Hannah Arendt

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Hannah Arendt (born on 14. October 1906 as Johanna Arendt in Linden , today's district of Hanover , died on 4. December 1975 in New York City was) a Jewish German-American political theorist and publicist .

The deprivation of rights and persecution of Jews in the Nazi era , as well as their own short-term detention by the Gestapo in July 1933, she moved to emigrate from Germany. She emigrated to Paris via Karlsbad and Geneva , where she worked as a social worker for Jewish institutions. After she was expatriated by the Nazi regime in 1937, she was stateless until she was granted US citizenship in 1951 . Since then she has seen herself as an American and has supported the US constitution . Arendt worked, among other things, as a journalist and university lecturer and published important articles on political philosophy . Nevertheless, she refused to be called a " philosopher ". She was also rather distant from the term “political philosophy”; she preferred the term " political theory " for her publications and attached great importance to her work as a historian . She despised the German intellectuals who turned to Adolf Hitler from 1933 onwards .

Arendt advocated a concept of “ plurality ” in political space. Accordingly, there is a potential freedom and equality in politics between people. It is important to take the other person's perspective. Willing and suitable persons should be involved in political agreements, treaties and constitutions at the most concrete levels possible. Because of this view, Arendt was critical of purely representative democracies and preferred council systems and forms of direct democracy .

Even because of her theoretical discussions with philosophers such as Socrates , Plato , Aristotle , Immanuel Kant , Martin Heidegger and Karl Jaspers as well as with the leading representatives of modern political philosophy such as Niccolò Machiavelli , Charles-Louis de Montesquieu and Alexis de Tocqueville , she is often considered a philosopher designated. It is precisely because of her independent thinking, the theory of total domination , her work on existential philosophy and her demand for free political discussions that she plays an important role in contemporary debates.

Her public statements on political events were often controversial among opponents and friends; their moral courage was often perceived as intransigence and opposed, especially their work on the Eichmann trial . She became publicly known through her major political work Elements and Origins of Total Domination in the early 1950s. Vita activa or From active life is considered to be Arendt's main philosophical work.

Martha Cohn, ca.1899

In addition to philosophical, political and historical documents, Arendt used biographies and literary works as sources for her considerations. She evaluated these texts verbatim and confronted them with her own approaches.

Paul Arendt, ca.1900

life and work

Childhood and youth

Birthplace Lindener Marktplatz 2 in Hannover-Linden (white corner house)
Memorial plaque on the house where he was born in Hannover-Linden

Johanna Arendt was established in 1906 as the daughter of secular Jewish parents in today Hannover belonging Linden born. Her ancestors came from Königsberg , where her seriously ill father, Paul Arendt (1873–1913), and her mother, Martha geb. Cohn (1874–1948), returned when she was barely three years old. After the early death of her father, who was an engineer, she was brought up freely by her mother, who had a social democratic attitude. In the educated circles of Königsberg, where she grew up, girls were naturally educated. Through her grandparents (a grandfather was the merchant and local politician Max Arendt ) she got to know the liberal Reform Judaism . She did not belong to any religious community, but always saw herself as a Jew.

At the age of 14 she read Kant's Critique of Pure Reason and Karl Jaspers ' Psychology of Weltanschauungen as well as Søren Kierkegaard . She had to leave school because of differences with a teacher, then went to Berlin, where she gave lectures on Christian theology, among other things, as a guest student without a formal school leaving certificate. a. at Romano Guardini . Back in Königsberg, she passed the Abitur in 1924 as an external candidate. While still at school, she founded a philosophical group in which she met Ernst Grumach in 1920 . Through him she met her long-time friend Anne Mendelsohn, later Anne Weil.

Study time

Arendt's house 1924–1925 in Marburg, Lutherstrasse 4
Memorial plaque on Arendt's house in Marburg

In 1924 she began her studies at the University of Marburg and studied philosophy with Martin Heidegger and Nicolai Hartmann for a year , as well as Protestant theology as minor subjects , especially listening to Rudolf Bultmann's lectures, and Greek studies .

The 35-year-old family man Heidegger and the 17-year-old student fell in love and began a relationship. Arendt was not Heidegger's first and not the only love affair during his time in Marburg. Arendt lived very withdrawn in Marburg because of her relationship with Heidegger, which he wanted to keep secret. She only maintained contact with her fellow student Hans Jonas and her Königsberg friends. The relationship between Heidegger and Arendt remained hidden from the public until the great Arendt biography by Elisabeth Young-Bruehl appeared simultaneously in the USA and Great Britain in 1982 . Since then there have been numerous publications about it.

In early 1926, at Heidegger's urging, she made the decision to change her place of study and spent a semester with Edmund Husserl in Freiburg . She then studied philosophy in Heidelberg and, through Heidegger's mediation, received her doctorate from Karl Jaspers in 1928, after successfully defending her work The Concept of Love with Augustin . She remained on friendly terms with Jaspers until his death. In Heidelberg, Arendt expanded her circle of friends. These included Karl Frankenstein , who submitted a dissertation on the philosophy of history in 1928, the Jungian Erich Neumann and Erwin Loewenson , an expressionist essayist. Jonas also came to Heidelberg and also worked there through Augustine.

Another circle opened up for her through the friendship with Benno von Wiese and the lectures by Friedrich Gundolf recommended by Jaspers . Kurt Blumenfeld , the managing director and main spokesman of the German Zionist organization , whose topic was research into the so-called Jewish question and assimilation, was of great importance to her . A letter to him from 1951 said that she owed him her understanding of the situation of the Jews .

Marriage, beginning of Nazi rule, first political activities

Her first book is entitled The Concept of Love with Augustine . Attempt at a philosophical interpretation. It is about her dissertation, which she wrote at the age of 22 and printed in Berlin in 1929. In it she combines the philosophical approaches of Martin Heidegger with those of Karl Jaspers and emphasized the important role of birth (later nativity, natality ) for the individual as well as for his fellow men. This sets her apart from her teacher Heidegger. The work has been reviewed in major philosophical and literary publications. Criticism came about that she viewed Augustine as a philosopher and not as a church father . It was also criticized that she had failed to quote recent theological literature. However, some performers see Arendt's later leitmotifs in this work.

In 1929 she met Günther Stern again in Berlin , whom she already knew from Marburg and who later became known under his pseudonym Günther Anders . Shortly afterwards she moved in with him, behavior that was frowned upon in public opinion at the time; the two married that same year in Nowawes . They then lived in Drewitz, in Heidelberg, for a year in Frankfurt and then again in Berlin. Arendt wrote for the Frankfurter Zeitung and attended seminars with Paul Tillich and Karl Mannheim , whose book Ideologie und Utopie she reviewed. At the same time she dealt with Rahel Varnhagen von Ense , an intellectual Jewess of the Romantic period .

Berlin memorial plaque on the house at Opitzstrasse 6 in Berlin-Steglitz

When it became clear that Stern's habilitation thesis would not be accepted by Theodor W. Adorno , both went back to Berlin. There Arendt began working on her habilitation work on Rahel Varnhagen . After a positive report from Jaspers, who obtained further reports from Heidegger and Dibelius , the study was funded by a grant from the Notgemeinschaft der Deutschen Wissenschaft . At the same time, Arendt began to be more interested in political issues. She read Marx and Trotsky and made new contacts at the School of Politics . She analyzed the exclusion of Jews in spite of assimilation using the term “ pariah ” ( outsider ) used for the first time by Max Weber in relation to the Jews . Inspired by the writings of Bernard Lazare , she contrasted this with the opposite termParvenu ” (climber). In 1932 she published the article Enlightenment and Jewish Question in the journal History of the Jews in Germany , in which she developed her ideas about the independence of Judaism in the dispute with Gotthold Ephraim Lessing and Moses Mendelssohn as enlighteners and Johann Gottfried Herder as the forerunner of Romanticism.

Also in 1932 she wrote a review of the book The Women's Problem in the Presence of Alice Rühle-Gerstel , in which she paid tribute to the emancipation of women in public life, but contrasted it with restrictions - especially in marriage and in working life. She noted the "factual disdain" of women in society and criticized the duties that were incompatible with their independence. The women's movement was Hannah Arendt, however distant from. On the one hand, she stressed that the political fronts are “male fronts”. On the other hand, however, she saw the “dubiousness” of the women's movement as well as that of the youth movement , because both - cross-class - would have to fail to form influential political parties.

Shortly before Adolf Hitler came to power, Karl Jaspers tried to convince her in several letters that she should consider herself German. She always refused, with reference to her existence as a Jew. She wrote: “For me, Germany is my mother tongue, philosophy and poetry.” Otherwise, she felt obliged to distance herself. She particularly criticized the expression "German essence" used by Jaspers. Jaspers replied: “It is strange to me that you, as a Jew, want to distinguish yourself from the German.” Both of these controversial positions continued after the war.

As early as 1931 Arendt assumed that the National Socialists would come to power, thought of emigration in 1932, but initially stayed in Germany and became politically active for the first time. Her husband, who was now called Günther Anders, fled to Paris in March 1933. Mediated by Kurt Blumenfeld , Arendt worked for the Zionist Association for Germany to document the beginning of the persecution of the Jews . Her apartment in Berlin served as a stopover for refugees. She was arrested in July 1933 and imprisoned by the Gestapo for eight days . In 1964 she spoke to Günter Gaus about her motive: "If you are attacked as a Jew, you have to defend yourself as a Jew."

As early as 1933 she was of the opinion that the National Socialist regime should be actively combated. She was in contrast to many educated Germans, some even with a Jewish background, who wanted to come to terms with the Nazi regime , sometimes even praised the new rulers or initially underestimated the dictatorship. In the Gaus interview, she expressed her contempt for the immediate - at the time still voluntary - “conformity” of most intellectuals. Arendt was repulsed by this and wanted nothing in common with this type of affirmative , opportunistic, or even enthusiastic scholar.

This also resulted in the dispute with Leo Strauss , whose conservative views she rejected. She was also disappointed by Heidegger's involvement in the Nazi regime, which had already joined the NSDAP on May 1, 1933 . She then broke off contact and didn't meet him again until 1950. She also ended her friendship with Benno von Wiese when he turned to National Socialism at an early stage and also became a party member in 1933.

She described this experience of deep alienation from friends several times in her works and in her correspondence. She was convinced that it was always a matter of volitional decisions for which the individual was responsible. Shortly before her death, she realized that many professional thinkers in particular had failed with regard to National Socialism when they campaigned for the regime. Arendt did not demand active resistance from everyone. She recognized the silence as a rejection of total domination.

Exile, second marriage and commitment to Jewish refugees

In 1933 she emigrated to France via the Czech Karlovy Vary , Genoa and Geneva . In Paris she was again working, without papers, for Zionist organizations that, for example, helped young Jewish people to flee to Palestine . She worked scientifically on anti-Semitism and gave lectures to various associations and at the Free German University in Paris .

Hannah Arendt and her husband already had different interests and groups of friends in Berlin: "He (s) moves among leftists, in the Brecht environment ", she had increasing contact with Zionist and other Jewish personalities. At first they lived together in Paris, attended the Alexandre Kojèves seminars and meetings with other intellectuals in exile . But the marriage failed and was divorced in 1937. In 1936 she had already met Heinrich Blücher , a former communist who had turned against Josef Stalin's policies at an early age . In Paris, both Walter Benjamin , the lawyer Erich Cohn-Bendit , the neurologist Fritz Fränkel and the painter Carl Heidenreich belonged to a group of German refugees.

In 1937, Arendt's German citizenship was revoked. In 1939 she just managed to get her mother from Königsberg to safety. In January 1940 she married Heinrich Blücher. For Blücher it was the third marriage.

At the beginning of May 1940, the French authorities instructed large parts of the foreigners of German origin to report for removal via the press. Arendt was housed with many other women for a week on the premises of the Buffalo Stadium . Soon after, she was interned for four weeks in the Gurs camp in the south of France because she was considered an "enemy foreigner". In her essay We Refugees , she writes sarcastically that “contemporary history has created a new class of people - people who are put into concentration camps by their enemies and interned by their friends ”. After about a month, she and a few others managed to escape from Gurs, because the vigilance of the French camp administration had temporarily decreased in the chaotic situation after the Wehrmacht had occupied Paris and advanced south. A little later, in a letter to Salomon Adler-Rudel , Arendt described the circumstances surrounding the internment of refugees from Nazi Germany. She and her husband spent the following time in Montauban , and Arendt was able, u. a. with the help of Varian Frys to get papers for the departure to Lisbon.

In exile in France, she was close friends with the then largely unknown Walter Benjamin , whom she also supported materially. After Benjamin had committed suicide in 1940, in 1945 she worked in vain for the Schocken Verlag to have his works published. It was not until 1968 that she was able to publish his essays in the USA, with annotations and a foreword.

Immigration to the USA, employment and fighting for a Jewish army

In May 1941, Arendt, her husband, and their mother reached New York via Lisbon. The family initially lived in hotel rooms and lived on a small grant from the Zionist refugee organization. Arendt quickly perfected her knowledge of the English language. From October 1941 she worked for the German-Jewish magazine Aufbau in New York. She regularly wrote a short column, This means You . The opening article under the title Mose and Washington ("Moses and Washington ") ties in with the history of the Jewish exile in the figure of Moses . Arendt argues that modern (reform) Judaism has lost touch with its actual tradition, a motif that also forms the thesis of her book about Rahel Varnhagen. Paradoxically, “the number of those who replace Moses and David with Washington or Napoleon is growing ”, Jews who wanted to “rejuvenate” themselves at the expense of others (namely, non-Jews). She notes critically that (Jewish) history is not a vehicle from which one can get out at will; it demands that Judaism be made into a "blessing", namely a weapon in the struggle for freedom. She wanted to awaken the political awareness of the Jewish public around the world. In numerous articles she called for the establishment of an independent Jewish army on the side of the Allies . With this demand, which she formulated before the mass murders in the concentration camps , she and her few comrades-in-arms could not prevail.

Although Arendt described herself as a ( secular ) Zionist at this time , she took an increasingly critical stance on the Zionist worldview, which she compared with other ideologies such as socialism or liberalism , which made predictions about the future. She considered freedom and justice to be fundamental principles of politics, which are incompatible with the idea of ​​a chosen people. These positions were mostly rejected by the Jewish public.

In 1943 she published the essay We Refugees (Eng. We Refugees ), in which she deals with the devastating situation of refugees and stateless persons who are “ outlawed ” without rights .

From 1944 to 1946 Hannah Arendt worked as research director at the Conference on Jewish Relations , then until 1949 as editor at the Jewish publishing house Schocken. On July 26, 1948, her mother Martha Arendt died while on a trip to England to see her stepdaughter Eva Beerwald. From 1949 to 1952 she worked as Executive Secretary (managing director) for the organization for the rescue and maintenance of Jewish cultural property, the Jewish Cultural Reconstruction Corporation (JCR). Until Heinrich Blücher was able to teach philosophy courses at a college in 1951, Hannah Arendt was almost alone in providing for the family's livelihood.

First trips to the Federal Republic and reports on the aftermath of the Nazi regime

In 1949/50 Arendt traveled to the Federal Republic of Germany on behalf of the JCR and campaigned for the undestroyed Jewish cultural assets, including entire libraries, to be brought to Israel or the USA. During this stay, Arendt met Karl Jaspers and Martin Heidegger for the first time since 1933. A second trip followed in 1952. Since then, she has traveled to Europe for a few months every year, sometimes to Israel, visiting many friends and relatives, but each time Karl and Gertrud Jaspers. During her research in the Federal Republic of Germany she was in contact with Gershom Scholem by letter .

In the essay visit to Germany. The aftermath of the Nazi regime (1950) Arendt writes in a very differentiated way about the post-war situation. In a short time Germany destroyed the moral fabric of the western world through crimes that no one would have thought possible. Millions of people from Eastern Europe poured into the devastated country. “One can doubt whether the Allied policy of expelling all German minorities from non-German countries - as if there wasn't enough homelessness in the world - was wise; but there is no doubt that among those European peoples who felt Germany's murderous population policy during the war, the mere idea of ​​having to live with Germans on the same territory aroused horror and not just anger. "It represents a strange apathy of the population. There was a shadow of deep sorrow over Europe because of the German concentration and extermination camps . But this nightmare of destruction and horror is nowhere less discussed than in Germany. "The indifference with which the Germans move through the rubble is exactly matched by the fact that nobody mourns the dead."

On the other hand, numerous stories circulated about the sufferings of Germans, which were offset against the sufferings of others, whereby the “balance of suffering” in Germany is tacitly considered balanced. The escape from responsibility and the attribution of guilt to the occupying powers are widespread. "The average German does not look for the causes of the last war in the acts of the Nazi regime, but in the events that led to the expulsion of Adam and Eve from paradise."

Work on existential philosophy

After the war ended, Arendt published two articles on existential philosophy . In The Nation , the text French Existentialism appeared in early 1946 , in which she particularly approves of Albert Camus ' thinking and critically examined that of Sartre . She expressed to Jaspers her great hope for a new type of person who is European without any “European nationalism” and who advocates a European federalism . She included Camus from the French Resistance , to whom she certified honesty and political insight in a letter.

Read the article What is Existential Philosophy? published it in the USA in 1946 in the Partisan Review , in French in Paris in 1947 and in the series of the magazine Die Wandlung founded by Jaspers and others in 1948, along with five other articles as a volume of essays. It was the first book publication after her dissertation published in 1929.

