Máté Zombory – Claire Drevon (2021) 9. Documentation historique pendant la guerre froide: L’histoire du livre de Jenő Lévai, Eichmann en Hongrie (1961)

Máté Zombory – Claire Drevon (2021) 9. Documentation historique pendant la guerre froide: L’histoire du livre de Jenő Lévai, Eichmann en Hongrie (1961). Revue d’Histoire de la Shoah, 214, 231-255. https://doi.org/10.3917/rhsho.214.0231

Excerpt from the paper:

"The historical impact of Eichmann’s trial is due to several factors, among which the personal actions of the accused in relation to the Jewish genocide were far from the most important. Paradoxically, interest in Eichmann has been affected at least as much, if not more, by the contemporary “affairs” of the time than by his active participation in the Jewish genocide. There are at least two features of this particular history of reception. One is that the contemporary Hungarian aspects of the trial have faded. Until early 1961—when Israel’s attorney general Gideon Hausner ordered a refashioning of the concept of the case so as to make an epic presentation of the Holocaust in its entirety—the “Hungarian episode” of Eichmann’s deadly activity was of primary significance for the prosecution. Because the accused directed the deportations in person only from Hungary, the investigating police body, aiming to establish Eichmann’s direct responsibility, focused on Hungary. For the very same reasons, evidence from Hungary and knowledge about the 1944 anti-Jewish operations seemed to be essential to the case. Influenced by Israeli political aims, Hausner’s approach exaggerated Eichmann’s significance and diverted attention away from actions of his that it would have been possible to prove on the basis of contemporary historical knowledge about Nazi extermination policy. Another feature is that the trial’s significance is inseparable from its influential interpretations, among which Hannah Arendt’s report on the “banality of Evil” is the most famous…"