Spring 2023- The Jewish Writings and Arendt on Race
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 antisemitism 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.
Purchase the book here
The Jewish Writings
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
New Palestine Party: Visit of Menachem Begin and the Aims of Political Movement Discussed
Peace or Armistice in the Near East
Magnes, The Conscience of the Jewish People
The Third Reich and the Jews by Léon Poliakov
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
Hannah Arendt on Race and Racism
Race Thinking Before Racism (Chapter 5 of Origins of Totalitarianism)
Race and Bureaucracy (Chapter 6 of Origins of Totalitarianism)
Introduction Into Politics
Reflections On Little Rock
Letters to James Baldwin, Ralph Ellison, and Robert Hutchins
In the VRG but want more?
The Hannah Arendt Center Dialogue Project gathers smaller groups of readers to further explore and discuss texts from the Virtual Reading Group. Participation in the VRG is free for HAC members.
Participation is Free for HAC Members and Bard Students
If you're not a member yet, join the Hannah Arendt Center and click "yes" when asked if you'd like to participate. Once you're signed up, you'll receive emails with all the information you need to attend the upcoming VRG session. All sessions are recorded and made available to members on our Youtube channel.
How the Virtual Reading Group Works
We read one book or collection of essays over a few months several times a year. Sessions are generally held every other Friday at 1pm Eastern Time. To prepare, we read selections that are between 20-50 pages. The group moves slowly to allow for close readings.
See the Virtual Reading Group in Action
The Virtual Reading Group is a lively discussion based on a close reading of selected works by Hannah Arendt. Using a teleconferencing platform, Roger Berkowitz and Samantha Hill take turns leading groups of 30 to 60 members through selected chapters.
What Participants Are Saying
"That Roger is willing and able to put forth the effort to expand this work beyond the boundary's of academia is fortunate for us and important in the world." —Harold Bush
"The ability to download the sessions afterwards is invaluable for me keeping up with the group. I cannot always participate in session because of the time difference." —Yana Canteloupe
"I applaud you to invite people from around the world to study Hannah Arendt's work with Roger. That we can all connect and participate, it's simply wonderful!" —Gertrud Lawrance
"I've been reading Hannah Arendt for the past few years and this is the first opportunity I've had to hear her work discussed - It was exhilarating!" —Rhea Pretsell
"I think just the fact that is exists is the best thing. It is an honor to sit with such engaged and informed people sharing an interest in Arendt. It was clear from our last meeting in December that HAC has given much thought about ways to continue and I'm happy to work along next year with those proposals." —Donna Weeks
The Virtual Reading Group began with Arendt’s The Human Condition over a 12 month period. We then read and discussed her essay “We Refugees”, along with the entirety of Between Past and Future; "Reflections on Little Rock" from Responsibility and Judgment, Crises of the Republic, and On Revolution. We also completed a 13-week, 10-session series discussing The Origins of Totalitarianism.