Becoming Eichmann

Becoming Eichmann

5.0 1
by David Cesarani
     
 

In charge of the logistical apparatus of mass deportation and extinction, Adolf Eichmann was at the center of the Nazi genocide against the Jews. He was personally responsible for transporting over two million Jews to their deaths in Auschwitz-Birkenau and other death camps. This is the first account of Eichmann's life to appear since the aftermath of his famous

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Overview

In charge of the logistical apparatus of mass deportation and extinction, Adolf Eichmann was at the center of the Nazi genocide against the Jews. He was personally responsible for transporting over two million Jews to their deaths in Auschwitz-Birkenau and other death camps. This is the first account of Eichmann's life to appear since the aftermath of his famous trial in 1961 and his subsequent execution in Jerusalem a year later. It reveals that the depiction of Eichmann as a loser who drifted into the ranks of the SS is a fabrication that conceals Eichmann's considerable abilities and his early political development. Drawing on recently unearthed documents, David Cesarani shows how Eichmann became the Reich's "expert" on Jewish matters and reveals his initially cordial working relationship with Zionist Jews in Germany, despite his intense anti-Semitism. Cesarani explains how the massive ethnic cleansing Eichmann conducted in Poland in 1939-40 was the crucial bridge to his later role in the mass deportation of the Jews. And Cesarani argues controversially that Eichmann was not necessarily predisposed to mass murder, exploring the remarkable, largely unknown period in Eichmann's early career when he first learned how to become an administrator of genocide. This challenging work deepens our understanding of Adolf Eichmann and offers fresh insights both into the operation of the Final Solution and the making of its most notorious perpetrator.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publishers Weekly
To the Israeli prosecutor who interrogated him in 1961, Adolf Eichmann was a fanatical anti-Semite and a central figure in the annihilation of the Jews. To Hannah Arendt, he was a dim-witted bureaucrat, a cog in the machinery of destruction that was the Holocaust. British historian Cesarani, author of numerous books on the Holocaust and Jewish history, offers a more complex and nuanced portrait. Based on research into sources that were unavailable in the 1960s and on the most recent scholarly work on the Holocaust, Cesarani corrects the historical record on numerous issues. Contrary to popular myth, he says, Eichmann had a normal childhood and a socially and professionally successful young adulthood. Eichmann joined the SS not because he was a misfit but because, like so many German and Austrian middle-class men, he found the Third Reich a great engine of social mobility. Cesarani's biography is convincing on many counts. But in the end, the broad outlines of Arendt's portrait in her brilliant Eichmann in Jerusalem remain standing. Eichmann may have been more intelligent and skilled than she concluded, but he was the perfect expression of the highly bureaucratized and systematic killing process that the Nazis perfected. 8 pages of b&w photos, 2 maps. (May 15) Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.
Booklist
Presents a compelling vision of Eichmann...Few biographies, and fewer Holocaust histories, are as innovative or as nuanced.
Pittsburgh Tribune-Review
Well presented and exhaustively documented...Helpful discussions of what the Eichmann story has meant to different people at different times.
Library Journal - Library Journal
Cesarani (history, London Univ.) has written the most detailed, complete, and balanced biography of Eichmann in 40 years. Most works have concentrated solely on Eichmann's capture, trial, and execution during 1960-62; however, Cesarani also focuses on his childhood, Nazi Party days, and exile in Argentina. The greatest strength of the book is the analysis refuting previous attempts to categorize Eichmann as an ordinary "desk clerk" just following orders. Cesarani states that "each generation has seen what it wanted to see in Eichmann": to the Israelis, he was the personification of the evils of the Nazi system; to others, a victim of the totalitarian state, as in Hannah Arendt's Eichmann in Jerusalem, or a mere robot, as in Harry Mulisch's Criminal Case 40/61. In Cesarani's view, Eichmann was not predisposed to genocide; nor was he a blameless "cog" in the wheel of the Holocaust. Rather, he taught himself morally to accept and execute a genocidal plan. In the context of recent genocides (Darfur, Rwanda, Bosnia), Eichmann can be seen as neither unique nor banal but as a warning that anyone can become a g nocidaire. Recommended for academic libraries and Holocaust collections.-Maria C. Bagshaw, Lake Erie Coll., Painesville, OH Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780306814761
Publisher:
Da Capo Press
Publication date:
04/28/2006
Pages:
464
Product dimensions:
6.30(w) x 9.00(h) x 1.50(d)

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