In this work, Arendt developed his own position within existential philosophy, but did not pursue it in later works. When Uwe Johnson asked in 1974 whether the text could be published again, she found it acceptable, but wanted to remove the section on Heidegger, which was why the publication failed. She did not have the English version reprinted during her lifetime either.

In this little work, Arendt takes a critical look at the philosophy of Martin Heidegger , to which she ascribes a closeness to modern nihilism . He never really completed his doctrine of being . With the analysis of Dasein from the point of view of death, Heidegger justifies the nullity of being . Man is described as god-like, not as a “world-creating”, but as a “world-destroying” being. Arendt objects that “man is not God and lives with his kind in one world”, a thought that she will repeat many times later. Heidegger bypasses the preliminary Kantian concepts of freedom, human dignity and reason, reduces people to their functions in the world and ascribes existence to them solely through philosophizing. In addition, she criticizes Heidegger's “mythologizing non-concepts” such as “people” and “earth”, which he subsequently put as a common basis for his “isolated selves” in lectures in the 1930s. It is evident that "such conceptions only lead out of philosophy and into some naturalistic superstition".

The existential philosophy of Karl Jaspers , however, describes it exclusively positively. He made a break with all philosophical systems, with world views and “doctrines of the whole”, dealt with “ borderline situations ” and viewed existence as a form of freedom. Man could feel his way to the limits of the thinkable "in playful metaphysics " and go beyond them. In contrast to Heidegger, for Jaspers philosophizing is merely the preparation for “doing” through communication on the basis of common sense. Jaspers knows that transcendent thinking is doomed to failure. Jasper's philosophy, the author emphasizes, lies essentially in the ways in which he philosophizes. These can lead out of the “dead ends of a positivistic or nihilistic fanaticism”.

Opinions on Palestine and Israel

Letter to the editor to the New York Times : New Palestine Party. Visit of Menachen Begin and Aims of Political Movement Discussed. Signed by Albert Einstein , Arendt and others.

At the end of 1948, Hannah Arendt wrote the article Peace or Armistice in the Middle East? (published in the USA in January 1950). In it she deals with the history of Palestine and the establishment of the State of Israel . According to her, peace can only be achieved through understanding and fair agreements between Arabs and Jews. She describes the history of immigration since 1907 and emphasizes that so far both groups have been hostile to each other and - also because of the occupation by the Turks and later the British - have never viewed each other as equal partners or even as people. While describing "homelessness" and "worldlessness" as the greatest problems facing the Jews, she criticizes most Zionist leaders for overlooking the problems of the Arab population.

Their vision is a binational Palestine based on non- nationalist politics, a federation that could possibly include other states in the Middle East . The immigration and displacement of part of the Arab population represent a moral mortgage, while the collective settlements ( kibbutzim ) based on equality and justice and the Hebrew University as well as industrialization are on the credit side.

According to Arendt, Israel was able to free itself from the laws of capitalism because it is financed by donations from the USA and is therefore not subject to the law of profit maximization. After winning the Palestinian War, which brought misfortune to Jews and Arabs and destroyed all Jewish-Arab economic sectors, their concern is that Israel might pursue an aggressive expansionist policy. But she hopes for the universalistic spirit in Judaism and for forces in the Arab states that are ready to communicate.

At that time there were very few personalities on the Arab and Jewish side who advocated a binational Palestine. Arendt refers to the first President of the Hebrew University Judah Leon Magnes and the Lebanese politician and philosophy professor Charles Malik and emphasizes their uniqueness. Both campaigned for a Jewish-Arab agreement to resolve the Palestine problem, Magnes in 1946 and Malik before the United Nations Security Council in May 1948.

When the former leader of the Zionist terrorist organization Irgun Menachem Begin visited New York in December 1948 to raise funds for his newly formed Cherut party, 26 intellectuals, including many with a Jewish background, wrote a sharply worded letter to the editor, which was published on December 4th Published in the New York Times in 1948 . Besides Arendt u. a. Isidore Abramowitz, Albert Einstein , Sidney Hook and Stefan Wolpe . They warned strongly against this party and characterized it as fascist and terrorist. They also mention the Deir Yasin massacre , commanded from Begin, as a shocking example of the organization's character and approach .

More than twenty years later, Arendt wrote to her friend, the American writer Mary McCarthy , that Israel was an impressive example of human equality. She considered the “passion for survival” of the Jewish people since ancient times to be even more important. She feared that the Holocaust could repeat itself. Israel is necessary as a place of retreat and because of the ineradicable anti-Semitism . Arendt emphasizes that any real catastrophe in Israel affects her more than almost anything else.

Forms of total domination

Immediately after the Second World War , Arendt began work on a comprehensive study on National Socialism, which was expanded to include Stalinism in 1948 and 1949 . The book contains the three parts anti-Semitism , imperialism and total rule . While Arendt was able to draw on existing historical and literary source material to a large extent for the first two parts, she had to work out the background for the third part. In 1951, the US edition appeared under the title: The Origins of Totalitarianism . The German version (1955), which she edited herself and which partly deviates from the original, named elements and origins of total domination . She edited and expanded her work up to the edition of the third edition in 1966. The work does not represent a pure historiography . Rather, she criticizes the causality thinking of most historians and notes: All attempts by historians to explain anti-Semitism have so far been inadequate.

She puts forward the novel and much-discussed thesis that totalitarian movements can seize every worldview and ideology and transform them into a new form of government through terror . In their opinion, only National Socialism and Stalinism could fully realize this until 1966.

In contrast to other authors, Arendt sees only these two systems as totalitarian, but not one-party dictatorships such as Italian fascism , Franquism or the German Democratic Republic . It highlights the new quality of total domination over ordinary dictatorships . The former applies to all areas of human life, not just political ones. At the center is a mass movement. Under National Socialism there was a complete reversal of the legal system. Crimes and mass murders were the rule. In addition to terror, she considers the pursuit of world domination to be an important characteristic of total domination.

She works out how, against the background of mass society and the disintegration of the nation states through imperialism, traditional forms of politics, especially the parties, were inferior to the totalitarian movements with their new techniques of mass propaganda .

In addition to historical sources, Arendt also uses literary sources such as Marcel Proust and deals with numerous thinkers since antiquity, with Kant as well as Montesquieu. She uses her method of “literally taking ideological opinions seriously”. The statements of totalitarian ideologues were underestimated by many observers.

The descriptions of total domination were mainly used by political scientists to develop theories of totalitarianism . Sometimes go well beyond Arendt's strict definition.

US citizenship, occupational position, and political statements

In 1951 Hannah Arendt became a US citizen. Under the status of statelessness had very, suffered because they regarded him as an exclusion from human society. For her, citizenship meant "the right to have rights." Therefore, she called for an amendment to the American constitution that no one should lose his citizenship if he becomes stateless as a result.

In Germany in early 1933, Hannah Arendt was on her way to a normal academic career with a full professorship. The Nazis did destroy those plans. In her letters, until a few years before her death, Arendt emphasized that she had neither property nor a position, which in her opinion contributed to the independence of her thinking.

Again and again she showed personal courage, e.g. B. through their practical activities for Jewish organizations during the time of National Socialism. Her public and personal statements on political events were often controversial among opponents and friends; their moral courage was often perceived as intransigence and opposed.

In a short Memo on research dated 1948 , Arendt names the most important contemporary political issues. She differentiates between central political problems of the time:

"Totalitarianism, the race question, the decline of the European nation-state system, the emancipation of the colonial peoples , the liquidation of British imperialism."

and purely Jewish problems:

"Anti-Semitism, the Palestine issue, refugee movements, homelessness, etc."

A little earlier, in 1947, she wrote to Jaspers:

“Under free circumstances, each individual should actually be able to decide what he would like to be, German or Jew or whatever [...]. What would be important to me, and what cannot be achieved today, would only be such a change in conditions that everyone can freely choose where they intend to exercise their political responsibilities and in which cultural tradition they feel most comfortable. "

At the age of 47, she finally got a temporary professorship at Brooklyn College (New York) in 1953 , also due to the success she had achieved with her book on totalitarianism in the USA. In 1955 she worked in New York alongside Martin Buber a . a. helped found the Leo Baeck Institute , a documentation and research facility for the history of German-speaking Jews. The holdings can be viewed in electronic form in the Jewish Museum Berlin .

In the 1950s, following the analysis of totalitarianism, Arendt planned a paper on Marxism . Some articles, essays and lectures emerged from the preliminary work. In 1953 she published the text in the structure : Yesterday we were still communists ... She differentiates between "former communists" and "ex-communists". The former were either figureheads as artists or had seen through the Moscow trials , the Hitler-Stalin pact or the lack of intra-party democracy at an early stage and then often withdrew into private life. The latter, however, have made their anti-communist avowals the springboard for a new career as experts on anti-communism and the Cold War .

At this time she was very concerned about the persecution of former communists, intellectuals and artists by Joseph McCarthy and his followers in the USA, while she assessed the popular uprising in Hungary in 1956 as an example of an attempt at a peaceful revolution with approaches to a council system. The Hungarian Revolution and Totalitarian Imperialism appeared in 1960 (as part of the 2nd edition of The Origins of Totalitarianism ) and in 1961 Between Past and Future (six essays on political thought).

As early as the mid-1950s, Arendt had submitted an application for reparation for the injustice inflicted on her by the National Socialists, which was rejected several times. Karl Jaspers wrote an expert opinion that her work on Rahel Varnhagen in the version from 1933 was a successfully completed habilitation thesis that could not be submitted only because of the takeover of power . It was initially awarded DM 40,000 . In 1966 she filed a constitutional complaint against a law that reorganized the compensation system. In 1971 the Federal Constitutional Court ruled that this law was unconstitutional due to unequal treatment. Her case set a precedent , so that other scientists who - despite fulfilling the requirements - were unable to obtain a professorship at German universities from 1933 onwards also benefited from their years of litigation.

She expressed herself critically several times on the Adenauer era in Germany. After the Nazi perpetrators were initially barely punished, the worst were slowly brought to justice after the Eichmann trial .

“The unbelievably mild judgments of the courts are a bad sign. I think for 6500 gassed Jews you get 3 years 6 months, or something like that […]. This so-called republic is really 'as usual'. And economic development will not help over these political issues in the long run. "

Over the years she has repeatedly dealt with the " Negro question ", the discrimination against blacks in the USA; the solution of which she considered essential for the existence of the republic. There was also fierce controversy about these statements, as they called for fundamental legal and political equality, but vehemently rejected quotas or other preferences. She condemned the Vietnam War many times , e. B. on the basis of an analysis of the Pentagon papers , which she published under the title Lying in Politics (Eng. The lie in politics ) in 1971.

In June 1968, a letter to Karl Jaspers said: “It seems to me that the children of the next century will learn the year 1968 in the same way as we will learn the year 1848. ” Although she was positive about the worldwide student movement , she criticized the excesses she perceived violently. In her work Power and Violence , published simultaneously in English and German in 1970, she presented a detailed, nuanced analysis of the student rebellion and at the same time delimited the terms power and violence . She understands power to mean a significant influence of citizens on political affairs within the framework of the constitution and laws. No form of rule can do without a power base. Even total domination, which is largely based on violence, needs the support of many.

In an interview with Adelbert Reif in 1970, she emphasized that she appreciated the students' “desire to act” and “the confidence that they could change things on their own”. In the USA, for the first time in a long time, a spontaneous political movement emerged that not only carried out propaganda, but also acted almost exclusively for moral reasons. On the other hand, she rejected the further development of this movement to “fanaticism”, “ideologies” and “destructiveness”. “The good things in history are usually very short-lived.” So today (1970) we would still draw on the short classical age in Greece .

Eichmann trial

Trial reporting and subsequent controversy

In 1961, Arendt took part in the trial of Adolf Eichmann in Jerusalem from April to June as a reporter for The New Yorker magazine . This initially resulted in reports and finally one of their best-known and then to this day very controversial books Eichmann in Jerusalem with the subtitle A Report on the Banality of Evil . It was first published in the USA in 1963 and shortly thereafter in the Federal Republic. The Israeli secret service captured Adolf Eichmann in Argentina in 1960 and kidnapped him to Jerusalem. Your much-discussed change in terms of Eichmann - "banality of evil" - has become a household word .

“In these last few minutes it was as if Eichmann himself was drawing the conclusion of the long lesson on human wickedness that we had attended - the conclusion of the terrible" banality of evil "before which the word fails and where thought fails. "

There was fierce controversy about the work. In particular, the expression “banality” in relation to a mass murderer was attacked from various quarters, including Hans Jonas .

In the introduction to the German edition of 1964, Arendt explains her choice of words: “In the report, the possible banality of evil only comes up on the level of the factual, as a phenomenon that was impossible to overlook. Eichmann was not […] Macbeth […]. Except for a very unusual eagerness to do everything that could serve his advancement, he had absolutely no motives. ”He would never have killed his superior. He was not stupid, but "almost thoughtless". This predestined him to become one of the greatest criminals of his time. This is "banal", maybe even "funny". With the best will in the world, one could not gain any devilish-demonic depth from it. Nevertheless, it is not commonplace. “That such a lack of reality and thoughtlessness can cause more harm than all the evil instincts inherent in man put together, that was in fact the lesson one could learn in Jerusalem. But it was a lesson and neither an explanation of the phenomenon nor a theory about it. "

Often she was accused of being completely inappropriate, arrogant and hurtful for the victims if she called Eichmann “funny” or a “buffoon” who acted without motive merely in the interests of personal advancement and uttered empty phrases during the process. Their sometimes ironic language of expression was largely rejected. Arendt himself spoke of her speechlessness and homelessness in the face of the unprecedented mass murder. She can only handle all of this with a laugh.

In 1969 she wrote in a letter to Mary McCarthy: "The phrase 'banality of evil' as such contrasts with that of 'radically evil' [Kant], which I [A.] use in the book on totalitarianism."

According to Arendt, the type of crime was not easy to categorize. What happened in Auschwitz was unprecedented. She considered the term “administrative mass murder”, which came from “English imperialism”, more appropriate to the cause than the term “ genocide ”. She also turned against speaking of crimes against humanity and coined the term crimes against humanity . In her book it says:

"The London Statute on which the Nuremberg Trials are based [...] defined the" crimes against humanity "as" inhuman acts ", which then became the well-known" crimes against humanity " in the German translation - as if the Nazis only had it lack of "humanity" when they sent millions into the gas chambers, truly the understatement of the century. "

In the introduction to the German edition, Arendt states that for her report she “consistently used“ Die Endlösung ”from Reitlinger“, but mainly “on the work of Raul Hilberg,“ The Destruction of the European Jews ”, the most detailed and also the most well-founded source-like presentation of the Jewish policy of the Third Reich ”. The work of Raul Hilberg The Destruction of the European Jews was only in 1961 appeared in print. As a reviewer, she had judged Hilberg's dissertation in 1959 as an insignificant case study.

According to Avner Werner Less , who interrogated Eichmann for 275 hours, many trial observers, and especially Hannah Arendt, completely misunderstood that Eichmann's statements were a web of lies designed to systematically conceal his own significant role in the extermination of the Jews. He is not a small, poor and insignificant official who only did his duty and blindly believed in obedience to the dead. Eichmann's defense strategy consisted in convincing the judges of the unimportance and insignificance of his own person. Many observers would not have seen through this, but naively considered his role played to be true. Jacob Robinson accused Arendt as early as 1965 of ignoring Eichmann's anti-Semitic worldview with her image of Eichmann as an ideology-free, assiduous bureaucrat. In particular, the so-called Sassen protocols , some of which were known at the time of the trial and on which the charges in the Eichmann trial were based, are proof of Eichmann's fanatical anti-Semitism. This thesis is supported by Bettina Stangneth's current work on Eichmann .

The widespread rejection that Arendt encountered with her report prompted Jaspers to make extensive records with a predominantly positive reception of Arendt's work, which are kept in the Marbach literature archive under the name Das Buch Hannah . He did not realize his intention to publish a defense document.

Debate on the role of the Jewish councils

In addition to her reflections on the banality of evil , her portrayal of the role of the Jewish councils in the process of extermination led to controversial debates. According to Arendt, Eichmann demanded “cooperation” from the Jews and received it to a “truly amazing degree”. The Jews saw only a few Germans on their way to death. The members of the Jewish councils had been given “enormous power over life and death” by the National Socialists, “until they were also deported”. For example, the transport lists to Theresienstadt were compiled by the Judenrat.

"This role of the Jewish leaders in the destruction of their own people is without a doubt the darkest chapter for Jews in all of dark history."

On the other hand, Arendt saw it as a "boon " to meet the "former Jewish resistance fighters " in court . "Their demeanor chased away the specter of all-round compliance." In the "death camps", "direct assistance for the extermination of the victims was generally carried out by Jewish commands".

“It was all horrific, but it wasn't a moral problem. The selection […] of the workers in the camps was made by the SS , which had a pronounced predilection for criminal elements. The moral problem was the gran [small weight] cooperation in the final solution . "

Leo Baeck , one of the most important representatives of the Jews in Germany, said during the Eichmann trial that it was better for the Jews not to know about their fate, as this expectation of death would only have been tougher.

Arendt's views met with vehement rejection from many Jewish organizations. Accordingly, she had shortened the Jewish councils and not judged them carefully. In response to criticism of her, Arendt wrote to Mary McCarthy on September 16, 1963 that she had heard that the Anti-Defamation League had sent all New York rabbis to give notice on New Year's Day ( Rosh Hashanah , October 4, 1963) preach against them. The successful political campaign is about creating an " image " to cover up the real book. You feel powerless against the large number of critics with money, staff and connections.

