Recently, I’ve begun to hear the expression, the banality of evil, referenced by others. If you are unaware of it, Hannah Arendt, who covered and then wrote about the 1961 trial of the Nazi, Adolf Eichmann in Israel, is the individual who first wrote about this kind of evil, as she tried to confront in her own mind the non-thinking Eichmann purported to do, a thinking that allowed easily in his mind for the deaths of millions of Jews — without any human response on his part. Her articles in the New Yorker and the book that followed created an hysterical emotional storm in the Jewish community against her as she coincidentally reported on the facts that many Jewish leaders were involved negatively in the Holocaust.
I think going forward this story/experience might be something of which we as Americans will want to be aware. The first video is Hannah’s famous speech from the film — simply called Hannah Arendt, after this very deep thinker and philosopher. In trying to help you understand that with which she was confronted at the trial in Israel, I looked for video of Eichmann during the trial — because I decided you, as viewers, needed to have this personal experience made available to the viewers of the movie.
What I found was the second video, which discusses with the movie director and the woman who played Hannah their own thinking that I was delighted to see paralleled mine — or should I say vice versa: In order to convey the banality of evil, they themselves had seen the necessity of using film footage from the actual trial.
While the third video is the actual trailer for the movie, it continues on with the themes of the second video as it gives us a general sense of the life of Hannah, someone who had herself escaped a concentration camp — and some of her own personal challenges as a human being.
The fourth documentary video is — natürlich — not available to us: it is about the soul of Hannah. The trailer, however, conveys more understanding of her life and times, not very different from our present and potential experiences right here in America. It is as if humanity is being given a second chance to ‘get it right’, and I wonder how we will deal with it. I’m certain this video can be rented, and I recommend it to everyone.
I think we’re being presented with a chance to learn from Hannah’s experiences. I have to hope we will — because for the future of humanity, I think we must. ~Jean 🙂