Hannah Arendt (2012)
Hannah Arendt: You forbid books and you speak of decency.
Hannah Arendt: Western tradition mistakenly assumes that the greatest evils of mankind arise from selfishness. But in our century, evil has proven to be more radical than was previously thought. And we now know that the truest evil, the radical evil, has nothing to do with selfishness or any such understandable, sinful motives. Instead, it is based on the following phenomenon: making human beings superfluous as human beings. The entire concentration camp system was designed to convince the prisoners they were unnecessary before they were murdered. In the concentration camps men were taught that punishment was not connected to a crime, that exploitation wouldn't profit anyone, and that work produced no results. The camp is a place where every activity and human impulse is senseless. Where, in other words, senselessness is daily produced anew. So to summarize: If it is true that in the final stage of totalitarianism, an absolute evil emerges, absolute as it no longer relates to human motives, then it is equally true that without it, without totalitarianism, we would never have known the truly radical nature of evil.
Hannah Arendt: But isn't it interesting that a man who has done everything a murderous system demanded of him who even hastens to disclose any details about his work, that this man insists on the fact he has nothing against Jews?
Hannah Arendt: The whole world is trying to prove that I'm wrong. And no one sees my real mistake. Evil cannot be both ordinary and radical. Evil is always extreme. Never radical. Good is always deep and radical.
Heinrich Blücher: Would you have covered the trial if you knew what was expecting you?
Hannah Arendt: Yes. I would have covered it. Maybe to learn who my real friends are.
Heinrich Blücher: Kurt was your friend and would have remained such.
Hannah Arendt: Kurt was my family.
Hannah Arendt: How can you leave me like that? No hug, no kiss?
Heinrich Blücher: Never disturb a great philosopher when they're thinking.
Hannah Arendt: But they can't think without kisses.
Hannah Arendt: I wrote no defense of Eichmann, but I did try to reconcile the shocking mediocrity of the man with his staggering deeds. Trying to understand him is not the same thing as forgiveness. And furthermore, I see it as my responsibility to understand. It is the responsibility of anyone who dares to put pen to paper on this subject.
Kurt Blumenfeld: [on Eichmann] And he thinks he is in no way responsible for the fate of the people he had transported?
Hannah Arendt: Yes. It is his vision. He's a bureaucrat.
Mary McCarthy: [interrupting a German discussion] Whatever you are saying, I agree with all of you.
Hannah Arendt: Everybody, English now, please.