In a radio interview with Joachim Fest on November 9, 1964, Arendt stated that the Jewish councils were (“of course”) victims. They are therefore not excused one hundred percent, "but of course they are on the other side, that is obvious."

In his Uninvited Memoirs, Raul Hilberg distanced himself from both Arendt's concept of the banality of evil and from their analysis of the Jewish councils. According to Hilberg, these were "not only tools of the Germans, but also an instrument of the Jewish community".

Gershom Scholem , who had been in regular correspondence with Arendt since 1939, expressed a sharp criticism of the book in June 1963, which - together with Arendt's reply - was published a little later with her approval. With regard to the Jewish councils, he missed a balanced judgment. “In the camps people were degraded and, as you yourself say, made to work on their own downfall, to assist with the execution of their fellow prisoners and the like. And is that why the line between victims and persecutors should be blurred? What perversity! And we should come and say that the Jews themselves had their 'part' in the murder of the Jews. "

Personal responsibility versus collective guilt

In 1964 and 1965 Arendt gave several lectures in the Federal Republic of Germany under the title: Personal Responsibility in the Dictatorship . She emphasized again that her publication about the Eichmann trial was only a "factual report". Your critics, on the other hand, had discussed problems of “ moral philosophy ”. With horror she said a. heard: "Now we know that there is a Eichmann in each of us." According to Arendt, however, humans are freely acting beings who are responsible for their actions. Certain people are guilty of this. She rejected the idea of collective guilt , calling it moral confusion that in post-war Germany the innocent felt guilty while most criminals showed no remorse.

She pointed out that the trial against Eichmann was correct. His admission that he was just a cog in the big bureaucratic apparatus she described as irrelevant for legal judgment. According to Arendt, he was rightly executed. During National Socialism, all layers of official society were involved in the crimes. As an example, she cites a series of anti-Jewish measures that preceded the mass murder and that had been approved in each individual case "until a stage was reached that worse could no longer happen at all". The acts were not committed by "gangsters, monsters or maddened sadists, but by the most respected members of the honorable society". As a result, those who participated and obeyed orders should never be asked, "Why did you obey?" But rather, "Why did you provide assistance?"

Hannah Arendt herself pointed out that she might not have met these high requirements: "Who has ever said that by judging an injustice, I am assuming that I am unable to commit it myself?"

Late Hebrew edition

When a Hebrew edition of Eichmann was published in Jerusalem in the summer of 2000 in Tel Aviv as Arendt's first work, the discussion flared up again. It was about their criticism of the litigation. In this context she was accused of fundamental anti-Zionism .

In addition, as with the publication of the book, their view of the role of the Jewish councils and the concept of the "banality of evil" met with rejection.

"Truth and Politics"

Due to the numerous negative reactions to the publication of her trial reports and the resulting book, Hannah Arendt reflected in her essay Truth and Politics in 1964 , whether it is always right to tell the truth, and judged the many "lies" regarding the facts, that she reported. This text shows, as she expressly notes in the US version from 1967, that she stuck to her statements in terms of content and also rejected the methods of her opponents from the retrospective . Mainly, however, the essay is about the relationship between philosophy and politics , about the relationship between “rational truth” and “factual truth”.

Teaching at universities and awards

In the spring of 1959, Hannah Arendt was given a visiting professorship at the renowned Princeton University for one semester . She was the first woman to teach there. From 1963 to 1967 she was a professor at the University of Chicago and from 1967 to 1975 at the Graduate Faculty of the New School for Social Research in New York. A large part of her estate is located there.

In the USA she was awarded numerous honorary doctorates. In 1962 she was elected to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and in 1964 to the American Academy of Arts and Letters . She also received significant awards in western post-war Germany : for example, the Lessing Prize of the Free and Hanseatic City of Hamburg in 1959 and the Sigmund Freud Prize for scientific prose from the German Academy for Language and Poetry in Darmstadt, of which she had been a member since 1958 . In 1969 the American Academy's Emerson Thoreau Medal honored her work and her acceptance speech has been handed down. Bryn Mawr College in Pennsylvania awarded her the M. Carey Thomas Prize in 1971 . In 1975 she was awarded the Danish government's Sonning Prize for contributions to European culture.

Developing your thinking in speeches and essays

On the occasion of the presentation of the Lessing Prize, Arendt spoke in 1959 in her speech about Lessing From humanity in dark times to their "attitude". In Lessing's sense, criticism is always the understanding and judgment in the interest of the world, from which a world view can never become "which is fixed on a possible perspective". It is not the “distrust” of the Enlightenment or the belief in humanity of the 18th century that makes learning from Lessing difficult, but rather the 19th century, with its “obsession with history” and “ ideological conspiracy ”, stands between us and Lessing. The aim is free thinking, with intelligence, profundity and courage - "without the building of tradition". An absolute truth does not exist because in exchange with others it immediately turns into an "opinion among opinions" and is part of the endless conversation between people in a room where there are many voices. Any one-sided truth based on just one opinion is "inhuman".

Shortly before her death, she emphasized in her speech for the award of the Sonning Prize how much she values the USA as a constitutional state . It is about the rule of law ( United States Constitution ) and not that of the people. As a US citizen, she still adheres to the German language. She underlined the importance of Denmark's role in World War II when it was possible, through political pressure (including the King ) and pressure from public opinion, to save the Jews who were in Denmark from deportation by the National Socialists. "Nowhere else had that happened."

Politically, against the background of the Hungarian uprising , Arendt repeatedly spoke out in favor of a council idea based on the freedom of the individual, a state ideal, as was her husband Heinrich Blücher, who himself took part in the fighting during the November Revolution and in 1919 as a Spartakist Was involved in the formation of so-called workers 'and soldiers' councils. She assumed that everyone is capable of “thinking” and thus for politics and that political space should not be reserved for specialists.

Arendt wrote, often as commissioned work for magazines, essays on contemporaries who had achieved extraordinary things through their lives and their political or literary work. She presented portraits of various personalities, such as the one that came out shortly after the end of the war about Franz Kafka , where she characterized him as searching for truth, insisting on human rights in a cold, bureaucratic and seemingly unreal world. She noted a connection between Kafka's novel The Trial and his hopeless experiences with the Austrian bureaucracy when he wanted to help Eastern European Jews obtain a residence permit. In the twenties, however, the nature of the bureaucracy, which it previously referred to as the “malicious bureaucratic machine”, was not yet known to the public, so that the horror and horror seemed inexplicable. Another essay was about Pope John XXIII. she named Angelo Giuseppe Roncalli. The Christian Pope described. Other depictions included the Danish writer Isak Dinesen (known in Germany as Karen Blixen ), her friends Hermann Broch , Walter Benjamin and WH Auden as well as Bertolt Brecht , her husband's friend, Robert Gilbert , and the French representative of the " Nouveau Roman " , Nathalie Sarraute . These essays were published in allusion to the Brecht poem An die Nachgeborben 1968 under the title Men in dark times . In 1989, the German version, which was supplemented by additional texts, was published, Menschen im darken Zeiten .

It also contains her portrait, A heroine of Revolution, first published in 1966 (German 1968: Rosa Luxemburg ). Arendt praises the revolutionary as an unorthodox, independently thinking German-Jewish Marxist of Polish origin. She never belonged to the “ believers ” who saw “politics as a substitute for religion”. Rather, Luxemburg dared publicly criticize Lenin , in particular his instrumentalization of war for the revolution, and spoke of the dangers of “deformed revolutions”: “As far as the question of organization was concerned, she did not believe in a victory that would attract the general public had no share and no say, yes, it was so little concerned with holding power in its hands at any price that "it feared a deformed revolution far more than an unsuccessful one" - basically the main difference between it and the Bolsheviks. " Arendt joins the Luxembourg assessment by asking:

"Wasn't she right in her judgment that Lenin was completely mistaken about the means he employed and that the only salvation in the 'school of public life itself lay in the most unlimited, broadest democracy and public expression", that of terror "demoralize" everyone and destroy everything? "

Because of its idiosyncrasy and contempt for careerists and status believers, Luxembourg, the journalist emphasizes, was often on the fringes of the communist movement. As a radical opponent of war, a fighter for political freedom and unrestricted democracy, she often drew criticism. Their moral stance was based on the code of honor of a small Jewish and multilingual intellectual elite of the Eastern Jews who viewed themselves as cosmopolitans , but in fact, in Arendt's opinion, were “more European”, so that “their fatherland was in truth Europe.” She compares them with bitterness Author of the legal opinion of the Weimar Republic and the Bonn Republic of 1962. At the time of the assassinations of Liebknecht and Luxemburg, the power of government was "practically in the hands of the Freikorps ". Nevertheless, the hunter and the murderer Rosa Luxemburg were sentenced to imprisonment, albeit a small one. On the other hand, the Bonn government had given to understand that the murder of the two was an "execution in accordance with the laws of war and thus a legal process".

Comparison of the American and French Revolution and Constitution

In her like vita activa based on lectures in 1963 published book On Revolution (dt. On Revolution ) Arendt compares the French to the American Revolution , again underscoring the political in the center of their thinking.

According to this, the French Revolution failed because of Robespierre's terror , who tried to overcome social misery and create an egalitarian society on a moral basis. The American Revolution, on the other hand, was able to pursue almost exclusively political goals because the social question was not so burning. In this way it was possible to form a free republic in which the citizen was given equal rights with other citizens in public and political affairs, regardless of the plurality.

Philosophical belief in progress should not, as in the French Revolution, become a criterion in the political arena. It was precisely the implementation of the philosophical ideas that led to the reign of terror. In the US American Revolution, however, the principles of antiquity and then those of Montesquieu were realized: the principle of the separation of powers or "power sharing" and the power-limiting principle of the federalism of small republics with a central authority.

The political community of emigrants concluded a “ covenant ”, which consists of an “act of tying oneself together”.

“The political community that emerges on the basis of this 'covenant' contains the source of the power that flows to all those who belong to it and who outside the political community would be condemned to powerlessness. In contrast to this, the state, which arises from the consent of its subjects, acquires a monopoly of power that is beyond the reach of the ruled, who can only emerge from this political impotence if they decide to break the state apparatus. "

The United States Declaration of Independence of 1776 has, according to Arendt of freedom in the context of this principle, the United States Constitution complied, while the French Constitution of 1791 on the basis of a centrally organized national state was created which is not endowed citizens with more but with less power . Thus, the French Revolution emerged from the absolutist monarchy, while the American Revolution emerged from a "limited monarchy". Hence, in France the “will of the nation is now the source of the law”, while in the United States, following Montesquieu, government power has been restricted by law.

On questions of ethics

Arendt postulates that humans are by nature neither good nor bad. In their view, the individual alone is responsible for his actions. Therefore, crimes, but also political "lies" must be punished. In states with a constitution that regulates political life, it is easier for the individual to behave according to “moral standards” than in “dark times”. Thinking, judging and acting is all the more serious, especially in non-democratic forms of rule.

People who prove themselves politically interactive on the basis of personal truthfulness do not necessarily act morally in relation to the private sphere. She rejects recourse to transcendence or conscience to justify morality , as she is convinced that values generated in these ways can be manipulated. For them, total domination is a system in which the previous moral code is reinterpreted.

"For just as Hitler's ' Final Solution ' actually meant that the elite of the Nazi party were obliged to 'You shall kill', so Stalin's statement declared that 'You shall bear false witness' as a rule of conduct for all members of the Bolshevik Party."

Those who did not collaborate under National Socialism asked themselves to what extent they could live in peace with themselves if they had committed certain acts. The dividing line ran across all social, cultural and educational differences. The total collapse of the "honorable society" could be noted.

She quotes Kant's categorical imperative and contrasts egoism with the demands of the community. In doing so, she develops the idea of ​​a common ethic that has to be negotiated again and again. Arendt blames the philosophers for having given too little attention to the plurality of people. Furthermore, there is a kind of hostility on the part of most philosophers to all politics. In contrast to other thinkers, Arendt sees hope for the world through every person who is born and can make a new beginning even after the time of totalitarianism.

The badness, i.e. H. evil regards them as a phenomenon of poor judgment. Man is - even in crime - always related to others, develops a will that is confronted with the will of others, and has to reflect on his actions, otherwise he becomes driven.

In her posthumously published lecture on evil in 1965, Arendt deals with a multifaceted definition of evil that includes the special features of National Socialism with its extermination camps as well as “universal evil” (Kant).

Publications, public appearances, advocacy for freedom and the rule of law

Arendt's books and essays are partly published in different versions in English and in German. This applies e.g. B. towards elements and origins of total domination (1951, 1955) and towards power and violence (1970). She translated some of her texts herself and improved them in the process; others were translated by professional translators and then corrected by Arendt. Her friend Mary McCarthy has proofread a few of her English-language works. In some cases there were preparatory articles in magazines before the publication, especially in the USA, the Federal Republic of Germany and France. In her lectures she also took up topics from her later publications, discussed passages with her students before publication, as well as in correspondence. The entries in her so-called Thinking Diary correspond to her publications. Lectures, interviews, participation in conferences and discussion events, especially in the USA and the Federal Republic of Germany, served to spread their thoughts.

Hannah Arendt's expression is rational and sober. She often uses terms with meanings other than those used in everyday or scientific language. Sometimes it turns common understandings into their opposite. She explains her theses clearly and directly.

Hannah Arendt shied away from personal appearances in public throughout her life. She last said this in her speech on the award of the Sonning Prize in Denmark shortly before her death. Heinrich Blücher wrote about it as early as 1955: “No success helps me to get over the misfortune 'in public life' […] What I can't do is stand on the platter and stay on it permanently.” She made one "Radical" difference between "private and public."

Her correspondence, in which she sometimes made harsh judgments about contemporaries, was probably part of her private life. While the correspondence with Jaspers, Blücher, McCarthy, Blumenfeld, Johnson and Scholem could be published almost completely, numerous Arendt letters to Heidegger and Broch are missing . Some of her letters to other friends have not yet been published.

When Karl Jaspers received the Peace Prize of the German Book Trade in 1958 , Arendt had scruples about giving the celebratory speech before the laudation for him, initially because of her close friendship - perhaps also because of her friendship with Heidegger. Jaspers asked for it, however. On this occasion, she dealt with the ideas of “public”, “person” and “work”: According to Cicero , the “dignity of a person” is celebrated in the “public” and not just by colleagues with a laudation. In modern times, however, the “prejudice” is widespread that only “the work” belongs to the public. From Arendt's point of view, the “work process” is of no concern to the public, but in works that are not purely academic but results of “living action and speech”, a “personality” appears, the Roman “ humanitas ”, the Kant and Jaspers “ Call humanity ”. This humanity can only be achieved by exposing his person and the work associated with it to “the public risk”.

Jaspers expressed himself not only philosophically but also politically in public beyond the academic sphere. As an individual, he sought free exchange with others. This is the only way to be " reasonable ". The laureate thus contributed to “illuminating existence” even in times of tyranny, not as a representative of Germany, but of reason. Arendt represents the idea of ​​a spiritually free person when she finally says: “It is the realm of“ humanitas ”to which everyone can come from their own origin. Those who enter it recognize each other. "

At the University of Basel's commemoration of Karl Jaspers' death in March 1969, she came back to this topic: Jaspers had exemplified the “trinity” of reason, freedom and communication in his life.

Hannah Arendt never saw herself as a Marxist. Rather, it emphasized its origins in philosophy . Nevertheless , unlike the other “ideologues” of the 19th century, she certified Marx “courage” and “sense of justice” and valued his analyzes and himself as a “rebel and revolutionary”. But she rejected the “ fiction ” of communism because she lacks any reference to utopian thinking. The terms “left” and “right” as political categories do not appear in her work.

She focused her analyzes on political worldviews and ideologies as the basis for states, which she judged according to how much political freedom and the rule of law the individual was granted in public and especially in politics, or how much he could fight for with others. Accordingly, in a letter to Johnson in 1972, it says: She thinks more of freedom than of socialism or capitalism .

It only differentiated between three forms of rule: democracy, republic or soviet republic, etc. Ä. as differently liberal systems and the dictatorship or " tyranny " as "normal" oppressive regimes and "total domination".

Relationships and friendships

Friendships played a very large role in Hannah Arendt's life. In addition to her close partnership with her husband Heinrich Blücher , who died in 1970, she cultivated intellectually intensive friendships a. a. with Mary McCarthy , Kurt Blumenfeld , Uwe Johnson , and above all with Karl Jaspers and also to the end with Martin Heidegger . However, the latter had a special character. While she expressed disparagingly about Heidegger as people several times, for example in the letter to Jaspers of September 29, 1949 and in the letters to Blücher of January 3, 1950 and October 26, 1959, she regarded him and Karl Jaspers as the greatest contemporary philosophers .

In 1950 Arendt revived the relationship with Heidegger, but it remained ambivalent throughout his life. Opposite Blumenfeld she was impressed by Heidegger's work on identity and difference at the end of 1957 , at the same time she made fun of his style: "He quotes himself and interprets himself as if it were a text from the Bible."

She sent Heidegger a copy of her main philosophical work Vita activa with the remark that if things had ever been right between them, she would have dedicated the book to him. He didn't answer and broke off contact for a while. Disappointed, she wrote to Jaspers in November 1961:

"I know that it is unbearable for him [Heidegger] that my name appears in public, that I write books, etc. I have, as it were, cheated on him all my life, always pretending that none of this existed and as whether I can't count to three, so to speak, unless in the interpretation of his own things, ”he said, he welcomed the fact that she could even count to four. "Now suddenly the dizziness had become too boring for me and I got hit on the nose."

