October 13, 2013 10:00 AM – 1:00 PM
Fifty years ago, a small book called “Eichmann in Jerusalem: A Report on the Banality of Evil,” by a New School philosophy professor named Hannah Arendt set off a storm like few books before or since. It also sold more than 100,000 copies and reshaped the way people have thought about the Holocaust, genocide and the puzzle of evil ever since. “The Controversy” — as people simply called the growing dispute — is largely forgotten now, and the intense rancor it inspired might seemimprobable. But a new movie about the episode, “Hannah Arendt,” revives the debates and the era.
Hannah Arendt made the point that Eichmann, a senior SS officer, was not the malicious organizer of the Nazi death camps, as Israeli prosecutors charged, but rather a mediocre bureaucrat, “a leaf in the whirlwind of time,” as Arendt put it; “not a monster” but “a clown.” Hence the enduring phrase from her book’s subtitle: “the banality of evil.” Some argue that Arendt misread Eichmann, but she did hit on something broader about how ordinary people become brutal killers. The postwar generation of young Germans took Arendt’s book as inspiration to rebel against their parents, who may not have personally killed Jews during the war but knew what was going on and did nothing. In America,protesters invoked the “banality of evil” to rail against theoutwardly decent family men who dropped bombs on North Vietnam or satin nuclear-missile silos, ready to push the button — seeing them as the cold war’s version of Arendt’s “desk murderers.”
On Sunday morning October 13th, One Day University will present a special screening of this film along with an in-depth lecture and discussion led by Professor Roger Berkowitz. As the Director of the Hannah Arendt Center at Bard College, Professor Berkowitz is the leading authority on this subject, and the ideal scholar to lecture and guide this presentation
Hannah Arendt Film Screening, Lecture & Discussion
Professor: Roger Berkowitz / Bard College
Location: The JCC in Manhattan - 334 Amsterdam Avenue (@76th Street)