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Eichman and the Banality of Evil
By Dr. Jeff Sanders

Adolf Eichman was an "Oberstrumbannfuhrer" (Lt. Colonel) in the SS in World War II.  He was hand picked by SS General Reinhard Heydrich to manage the logistics of transporting millions and millions of Jews to be murdered in the Nazi death camps.  He did his work very well.  At least 1.5 million Jews were murdered by his fellow Nazis at Auschwitz alone, between 1942 and the summer of 1944 when the Nazis dismantled the gas chambers out of fear of advancing Soviet forces.

Eichman was not discovered by Allied agents for years after the war. He actually settled down in Austria until 1950.  Fearing that Nazi-hunters were on his tail, he fled for Argentina.  He and his wife and kids had a nice little life there, until Israeli Mossad and Shin Bet agents captured him and smuggled him out of the country.  

The mass murderer stood trial in Israel.  All the damning evidence, from Nazi documents to eyewitnesses confronted him.  He denied none of the Holocaust.  He freely and nonchalantly admitted his role in exterminating Jews.  He even said at one time that he would leap laughing into his grave because having 5 million people on his conscience was a source of extraordinary satisfaction.

Hannah Arendts was a political theorist who covered the trial.  She coined the phrase "the banality of evil." By that she meant that there is a tendency of ordinary people who simply don't want to be bothered with thinking or making hard moral choices.  For them it is easier to simply follow orders, conform to groupthink and just do whatever they are told.  Apparently millions of Germans thought that the excuse of "I'm just following orders" excused all culpability.

Eichman denied any guilt to his last breath.  He was merely following orders.  The Israelis found him guilty, then marched him to the gallows and hanged him. . . the only capital punishment ever carried out by an Israeli court.

His body was sent to a crematorium, and his ashes were pitched into the Mediterranean Sea.

A fitting end for a monster.

Thursday, March 23, 2017, 04:03 PM

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