Radical Evil and the Banality of Evil: Reading Hannah Arendt and Holocaust Survivors’ Memoirs
The unprecedented scale of modern horrors during the Holocaust has led us to view the phenomenon of Auschwitz as the epitome of evil in the twentieth century. This series of lectures analyzes Hannah Arendt’s theory of evil, examining its primary two categories: radical evil and the banality of evil. It scrutinizes the evil of the Shoah from the perspectives of philosophy and the social sciences, literature, and politics, comparing Arendt’s views on the role of the perpetrators and the status of victims to that of Holocaust survivors’ memories. The lectures deals with the works of Primo Levi, Jean Améry, Imre Kertész, Charlotte Delbo, and Jorge Semprun.