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ARENDT, Hannah (1906-75)

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ArendtARENDT, Hannah (1906-75), German-born American political philosopher, noted for her writings on totalitarianism and the Jews. Arendt was born in Hannover, on Oct. 14, 1906. After studies at three universities, she received her Ph.D. degree from the University of Heidelberg at the age of 22. In 1933 she went to France to escape the Nazis and, in 1941, fled to the U.S., becoming a U.S. citizen in 1951. In New York City she worked as an editor and held key positions in several Jewish organizations. After the publication of her widely acclaimed Origins of Totalitarianism(1951), she became a professor and lecturer at such schools as the University of California at Berkeley, Princeton University, and the University of Chicago. She died in New York City on Dec. 4, 1975. Among her many other writings are The Human Condition (1958) and Eichmann in Jerusalem (1963). Her memoirs, Correspondence, 1926-1969, were published in 1992.


It was as though in those last minutes he [Eichmann] was summing up the lessons that this long course in human wickedness had taught us_the lesson of the fearsome, word-and-thought-defying banality of evil.

HANNAH ARENDT, Eichmann in Jerusalem
What makes it so plausible to assume that hypocrisy is the vice of vices is that integrity can indeed exist under the cover of all other vices except this one. Only crime and the criminal, it is true, confront us with the perplexity of radical evil; but only the hypocrite is really rotten to the core.

HANNAH ARENDT, On Revolution
No punishment has ever possessed enough power of deterrence to prevent the commission of crimes. On the contrary, whatever the punishment, once a specific crime has appeared for the first time, its reappearance is more likely than its initial emergence could ever have been.

HANNAH ARENDT, Eichmann in Jerusalem
It is well known that the most radical revolutionary will become a conservative on the day after the revolution.

HANNAH ARENDT, in New Yorker
Under conditions of tyranny it is far easier to act than to think.

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