Last Updated on June 19, 2019, by eNotes Editorial. Word Count: 295
The main characters in this non-fiction book in which Hannah Arendt reported on the trial of Adolf Eichmann, a former SS leader, in Jerusalem in 1961 are as follows:
She was a political scientist born in Germany who covered the Eichmann trial for the New Yorker.
Adolf Eichmann (Otto Adolf Eichmann)
He was the defendant on trial in Israel in Arendt's book. He used to work as a traveling salesman for the Vacuum Oil Company in the 1920s and 1930s and then was a lieutenant colonel in the SS whose role was to organize the deportation and killing of Jews, gypsies, and Poles during the "final solution." He was captured by Israeli agents in Argentina in 1960 and brought to Israel to stand trial in 1961. He was accused of 15 counts of war crimes, crimes against the Jewish people, and crimes against humanity to which he pleaded not guilty. He was found guilty in 1961 hanged in 1962. He claimed that he had lived his life according to the moral principles of German philosopher Immanuel Kant, which Arendt refutes.
Landau was one of the judges who presided over the trial.
He was the Prime Minister of Israel who ordered the kidnapping of Eichmann in Argentina and ordered his trial in Israel for the actions he took to bring about the "final solution" of the Jews and others during the Nazi regime.
He was Attorney General of Israel during the trial.
From Cologne, he was Eichmann's lawyer, paid for by the Israeli government.
Himmler was the founder of the SS.
Heydrich was a former Naval intelligence officer who became the organizer of the "final solution" until his death in 1942, after which time Ernst Kaltenbrunner took over. Eichmann worked under him to organize deportations of Jews.