The “banality of evil” in Malaysia

loading Woman with children in German death camp at Auschwitz, Poland during the Second World War. Adolf Eichmann arranged the deportation of millions of Jews to concentration camps like Auschwitz.

The Malay proverb “Sikit sikit jadi bukit” (loosely, “a mountain is made from grain on grain of sand”) can signify success coming from sustained effort. It also applies negatively: great damage is caused by persistent mischief.

Fifty-four years ago, Jewish writerphilosopher Hannah Arendt came up with the concept of “the banality of evil” after she covered the trial of Adolf Eichmann for the magazine, The New Yorker.

Eichmann was considered “one of the greatest of the Nazi war criminals”. He arranged the deportation of millions of Jews to concentration camps like Auschwitz, Chelmno and Treblinka, where many were systematically murdered. He was arrested in 1960 in Argentina and brought to trial in Jerusalem for crimes against humanity, war crimes, crimes against the Jewish people and membership in a criminal organisation.

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