Hannah Arendt


October 17, 2021

Hannah Arendt (1906–1975) was a German-born American political scientist, often described as a political philosopher. However, she did not use the term philosopher about herself. Arendt's most famous work is about understanding the origins of totalitarianism; in The Origins of Totalitarianism she tries to show the common roots of Nazism and Communism. Arendt herself had a Jewish background and many of her works touch on Jewish issues. Arendt took many views that made her controversial in Jewish circles. She was an early critic of Israel and Zionism as an ideology. In her controversial book Eichmann in Jerusalem, she blamed Jewish leaders for the extent of the persecution of Jews, and presented her theory of the banality of evil.


Family and education

Hannah Arendt was born Johanna Arendt on October 14, 1906 in Hanover, Germany. She belonged to a wealthy secular family of Jewish origin in Linden, Hanover, and grew up in East Prussia's capital Königsberg and in Berlin. His father died early. At home in Königsberg, the family had contact with many kinds of Jewish communities, including Zionists, German citizens of Jewish faith, Jews who fled west, the centuries-old Jewish community in Königsberg, and Jews who had left the religion. The family was clearly Jewish but not very religious. Politically, the family sympathized with the Social Democrats. Arendt took artium in 1924 and studied theology and then philosophy and Greek in Berlin, Marburg, Freiburg and Heidelberg. She studied philosophy with Martin Heidegger at Philipps-Universität Marburg. From the age of 19, she had a love affair with Heidegger, who was then in her mid - 30s. After breaking off the relationship, she went to Heidelberg to write a doctoral dissertation on love in Augustine's thinking, under the guidance of the existentialist philosopher Karl Jaspers. in 1929 under the title Der Liebesbegriff bei Augustin. Versuch einer philosophischen Interpretation, but Arendt was not allowed to habilitate (gain professorship) in 1933 because she was a Jew, and therefore left her homeland and settled in Paris.

Under the Nazi regime

In 1964, she said that she became politically involved on 27 February 1933 after the Riksdag fire and the subsequent "protective arrests". She began collecting information about the Nazis' policy towards the Jews in the country for use in information work abroad. Arendt was arrested in 1933 while working on this in the state library and was released after eight days by a friendly policeman who did not quite know what to do. She immediately planned to leave Germany without travel documents. She and her mother snuck across the border into Czechoslovakia and traveled via Geneva to Paris. In Paris, she constantly had to hide from the police because she did not have and did not receive identity documents. Her experience as a paperless and later stateless refugee was an important basis for her discussion of the relationship between citizenship and human rights. In France, she worked to help German-Jewish refugees and supported the work of emigrating Jewish children to Palestine. Arendt lost his German citizenship in 1937, and was then stateless. In 1940 she married the German communist but anti-Stalinist author and philosopher Heinrich Blücher. In May 1940, after the German invasion of France, she was divorced from her husband and interned in the Gurs camp in the Pyrenees (near Pau) along with 6,000 other stateless Germans. A few weeks later, the French resistance collapsed and it was expected that the internment camp would soon be taken over by advancing German forces and 2,000 of the 7,000 women in the camp fled. She fled the internment camp and went on foot to Montauban (under the control of the Vichy regime) where she happened to meet Blücher. Blücher h

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