Eichmann Before Jerusalem: The Unexamined Life of a Mass Murderer

Bettina Stangneth, trans. from the German by Ruth Martin. Knopf, $35 (608p) ISBN 978-0-307-95967-6
German philosopher and historian Stangneth provides plenty of evidence to dispel Adolf Eichmann’s cowardly testimony at his 1961 trial in Jerusalem, where he claimed he was simply a “small cog in Adolf Hitler’s extermination machine.” The gossip surrounding Eichmann during WWII and his subsequent escape to Argentina proves otherwise, Stangneth shows, as she maps out Eichmann’s post-war years and his careful management of his own persona. Eichmann had quickly gained the title of the “Czar of the Jews” while working within the Third Reich bureaucracy; his calculated dealings with the Jewish communities in Austria, Poland, and Hungary brought him in contact with many Jewish leaders who spread word of his monstrous actions to their respective communities. Stangneth writes with clarity and determination, allowing the overwhelming evidence to drive her theory that Adolf Eichmann was “clearly someone who was out to ‘create’ a verdict rather than reach one.” Thrilling in its purpose, Stangneth paints a portrait very different from the banality of “Eichmann in Jerusalem” Hannah Arendt reported on in 1961. This work is daunting, but there is no doubt of its importance: Stangneth’s research, full of forgotten papers, lost interviews, and buried evidence, turns the conventional wisdom about Eichmann on its head. (Sept.)
Reviewed on: 07/28/2014
Release date: 09/02/2014
Paperback - 608 pages - 978-0-307-95016-1
Paperback - 608 pages - 978-1-925106-17-6
Open Ebook - 448 pages - 978-0-307-95968-3
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