Heidegger did not refer to the work of Hannah Arendt in any of his known writings.

On the occasion of Heidegger's 80th birthday, in the autumn of 1969, after Jaspers' death, she gave a lecture on Bayerischer Rundfunk, in which she stated: “We who want to honor the thinkers, even if our residence is in the middle of the world, can It is difficult to avoid finding it striking and perhaps annoying that Plato and Heidegger, when they got involved in human affairs, resorted to tyrants and leaders. ”She calls this preference a“ déformation professionnelle ”. "Because the tendency towards the tyrannical can theoretically be demonstrated in almost all great thinkers ( Kant is the great exception)." Quoting Heidegger, she continues: only very few had the ability "to astonish at the simple and [...] this To accept amazement as a residence. [...] With these few, it is ultimately irrelevant where the storms of their century may lead them. Because the storm that sweeps through Heidegger's thinking - like the one that blows towards us thousands of years later from the work of Plato - does not come from the century. He comes from the ancient, and what he leaves behind is something perfect, which, like everything perfect, falls back to the age. "

She probably would not have written this passage during Karl Jaspers' lifetime, who had always seen himself as a democrat.

Hannah Arendt actively supported the publication of some works by Jaspers as well as Heidegger in the USA. She looked for publishers, partly supervised the translations and published the American edition of The Great Philosophers . Help is discussed repeatedly in the respective correspondence. Both were very interested in spreading their work in the United States and thanked her.

"Thinking Diary"

Mainly from 1950 to 1960 and less intensely and stringently from 1963 to 1970, Hannah Arendt wrote a handwritten message in German - apart from original quotations in Latin, English and French and the last part, in which she mainly writes in English - from her to her friend and first estate administrator Lotte Köhler so called “Thinking Diary”. In 28 issues, sorted by years and months, it deals with numerous philosophers and political thinkers. The focus is on ancient Greece. But it also deals with thinkers of Roman times , the Middle Ages, and especially numerous of those of the modern age .

She continuously debates the philosophy and political thinking of Plato (based on his terms in the original), which she views critically in the tradition of Aristotle and Heidegger. She often deals with Kant, Heidegger and Marx (especially with the concept of work ), but also with Nietzsche , Hegel and many other political thinkers . In addition, to a lesser extent, there are poets such as Hölderlin , Dickinson , Goethe , Rilke , Dostojewski , Kafka and others. a .; She also notes some of her own poems (unpublished during her lifetime) and only expresses herself here on friendship, love and passion. She also makes reflections on the language.

Against this background, Arendt develops her own terms in an inner dialogue with herself, such as “nativeness”, “plurality” and “between”. She uses commonly used terms with a special meaning: B. the political, freedom, working, manufacturing, thinking, acting, judging, evil, power, violence, truth, lies and ideology. Furthermore, she thinks about history, politics and much less about society as well as about history , political and social sciences and makes religion-related considerations. Her short, clearly structured entries, each on a topic, form one of the bases for her written and oral public and private statements that have been handed down. Under the title Denktagebuch , her notes were published in 2002 together with an undated (approx. 1964) little booklet about Kant in the USA and Germany.

Old age and death

Hannah Arendt left no “old work”. Rather, she steadily developed her political thinking and often showed moral courage . There were no deep breaks. Despite the external upheavals, above all due to the appearance of totalitarianism, her entire work is self-contained and contains only a few fundamental corrections. For example, based on the Kantian concept of “radical evil”, which she had initially adopted, she set up the thesis of the “banality of evil” in 1961 and later defended it despite years of hostility.

In her letters she expresses the wish to remain productive until her death. After a first heart attack in 1974, she resumed writing and teaching. On December 4, 1975, in the presence of friends, she suffered a second, fatal heart attack in her study at 370 Riverside Drive, Manhattan . Eulogies held u. a. her old friend Hans Jonas and representative of her students. Hannah Arendt's ashes were buried next to those of her husband Heinrich Blücher in the cemetery of Bard College .

Major works

Rahel Varnhagen. Life story of a German Jewess from the Romantic period

Arendt wrote the manuscript for her great youth work on Rahel Varnhagen between 1931 and early 1933 in Berlin. The last two chapters on her theory about pariah and parvenu were written in exile in Paris in 1938. The work did not appear until 1958 with an up-to-date foreword in English, translated from German, and published by the Leo Baeck Institute. The German version came on the market in 1959. It is based on published and unpublished letters and diary entries that Arendt z. T. first evaluated.

The author describes her work to Jaspers as a “women's book” and in the foreword as a contribution to the history of German Jews . Using the example of her protagonist , born in 1771, she shows the failed assimilation attempt by wealthy and educated Jews in the 19th century due to increasing social anti-Semitism .

Enlightened and based on reason, Rahel Levin succeeded in running her own literary salon in Berlin and thus cultivating equal dealings with writers, scientists and philosophers, but not finding a place in German professional society . In order to rise to the nobility or at least to higher society, Rahel tried several times in vain to overcome her Judaism through marriage. This failed twice because of her Jewish origin and once because of the ideas about the subordination of women to men. After these experiences she decided to take the surname Robert in order to make the separation from the Jewish identity externally visible.

At the beginning of the 19th century the first modern "propaganda brochure" against the Jews appeared , which was followed by a wave of anti-Semitism. In 1806 the salon was closed as a result of Napoleon's invasion . Arendt describes the new Berlin salons from 1809 as a more political-literary circle, dominated by the nobility and patriotic with statutes that forbade women, French, Philistines and Jews from entering.

Rahel even tried to adopt a philosophical form of nationalism from Fichte in order to “belong”. She could not, according to Arendt, succeed in doing this, "because patriotic anti-Semitism, which even Fichte was not far from, poisoned all relationships between Jews and non-Jews."

She finally met August Varnhagen in 1808 , was baptized on his account in 1814 and, through her late marriage, came closer to the longed-for assimilation.

As early as 1815, anti-Semitism re-established itself openly and strongly. In 1819 there were pogroms in Prussia . Through professional advancement, a title of nobility and increasing prosperity, August von Varnhagen now dealt with the dignitaries of society. Rahel had achieved her goal. She was “stupid” and “exuberantly happy”, Arendt judges, “that she was graciously allowed to participate”. Nevertheless, Rahel's attitude remained ambiguous. She continued to feel “strange” in a society hostile to Jews and complained that women are measured by the status of husband and son and are often not regarded as people with a spirit.

Arendt understands a parvenu to be a person who “swindles” himself into a society in which he does not belong. It is this lying that Rachel, like her husband Arendt, has mastered perfectly. She describes him as a parvenu, while she marks Rahel as a person between pariah and parvenu, since to her the cheating and hypocrisy for the ascent more and more appeared to be a lie and a burden.

From 1821 to 1832 Rahel von Varnhagen again ran her second salon with illustrious guests. But this literary circle remained - even more than the first - only an illusion of community and integration. Outside of the salon, the Varnhagens remained isolated and received no invitations to the intended circles. From this Arendt concludes: In a society that is by and large hostile to Jews, Jews can only assimilate if they assimilate to anti-Semitism.

Assimilated Jews in Europe were therefore also outsiders , i.e. remained pariah, because they were mostly not recognized by large sections of the nobility and above all by the bourgeoisie. It is true that the wealthy could switch to the role of parvenus; this, however, was bought at the cost of lies, subservience and hypocrisy. As a result, they could not overcome the status of the unpopular outsider. Some of the pariahs became rebels and thus retained their identities.

According to Arendt, Rahel strived for complete integration into society as a person until shortly before her death. Only at the end of her life did she take a clear stance and become a Jew and a pariah again. Now she saw the reality of anti-Semitism clearly. As a supporter of Saint-Simons , she demanded equality and rights regardless of origin.

Elements and origins of total domination

In the first part of her main work of almost 1000 pages, which was first published in the USA in 1951 and in the Federal Republic of Germany in 1955, Arendt reconstructs the development of anti-Semitism in the 18th and 19th centuries, in the second part the course and functioning of racism and of imperialism in the 19th and early 20th centuries up to National Socialism. Finally, in the third part, she describes the two forms of total domination - National Socialism and Stalinism - against the background of her thesis of the growing destruction of political space through the alienation of the individual in mass society .

Anti-Semitism, imperialism and total domination

Arendt rejects all ideologies of the 19th century, such as the bourgeois belief in science, e.g. B. Darwinism . But she also rejects idealism as the origin of the National Socialist “law of nature”. Likewise, it is critical of the historical-philosophical progress optimism , which is shown, for example, in Marxism , and pessimistic conceptions of history, since it distances itself from all ideas of linear development and is instead convinced of the possibility of a new beginning or the failure of each new generation.

The anti-Semitism in the 18th and 19th centuries to the nationalism irrational bound ideology. Arendt sees particular importance for the development of this national-folk ideology in imperialism , which she examines with reference to Rosa Luxemburg's theory of imperialism as the basis for the further development of anti-Semitism and racism. While “national” anti-Semitism is demanding the exclusion of Jews from the nation, “imperialist” anti-Semitism is about the extermination of Jews across all nations.

Imperialism disrupts the political spaces of society by removing obstacles in domestic and foreign policy that disrupt the expansion of capital. Arendt extends the Marxist concept of imperialism to include the dimension of racism and criticizes the reduction of the disputes with capitalism to purely economic questions. The political mainspring of imperialism is the attempt to divide humanity into " master and slave races ", into "blacks and whites".

In the course of their policy of world conquest, totalitarian governments have greatly increased the groups of refugees and stateless persons and have tried to destroy their legal and moral positions in order to undermine the nation-states from within.

"Whom the persecutors chased out of the country as an expulsion of humanity - Jews, Trotskyists and so on - was received everywhere as an expulsion of humanity, and whoever they had declared undesirable and a nuisance became an annoying foreigner wherever he went . "

The question of why the Jews were chosen as victims is a constant concern of the political thinker. Already in the introduction she criticizes historians who do not question the image of the " eternal Jew ", the eternal natural anti-Semitism or spread the scapegoat thesis and the "valve theory" as an explanation for the National Socialist extermination of the Jews.

"If it is true that humanity has always insisted on murdering Jews, then murdering Jews is a normal human activity and hatred of Jews is a reaction that does not even need to be justified." In fact, however, nothing is so "horribly memorable" like the perfect innocence of everyone trapped in the "terror machine".

Delimitation and characterization of total domination

Arendt narrowed the concept of total domination to National Socialism, ending with Hitler's death, and the system of Stalinism, which she saw implemented in the Soviet Union from 1929 until Stalin's death in 1953 . In their opinion, these are “variations of the same model”. Ultimately, it is not the state and the nation that are important for totalitarian politics, but rather the mass movement that is based on ideologies such as racism or Marxism.

She sees the hallmarks of this form of rule: the transformation of classes - on the basis of interests - into fanatical mass movements, the elimination of group solidarity, the leadership principle , millions of murders, the passivity of the victims, denunciations and “admiration for crime”.

According to this, supporters of totalitarian mass movements are not accessible to arguments and ignore their instinct for self-preservation. Totalitarian leaders boast of crimes committed and announce future ones. They execute "laws of nature or history". However, while dialectical materialism is based on the best traditions, racism is pathetic and vulgar. Both ideologies boiled down to eliminating what is “harmful” or superfluous in favor of the smooth flow of a movement.

For Arendt, total rule is the only form of government with which there can be no coexistence and no compromise.

Temporary alliance between mob and elite

The previously published essay On Imperialism is a preliminary study for this section of your book .

According to Arendt, totalitarian movements are shaped by the genuine devotion of their followers. A large part of the intellectual and artistic elite has identified - at least temporarily - with the totalitarian governments. Before the “collapse of the class system” created the “mass individuals”, the elite had (for good reasons) renounced society and could now “understand” the masses. Likewise, the mob , which is not affected by constitutions, parties and moral systems, the underworld and the rabble, is on the fringes of society. For the first time he was ready and able to organize the masses and, since he could not pursue a professional career, to take on political offices.

The leaders of the parties believed that this discredited the mob, but it was the other way around, as the situation of the masses was so desperate that they no longer hoped for civil society. According to Arendt, Hitler's “hysterical fanaticism” and Stalin's “vengeful cruelty” bore the features of the mob.

“In any case, the temporary alliance between the elite and the mob was largely based on the real pleasure that the mob gave the elite when it set out to expose the respectability of good society, whether the German steel barons received the 'house painter Hitler ' or the spirit - and cultural life was thrown out of its academic path with clumsy and vulgar fakes. "

The elite were particularly fascinated by radicalism, by the abolition of the separation between the private and the public and by the capture of the whole person by the respective worldview. She regards the convictions of the mob as pure behavior of the bourgeoisie, not weakened by hypocrisy. However, the hopes of both groups were not fulfilled, as the leaders of the totalitarian movements, most of which came from the mob, represented neither its interests nor those of the intellectual supporters, but sought " millennial empires ". Initiatives by the mob and the elite would have been more of a hindrance to “building functioning systems of domination and destruction”. The rulers therefore preferred to fall back on the “masses of the same-minded philistines ”.

Totalitarian propaganda and indoctrination

While the mob and the elite wanted to overturn everything that existed independently through terror, the masses could only be integrated into totalitarian organizations through propaganda . Totalitarian movements change society's perception of reality and fix it on universal meanings. The movement adopted ideologies of a “racial society or a society without a class or nation” and spread theories of conspiracies against society by Jews or party enemies.

For National Socialism, Arendt emphasizes the importance of this phenomenon using the Protocols of the Elders of Zion . The question must be asked how this obvious forgery could become the "Bible of a mass movement". With the belief in the Jewish world conspiracy and its modern elements, answers to problems of modernity could be conveyed. "It is the peculiarly modern elements to which the protocols owe their extraordinary topicality and which have a stronger effect than the much more banal admixture of ancient superstitions."

In Stalinism, too, she finds anti-Semitic traits based on the Nazi model. The reference to a Jewish world conspiracy in the sense of the Elders of Zion , the reinterpretation of the term “Zionism”, which included all non-Zionist organizations and thus all Jews, was more suitable for realizing the claims to world domination due to the existing anti-Semitic resentment in the population than capitalism or imperialism.

After the "movements" came to power, according to the author, propaganda was replaced by indoctrination . The terror was now directed not only against the supposed enemies, but also against friends who had become uncomfortable. The devotion of the loyal members then went so far that they were ready at any time to die a sacrificial death for the leader or the party. Arendt proves this z. B. with the attitude of the defendants in the Moscow trials .

The lies about the "conspirators", argues the author, have not been invalidated by their obviousness:

"Thus, the apparent helplessness of the Jews against their extermination did not destroy the fable of the omnipotence of the Jews, nor did the liquidation of the Trotskyists in Russia and the assassination of Trotsky destroy the fable of the Trotskyists' conspiracy against the Soviet Union."

Terror as a being of total domination

In the era of National Socialism was, Arendt continues, the power structure fully established, into line and made gradually more and more radical and inscrutable. The “right to murder” together with methods to remove knowledge from the world became a visible worldview.

“The fact that the Nazis wanted to conquer the world, resettle 'alien' peoples and 'eradicate inferior biologically” was as little a secret as the world revolution and conquest plans of Russian Bolshevism. "

While the National Socialists always upheld the fiction of the Jewish world conspiracy, the Bolsheviks changed their fiction several times: from the Trotskyist world conspiracy to imperialism to the conspiracy of the " rootless cosmopolitan " etc. Stalin's instrument of power was the transformation of the communist parties into branches of the Moscow-ruled Comintern . Within the “total world”, the police apparatus ruled as the secret police, GPU or Gestapo .

The number of Jews murdered in the Nazi extermination camps as well as other groups and the people killed in the "predatory war" can be proven. From Arendt's sources, no precise quantification of the victims of Stalinism was possible. The murders ranged from the liquidation of the kulaks to the losses during the collectivization of agriculture and the Moscow trials to the Great Terror . She supported u. a. based on statements by contemporary young Russian intellectuals about " mass purges , deportation and extermination of entire peoples".

Hannah Arendt describes the concentration and extermination camps as experimental institutions that served the extermination of people, the humiliation of individuals and the proof that people are totally controllable. Identity, plurality and spontaneity of all people should be destroyed. The camps were central to the maintenance of the apparatus of power, the crimes and atrocities so monstrous, the horror so great that they seemed a bit unbelievable to bystanders. Because the truth of the victims offends common sense. Hitler's "announcements repeated hundreds of times that Jews are parasites that must be exterminated" was not believed.

The horror of “ radical evil ” brings the realization that there are no political, historical or moral human standards for this.

Concentration camps are always outside the normal penal system. They are based on the "killing of the legal person ". Humans are reduced to “Jew”, “carrier of bacilli”, “exponent (s) of dying classes”. In the case of criminals and politicians, the legal person cannot be completely destroyed, according to Arendt, "because they know why they are there". Most of the inmates were completely innocent. It was precisely these that were liquidated in the gas chambers, while real enemies of the regime were often killed in advance. The “disenfranchisement” of people is a “precondition for total domination” and applies to everyone who lives in a totalitarian system.

In addition there is the "murder of the moral person". It is a system of forgetting that extends to the family and friends of those affected. Death will be anonymized. Moral action and decisions made by conscience became impossible. Arendt quotes Albert Camus' report about a woman who was given the choice by the National Socialists to decide which of her three children should be killed.

