Overview (Masterplots II: Nonfiction Series)
On May 11, 1960, Adolf Eichmann, who had been masquerading in Argentina as factory worker Ricardo Klement, was captured by Israeli agents and brought to Jerusalem for trial. During World War II, Eichmann, an obedient Nazi bureaucrat, had risen to Obersturmbannführer (a rank equivalent to lieutenant colonel) in the Schutzstaffel (SS), a branch of the state secret police, or Gestapo, headed by Heinrich Himmler. Eichmann became the “Jewish expert” of the branch known as the Head Office for Reich Security. In accordance with Adolf Hitler’s plan for a “final solution” for the Jewish people, Eichmann was put in charge of arranging the mass deportations to the killing centers, which were mainly in Poland. After Germany’s defeat in May, 1945, Eichmann was captured by the Americans but hid his true identity and, with the aid of Nazi sympathizers, eventually escaped to Argentina. For ten years, reunited with his family, he lived a quiet life until his capture.
When the news of Eichmann’s capture and forthcoming trial was broadcast, Hannah Arendt proposed herself as a trial reporter to William Shawn, editor of The New Yorker magazine. Shawn gladly accepted Arendt’s offer, as she had already earned a distinguished reputation as a political analyst through her work The Origins of Totalitarianism (1951). Also, as a Jew and an early refugee from Nazi Germany (she had escaped in 1933), Arendt was uniquely qualified to cover the trial....
(The entire section is 2478 words.)
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