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What We Get Wrong About Hannah Arendt

Andrea Pitzer | Longreads | January 17, 2017 | 1,500 words
Posted inBlog Post, Featured, Nonfiction

What We Get Wrong about Hannah Arendt

The lessons we are drawing from her work may not be the one we most need to learn.
Hannah Arendt
Photo: AP Images

Within months of Hitler’s rise to power in 1933, a political investigator with the Berlin police detained twenty-six-year-old scholar Hannah Arendt and politely interrogated her for more than a week. Upon her release, she devised a plan to leave Germany and headed east with her mother. Taking refuge in the Erzgebirge Mountains, the two women approached the Czech border without travel papers.

Arendt had already helped other Jews escape the country, sheltering some in her own apartment, and was familiar with escape networks. In broad daylight, mother and daughter entered a house that straddled the border, waiting until nighttime to walk out the back door on their way to Prague.

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