Staggering Political Thinker

Hannah Arendt

October 14 is the birthday of Hannah Arendt, one of the great political thinkers of the twentieth century. Her original and staggering mind is evident in works such as The Origins of TotalitarianismThe Human ConditionOn Revolution, and The Life of the Mind.

Arendt was born in Hannover in 1906 and grew up in Königsberg, East Prussia. She studied in Marburg with Heidegger, in Freiburg with Husserl, and finally completed her doctorate in Heidelberg in 1929.

Fleeing Germany in 1933, she moved to Paris and worked for Jewish refugee assistance. Following the German occupation, Arendt and her husband Heinrich Blücher came to America with the help of writer Varian Fry.

Settling in New York, Arendt joined the the city’s lively intellectual scene. After the war she lectured at a variety of universities and became a professor at New York’s New School for Social Research until her death on December 4, 1975.