards like Eichmann et al. were incapable of such mass slaughter; that is, in some mysterious way, God was probably in the room directing the unfolding of events. Eichmann may have been a shrewd little worm, pyschologically, clinically sane, but a nut job of limited intelligence; perhaps much like Arendt herself, a glorification of mediocrity surrounded by the props of books and an academic demeanor.
In other words, Arendt herself is an industry, a commodity. If she didn’t exist we’d have to create her. It’s not that we are too small-minded and constrained to understand the reason for suffering, for a holocaust, its just that there is no adequate explanation, even a superficial one, the more amplified since a chief target was god’s chosen people. Arendt’s prattle about a mock trial is misplaced: if anything, it put egg on Ben Gurion’s face by opening up the past, unlocking details on the infamous Transfer Agreement, negotiated with Eichmann among others that permitted Germany’s wealthy Jewish class to leave with their assets under the caveat that the booty would be used to purchase German heavy industrial goods. Apparently, the Nazis came to regret this, but the P.R. damage to Israel still lingers.
While the Holocaust is one of the more prime examples of unlimited suffering inflicted against innocents, we come back to Arendt’s flawed analysis on a daily basis but without any sense of closure in understanding why righteous people suffer so deeply. The 100,000 dead in the Syrian conflict, Hiroshima, Stalin, 9/11 etc. etc. Where was god when all these children were exiled and persecuted, degraded and killed off. As Adorno said, its a problem when people look at an slaughterhouse and say its just animals….
From Der Spiegel ( see link at end)…Was Adolf Eichmann, the organizer of the “final solution of the Jewish question,” a monster or an efficient bureaucrat, a pathological creature or the embodiment of the banality of evil? Her theory of the “banality of evil” turned Arendt, a German Jew who became a college professor and distinguished author of philosophical works in the United States, into a controversial international figure in the early 1960s, more ostracized and hated than revered.
At the outset of the film, Arendt and her friend Mary McCarthy discuss the question of whether men, especially husbands, can actually be trusted. She hasn’t faced the great conflict of her life yet. She is living with her own husband, Heinrich Blücher, in a large, comfortable apartment with a view of the Hudson River, where she often entertains close friends, like McCarthy, a famous author and critic, influential German-born philosopher Hans Jonas, and other so-called New York Intellectuals, the group of left-leaning writers who grew to international prominence at the time. Her circle includes a colorful assortment of German refugees from the Hitler regime, as well as American bohemians and academics: animated, passionately political and sophisticated. They smoke and drink and all speak at the same time, with the vitality of people who love the present all the more because they know that the worst is behind them….
…She hears the horrific accounts of survivors, and she sees Chief Prosecutor Gideon Hausner “strutting around as if he had to compete with Eichmann for the lead role in a play.” The staging of the trial irritates Arendt, and she feels manipulated. “Israel really has to be careful that the trial doesn’t turn into a show trial,” she says to an old friend, the Zionist Kurt Blumenfeld, who defends the undertaking, saying: “Our young people have refused to confront the ‘dark times,’ as you call them. Either they’re ashamed of their parents for not having fought back or not having defended themselves, or they accuse them of not having behaved hably … They believe that only criminals or prostitutes could survive the camps.”
But Arendt isn’t quick to buy into such ideas, instead choosing to delve into the issues herself. Instead, her guiding principle is, “I want to understant.” She has traveled to Jerusalem to look a “monster” in the eye, but what she sees is a gaunt old bureaucrat who talks about orders and the discipline of the chain of command, who insists that he never physically harmed a Jew — which is apparently true — and who, in a confusing mixture of detailed factual testimony and moralistic statements about honor and oaths, eludes intuitive understanding….
…What is the meaning of this “banality of evil,” which requires no pathos, sadism or lunacy, which thrives in modern societies, with their extreme technical efficiency and sophisticated division of labor?
