The Jewish Writings

Edited by Jerome Kohn and Ron H. Feldman. New York: Schocken Books, 2007.


Although Hannah Arendt is not primarily known as a Jewish thinker, she probably wrote more about Jewish issues than any other topic. As a young adult in Germany, she wrote about German Jewish history. After moving to France in 1933, she helped Jewish youth immigrate to Palestine. During her years in Paris, her principle concern was the transformation of antinomianism from prejudice to policy, which would culminate in the Nazi “final solution.” After France fell, Arendt escaped from an internment camp and made her way to America. There she wrote articles calling for a Jewish army to fight the Nazis. After the war, she supported the creation of a Jewish homeland in a binational (Arab-Jewish) state of Israel.

Arendt’s original conception of political freedom cannot be fully grasped apart from her experience as a Jew. In 1961 she attended Adolf Eichmann’s trial in Jerusalem. Her report, Eichmann in Jerusalem, provoked an immense controversy, which culminated in her virtual excommunication from the worldwide Jewish community. Today that controversy is the subject of serious re-evaluation, especially among younger people in the United States, Europe, and Israel.

The publication of The Jewish Writings–much of which has never appeared before–traces Arendt’s life and thought as a Jew. It will put an end to any doubts about the centrality, from beginning to end, of Arendt’s Jewish experience.

Table of Contents:

Preface: A Jewish Life: 1906–1975 by Jerome Kohn
A Note on the Text
Publication History
Introduction: The Jew as Pariah: The Case of Hannah Arendt (1906–1975) by Ron H. Feldman

THE 1930s
—The Enlightenment and the Jewish Question
—Against Private Circles
—Original Assimilation: An Epilogue to the One Hundredth Anniversary of Rahel Varnhagen’s Death
—The Professional Reclassification of Youth
—A Guide for Youth: Martin Buber
—Some Young People Are Going Home
—The Gustloff Trial
—The Jewish Question

THE 1940s
—The Minority Question
—The Jewish War That Isn’t Happening: Articles from Aufbau, October 1941–November 1942
—Between Silence and Speechlessness: Articles from Aufbau, February 1943–March 1944
—The Political Organization of the Jewish People: Articles from Aufbau, April 1944–April 1945
—Jewish Politics
—Why the Crémieux Decree Was Abrogated
—New Leaders Arise in Europe
—A Way toward the Reconciliation of Peoples
—We Refugees
—The Jew as Pariah: A Hidden Tradition
—Creating a Cultural Atmosphere
—Jewish History, Revised
—The Moral of History
—Stefan Zweig: Jews in the World of Yesterday
—The Crisis of Zionism
—Herzl and Lazare
—Zionism Reconsidered
—The Jewish State: Fifty Years After, Where Have Herzl’s Politics Led?
—To Save the Jewish Homeland
—The Assets of Personality: A Review of Chaim Weizmann: Statesman, Scientist, Builder of the Jewish Commonwealth
—Single Track to Zion: A Review of Trial and Error: The Autobiography of Chaim Weizmann
—The Failure of Reason: The Mission of Bernadotte
—About “Collaboration”
—New Palestine Party: Visit of Menachem Begin and Aims of Political Movement Discussed

THE 1950s
—Peace or Armistice in the Near East?
—Magnes, the Conscience of the Jewish People
—The History of the Great Crime: A Review of Bréviaire de la haine: Le IIIe Reich et les juifs [Breviary of Hate: The Third Reich and the Jews] by Léon Poliakov

THE 1960s
—The Eichmann Controversy: A Letter to Gershom Scholem
—Answers to Questions Submitted by Samuel Grafton
—The Eichmann Case and the Germans: A Conversation with Thilo Koch
—The Destruction of Six Million: A Jewish World Symposium
—“The Formidable Dr. Robinson”: A Reply by Hannah Arendt

Afterword: “Big Hannah”—My Aunt by Edna Brocke

Google Books
Random House (excerpt)