The only thing that then remains to prevent people from being transformed into “living corpses” is to maintain “differentiation, identity”. Hannah Arendt clearly shows: the conditions during the transports to the camps, the shaving of the skull, the undressing, the torture and the murder. While the SA still killed with “hatred” and “blind obsession”, the murder in the camp was a “mechanized act of extermination”, sometimes committed without “individual bestiality” by normal people who were brought up to be members of the SS .

The terror as being a totalitarian government initially exerts a peculiar attraction to modern uprooted people, pressed together later the masses and destroyed all the relationships between people. The principle is ideology, "the inner compulsion", reinterpreted and accepted until people are driven forward to their own death full of fear, despair and abandonment, when "one" finally becomes the "superfluous" and "pests" heard.

In the end, she emphasizes that total domination does not collapse in a protracted process, but suddenly collapses and that most of its supporters then deny participation in crimes, even belonging to the movement.

Vita activa or From active life

In contrast to Heidegger, Arendt based her thinking on the birth of the individual and not on death. In her second major work, The Human Condition , published in 1958, mainly on philosophy , in German - translated by herself - under the title: Vita activa or Vom aktivigen Leben , published in 1960, Arendt elaborates on this idea. The ability to make a start begins with birth. The individual has the task of shaping the world in connection with other people. She is concerned with the basic conditions of active human life, which she limits to “working, manufacturing and acting”. It distinguishes between the “ essence ” and the “nature” of humans, which cannot be conceptually defined and are not accessible to human knowledge. Attempts to determine it ended “mostly with some construction of a divine”.

In her opinion, acting is more closely tied to being a native than working and manufacturing.

Work and manufacture

The work serves the continuation of the individual and the genre. Work therefore necessarily belongs to human life, but also to that of every other living being. According to Arendt, work is not linked to freedom, but rather represents a compulsion to maintain life, to which man is constantly subject from birth to death.

On the basis of work, the individual begins to think about the finitude of his existence. In order to escape this certainty, man builds his own artificial world in addition to the natural one, for which he makes things from different materials. Arendt assumes that this world is permanent and that the individual can build a relationship with the manufactured things and phenomena . An example of this is the feeling of “coming home”. In a constantly changing world, man cannot feel at home.

The distinction introduced by Arendt between “work” and “manufacture” also applies to production . As products of labor, she describes consumer goods that are “consumed” while products of manufacture or work are “used”.


The action finally, insofar as it serves the creation and preservation of political communities, creates the conditions for a continuity of generations of memory and of history. It takes place between individuals and at the same time shows the uniqueness, diversity and plurality of people. Arendt argues that individuals can survive in a society without ever having to work or produce anything themselves.

Action consists in political interaction , which for Arendt is fundamental. Communication, d. H. “Finding the right word at the right moment” is already action. "Only violence is silent, and for this reason alone, sheer violence can never claim greatness." Arendt emphasizes: Even if the individual still knows that he is human, he will not appear as such to others without action. The title chosen for the German edition: Vita activa is based on this line of thought.

Action takes place in public space. This was most clearly realized for Arendt in the Greek polis , where work took place in the private space of the household - with all the consequences of dictatorship - while action in public space took place in the agora . This public square was the place of the vita activa , the political communication, design and freedom among equals.

From the process of understanding in the political space to a mass society

In contrast, according to Arendt, there was a shift in the Middle Ages on the basis of Christian dogmatics. The highest freedom for man now lay in the God-oriented “ Vita contemplativa ”. The element of artisanal and artistic production was rated higher than (philosophical) thinking and (political) action. Man became homo faber , i.e. H. Creator of an artificial world. The “speechless amazement ”, which has been the “beginning and end of all philosophy ” since antiquity and was only accessible to a few, lost its importance in favor of the “contemplative gaze of the craftsmen”.

Arendt criticizes the Christian-Occidental philosophy. Most of the philosophers had spoken out on political issues, but hardly any of them took part directly in the political discourse . The only exception she saw was Machiavelli . Even if the political had found an appreciation in Hegel , Arendt turned against Hegel's idea of ​​the necessity of historical development. The idea of ​​the absolute as the goal of history leads to ideology and thus to the justification of undemocratic practices and ultimately to forms of total domination.

The modern individual also moves away from the political due to the “radical subjectivity of his emotional life” through “endless inner conflicts”. The individuals are socially standardized, deviations from this norm are recorded as antisocial or abnormal. The phenomenon of mass society arises with the rule of the bureaucracy . The social classes and groupings are adjusted to one another and controlled with equal power. The equalization, the conformism in the public, means that awards and "special features" become private affairs of individuals. Large groups of people develop a tendency towards despotism, either of an individual or of " despotism of the majority".

Even in Heidegger's conception of historicity as a basic condition of human existence, thought remains stuck in contemplation for the author. A “vita activa”, however, requires questions about the principles of politics and the conditions of freedom. Like Jaspers, Arendt saw Kant's moral philosophy as a starting point, in which the question of the conditions of human plurality was in the foreground. Kant not only looked at statesmen and philosophers, but also regarded all people as legislators and judges, and so came to the demand for a republic, which the researcher supports.

In this work, Arendt investigates the historical change in terms such as freedom, equality, happiness, public, privacy, society and politics and describes precisely the change in meaning in the respective historical context. Their point of reference is ancient Greece, especially at the time of the Socratic Dialogue . In her view, it is important to anchor the lost areas of the political again in a modified form in the present and thus to make fruitful the abilities of politically thinking and acting free individuals who try to distinguish themselves from one another. In contrast, she sees the widespread behaviorism , which aims to reduce people in all of their activities "to the level of an all-sidedly conditioned and behaving living being".

About the revolution

According to her essay Die Freiheit zu sein , which was unpublished during her lifetime and first appeared in German at the beginning of 2018, Arendt saw a basic prerequisite for the emergence of revolutions in the erosion of the existing system of rule:

“Generally speaking, a revolution is not possible if the authority of the state is intact, which under modern conditions means: if one can trust that the armed forces will obey the state authority. Revolutions are not a necessary but a possible answer to the downfall of a regime; they are not the cause but the consequence of the decline of political authority. "

In the book On Revolution (1963, German edition 1965), Arendt analyzes and interprets the French and American revolutions , whereby other revolutions are also addressed. She criticizes the societies that emerged from the revolutions. In doing so, she uses a different concept of revolution than is commonly used. Their main concern is to determine the essential characteristics of the "revolutionary spirit". She recognizes this in the possibility of starting something afresh and in joint action by people.

"In the language of the 18th century [the principles of the revolutionary spirit] are called public freedom, public happiness, public spirit."

Arendt asks why the “spirit of the revolution” did not find institutions and was therefore lost. It is based on Thomas Jefferson , who, after his tenure as the third President of the United States of America, reflected on what had happened in letters. As a solution, she sees Jefferson's ward system , which she also calls "elementary republics".

According to Jefferson, after the American Revolution and the introduction of the Constitution, there was no institution in which the people could contribute to public affairs. The age-old relationship between governed and ruled continued. During and before the American Revolution, the people in the townhalls could take an active part in political events. The immigrants made good use of this possibility. After the revolution, however, people became more and more involved in their private lives, pursued their private interests, and became less interested in public affairs.

As an alternative to representative party democracy, Arendt advocates a soviet republic . The former is incapable of letting the people participate in political life. Based on the experience after the First World War, she describes the multi-party system as even more unattractive than the English or American two-party system , since it is essentially a one-party dictatorship .

According to Arendt, elements of the council system appear in almost all revolutions, with the exception of the February Revolution and the March Revolution of 1848 . She describes the councils as peaceful, non-partisan and interested in building a new state. The parties , whether left, right or revolutionary, saw strong competition in the councils or soviets , agitated against them and were ultimately always able to destroy them with state help.

Hannah Arendt favors this political system of direct democracy because people in the party democracies feel that they are ruled - and that was precisely not the point of the revolutions. In contrast, the possibility of political participation at different levels comes much closer to Arendt's ideas of the political.

She emphasizes that “no one can be called happy who does not participate in public affairs, that no one is free who does not know from experience what public freedom is, and that no one is free or happy who has no power, namely none Share in public power ”.

Think, want, judge

The works published posthumously in 1989, Thinking and Wanting , appeared in 1998 in the anthology Vom Leben des Geistes . This work is in turn based on lectures she gave in 1973 and 1974. The third part, The Judgment , was compiled by the political scientist Ronald Beiner on the basis of the manuscripts of her lectures on Kant, especially from 1970, after preliminary work on the part of her estate administrator Mary McCarthy.

As she writes in the introduction, Arendt does not want to work as a “philosopher” or “thinker of trade” (Kant) with this demanding title, but does not want to leave the thinking to them either. The reason for their studies was a. her Eichmann book, in which she dealt with the “monstrous deeds” of an “ordinary”, “thoughtless” perpetrator. This led to the question of whether thinking, i. H. the habit of investigating everything, regardless of the results, is one of the conditions that protect people from doing evil.

The thinking

In her work on Thinking , which was already ready for publication, Arendt expanded the ideas from Vita activa by now using the “Vita contemplativa”, i.e. H. Describes intellectual activities as being equal or even superior. She tries to underpin her statement in Eichmann's book about the “banality of evil” with the thesis that this type of evil action is linked to the “lack of thought” with “thoughtlessness”. She asks the following question:

“Could thought as such - the habit of examining anything that goes on or that attracts attention, regardless of the results or specific content - be among the conditions that prevent, or even predispose, people to doing evil to do?"

As the motto of the introduction, she put a short text from Heidegger's What does thinking mean? in which this emphasizes the importance of thinking in itself.

Again it traces concepts back to their origins. Ethics and morals , according to Arendt, are the Greek and Latin expressions for custom and custom. Conscience, on the other hand, means “knowing within yourself” and is part of every thought process. She considers only “good people” to be able to develop a guilty conscience, while criminals usually have a good conscience. Ethics and morals (literally: customs and habits) were mainly based on the opposite premise .

Based on Socrates , the statement already found in Democritus : "It is better to suffer injustice than to do injustice", she develops the thought of inner conversation, whereby the individual must be careful not to get into conflict with himself about his own Maintaining self-respect even when many people choose otherwise.

"As citizens, we must prevent bad deeds because it is about the world we all live in, the culprit, the victim and the bystanders."

Thinking has been part of acting since ancient times . Arendt differentiates her understanding of thinking from Plato and Aristotle , who would have understood thinking as a passive contemplation, as well as from Christianity, which made philosophy the "maid of theology" and thinking made meditation and contemplation. She is also critical of the approach of the modern age , in which thinking mainly serves the science of experience . She considers mathematics as pure thinking to be the “queen of the sciences”. She criticizes the hegemony of the natural sciences as an explanatory model for all "phenomena", including social and political ones, and emphasizes the importance of reflecting on the condition of human life.

The importance of thinking in public life is largely receding in modern society, which is increasingly becoming the world of work. The "vita activa", the production and action, triumph over the "vita contemplativa", the search for meaning, which was once the  priority - especially in the Middle Ages . People get into a quandary because, on the one hand, individuality is emphasized in democratic mass society , on the other hand, mass society sets limits to discussions in public space.

In this lecture-based treatise, she dealt with numerous eminent philosophers who have given information about thinking - as looking at being. She treated the great thinkers for life, just like Jaspers, as if they were contemporaries.

While thinking as the invisible is present in all experience and tends to generalize, the other two mental activities are much closer to the "world of appearances" because it is always about "something": about judging the past, the result of which is preparation for wanting to represent.

The want

According to Arendt, the will is based on creature desire as well as on rational thinking. She emphasizes the importance of the will as a human talent to overcome the old in order to be able to begin with the new. This will, combined with the nobility of people who are not the same but who think differently from one another (“difference”) , on the one hand enables freedom, but on the other hand harbors the danger of purely spontaneous, intuitive action. She states: "Man's free actions are rare."

She explores the concept of will based on its history. It was unknown in ancient Greece and only gained great importance in modern times in connection with that of inwardness (“the inner experience”) .

At the same time, she examines the will as an inner ability of people to decide in which form they would like to show themselves in the "world of appearances". With its projects, the will creates, so to speak, the “person” who can be made responsible for their character (their whole “being”). Here it is differentiated from the influential Marxist and existentialist theses that portray people as creators of themselves. This fallacy corresponds to the modern emphasis on will as a substitute for thinking.

The judging

As in her work on the existential philosophy of Heidegger and Jaspers thirty years earlier, Arendt takes a stand in the medieval universality controversy , again in favor of nominalism. In her unauthorized posthumously published fragment, Das Verdiegen. In texts on Kant's political philosophy , she reflects the making of judgments as subjective. She deals with Kant's theory of the “aesthetic judgment” in the critique of the power of judgment , whereby she sees the aesthetic judgment as a model for political judgment. This judgment is based on thinking without the mediation of a concept or a system. As an example, Arendt cites that if one calls a rose beautiful, one arrives at this judgment without the generalization that all roses are beautiful and therefore this one too. So there is no category “roses” or “nature of the rose”, rather only the individual rose, which is assessed by each person from their own perspective. She describes the knowledge of the different points of view as “representative thinking”. This thinking presupposes taking a place in the world that is not your own without giving up your own identity.

Judgments were not based on any particular internalized moral concept. According to Arendt's understanding, the judgment that a person is capable of has something to do with the ability to take the point of view of the other and thereby disregard one's own will.


Contemporary graffito refers to totalitarianism criticism by Arendt, Göttingen 2018: "Nobody has the right to obey", "Be naughty!"

Hannah Arendt became famous with her book on totalitarianism . This work, which is now part of the standard of political education, earned her a lot of approval and numerous lecture invitations. “She was the first theoretician to understand the phenomenon of totalitarianism as a completely new form of political power in human history.” It partially served as the basis for an expanded concept of totalitarianism and as an argument against the post-Stalinist Soviet Union in the Cold War . It was repeatedly criticized by more orthodox socialists.

At the same time, not only her research results on National Socialism, but also her early analyzes of Stalinism as a totalitarian system were valued in specialist circles, but also in parts of the left. In the United States and France in particular, these debates have fostered the development of an undogmatic New Left .

The American literary scholar and Palestinian activist Edward Said , who worked on post-colonialism , counted Hannah Arendt, based on her reception of the writer Joseph Conrad in The Origins of Totalitarianism, among those theorists of imperialism who are both “imperialist and anti-imperialist”.

Your teacher Karl Jaspers described the book in the foreword to the third edition as " writing history on a grand scale". It was worked out with the means of historical research and sociological analysis. The work gives "the insight through which a philosophical way of thinking in political reality only becomes capable of judgment". Arendt did not give advice, but conveyed knowledge that served human dignity and reason .

In the 1960s in particular, her report on the Eichmann trial in Jerusalem caused fierce controversy. Eichmann's memoirs, which document his strong, independent anti-Semitism, were not yet available to Hannah Arendt when the newspaper reports and the book were being written. Today, in a large part of the reception it is pointed out that Arendt underestimated Eichmann's anti-Semitism as a motive. Even now this work is often rejected or ignored, but on the other hand - like all works by Arendt - it is gaining more and more recognition and attention. So raised z. B. Jan Philipp Reemtsma 1998 pointed out that, at least since Arendt's Eichmann book, the “pathologization of the perpetrators” has proven to be an unsuitable attempt at an explanation. To this day there has been a critical debate about how authors and their texts are often received only in reference to one passage and without context, from Augustine to totalitarianism to their most recent publications. Sometimes it mentions the circumstances in notes, often not, and almost always assumes knowledge of authors.

Jürgen Habermas included Hannah Arendt in his philosophical-political profiles of important authors of the 20th century who would have determined the direction of his thinking. In addition to Scholem and Bloch , he speaks of “fascinating admiration for the pioneering spirit” in relation to Arendt. His both positive and critical attitude is expressed when he writes: “From Hannah Arendt I learned how to approach a theory of communicative action; what I cannot see is that this approach is supposed to contradict a critical theory of society . ”He described Jaspers and Arendt as“ intrepid radical democrats ”with“ elitist mentalities ”. As early as the 1960s - as in his great work facticity and validity (1992) - he has been grappling with their political theory by exploring their theses in the elements and origins of total domination , even more so in Vita activa and About the Revolution , but also represented, partly adapted, partly discarded or further developed in her later works that were not yet published during her lifetime.

In 1999, the sociologist Hauke ​​Brunkhorst dealt with the relationship between Habermas and Arendt. Habermas discovered correspondences between his theory of communicative action and Arendt's theory of power and violence , but kept his distance from her Aristotelianism and her criticism of the French Revolution.

The Habermas students Helmut Dubiel , Ulrich Rödel and Günter Frankenberg tried in The Democratic Question (1990) " to repair the democratic deficit of the older critical theory with the help of Arendt ". Thus began after Brunkhorst the great impact of Hannah Arendt in the eighties, when the civil society ( civil society ) was on the agenda. The reason was on the one hand the neoliberal policies of Ronald Reagan and Margaret Thatcher and on the other hand the policies of the Soviet Union .

Seyla Benhabib wonders how the Arendt Renaissance can be explained. "After the fall of authoritarian communism and since Marxist theory began to retreat worldwide, Hannah Arendt's thinking turned out to be the critical political theory of the post-totalitarian moment." For the modern women's movement, too, Arendt is "an impressive and mysterious role model, one of our" former mothers' ”. The feminist movement in the 1970s and 1980s, however, had hardly made any reference to Arendt.

