Hannah Arendt “Zur Person” Full Interview

In this interview with the German journalist Günter Gaus (October the 28th, 1964) Hannah Arendt addresses a wide range of topics concerning philosophy, gender and politics. Subjects that are of particular importance (for Arendt) are also discussed, drawing on ideas expressed in her earlier works, such as The Origins of Totalitarianism (perhaps the most notable of Arendt’s work, focused on Judaism in Europe, imperialism and the two major totalitarian movements of the twentieth century; Nazism and Stalinism), her controversial Eichmann In Jerusalem and The Human Condition (one of the most important works for the understanding of the Greek polis and democracy). She also elaborates on anti-Semitism and the Auschwitz, whilst outlining the relationship between Germans and Jews, Judaism in Europe before and after the war, and finally Zionism and the state Israel.

Hannah Arendt was born on 14 October 1906 in Hanover. She grew up in Königsberg. Studied philosophy, theology and Greek. Emigrated to France in 1933 and a few years later (1941) moved permanently to the U.S., where she begun working as a freelance journalist, then an editor, and finally a managing director of Jewish Cultural Reconstruction. She also taught political theory at several universities: she initially became Professor at the University of Chicago and later on (1967) University Professor the Graduate Faculty of the New School for Social Research in New York.

Arendt’s political thought provides a clear and original perspective regarding the philosophical roots of occidental political traditions with deep understanding of the Greek and Roman traditions, which have been largely abandoned. Her intellectual work provides an alternative angle on politics and democracy (as a deliberate action, strictly connected with public happiness), by reviving what has been lost through centuries.