A total re-assessment of the life of Adolf Eichmann that reveals his activities and notoriety amongst a global network of national socialists following the collapse of the third reich, and that permanently undermines Hannah Arendt’s often-cited notion of the ‘banality of evil’.
Smuggled out of Europe after the collapse of Germany, Eichmann managed to live a peaceful and active exile in Argentina for years before his capture by the Mossad. Though once widely known by nicknames such as ‘Manager of the Holocaust’, he was able to portray himself, from the defendant’s box in Jerusalem in 1960, as an overworked bureaucrat who had been following orders — no more, he said, than ‘just a small cog in Adolf Hitler’s extermination machine’. How was this carefully crafted obfuscation possible? How did a principal architect of the Final Solution manage to disappear? And how had he occupied himself in hiding?
Drawing upon an astounding trove of newly discovered documentation, Stangneth gives us a chilling portrait not of a reclusive, taciturn war criminal on the run, but of a highly skilled social manipulator with an inexhaustible ability to reinvent himself — an unrepentant murderer, eager for acolytes to discuss past glories, who was vigorously planning future goals.