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Hannah Arendt's Eichmann Controversy as Destabilizing Transatlantic Text

  • Adam J. Sacks (a1)

The controversy surrounding Hannah Arendt's reportage on the Eichmann trial in Jerusalem and the subsequent book cannot be underestimated. For Arendt personally, the trial was the decisive event in the second half of her life and amounted to nothing less than a second exile. On the world stage, it marked not only a critical turning point in international consciousness of the Holocaust, but also both initiated and reflected a critical shift in intra-Jewish representations and expression. Arendt's book could in fact be considered as a master text for Judaic studies in the second half of the twentieth century. To mention two of many possible consequences, the controversy may be seen as a pivot point from which the culture of the public intellectuals of New York argued itself out of the spotlight, as well as a primary catalyst for two of the most significant works on the Holocaust penned by women: Lucy Davidowicz's The War against the Jews (1975) and Leni Yahil's The Holocaust (1987).

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Steven Aschheim , ed., Hannah Arendt in Jerusalem (Berkeley: University of California, 2001), 5.

Idith Zertal , Israel's Holocaust and the Politics of Nationhood (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2005), 108.

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AJS Review
  • ISSN: 0364-0094
  • EISSN: 1475-4541
  • URL: /core/journals/ajs-review
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