In 1998 Walter Laqueur criticized the "Arendt cult", especially in Germany. She is particularly fascinated by women writers, is seen as a heroine, the greatest philosopher of our day or of all times, whatever she may have been. "You can see a fascinating discrepancy between Arendt as a political philosopher and her lack of judgment with regard to the current political situation." In this context, he speaks of "habitual misjudgments", accuses her, like Scholem, of her attitude towards Israel and Palestine and states in sharp words a distance from Judaism.

In 2005 Ralf Dahrendorf counted Hannah Arendt, with some reservations, as one of the few independent humanistic and liberal thinkers of the previous century.

Memorial plaque on Arendt's house in Heidelberg, Schlossberg 16, attached in 2006

She was often reproached for underestimating social issues . In 1972, in a conversation with friends, she replied that, for example, building housing was a question of administration, but also contained political aspects such as the problem of integration. She herself has repeatedly and expressly limited her thinking, which radically questions traditions and world views, to the political. In 2008 Rahel Jaeggi dealt with political thinking in contrast to and in connection with social thinking.

Elisabeth Young-Bruehl pointed out in 2006 that Arendt's political concept of forgiveness and a new beginning was implemented in the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of South Africa fifteen years after her death : “Her ideas about forgiveness and her book on Eichmann influenced and were reflected in the action , the new beginning, that brought the South African Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC), which, for the first time in history, made forgiveness a guiding principle for a state. "

There is no philosophical or political school that refers to Hannah Arendt. Her widely ramified work offers the opportunity to pick out suitable set pieces to justify your own position. According to her own information - unlike many important intellectual contemporaries - she was never a socialist or a communist, but on the other hand was not always a Zionist and did not fit into any other scheme. Therefore, for a long time there were only a few scientists, like Jürgen Habermas and Ernst Vollrath , who took their entire work seriously.

This has changed fundamentally in recent years. In the postmodern era , her individual “thinking without a railing”, her explanations about plurality and polyphony are more likely to be valued, also because - as is often noted - her way of thinking and life show a high degree of agreement. Since about 1945 Arendt has been able to publish on a large scale throughout the USA, have taught academically since 1953 and occupy a prominent position as a political intellectual in public, a fact which Thomas Wild comments as follows: “A“ career ”of this kind would be for a woman was hardly imaginable in the countries of old Europe at that time. "

Estate and facilities

Their library, which contained almost 4,000 books and other papers, has been located in Bard College in New York since 1976, which makes an overview digitally accessible to the public.

Graffito by BeneR1 and koart on Arendt's birthplace with the inscription: "Nobody has the right to obey." In the original from the radio interview with Joachim Fest 1964: "With Kant, nobody has the right to obey"

The Hannah Arendt Institute for Research on Totalitarianism e. V. (HAIT) in Dresden has been working since 1993. It has set itself the goal of investigating “dictatorships with a totalitarian right to dispose”. Historians and social scientists are supposed to analyze the political and social structures of National Socialism and the SED regime on an empirical basis . The institute also holds conferences on Hannah Arendt and supports posthumous publications.

The Hungarian Hannah Arendt Society, founded in 1997, is primarily aimed at educational staff and a. with a redefinition of human rights in view of the Arendt thesis that industrial mass extermination was only possible because human rights were neither philosophically justified nor politically enforced, but merely proclaimed.

In Zurich, where Arendt had given the lecture Freedom and Politics in 1958, the annual Hannah Arendt Days took place from 1996 to 2000, each of which dealt with her political thinking from a different perspective. Similar events have been held every summer in Hanover since 1998 and their results have been published.

At the Carl von Ossietzky University of Oldenburg , Antonia Grunenberg founded the Hannah Arendt Center sic! ] . It has originals and copies of most of the documents from Arendt's estate. The Hannah Arendt studies are also published as a series of books. There are also conferences and other events on the works of Arendt and on the intellectual history of the previous century in general.  

The Hannah Arendt Center at the New School for Social Research in New York - Arendt was a professor there in the last years of her life - has existed since 2000. Its director is Jerome Kohn , who was a research assistant at Arendt, who published about her and currently manages her estate.

The International Hannah Arendt Newsletter has been published in Berlin since 2005 with German, English and, more rarely, French contributions, including previously unpublished works by Arendt.


Abbreviated Hannah Arendt quote “Nobody has the right to obey” in Bolzano

The asteroid " (100027) Hannaharendt ", discovered in 1990, was named after her in 2006.

The Hannah Arendt Prize for Political Thinking has been awarded since 1995 and financed by the City of Bremen and the Heinrich Böll Foundation of the Greens .

Since around the turn of the millennium one can speak of a real Arendt boom in Germany. Hanover, Marburg and Heidelberg have put memorial plaques on the respective homes, some schools as well as streets and squares are named after her, and public events such as lectures, symposia and exhibitions are held. On the occasion of the 30th anniversary of her death in 2005 and shortly afterwards on her 100th birthday, numerous articles and books were published. In addition to philosophers, political scientists and other social scientists, historians and literary scholars are increasingly interested in Hannah Arendt in universities and other research institutions.

In 2005 the street next to the Memorial to the Murdered Jews of Europe was named after her in Berlin . In 2012 in Vienna-Donaustadt , Hannah-Arendt-Platz and Hannah-Arendt-Park in the newly emerging Seestadt Aspern district were named after her. In 2015, the Hannah-Arendt-Platz in Hanover was named after her, before a path there bore her name.

In 2017 in Bolzano a monumental relief from the time of fascism that glorified it at the Casa Littoria by the South Tyrolean artists Michele Bernardi and Arnold Holzknecht with the affixing of a Hannah Arendt quote - in abbreviated form - became a public memorial remodeled.


Books, lectures and larger papers

  • Augustine's concept of love . Attempt at a philosophical interpretation. Berlin 1929. New editions: Philo Verlagsgesellschaft, Berlin and Vienna 2003, ISBN 3-86572-343-8 ; Meiner Verlag, Hamburg 2018 (with an introduction and comments by FA Kurbacher), ISBN 978-3-7873-2990-8 , 174 pages ( dissertation )
  • The Origins of Totalitarianism. New York 1951, German elements and origins of total rule , Frankfurt a. M., 1955; 10th edition. Piper, Munich 2003, ISBN 3-492-21032-5 .
  • About totalitarianism. Texts by Hannah Arendt from 1951 and 1953 (foreword and concluding remarks on the 1st edition of The Origins of Totalitarianism and controversy with Eric Voegelin ). Übers. Ursula Ludz, Commentary Ingeborg Nordmann. Hannah Arendt Institute, Dresden 1998, ISBN 3-931648-17-6 .
  • Rahel Varnhagen: The Life of a Jewess . London 1958, German Rahel Varnhagen. Life story of a German Jewess from the Romantic period . Piper, Munich 1959; New editions: 1981–1998, ISBN 3-492-20230-6 .
  • The human condition. University Press, Chicago 1958; German Vita activa or From active life , Kohlhammer, Stuttgart 1960; Piper, Munich 1967, 3rd edition, 2002, ISBN 3-492-23623-5 .
  • Eichmann in Jerusalem: A Report on the Banality of Evil. New York 1963, German Eichmann in Jerusalem . A report on the banality of evil. Piper, Munich 1964; 14th edition, 1986, ISBN 3-492-20308-6 .
  • On revolution . New York 1963, German: About the Revolution . Piper, Munich 1963, 4th edition, 2000, ISBN 3-492-21746-X .
  • Some Questions of Moral Philosophy 1965, Ger. Some questions of ethics. Lecture in four parts. In: About evil . A lecture on questions of ethics , Piper, Munich 2006, ISBN 3-492-04694-0 , (English. Responsibility and Judgment ) Introduction , published for the first time posthumously
  • On violence. New York, London 1970, German power and violence , Piper, Munich 1970; 15th edition, 2003, ISBN 3-492-20001-X . Appendix: Adelbert Reif : Interview with Hannah Arendt on power and violence, 1970
  • Lectures on Kant's Political Philosophy , Chicago 1982, dt. Judgment. Texts on Kant's political philosophy. Piper, Munich 1985, ISBN 3-492-22560-8 , lecture 1970, first published posthumously
  • The Life of the Mind. New York 1978, German From the life of the spirit . Vol. 1: Thinking. Vol. 2: The will. Piper, Munich 1979, ISBN 3-492-22555-1 , lectures 1973 and 1974, first published posthumously
  • Thinking diary 1950–1973. Edited by Ursula Ludz, Ingeborg Nordmann in collaboration with the Hannah Arendt Institute, Dresden. 2 volumes. Piper, München & Zürich 2002, ISBN 3-492-04429-8 , first published posthumously.
  • The Jewish Writings. Eds. Jerome Kohn, Ron H. Feldman, Schocken, New York 2007, ISBN 978-0-8052-4238-6 , reviews:
  • I feel like going to look for myself. The private address book 1951–1975. Edited by Christine Fischer-Defoy, Koehler & Amelang, Leipzig 2007, ISBN 978-3-7338-0357-5 .
  • Socrates. Apology of plurality . Translated from the English by Joachim Kalka. Matthes & Seitz, Berlin 2015, ISBN 978-3-95757-168-7 , review:

Essays, articles and small papers

  • The hidden tradition. Eight essays (1932-1948). Suhrkamp, ​​Frankfurt a. M. 1976, ISBN 3-518-36803-6 ; [out of print from 2010] Jüdischer Verlag, 2000, ISBN 3-633-54163-2 , therein: appropriation to Karl Jaspers. 1947, About Imperialism 1946, Organized Debt 1946, The Hidden Tradition 1948, ( Stefan Zweig ) Jews in the World of Yesterday 1944, Franz Kafka , (reassessed) 1946, Enlightenment and Jewish Question 1932, Zionism from Today's View (English 1945)
  • What is Existence Philosophy? New York 1946. What is Existential Philosophy? . In: Sechs Essays , Schriften der Wandlung 3, Heidelberg 1948, new publication: Verlag Anton Hain, Frankfurt a. M. 1990, ISBN 3-445-06011-8 .
  • One is only safe from anti-Semitism on the moon. Contributions to the German-Jewish émigré newspaper “Aufbau” 1941–1945. Edited by Marie Luise Knott , Piper, Munich 2004, ISBN 3-492-24178-6 .
  • From the Dreyfus Affair to France Today . In: Essays on Antisemitism. Koppel S. Pinson (Ed.); Salo W. Baron (preface). Publisher: Conference on Jewish Relations, New York 1946 (included in this 2nd edition only). Series: Jewish Social Studies. Publications, Vol. 2, pp. 173-217. The book is available in the German National Library , Leipzig location. (Details on the previous version from 1942 and a further revision in Origins ... in Ludz, Arendt bibliography in I will understand , title no. 019, p. 260).
  • Reflections on Literature and Culture. Ed. And foreword Susannah Young-Ah Gottlieb. Stanford University Press SUP, Stanford, Calif. 2007, ISBN 978-0-8047-4499-7 (English - The book contains a number of difficult-to-grasp articles by Arendt, including from the 1930s. Book available on the German market. Among others, about: Duineser Elegien , Gentz , Adam Müller , Käte Hamburger , Dostojewski: The Demons , Emerson - Thoreau Prize Speech, Franz. Existentialismus , Bernard Lazare , Proust , Kipling (this text is identical to the corresponding chapter from "Elements and Origins"), the painter Carl Heidenreich, by the the frontispiece comes from, and Herman Melville . In the appendix, Arendt's different German-English versions are compared with Stefan Zweig, Kafka, "Kultur und Politik", Brecht.)
  • Israel, Palestine and anti-Semitism. Articles (1943–1964). Ed. Eike Geisel , Klaus Bittermann Verlag Klaus Wagenbach, Berlin 1991, ISBN 3-8031-2196-5 (translation of the original American version)
  • For now. Political Essays (1943–1975). Rotbuch, Hamburg 1999, ISBN 3-434-53037-1 , therein: We refugees 1943
  • After Auschwitz. Essays and Commentaries (1944–1965). Edited by Eike Geisel, Klaus Bittermann, Edition Tiamat, Berlin 1989, ISBN 3-923118-81-3 .
  • There is only one human right . In: The change . Edited by Dolf Sternberger . Lambert Schneider, Heidelberg 4th year, December 1949, pp. 754–770 (Translation from: ›The Rights of Man‹. What Are They? In: Modern Review , NY 1949, 3 (1), pp. 24–36 )
  • Questionable traditions in contemporary political thinking. Four essays . European Publishing House , Frankfurt a. M. 1957, translated from American English by Charlotte Beradt , (in it the important essay "What is authority?")
  • In the present. Exercises in Political Thinking II. Ed. Ursula Ludz. Piper, Munich 2000, ISBN 3-492-22920-4 ; Texts 1944–1975, therein a. a .: Yesterday they were still communists…. 1953 and The Lie in Politics. Reflections on the Pentagon Papers 1971.
  • What is politics? (Fragments from the estate 1950–1959), Foreword: Kurt Sontheimer, Ed .: Ursula Ludz, Piper, Munich 1993, ISBN 3-492-23770-3 (TB 2nd edition. 2005)
  • Un viatique pour lire Machiavel (Small instructions, M. to read) Not yet published. Texts from 1955, lectures at the Univ. Berkeley (French translation by Marie Gaille-Nikodimov) in: Magazine littéraire , Paris, No. 397, Avril 2001, ditto brazilian port. Transl. (From the French by Gabriel Cohn) scielo.br Original, as a scan of the Ms. (English) see web links: The Hannah Arendt Papers, in the Library of Congress, 33 p. (Also about other political thinkers of the time including Locke , Rousseau , Hobbes , Montesquieu, Tocqueville )
  • The Hungarian Revolution and Totalitarian Imperialism . Translated from American English by Charlotte Beradt. Piper, Munich 1958.
  • Between the past and the future. Exercises in Political Thought I. Texts 1954–1964. Ed. Ursula Ludz, Piper, Munich 1994, 2nd revised edition 2000, ISBN 3-492-21421-5 ; therein u. a .: The crisis in education 1958, truth and politics 1967 (original version: Between Past and Future 1961, expanded 1968)
  • People in dark times . Essays and a. Texts 1955–1975. Edited by Ursula Ludz, Piper, Munich 2001, ISBN 3-492-23355-4 . (Original version: Men in Dark Times. New York 1968)
  • Together with Günther Stern : Rilke's “Duineser Elegien”. (1930) Reprint in Ulrich Fülleborn, Martin Engel: Material zu Rilkes DE, Vol. 2: Research history. Suhrkamp, ​​Frankfurt 1982, ISBN 3-518-38510-0 , pp. 45-65.
  • Myself, I dance too. The poems. Ed. And epilogue Irmela von der Lühe . Piper, Munich 2015, ISBN 978-3-492-05716-5 .
  • Truth and Lies in Politics , Piper, Munich 2013, ISBN 978-3-492-30328-6 , (two essays, first published in 1971 and 1972).
  • The freedom to be free. From the American English by Andreas Wirthensohn. Afterword by Thomas Meyer. DTV, Munich 2018, ISBN 978-3-423-14651-7 . This English undated text, which was written in connection with Über die Revolution (English 1963, German 1965), was not published during Arendt's lifetime. According to Thomas Meyer (p. 46), it is likely that her speech Revolution and Freedom, given in Chicago on April 21, 1967, was an altered version of this manuscript.
  • What does personal responsibility mean in a dictatorship? Piper, Munich 2018, ISBN 978-3-492-23828-1 .

Speeches and lectures

  • Karl Jaspers. In: Speeches on the award of the Peace Prize of the German Book Trade 1958. Piper, Munich 1958; back in HA: people in dark times. Piper, 1968 et al. ö., pp. 89-98; in audio version: Of Truth and Politics. 5 CDs: original recordings from the 50s and 60s . DHV Der Hörverlag, 2006, ISBN 3-89940-906-X .
  • Of humanity in dark times. Speech on September 28, 1959 at the acceptance of the Lessing Prize of the Free and Hanseatic City of Hamburg, EVA, Hamburg 1999, ISBN 3-434-50127-4 .
  • Collective responsibility. ( Memento from January 18, 2012 in the Internet Archive ) Lecture from 1968.
  • The Sonning Prize speech. Copenhagen 1975. In: text and criticism . Journal for Literature, Ed. Heinz Ludwig Arnold , 166/167, focus: Hannah Arendt, IX / 05, ISBN 3-88377-787-0 .

Interviews and listening texts

  • Hannah Arendt in conversation with Günter Gaus . About the person - portraits in questions and answers. Interview, Federal Republic of Germany, 30 min. First broadcast: ARD , October 28, 1964; Transcript . In: rbb . See discussion by Matthias Dell: Watching the thinking while talking and smoking - early interviews by Günter Gaus on two DVDs . In: Friday , August 19, 2005: "The best conversation, said Günter Gaus [...], was that with Hannah Arendt."
  • I want to understand. Self-assessment of life and work. Edited by Ursula Ludz. Piper, Munich 1996, new edition 2005, ISBN 3-492-24591-9 , (including the Gaus interview, an interview with Thilo Koch 1964, and one with Roger Errera, October 1973).
  • Conversations with Hannah Arendt. Ed. Adelbert Reif . Piper, Munich 1979, ISBN 3-492-00438-5 .
  • Hannah Arendt in conversation with Joachim Fest. A radio broadcast from 1964. Ed. By Ursula Ludz and Thomas Wild (transcription, preliminary remarks and notes), October 2007, online, ( Memento from January 26, 2012 in the Internet Archive ).
  • Hannah Arendt and Joachim Fest . "Eichmann was outrageously stupid". Conversations and letters. Edited by Ursula Ludz and Thomas Wild. Piper, Munich 2011, ISBN 978-3-492-05442-3 .
  • Hannah Arendt: Evil is always extreme, but never radical. 25 selected texts, read by Axel Grube. All texts and comments are also on the publisher's website. Onomato, Düsseldorf 2007, ISBN 978-3-939511-11-3 (further complete recording: Jokers Edition, 2 CDs, ISBN 978-3-939511-43-4 ).