It doesn’t take much to realize how explosive Arendt’s thinking was. The philosopher Günther Anders, Arendt’s first husband, applied it to the example of the pilots who bombed Hiroshima, and today it’s most clearly evident when we think about the drones that are deployed by the push of a button by someone far away: Who is responsible when people are killed?…
…The outstanding book that accompanies the film, “Hannah Arendt: Her Ideas Changed the World,” which has just been published in German, mentions the Sassen tapes — recordings of conversations between Willem Sassen, a Dutch Nazi and journalist, and Eichmann in Argentina. The tapes clearly show that Eichmann was an ardent anti-Semite, incapable of the direct use of force, and yet determined to exterminate the Jewish people. His performance in Jerusalem was a successful deception….Read More:http://www.spiegel.de/international/zeitgeist/magnificent-new-german-film-depicts-hannah-arendt-a-876955.html
In the end, there is no valid theological explanations for the Holocaust. In fact any effort, is a form of ego-centric conceit, heartless and cold, to give rational expression to such a successful performance of nihilism on a world stage. It presumes an explanation tiny enough to fit inside the limited dimensions of human comprehension. To Arendt, the Jewish Councils, the Judenrats more closely resembled complicit actors than victims, and lurking, to Arendt, or implied by the tone, is some sort of defective gene exclusive to the Chosen people with an auto-destruct feature. Antisemitism is an illogical, irrational mainly inexplicable phenomenon that can be resisted but never intellectually analyzed with any degree of accuracy.
Von Trotta ( see link at end)…I don’t think an actor can bring out what a person really feels when he/she sees and observes the real Eichmann. The misery, the mediocrity, the bureaucratic language – the man was unable to utter a normal sentence. He was a civil servant. The awe and disgust that one experiences when watching this man isn’t possible when it is an actor, I don’t think, so we decided to show Hannah primarily in the press office – which did exist – where the trial was being shown on TV screens. That allowed me to use the original black-and-white documentary footage….
…Why do you make a film like this? Not just to get lost in the past, but to find something in the past that will challenge people now, that will be exciting now, that will be relevant today. It’s not a documentary. I can choose, so I choose from things that are exemplary for me, or contradictory, or moving. Of course, to an extent, I want to bring that person out of the past and into the present….Read More:http://www.goethe.de/kue/flm/far/en8898031.htm
(see link at end) Hannah Arendt:The horror of the concentration and extermination camps can never be fully embraced by the imagination for the very reason that it stands outside of life and death. The inmates are more effectively cut off from the world of the living than if they were dead, because terror compels oblivion among those who know them or love them. “What extraordinary women you are here,” exclaimed the Soviet police when Polish women insisted on knowing the whereabouts of their husbands who had disappeared. “In our country, when the husband is arrested; the wife sues for divorce and looks for another man” (The Dark Side of the Moon). Murder in the camps is as impersonal as the squashing of a gnat, a mere technique of management, as when a camp is overcrowded and is liquidated—or an accidental by-product, as when a prisoner succumbs to torture. Systematic torture and systematic starvation create an atmosphere of permanent dying, in which death as well as life is effectively obstructed.
The fear of the absolute Evil which permits of no escape knows that this is the end of dialectical evolutions and developments. It knows that modem politics revolves around a question which, strictly speaking, should never enter into politics, the question of all or nothing: of all, that is, a human society rich with infinite possibilities; or exactly nothing, that is, the end of mankind.
from “The Concentration Camps,” Partisan Reviews (1948)
(see link at end)…The same is true for the extermination camp of Sobibor after the prisoners broke out of the camp, it was shut down. The revolts of the prisoners in both camps were the direct cause of their closure. It is clear that without these rebellions, Jews, Gypsies, and other German “undesirables” would have continued to be executed for weeks to come in these places.
Where these revolts occurred, German activity was slowed or halted. The Warsaw ghetto was the scene of active fighting for more than six weeks, and sporadic resistance continued, unbelievably, until mid-June of 1944 15 months after the outbreak of the revolt!(12) If such violence had engulfed German executioners wherever they had attempted to harm Jews, the Holocaust would have been stillborn. To quote Emmanuel Ringelblum, archivist of the Warsaw ghetto…
…if everybody had attacked the Germans with knives, clubs, shovels, choppers; if we had received the Germans, Ukrainians, Latvians, and the Jewish ghetto police with acid, molten pitch, boiling water, and so on to put it in a nutshell, if men, women, and children, the young and the old, had risen in a single people’s levy, there would not have been 350,000 murdered at Treblinka, but only the 50,000 shot dead in the streets of Warsaw.
A final, and oft overlooked outcome of the revolts was the reclamation of simple human dignity by the fighters. The individuals incarcerated in the camps of the German extermination system died deliberately starved, beaten, helpless and dehumanized. They were subjected to the most brutal of tortures and the most degrading of conditions. No human being deserves to die in such a state. To fight back gave them the opportunity to have a hand in their fate; it gave them back the dignity that is the essence of being human.Read More:http://www.a-human-right.com/jewsfight.html