In: KulturPoetik 2002, Heft 1


Vivian Liska


Die Versuchung der Bilder und der Anspruch des Denkens. Hannah Arendts Eichmann in Jerusalem und Rony Braumans und Eyal Sivans Un Spécialiste




Recent representations of holocaust-related events reveal how difficult it is to distinguish between a legitimate use and an interested abuse of the past. Hannah Arendt’s reflections about the relationship between history and politics indicate criteria for this distinction, which are implicitly applied in her own report on the Eichmann trial. In Éloge de la désobéissance Rony Brauman and Eyal Sivan claim that their film Un Spécialiste, a montage cut from the original documentary of the trial, is a faithful rendering of Arendt’s Eichmann in Jerusalem. This essay argues that the value of Arendt’s book lies in the complexity of its presentation, which prevents the exploitation of the past for ulterior purposes. In failing to translate the plurality of perspectives and the narrative openness of Eichmann in Jerusalem into the medium of their film, Brauman and Sivan reduce the report to a narrow, questionable thesis and betray Arendt’s achievement.