Hannah Arendt writes in her section on “totalitarianism in power” the following: “These groups [masses of Jews and Russians], innocent in every sense, are the most suitable for thorough experimentation in disenfranchisement and destruction of the juridical person, and therefore they are both qualitatively and quantitatively the most essential category of the camp population. This principle was most fully realized in the gas chambers which, if only because of their enormous capacity, could not be intended for individual cases but only for people in general” (The Origins of Totalitarianism, ch. 12, p. 449). This question has two parts: First, please explain and evaluate this quote by Arendt in the context of her concluding chapters on totalitarianism. Second, what is the significance of treating “people in general” versus treating people as “individuals”? In answering this part of the question, please make reference to other primary and secondary works we have read in which this issue arises (including, for instance, Dan Stone’s history of concentration camps).
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