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Tuesday, May 5, 2020

Arendt on the Schreibtischtäter

In her 1963 report on the trail fo Adolf Eichmann (Eichmann in Jerusalem), Hannah Arendt says that the holocaust was perpetrated through a new, modern type of murderer: the Schreibtischtäter or desk murderer. She doesn’t see a linkage between the holocaust and German history; the Nazi murders, to her, were a problem of modernity, having little to do with Germany’s past. Modernity, she asserts, empowered the Nazi Schreibtischtäter, who blindly obeyed orders, and without personally participating in the murders, sent millions to their death by merely putting his signature on the official documents that came before him. She presents Eichmann as the prototype of a Schreibtischtäter. The phenomena of Schreibtischtäter, in my opinion, is real, and it persists till this day. In our times, the liberal political establishment is in control of the army of Schreibtischtäter in several nations.

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