David Cesarani, a recently deceased historian of the Holocaust and of British Jewry, was among the first to demonstrate, on the basis of the documentary record, the falsity of Hannah Arendt’s depiction of Adolf Eichmann as a “banal” and faceless bureaucrat without ideological investment in Nazism. Jeffrey Herf explains:
[In 2004,] Cesarani was [the] first of historians writing outside Israel to come up with a seemingly obvious yet previously neglected idea. It was to read Israel’s pre-trial interrogation of Eichmann as well as the transcript of the Eichmann trial itself. . . . The transcript includes the verdict written by the three Israeli judges, Benjamin Halevi, Yitzḥak Raveh, and Moshe Landau. Cesarani’s accomplishment lay in part in bringing the judges’ verdict to the attention of an English-speaking audience. For the 40 years from 1964 to 2004, [the analysis of those] who knew the most about the case and who had studied it most closely had played almost no role in the international discussion of Eichmann. Instead, it was Arendt, who had been absent for many weeks of the most important parts of the trial, who dominated the global view of a man driven by bureaucratic punctiliousness and mindless obedience to orders. . . .
By informing readers of the nuanced, balanced, deeply informed, and sophisticated legal and historical verdict reached by the judges in Jerusalem, Cesarani shattered decades of condescension and ignorant neglect that had for too long obscured [the verdict] from global view.