Law Text Culture


Hannah Arendt's account of the trial of Adolf Eichmann has haunted commentators since it was first published in 1963. The meaning of the trial, as a foundational event for the State of Israel, and the meaning of the trial as a point of visibility for the hundreds of witnesses, is endlessly examined in the literature on Eichmann in Jerusalem. The ghosts of the people lost to the Nazi regime haunt the trial, as do the voices of the witnesses, and the desires and efforts of the prosecutor, the judges, and Eichmann himself. Like all texts, Eichmann in Jerusalem is haunted as a matter of course, is made up of invisible and inaudible participants among the words that can be read and re-read. This essay is a meditation on the hauntings within this text, from within the genre of haunted literature. It reads Eichmann in Jerusalem as, finally, a ghost story.