Hannah Arendt

Article

October 17, 2021

Hannah Arendt (born October 14, 1906 in Linden, died December 4, 1975 in New York) - German political theorist of Jewish origin, philosopher and journalist.

Curriculum vitae

She came from an assimilated Jewish family. She was born in Linden, today's Hanover district. The writer's parents were wealthy representatives of the upper middle class. She spent her childhood and early youth in Königsberg, the then capital of East Prussia, where her family moved so that Arendt's father could undergo the treatment of syphilis he had contracted in his youth. At the time Hannah was born, the disease was believed to be in remission. Her father died when she was seven years old. Arendt was raised in a politically progressive, secular family. Her mother was a staunch supporter of the Social Democrats. Her parents were non-practicing Jews, but thanks to her grandfather, Maks Arendt, she got to know Jewish culture. After the outbreak of World War I, Hannah and her mother moved to Berlin. At the age of 13, she learned the basics of ancient literature and culture, including the philosophical works of Martin Heidegger and Karl Jaspers, thanks to her parents' well-equipped library. In 1924, after graduating from high school, she began studies in this field at the University of Marburg. Here she met Martin Heidegger. This acquaintance turned into a very deep relationship for both of them. Heidegger, fearing a scandal, decided to break off the romance after six months. Arendt left Marburg and continued her studies at the University of Freiburg, with Husserl, and later at the University of Heidelberg, at a Jaspers seminar. Under the guidance of Karl Jaspers (who was recommended by Arendt it was Heidegger), she wrote a doctorate on the concept of love in Saint Augustine. Hannah Ardent married Günther Anders in 1929. It was directly affected by the intensifying anti-Jewish persecution in Nazi Germany in the 1930s. Arendt, unlike her husband, was active in Jewish charity organizations. Brief imprisonment in mid-1933 and growing disappointment with the attitude of the intelligentsia forced her to leave Germany illegally. She first fled to Czechoslovakia and Switzerland before settling in Paris. There she worked for the Youth Aliyah organization, helping young Jews to emigrate to the British Palestinian Mandate (now Israel). She divorced Anders in 1937, and in 1940 she joined Heinrich Blücher, a prominent activist of the Communist Party of Germany. In May 1940 she was interned in Gurs. In late 1940, Hannah and her husband obtained visas and immigrated to the United States. She settled in New York, which remained her headquarters until the end of her life. She obtained American citizenship in 1950. In New York, she was engaged in writing and editing. She was also a professor at the University of Chicago (1963–1967) and the New School for Social Research in New York (1967–1975). Until 1952, she worked in the commission dealing with saving the cultural heritage of European Jews. She created one of the most famous theories of totalitarianism. She was inspired by ancient philosophy and the philosophy of Kant. In Poland, none of her books appeared in the official national publishing house until 1985 (Literatura na Świecie, No. 167).

The influence of historical events on the work of Hannah Arendt

It took her almost five years to work on her book, The Origins of Totalitarianism; during this time her thought evolved. The final version only slightly resembled the initial assumptions. During her stay in Germany, her interest in anti-Semitism led Arendt to turn to the issues of racism, which in turn led her to the issues of imperialism. Before the book was finished, rec

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