CLIO FINAL - page 20

to develop on the notion of ‘refugee’, which is
poignant to Jewish culture considering the back-
ground of continuous exile. Arendt claimed there
were two types of refugee, that of the refugee who
successfully assimilates and that of the Paria: the
troublemaker and outsider. This notion of the Paria
is particularly interesting as it arguably embodies
Jewish people due to their status repeatedly be-
ing that of a refugee as a result of their exile from
Israel and later areas of eastern Europe, equally as
a result of anti Semitism which has been embedded
in a range of wars and conflicts. Arendt’s devotion
to explaining the holocaust caused much conten-
tion in particular her theory: ‘the banality of evil’,
a name that arose from her interview at the trial
of Nazi leader Adolf Eichmann. Arendt’s claim was
not that the events of the holocaust were banal
however she did stress that it was important not to
give the Nazis the satanic status they revelled in.
Through her observations Arendt noticed particular
traits in Eichmann common in many Nazis, such as
speaking in clichés, not being able to follow a train
of thought or understand another’s point of view.
Such traits to some extent shed light on how mass
murder became normalised and routine. Arendt
argues it is Eichmann’s thoughtlessness and inabil-
ity to question his own actions that allowed many
Nazis to commit the horrors they so flippantly did.
However those similar to the likes of Eichmann are
symptoms to the greater cause of totalitarianism.
Arendt explains totalitarianism is allowed to thrive
as a result of particular political conditions, which
are adverse to any form of difference. She utilises
Aristotle’s notion of Humans having two aspects:
the animalistic side which comes in the form of
the body and the political/social side which comes
in the form of identity, names, preferences which
differentiates us from animals. Arendt claims that
once you split the two in half and detach the person
from their social side as the Nazis did by shaving
the heads of Jews, giving them the same clothes
and replacing their names with numbers. By reduc-
ing a person to a body the Nazis were able to make
themselves believe it was no longer murder but
eradication of a predatory inferior race.
Jewish culture and spirit has persisted
through many atrocities and unforgivable hard-
ships, and has lost none of the traditions and values
that make it so unique. From the origins of Passover
to the Holocaust, historical events have forged Jew-
ish culture to make it what it is today. The impact of
history on Judaism therefore acts as a living lesson
that ‘all that is needed for evil to succeed is for good
men to do nothing’.
Hannah Crabbe-Krivine 12LT
1...,10,11,12,13,14,15,16,17,18,19 21,22,23,24,25,26,27,28,29,30,...38
Powered by FlippingBook