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Hitler's Bureaucrats
     

Hitler's Bureaucrats

by Yaacov Lozowick, Haim Watzman (Translator)
 

For many, the name Adolf Eichmann is synonymous with the Nazi murder of six million Jews. Alongside Adolf Hitler and Heinrich Himmler, he is probably the most infamous of the Nazi murderers; unlike them, the aura linked to his name is that of the ultimate evil that may lurk in each and every one of us. This understanding can be attributed above all to Hannah Arendt

Overview

For many, the name Adolf Eichmann is synonymous with the Nazi murder of six million Jews. Alongside Adolf Hitler and Heinrich Himmler, he is probably the most infamous of the Nazi murderers; unlike them, the aura linked to his name is that of the ultimate evil that may lurk in each and every one of us. This understanding can be attributed above all to Hannah Arendt, and her seminal book, Eichmann in Jersualem: A Report on the Banality of Evil, in which she suggested that Eighcmann and many bureaucrats like him never actually realized what they were doing:they were thoughtless rather than consciously evil. By taking this position, Arendt rejected the biblical story of Genesis, which sets the ability to distinguish between right and wrong at the very core of beign human. Instead, she implied that Eichmann represented a potential face of the future. This book claims that she was wrong. It describes the facts as they appear in the documentation created by Eichmann and his colleagues, and suggest that they fully understood what they were doing. The primary motivating force for their actions was a well-developed acceptance of th tenents of Nazi ideology, of which antisemitism was a central component. As far as one is able to determine, after the war not a single one of them ever expressed regret for their actions against the Jews, unless it was regret for having to pay the consequences. These were no run-of-the-mill bureaucrats who merely 'followed orders'.

Editorial Reviews

Library Journal
Lozowick (Yad Vashem, Israel) argues that the traditional picture of Nazi bureaucrats as mere cogs in a death machine needs to be revised. According to Lozowick, Nazi bureaucrats from Eichmann on down were not only crucial to carrying out the "Final Solution" but were instrumental in shaping Nazi policy through the collection and analysis of information. The bureaucrats then enthusiastically implemented the policies they helped formulate. Although bureaucratic history tends to break down into minutiae, Lozowick is largely able to avoid this problem because he is not trying to write a history of the entire Nazi administration. His conclusions are in line with Robert Gellately's Backing Hitler, which revealed that the Nazi system did not depend on coercive force from above to stay in power. In fact, he argues, the Nazi system depended on the support of the people, and it was through their active participation, in this case the formulation and implementation of the Final Solution, that Hitler's racial vision was implemented. Fundamentally, Lozowick challenges Hannah Arendt's thesis that totalitarianism removes choices and argues that even bureaucrats had the freedom to choose. This is an important book, but it does require some background in the subject; recommended for academic and specialized libraries. Frederic Krome, Jacob Rader Marcus Ctr. of the American Jewish Archives, Cincinnati Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780826465375
Publisher:
Bloomsbury Academic
Publication date:
05/01/2003
Pages:
320
Product dimensions:
6.14(w) x 9.21(h) x 0.66(d)

Meet the Author


Yaacov Lozowick is the director of the archives at Yad Vashem, Israel's national authority for commemoration of the Holocaust. He has published articles in Hebrew, German, Polish, and English on the history of the SS, on the role of memory in Judaism, and on the pitfalls of Israeli-German dialogue. He lives with his wife and three children in Jerusalem.

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