European Jewish Congress
Hanna Arendt statue unveiled in Budapest
Hanna Arendt statue unveiled in Budapest

The mayor of a district of Budapest unveiled the bust of the Jewish-American philosopher Hannah Arendt at an event commemorating the 60th anniversary of the Hungarian Revolution of 1956.

Laszlo Hajdu, mayor of Budapest’s 15th District and a politician for the Democratic Coalition, a left wing opposition party, unveiled the bust last Thursday at a ceremony attended by U.S. Ambassador to Hungary Colleen Bell.

A Jewish intellectual who fled Nazi Germany, Arendt arrived in America in 1941 and became well-known for her coverage in The New Yorker of the trial of Nazi war criminal Adolf Eichmann in Jerusalem, which began in 1961.

In 1958, she published an article entitled “Totalitarian Imperialism: Reflections on the Hungarian Revolution” in The Journal of Politics about the failed revolt two years earlier in that country against its communist government, which took orders from the Soviet Union. The Red Army had quelled the uprising by November 10, 1956, killing hundreds of protesters and militants.

Arendt’s writings about Eichmann and the Holocaust were far more controversial than her observations about the uprising in Hungary.

Her book “Eichmann in Jerusalem: A Report on the Banality of Evil” made “banality of evil” into an enduring catchphrase used to describe the abdication of moral judgment she said was demonstrated by Eichmann and Nazi bureaucrats in carrying out the orders of their superiors.

But her critics charged that this argument, at least in Eichmann’s case, did not correspond with what they argued was the zeal with which he carried out his orders, and his own initiatives that went beyond the orders given to him.

Click here to read the full article in The Forward

Wednesday, October 26, 2016
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