Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Lozowick on Cesarani on Eichmann

A reader has left a comment on my recent "Evil isn't Banal" post:
There is a book by David Cesarani,
"Becoming Eichmann, Reviewing the life,
crimes and trial of a desk murderer" which
seems to be very critical of Arendt's approach (I haven't read it yet...it on
my waiting list).
The book is here: Becoming Eichmann

This set off a bell, and I went to the back room, bent down to rummage around at the back of the lowest shelf of the cupboard behind the old piano, and lo and behold: behind a pile of old shoes (most of them left shoes, for some reason) and dusty Lego castles, I found... a review I once wrote about Ceserani's book. Apparently it was published in some German journal, but I did the writing of it in English. So on the spot I decided to redeem it from the lost past, and here it is!

David and I used to be friends; in recent years we've drifted apart what with my moving to a new career. Now that I see the review, however, I wonder if there wasn't more substance to our loss of mutual interest. Sad.


volchan said...

Dear prof. Lozowick,

After reading your review of Cesarani's I guess now I have one book less on my waiting list :). By the way, Cesarani has a new book on the holocaust...

I totally agree with you on the issue of choice by the perpetrators, a point which is very rarely discussed (an exception is your book). In a related matter, I was very surprised to learn from Christopher Browning's book ("Ordinary man") that even those acting on the killings on the spot had the *choice* to refuse to participate. I used to hear the argument that those that refused were shot or imprisoned, which is a big lie. I guess this is yet another example of avoiding the choice/responsibility issue.

By the way, what is your view of Paul
Howard Rosen's book "Revolutionary antisemitism in Germany from Kant to
Wagner"? I am finding it extremely elucidating.


Gavin said...

It's strange how threads come together sometimes Yaacov. I was framing the view that many people explain away a person like Eichmann because they don't have the moral courage to admit that the next Eichmann could be their neighbour, workmate, even sibling. It's easier to find some unique combination of circumstances to pass his type off as an abherration, the alternative is too unpleasant to handle.

I wasn't going to make that comment, since most will disagree with it, but some link-jumping led me to someone you may be interested in. This lady is one of the directors of Human Rights Watch;


A real nest of virulent anti-semites. It really isn't hard to visualise at least one of the commenters there as another Eichmann in the making is it? Hosted by someone from HRW no less.

Regards, Gavin.