For the works and texts of Arendt up to 1996 there is the almost complete chronological, German-English bibliography in Ich willhaben (2005) and in Young-Bruehl (this only up to 1978). The information on the Internet portal www.hannaharendt.net is helpful . especially foreign-language literature, sorted by year of publication (secondary literature since 2000, primary since 1929). Also useful is the easily accessible introduction by Wolfgang Heuer, who in the last edition lists a large part of Arendt's texts that were published up to 2003. Sarah Hemmen listed the secondary literature in the 2005 “ Text & Criticism ” magazine. A most recent list (primary and secondary literature) can be found in Thomas Wild (2006), p. 143 ff., Who also briefly presents and comments on the secondary literature in the text. Another clear bibliography (primary and secondary) is available online. In 1989 Joan Nordquist published a scientific bibliography with only English titles: University of Santa Cruz , 63 pages. The most extensive list has been available since 2018 in John M. Spalek , Konrad Feilchenfeldt , Sandra H. Hawrylchak (eds.): Bibliographien. Writer, publicist and literary scholar in the USA. Part 1: A - G. de Gruyter, Berlin 2018, ISBN 978-3-11-097553-6 , in Google books , detailed catalog of works and reviews with 31 hits on the search engine there, many of which are multi-page.


  • We Jews. Writings 1932 to 1966. Compiled and edited by Marie Luise Knott and Ursula Ludz, Piper, Munich 2019, ISBN 978-3-492-05561-1 .
  • Friendship in dark times [The Lessing speech with memories of Richard Bernstein, Mary McCarthy, Alfred Kazin and Jerome Kohn]. Matthes & Seitz, Berlin 2018, ISBN 978-3-95757-606-4 .
  • Thinking without a railing. Texts and letters. Piper Munich, Zurich 2006, ISBN 3-492-24823-3 (compilation of short text excerpts on philosophy, political thinking, political action, the human situation, life stories).
  • I want to understand. Self-assessment of life and work. Ed. Ursula Ludz. Piper, Munich 1996; New edition 2005, ISBN 3-492-24591-9 , (including a letter to Scholem 1963, television talks with Thilo Koch 1964, Günter Gaus 1964, Roger Errera 1973, discussion with friends in Toronto 1973).
  • Hannah Arendt in conversation with Joachim Fest . A radio broadcast from 1964. Eds. Ursula Ludz and Thomas Wild (preliminary remarks and comments), Oct. 2007, online, ( memento from January 26, 2012 in the Internet Archive ).
  • Hannah Arendt and Karl Jaspers: Correspondence 1926–1969. Piper, Munich 2001, ISBN 3-492-21757-5 .

Critical complete edition


Philosophy bibliography : Hannah Arendt - Additional references on the topic



  • Totenauberg. Theater and dance piece by Elfriede Jelinek . Rowohlt, Reinbek bei Hamburg 1991, ISBN 3-498-03326-3 , main characters: Heidegger and Arendt.
  • Passionate: Hannah Arendt. Free theater group klimaelemente , Münster 2005.
  • The banality of love. Play by Savyon Liebrecht about Arendt's relationship with Heidegger. Premiere: September 9, 2007, Theater Bonn , director: Stefan Heiseke.
  • Birthliness and being to death. Play by Fanny Brunner and Eva Bormann about the relationship between Arendt and Heidegger. Premiere: May 20, 2012, Hessisches Landestheater Marburg , director: Fanny Brunner.



  • Randall Jarrell : Pictures from an Institution. A comedy. Chicago 1954 (reprinted 1986). Jarrell dedicated the book to his wife and HA, with whom he became friends. The figure “Irene” bears Arendt's features.
  • Uwe Johnson : Anniversaries - From the life of Gesine Cresspahl . Vol. 1. Suhrkamp, ​​Frankfurt 1970. The corresponding fictional character is entitled "Countess Seydlitz".
  • Arthur Allen Cohen: To Admirable Woman. David R. Godine Publ., Boston / USA 1984 (new edition 1994). HA served as a model for the main character "Erika Herz".
  • Catherine Clément: Martin and Hannah . Novel. Rowohlt, Berlin 2000, ISBN 3-87134-400-1 (from French)
  • Leslie Kaplan : Fever . POL, Paris 2005; Berlin Verlag 2006. (A philosophical novel based on Hannah Arendt's Eichmann book. Kaplan takes up Arendt's theses on communication, freedom and guilt.)

Graphic novel

Web links

Commons : Hannah Arendt  - Collection of Images
Wikibooks: biography and work of Hannah-Arendt  - learning and teaching materials



