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Arendt, Hannah (1906–1975)

James M. King


Born in Hanover, Germany, Hannah Arendt was a German Jewish political theorist of nationalism and revolution who was eventually forced to flee her home country due to the rise of National Socialism, an exile prompting her to direct her efforts toward combating totalitarianism. During her university years Arendt was uninterested in contemporary political issues, and in 1926 attended her first Zionist lecture by Kurt Blumenfeld, in Heidelberg. While frustrated with the lack of political awareness, she did not immediately become a Zionist. Arendt's initial political activity was allowing use of her apartment as a hideout or form of Underground Railroad to house communists and other opponents of the Nazi regime. In spring of 1933, Zionists asked Arendt to participate more actively. She was sent to the Prussian State Library to collect materials on the anti-Semitic activity of non-governmental organizations. These documentary materials were to be examined at the 18th Zionist Congress and distributed to the foreign press, which had no ready access to such materials. After collecting much material Arendt and her mother were arrested and held for eight days before fleeing for France. Arendt's political activity continued while in France, working as a secretary for Agriculture et Artisanat , overseeing the contributions that the Baroness Germaine de Rothschild made to Jewish charities, ... log in or subscribe to read full text

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