Critical complete edition

Radio interviews

Television interviews



  1. ^ Paul R. Bartrop , Steven Leonard Jacobs: Fifty key thinkers on the Holocaust and Genocide . 1st edition. Routledge, Florence (Kentucky), USA 2010, ISBN 978-0-415-77551-9 , pp. 14 .
  2. a b Transcript of the Arendt – Gaus interview. In: rbb , 1964.
  3. See Kurt Sontheimer: Hannah Arendt , Piper, Munich-Zurich 2005, 23.
  4. See Kurt Sontheimer: Hannah Arendt . Piper, Munich / Zurich 2005, p. 23f.
  5. See Kurt Sontheimer: Hannah Arendt . Piper, Munich-Zurich 2005, p. 24.
  6. Cf. the presentation of v. a. due to both correspondence with Elzbieta Ettinger: Hannah Arendt - Martin Heidegger. A story. Munich 1995.
  7. Alfred Denker: On the way in being and time. Introduction to life and thinking by Martin Heidegger. Stuttgart 2011, p. 67.
  8. ^ Hannah Arendt: For Love of the World . Yale University-Press, New Haven / London 1982, German: Hannah Arendt. Life and work . (Translated by Hans Günter Holl), S. Fischer Verlag, Frankfurt a. M. 1986, p. 92ff.
  9. ^ The correspondence: Hannah Arendt, Kurt Blumenfeld. Hamburg 1995, p. 52.
  10. ^ Elisabeth Young-Bruehl : Hannah Arendt. Life, work and time. Frankfurt a. M. 1986, pp. 123-127.
  11. Cf. Herta Nagl-Docekal, Ludwig Nagl: Augustine readings in the context of contemporary philosophy . In: Bert van den Brink, Marcus Düwell u. a. (Ed.): History - Politics - Philosophy . FS Willem van Reijen, Wilhelm Fink Verlag, Munich 2003, pp. 24-38 (on Arendt 25-30), 25; with reference in particular to Ronald Beiner: Love and Worldliness: Hannah Arendt's Reading of Saint Augustine . In: Larry May, Jerome Kohn (ed.): Hannah Arendt. Twenty Years Later . Cambridge MA / London 1996, pp. 269-284, 276; Joanna Vecchiarelli Scott, Judith Chelius Stark: Rediscovering Hannah Arendt. In: Hannah Arendt: Love and Saint Augustine . Chicago / London 1996, pp. 115-212, 135 f.
  12. Ursula Ludz (eds.): Hannah Arendt / Martin Heidegger, letters 1925–1975 . Frankfurt a. M., Vittorio Klostermann, 1999, p. 50 f. (Letter from H. to A. of October 18, 1925)
  13. Kerstin Putz (ed.): Hannah Arendt - Günther Anders. Write hard facts about yourself. Letters 1939 to 1975 , texts and documents., Munich 2016, p. 229.
  14. Philosophy and Sociology. Review. In: Die Gesellschaft , 1930, p. 163 ff.
  15. ^ Enlightenment and the Jewish question. In: History of the Jews in Germany. 4th year, issue 2/3, Berlin 1932. Again in: HA, The hidden tradition. Eight essays. Suhrkamp 1976, pp. 108-126. English version in: HA: Jewish Writings . Eds. Jerome Kohn, Ron Feldman. Schocken, New York 2007.
  16. Review of Alice Rühle-Gerstel: The women's problem in the present. A psychological balance sheet. In: Die Gesellschaft , Vol. 10, No. 2, 1932, pp. 177-179.
  17. ^ Hannah Arendt and Karl Jaspers: Correspondence 1926–1969 . Munich 2001, p. 52 ff.
  18. Transcript of the interview Arendt – Gaus , 1964. For an understanding of their Judaism see Iris Pilling: Thinking and acting as Jüdin. Hannah Arendt's political theory before 1950. Frankfurt a. M. u. a. 1996; and Michael Daxner : The Jewish figure of Hannah Arendt . (PDF) In: University of Oldenburg , 2006, (PDF; 192 kB).
  19. Hannah Arendt in conversation with Günter Gaus , youtube
  20. In the post-war period Benno von Wiese resumed contact, which A. broke off a second time after a few years because of his public trivialization of his involvement in the Nazi harmonization . In 1933 he spoke out in favor of the “removal of Jewish blood” from German universities. This previously unpublished correspondence is contained in excerpts in: Klaus-Dieter Rossade: Succumb to the Zeitgeist.” Benno von Wiese and National Socialism . Synchron, Heidelberg 2007, ISBN 978-3-935025-81-2 (= Studies on the History of Science and University ; Vol. 9).
  21. ^ Arendt to Jaspers, p. 126 (mid-1947).
  22. ^ Christian Dries: Günther Anders and Hannah Arendt - a relationship sketch. In: Günther Anders: The cherry battle. Dialogues with Hannah Arendt. Edited by Gerhard Oberschlick, Munich 2011, pp. 71–116.
  23. ^ Christian Dries: Günther Anders and Hannah Arendt - a relationship sketch. In: Günther Anders: The cherry battle. Dialogues with Hannah Arendt. Edited by Gerhard Oberschlick, Munich 2011, pp. 71–116, here p. 80.
  24. Arendt referred to Fränkel as a psychiatrist to Scholem (letter to Scholem of September 22, 1945, in: Der Briefwechsel. Hannah Arendt Gerschom Scholem. Berlin 2010, p. 79).
  25. Wolfgang Heuer: Hannah Arendt. Reinbek near Hamburg 1987, p. 31.
  26. ↑ In detail on both relationships: Bernd Neumann: Hannah Arendt and Heinrich Blücher , Berlin 1998.
  27. Hannah Arendt: We refugees . In: dies .: At the moment. Political Essays , ed. by Marie Luise Knott, Munich 1989, p. 8 f.
  28. Elisabeth Young-Bruehl, p. 223 ff. And slightly deviating from it Katrin T. Tenenbaum (University of Rome) in her explanations on the correspondence she edited between Arendt and Adler-Rudel. (published 2005)
  29. Illuminations. Walter benjamin. Essays and Reflections. Edited by Hannah Arendt. Schocken, New York 1969.
  30. Original edition March 27, 1942, reprint under construction , double issue 12/2008 and 1/2009, p. 33.
  31. ^ Elisabeth Young-Bruehl, pp. 250ff. Her critical article Zionism Reconsidered appeared in the fall of 1945 . In: The Menorah Journal , 33rd volume, 1945, No. 2, pp. 162–196, the German edition of which was only published after her death. ( Zionism from today's perspective. In: The hidden tradition. Eight essays , Frankfurt a. M. 1976, pp. 127–168.)
  32. In: At present. Political essays. Hamburg 1999, pp. 43-70. The article initially appeared exclusively in the USA.
  33. Arendt to Jaspers, November 11, 1946, p. 103., French edition of this text 1946.
  34. What is existential philosophy? Again Anton Hain, Frankfurt a. M. 1990.
  35. La Philosophy de l'Existence in: Deucalion. Cahiers de Philosophy Vol. 2, Editions de la Revue Fontaine, Paris 1947, pp. 215-252.
  36. ^ Hannah Arendt: Six essays. Series: Writings of Change, 3rd Lambert Schneider, Heidelberg 1948.
  37. ^ Hannah Arendt - Uwe Johnson. The correspondence . Frankfurt 2004, p. 114.
  38. ^ Peace or Armistice in the Middle East . In: Israel, Palestine and Anti-Semitism. Essays . Berlin 1991, pp. 39-75.
  39. ^ In Peace or Armistice in the Middle East. : Judah Leib Magnes
  40. Hannah Arendt et al. a .: The visit of Menahem Begins and the goals of his political movement. Open letter to the "New York Times". In: Israel, Palestine… , pp. 117 ff., Archive.org
  41. Hannah Arendt, Mary McCarthy: In Confidence. Correspondence 1949–1975 . Munich 1997, p. 365 f., (Oct. 1969).
  42. Arendt to Jaspers, p. 134.
  43. Arendt also uses the term "crimes against humanity", as Karl Jaspers and she translated the expression of the Allies: "crime against humanity" - as opposed to the more common version " crimes against humanity ".
  44. Elements and origins of total domination . Anti-Semitism, imperialism, total domination. Piper, Munich-Zurich 1986 (TB), 17th edition, 2014, p. 968.
  45. Elements and origins of total domination. Anti-Semitism, imperialism, total domination. Piper, Munich-Zurich 1986 (TB), 17th edition, 2014, p. 614.
  46. In the Engl. Original version: “ Totalitarism, the race question, the decay of the European nation state system, the emancipation of colonial peoples, the liquidation of British imperialism ” and “ Antisemitism, the Palestine issue, migrations, homelessness, etc. ” Quoted from: I Pilling, p. 13 f. It is a dissertation that is largely based on published and unpublished original sources.
  47. ^ Arendt to Jaspers, p. 127.
  48. American original version, new edition: In the present. Exercises in political thinking II. Munich 2000, p. 228 ff.
  49. BVerfG, decision of November 4, 1971 - file number 2 BvR 493/66
  50. ^ Elisabeth Young-Bruehl, p. 609.
  51. Arendt to Jaspers, p. 52 ff. (July / August 1962).
  52. Arendt to Jaspers, p. 715 f.
  53. ^ Adelbert Reif: Interview with HA (1970). In: Power and Violence. Munich 1970, pp. 107, 109.
  54. on the current debate see in particular the critical analyzes by the Holocaust researchers Raul Hilberg and David Cesarani
  55. Eichmann in Jerusalem. A report on the banality of evil. EiJ, p. 371.
  56. Eij, S. 56th
  57. On the meaning of the "boyish irony" (statement to Joachim Fest ) in Arendt, see: Marie Luise Knott: Verlernen. Paths of thought with Hannah Arendt. Berlin 2011, Chapter: Laughter - How the mind suddenly turns. Pp. 13-35.
  58. ^ Arendt to McCarthy, p. 234 (September 1969).
  59. E ij S. 399th
  60. Götz Aly : Logic of horror . In: Die Zeit , No. 23/2006.
  61. Avner Werner Less: “Lie! Everything is a lie ”- records of the Eichmann interrogator. Reconstructed by Bettina Stangneth. Zurich, Hamburg 2012, pp. 220–222.
  62. ^ Jacob Robinson: And the crooked shall be made straight. The Eichmann Trial, the Jewish Catastrophe, and Hannah Arendt's Narrative. New York / London 1965.
  63. Bettina Stagneth: Eichmann before Jerusalem. The unmolested life of a mass murderer , Zurich 2011.
  64. ^ Exhibition: Karl Jaspers. The book Hannah. ( Memento from January 18, 2012 in the Internet Archive ). In: German Literature Archive Marbach .
  65. E ij S. 209th
  66. Eij, S. 215th
  67. E ij S. 216th
  68. EiJ, p. 210.
  69. ^ Arendt to McCarthy, pp. 231ff.
  70. Hannah Arendt and Joachim Fest: "Eichmann was outrageously stupid". Conversations and letters. Eds. Ursula Ludz and Thomas Wild. Munich 2011, p. 37.
  71. Raul Hilberg: Unsolicited memory. The path of a Holocaust researcher. S. Fischer Verlag, Frankfurt a. M., 1994, p. 130.
  72. ^ Letter of June 23, 1963, in: Der Briefwechsel. Hannah Arendt, Gershom Scholem. Berlin 2010, p. 428ff. The last letter received is from July 1964.
  73. Gershom Scholem: Neither of us was there. In: The Zeitgeist . Semi-monthly supplement to Aufbau , No. 208, New York, December 20, 1963, pp. 17f. Previous publication in the Neue Zürcher Zeitung on October 20, 1963.
  74. Personal responsibility in a dictatorship. In: Israel, Palestine ..., pp. 7–38.
  75. Rainer Wenzel: An unfinished process. Hannah Arendt's “Eichmann in Jerusalem” in Hebrew translation. In: Kalonymos , Heft 4 (2000), pp. 11-17, online file (PDF) in: Steinheim Institute , (PDF; 1.18 MB).
  76. ^ Reprinted in: Hannah Arendt on Truth and Politics. Berlin 2006.
  77. ^ Hannah Arendt Center . In: The New School .
  78. Members . In: American Academy of Arts and Letters , enter Arendt in the search mask.
  79. Online on the pages of the Library of Congress ; as print in: HA, Reflections. 2007, ISBN 978-0-8047-4499-7 , pp. 282ff.
  80. ^ Speech about Lessing. Of humanity in dark times. Munich 1960, republished in: People in dark times. Munich, Zurich 1989, pp. 11–42.
  81. The Sonning Prize Speech. Copenhagen 1975. In: text and criticism . Journal of Literature. Issue 9, 2005, pp. 3-11.
  82. ^ Franz Kafka , published for the first time, in: Sechs Essays . Schriften der Wandlung 3. Heidelberg 1948, published again shortly after her death, in: Die Verborgene Tradition. Eight essays . Frankfurt a. M. 1976, pp. 88-107, here: pp. 89, 95, 101.
  83. ^ Franz Kafka . In: The Hidden Tradition. Eight essays. Frankfurt a. M. 1976, pp. 91f, 94.
  84. ^ Original version: The Christian Pope. 1965.
  85. As early as 1943, in her essay on Stefan Zweig (published in German in: Sechs Essays , 1948), she described Kafka and Brecht as the greatest German-speaking poets after the First World War.
  86. ^ Piper, 1989. The English version can be read online at Amazon.com , ISBN 0-15-658890-0 ; the German version is currently (2011) hardly accessible. Essays about 13 people, u. a. via W. Gurian, Randall Jarrell . In this engl. Fass. Her essays on Heidegger (80 years old), Gilbert, Sarraute and Auden are missing.
  87. Rosa Luxemburg (RL), in: People in dark times. Piper, Munich and Zurich 1968.
  88. RL, in: People in dark times. Piper TB, Munich / Zurich 2001, p. 48.
  89. RL 1968, p. 72.
  90. RL 1968, p. 72. Arendt refers to Peter Nettl: Rosa Luxemburg. Oxford 1966, Cologne / Berlin 1967. She took the Luxembourg quotations from this work.
  91. RL 1968, p. 59.
  92. RL 1968, p. 51.
  93. About the Revolution (ÜdR). Munich 1974, p. 198.
  94. ÜdR, p. 221.
  95. ÜdR, p. 203.
  96. EuU, p. 645.
  97. Personal responsibility in a dictatorship. In: Israel, Palestine ..., p. 33 ff.
  98. Hannah Arendt. Heinrich Blücher. Letters. Munich 1999, p. 353.
  99. Arendt to Blücher, p. 469 (May 1958).
  100. After Jasper's death, she arranged the correspondence in the Marbach literature archive herself.
  101. ^ H. A .: Karl Jaspers. Speech on the award of the Peace Prize of the German Book Trade. Munich 1958. Speech online (PDF; 226 kB).
  102. Published in: Hannah Arendt and Karl Jaspers: Briefwechsel 1926–1969 , p. 719 f.
  103. ^ Arendt to Johnson, p. 79.
  104. In a letter dated July 6, 1970, Arendt Johnson prohibited Anniversaries from naming a character after her in his series of novels. Johnson then chose a pseudonym. Arendt did not approve of that either. She wrote: “I am never quite comfortable when someone quotes what I have written; it is a kind of deprivation of liberty, as if someone wanted to commit me - although of course I have committed myself. ”She also protested that he then made her appear as“ Countess Seydlitz ”because he had obviously forgotten her Jewish origins. (Arendt to Johnson p. 39f.)
  105. Hannah Arendt: Truth only exists in two. Letters to friends. Piper, Munich / Zurich 2013, in chronological order, commented by the editor Ingeborg Nordmann. All letters from this selection have already been published.
  106. Arendt to Blumenfeld, p. 197.
  107. ^ Arendt to Jaspers, p. 494.
  108. Martin Heidegger is eighty years old. New edition in: People in dark times. Munich / Zurich 1989, p. 183f.
  109. Epilogue . In: Hannah Arendt: Thinking Diary. Second volume. Munich 2002, p. 827.
  110. Barbara Hahn dealt extensively with the Thinking Diary in: Hannah Arendt - Passion, People and Books. Berlin 2005, and Sigrid Weigel: Poetry as a prerequisite for philosophy. Hannah Arendt's thought diary. In: text and criticism 166/167 (Hannah Arendt), Zeitschrift für Literatur. Edited by Heinz Ludwig Arnold, IX / 2005, pp. 125-137.
  111. Johannes Saltzwedel : Servant in front of the lady . In: Der Spiegel . No. 20 , 2004, pp. 160 f . ( online ).
  112. Hans Jonas: Acting, recognizing, thinking. On Hannah Arendt's philosophical work. In: Hannah Arendt. Materials for their work. Ed. Adelbert Reif. Vienna 1979, pp. 353-370. First published: Social Research, New York, Vol. 44, No. 1, Spring 1977.
  113. Rahel Varnhagen. Life story of a German Jewess from the Romantic period. (RV) Munich, Zurich 1981.
  114. Arendt an Jaspers (1956), p. 332.
  115. ^ RV 1981, p. 143.
  116. ^ RV 1981, p. 206.
  117. EuU 2005, p. 334. See also EuU 1995, p. 254.
  118. EuU 1955, p. 209.
  119. both quotations: EuU 1995, p. 425.
  120. EuU 1995, p. 30f.
  121. EuU 1986 -TB-, p. 640.
  122. EuU 1995, p. 507.
  123. EuU 1986 - TB -, p. 948ff.
  124. In the American edition The Origins of Totalitarianism she has the English in 1946 in the Jewish political magazine Commentary published study Imperialism: Road to Suicide, The Political Origins and Use of Racism (Dt. Imperialism over ) taken literally.
  125. EuU 1986 -TB-, pp. 703 and 713.
  126. EuU 1986 -TB-, p. 719ff.
  127. EuU 1986 -TB-, p. 706.
  128. EuU 1986 -TB-, p. 30.
  129. EuU 1986 -TB- p. 758, see also: p. 757 ff.
  130. EuU 1986 -TB-, p. 641f.
  131. EuU 1986 -TB-, p. 739ff. and 763.
  132. EuU 1986 -TB-, p. 794.
  133. EuU 1986 -TB-, p. 639f., P. 827.
  134. EuU 1986 -TB-, pp. 907ff and 916ff.
  135. EuU 1986 -TB-, p. 929ff.
  136. EuU 1986 -TB-, p. 960ff. The distinction between the essence and principle of government is made by Arendt from Montesquieu.
  137. ^ Vita activa or From active life. (VA) Munich, Zurich -TB- 2006.
  138. VA -TB- 2006, p. 21.
  139. VA -TB- 2006, p. 36.
  140. VA -TB- 2006, p. 387f.
  141. VA -TB- 2006, p. 51ff.
  142. VA -TB- 2006, p. 55f.
  143. The freedom to be free. Munich 2018.
  144. A greatly abridged version was published on January 4, 2018 by Die Zeit (p. 42), Revolutionen. The freedom to be free; by Hannah Arendt, online , last edited on January 8, 2018.
  145. The freedom to be free. In: Die Zeit, January 4, 2018, p. 42, online . Legitimation of power is essentially based on the desire to emancipate from “vital necessities”; this would require means of coercion “so that many would bear the burden of the few, so that at least some could be free. That - and not the accumulation of wealth - was the core of slavery, at least in ancient times, and it is only due to the advent of modern technology and not any modern political conceptions, including revolutionary ideas, that this situation of people at least in has changed some parts of the world. "(ibid.)
  146. ÜdR -TB- 1974, pp. 284, 286.
  147. ÜdR -TB- 1974, p. 326f.
  148. On the life of the spirit. (LdG) Munich, Zurich 1998 -TB-, p. 14f.
  149. LdG 1998 -TB-, p. 15.
  150. Quotation from Plato's early work Gorgias , distinguishing between the dialogical philosophy of Socrates and Plato's closed worldview.
  151. Quote: LdG 1998 -TB-, p. 181, Text: LdG 1998 -TB-, p. 180ff.
  152. LdG 1998 -TB-, p. 18.
  153. LdG 1998 -TB-, p. 209.
  154. Judging. (DU) Munich, 1998 -TB-, p. 25; see. also p. 89.
  155. see also; Linda MG Zerilli: Insight into perspective. After all standards have come to an end: Hannah Arendt's reflections on democratic judgment are of unbroken topicality. In: Frankfurter Rundschau , January 7, 2006 beginning of the article and the same "We feel our freedom." Imagination and Judgment in the Thought of Hannah Arendt, . (PDF) 2004, (PDF; 175 kB) and Annette Vowinckel: Hannah Arendt. Leipzig 2006, p. 98 ff.
  156. Seyla Benhabib : Hannah Arendt. The melancholy thinker of modernity. Hamburg 1998, p. 9.
  157. See: EuU 1986 -TB-, pp. 407-413 and elements and origins of total domination , subsection: Inclusion of racism in the global concept of imperialism.
  158. Irmtrud Wojak: Eichmanns Memoirs. A critical essay. Frankfurt a. M. 2004.
  159. Jan Philipp Reemtsma : Laudation for Saul Friedländer on the occasion of the presentation of the Geschwister-Scholl-Preis 1998 .
  160. Jürgen Habermas: Philosophical-political profiles. (1981), Suhrkamp TB, Frankfurt a. M. 1987, p. 10.
  161. Jürgen Habermas: Philosophical-political profiles. (1981), Suhrkamp TB, Frankfurt a. M. 1987, p. 405.
  162. Jürgen Habermas: Philosophical-political profiles. (1981), Suhrkamp TB, Frankfurt a. M. 1987, p. 236.
  163. Jürgen Habermas: factuality and validity. Contributions to the discourse theory of law and the democratic constitutional state. Frankfurt a. M. 1992, especially pp. 182-187, 327, 605, 622.
  164. ^ Hauke ​​Brunkhorst : Hannah Arendt . Munich 1999.
  165. ^ Hauke ​​Brunkhorst: Hannah Arendt. Munich 1999, p. 150.
  166. Seyla Benhabib: Hannah Arendt. The melancholy thinker of modernity. Hamburg 1998, p. 18 u. 21st
  167. ^ Walter Laqueur: The Arendt Cult. Hannah Arendt as a Political Commentator. In: Journal of Contemporary History. Vol. 33, No. 4, 1998, p. 485, German: The Arendt cult. Hannah Arendt as a political commentator. In: Europaeische Rundschau. Vienna, Volume 26, Issue 4, Autumn 1998, pp. 111–125.
  168. I want to understand. Self-assessment of life and work. Munich [u. a.] 1996, p. 77 ff.
  169. Jahel Jaeggi: What about Hannah Arendt? Hamburg edition. Hamburg 2008, p. 16 ff.
  170. ^ Elisabeth Young-Bruehl: Why Arendt Matters. London 2006, p. 112 (Eng .: her ideas about forgiveness and her book about Eichmann influenced and reflected each other in the introduction, the new beginning that brought about the South African Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC), which, for the first time in history made forgiveness a guiding principle for a state.)
  171. ^ Antonia Grunenberg : Ernst Vollrath - Paths of thought and departure . Speech on the award of the Hannah Arendt Prize 2001. ( Memento from January 29, 2004 in the Internet Archive ). In: hannah-arendt.de , 2001.
  172. A differentiated presentation of the history of the impact is offered by: Thomas Wild: Hannah Arendt. Life work effect. Frankfurt a. M. 2006, pp. 120-138.
  173. Thomas Wild: Hannah Arendt. Life work effect. Frankfurt a. M. 2006, p. 128.
  174. ^ The Hannah Arendt Collection
  175. on Südwestfunk on November 9, 1964 in the series Das Thema. To listen to: CD Hannah Arendt, Karl Jaspers: Eichmann - From the Banality of Evil . Quartino, Munich 2010, ISBN 978-3-86750-072-2 ; and for reading: transcript of the conversation on hannaharendt.net ; Hannah Arendt, Joachim Fest: Eichmann was outrageously stupid. Conversations and letters. Eds. Ursula Ludz and Thomas Wild, Munich 2011, p. 44.
  176. Gerhard Besier , head of the institute until 2008, whose contract was not extended, mainly because of its proximity to Scientology , wrote in Die Welt about Arendt: “Logical thinking, a concise concept, a clearly composed structure - these were not your strengths. But she was a fascinating writer and could formulate brilliantly. ”In: The theory of totalitarianism has failed .
  177. ^ Hungarian Hannah Arendt Society - hae.hu , (English).
  178. Freedom and Politics (reprint from: Die neue Rundschau 69, 1958, No. 4). In: Between the past and the future. Exercises in political thinking I. Munich 1994, pp. 201ff.
  179. Arendt Days, Hanover. ( Memento from January 18, 2015 in the Internet Archive ). In: hannah-arendt-hannover.de .
  180. ^ The Hannah Arendt Center .  [ sic! ] University of Oldenburg .
  181. ^ Hannah Arendt Center . In: The New School .
  182. ^ HannahArendt.net: Forum of Arendt Research and Newsletter. Political Thought Journal. Journal for Political Thinking.
  183. (100027) Hannaharendt in the Small-Body Database of the Jet Propulsion Laboratory (English).Template: JPL Small-Body Database Browser / Maintenance / Alt
  184. ^ Hannah Arendt Prize
  185. For example: Hannah-Arendt-Gymnasium Haßloch , Hannah-Arendt-Gymnasium in Barsinghausen , Hannah-Arendt-Schule in Hannover , Hannah-Arendt-Schule in Flensburg , a vocational school in South Tyrol or the Hannah-Arendt-Gymnasium in Berlin-Neukölln
  186. ^ Hannes Obermair : Monuments and the City - an almost inextricable entanglement . In: Multiple identities in a “glocal world” - Identità multiple in un “mondo glocale” - Multiple identities in a “glocal world”. Edited by Matthias Fink u. a., Eurac.Research, Bozen 2017, ISBN 978-88-98857-35-7 , pp. 88–99 and 97–98, with illustration of the installation.
  187. ^ Reviews of The Jewish Writings , Judith Butler : 'I merely belong to them' . In: London Review of Books (LRB), May 10, 2007, (English) and
    Natan Sznaider: Return to History . In: NZZ , December 1, 2007, p. 27.
  188. Review of Socrates. Apology of plurality , Jürgen Busche : Allow plurality . In: Friday , February 17, 2016.
  189. ^ Hannah Arendt: We Refugees. ( Memento of April 14, 2016 in the Internet Archive ). In: documenta 14 , (English).
  190. ^ First as a lecture at the Congress of Cultural Freedom Milan, Sept. 1955, unauthorized German translations in FORVM , 1955, p. 385ff; Text split up by Arendt, part 1 and 2 published in Engl. 1956; Part 3 under this title, but newly revised in The Month , Nov. 1955; she also gave a lecture in this (November) form in Frankfurt, Cologne and Berlin in the winter of 1955; further revision by her in later editions, also in the following Engl. Barrel. Further revised.
  191. Maria Behre: " Scattered in during conversations like gifts for guests" . In: Literaturkritik.de , February 11th, 2016, review by I myself, I dance too. The poems.
  192. Reviews of Freedom to be Free by Claudia Mäder: Lust for Freedom and Hunger for Bread . In: NZZ , January 19, 2018;
    Michael Opitz: Your freedom knows neither need nor fear . Deutschlandfunk , January 18, 2018;
    Gustav Seibt : Political Philosophy. The world as the substance of action . In: Süddeutsche Zeitung , January 12, 2018.
    Maria Behre: Freedom from fear instead of fear of freedom . In: Literaturkritik.de , July 27, 2018.
  193. First broadcast of the Errera interview on July 6, 1974 in ORTF , series: Un certain regard . Repetition October 13, 2006 in arte : Hannah Arendt in New York , original sound with German subtitles, online video .
  194. Maria Behre: Friendship in Letters - An essential life and love experience for being a philosopher . In: literaturkritik.de , February 13, 2018, review of the book How I should live without you ...
  195. There is only two discussion of truth. Letters to friends , Ludger Lütkehaus : Hannah Arendt's letters to friends and loved ones . In: Badische Zeitung , July 19, 2014.
  196. ^ Arendt bibliography. ( Memento of September 27, 2013 in the Internet Archive ), (PDF; 62 kB), last entry 2012.
  197. ^ Maria Behre: What is politics after Hannah Arendt? In: literaturkritik.de , October 9, 2016, review by Hannah Arendt on the introduction .
  198. Maria Behre: Performativity of action . In: literaturkritik.de , February 8, 2016, review by Arendt by Annette Vowinckel.
  199. ^ Film reviews (selection): Jörg Schöning: Cinema portrait "Hannah Arendt". She lies, she smokes, she thinks . Spiegel Online , January 9, 2013.
    Micha Brumlik : And the portable typewriter always rattles. Thinking in the movie . In: taz , January 10, 2013, p. 15.
    Bert Rebhandl : Film “Hannah Arendt.” Thinking for yourself makes friends . In: FAZ.net , January 11, 2013.
    Cinema: “About Hannah Arendt.” Thinking for yourself makes you lonely . In: FAZ.net , January 14, 2013, interview with Hannah Arendt's niece Edna Brocke .
  200. ^ LiteraVision 2006 to Thomas Rautenberg and Simone Reuter. ( Memento of March 4, 2016 in the Internet Archive ). In: Kulturreferat München , 2006.
  201. ^ Hannah Arendt: La jeune fille étrangère . In: ahqg.free.fr , October 2013, accessed on January 11, 2018.
  202. Summary of Passionate: Hannah Arendt. ( Memento of January 18, 2012 in the Internet Archive ); Direction and dramaturgy. ( Memento from June 29, 2008 in the Internet Archive ). In: klimaelemente.de .
  203. Dorothea Marcus: The banality of love - Savyon Liebrecht's piece about Arendt and Heidegger premiered . In: nachtkritik.de , September 10, 2007.
  204. Eva Zimmermann: The crazy love of wisdom . In: Oberhessische Presse , May 21, 2012; Stage design and video excerpt. In: fannybrunner.blogspot.de .
This article was added to the list of excellent articles on March 14, 2007 in this version .