Jul 06, 2015

Hannah Arendt: A Brief Chronology

1838Birth of mother’s father Jacob Cohn in Lithuania. Cohn and his family emigrated to Königsberg, Prussia, in the mid-1850s, possibly to avoid Russian military conscription. Cohn’s second wife, Russian-born Fanny Spiero, was Hannah Arendt’s maternal grandmother.
1843Birth of father’s father Max Arendt in Königsberg. Max’s maternal ancestors came to Königsberg from Russia during the mid-1700s. His first wife, Johanna Wohlgemuth, was Hannah’s paternal grandmother.
1873(October 25) Birth of Hannah’s father Paul Arendt, in Königsberg.
1874(May 28) Birth of Hannah’s mother, Martha Cohn, in Königsberg.
1899(January 29) Heinrich Blücher born in Berlin.
1902(April 11) Marriage of Paul and Martha Arendt.
1906(October 14) Hannah Arendt born in Hannover, Germany, to Martha and Paul Arendt.
1909The Arendts move from Hannover to Königsberg due to Paul’s deteriorating health.
1913(March) Death of grandfather Max Arendt.
(August) Begins grammar school at the Szittnich School.
(October 30) Death of Paul Arendt.
1914(August) World War I begins. Hannah and her mother flee by train to Berlin to the home of Martha’s younger sister, Margarethe Fuerst, and her children.
(Fall) Starts school in a girls’ Lyzeum in a Berlin suburb.
(Late fall) Return to Königsberg.
1915-1919 Enters Luiseschule, the girls’ gymnasium in Königsberg.
1920(February) Martha Arendt marries Martin Beerwald.
Meets Anne Mendelssohn, a descendent of Moses Mendelssohn, who becomes a lifelong friend.
1921-1922Expelled from Luiseschule for attempting to boycott a teacher’s classes. Continues her secondary studies at the University of Berlin, auditing classes in Greek, Latin, and the phenomenology of Christian Theology with Romano Guardini.
1923-1924Return to Königsberg. Preparation for the Abitur, or university entrance exams, which Hannah passes in the spring of 1924. Learns of lectures being given by philosopher Martin Heidegger at the University of Marburg.
1924(Fall) Enters the University at Marburg, in part to study with the 35-year-old Heidegger. Later, remembering this period, she called Heidegger “the hidden king [who] ruled in the realm of thinking.”
1925(February) Begins a three-year love affair with Martin Heidegger and meets her future first husband, Günther Stern, in one of Heidegger’s classes, probably “A History of the Concept of Time.”
(Summer) Composes a brief self-portrait called “The Shadows,” addressed to Heidegger.
1926-1928Leaves Marburg to study with Edmund Husserl at the University at Freiburg and transfers to Heidelberg to work on her doctoral thesis with psychiatrist and professor of philosophy Karl Jaspers.
1929Finishes doctoral work on “The Concept of Love in St. Augustine” and moves to Berlin with Günther Stern, whom she marries in September.
“The Concept of Love in St. Augustine” published by Julius Springer in Berlin.
Begins work on the book later entitled Rahel Varnhagen: The Life of a Jewess.
1930Receives a research fellowship from Deutsche Notgemeinschaft.
1933(Spring) Placed under arrest for illegal anti-Nazi research activities by an SS officer in Berlin.
Escapes to Paris, via Prague and Geneva.
1935Works as secretary general of Youth Aliyah, Paris (until 1938) and also Director of
Visits Palestine, by way of Marseilles and Sicily, with Youth Aliyah.
1936(Spring) Meets Heinrich Blücher at a public lecture in Paris.
(June) Gunther Stern leaves France for the U.S.
1937Divorces Gunter Stern.
1939(January) Youth Aliyah of Paris packs up and moves to London under clouds of coming war.
(April) Martha Arendt joins Hannah Arendt in Paris.
(Summer) Blucher interned at Villemalard internment camp near Orleans, France.
(Fall) Blücher, released, returns to Paris.
1940(January 16) Marries Heinrich Blucher in Paris.
(May) Transported as an enemy alien to an internment camp in Gurs, near the Pyrenees; Blücher transported again, to Le Vernet.
(Summer) Amid the chaos of the German invasion of France, Hannah escapes from Gurs. Blücher escapes from Le Vernet and they meet in Montauban in the south of France. Begins making notes for The Origins of Totalitarianism.
(September) The death of Walter Benjamin at the Spanish border.
(October) Martha Arendt joins Arendt and Blücher in Montauban. They make several visits to Marseilles, looking for passage to the U.S. The Blüchers eventually obtain American emergency visas.
1941(January) Arendt and Blucher leave France via Lisbon to New York.
(May) They arrive in New York. Martha obtains an exit visa and arrives in New York in the summer. The three settle in a West 95th Street rooming house.
1941-1945Columnist for émigré paper Aufbau and contributor to Menorah JournalReview of Politics, Contemporary Jewish Record, Jewish FrontierNationPartisan Review, and others.
1944-1946Becomes research director of the Conference on Jewish Relations, conducting research on behalf of the Commission on European Jewish Cultural Reconstruction to recover Jewish artifacts and libraries in liberated Europe.
1944Meets Mary McCarthy.
1945Receives contract to write The Origins of Totalitarianism.
(Fall) Reestablishes contact with Karl Jaspers and begins sending him and others packages of food and medical supplies.
(November) The first Nuremberg tribunal convenes.
1945-1947Teaches European history at Brooklyn College.
1946-1948Editor at Schocken Books, New York.
1948-1950In a series of articles in CommentarySaturday Review of Literature, and Review of Politics, Hannah argues for the establishment of a federal Palestine.
1948Death of Martha Arendt.
1949-1952Executive director of Jewish Cultural Reconstruction.
1949-1950(November- March) Visits Europe for the first time since 1941 on behalf of Jewish Cultural Reconstruction. Reunites with Karl Jaspers and Martin Heidegger.
1951Publishes The Origins of Totalitarianism.
(December 10, 1951) Becomes a U.S. citizen.
1951-1961Hannah begins a decade of teaching philosophy and social theory at universities across the country.
1952Begins work on Totalitarian Elements of Marxism, a sequel to OT, but does not complete it; parts later appear in essays and books.
1953Delivers a series of lectures at Princeton University on “Karl Marx and the Tradition of Political Thought.”
1955The Origins of Totalitarianism appears in Germany.
Move to 130 Morningside Drive in New York.
 (Fall) Blucher joins Bard College as a professor of philosophy.
1956(Spring) Delivers the Walgreen Lectures at the University of Chicago on the viva activa.
1958Publishes The Human Condition.Publishes Rahel Varnhagen: The Life of a Jewess in London.
1959(Winter) “Reflections on Little Rock,” Dissent 6/1.
(Fall) Travels to Europe and receives the Lessing Prize of the Free City of Hamburg, Germany.
Moves with Blücher to 370 Riverside Drive: “Two studies with a fantastically beautiful view of the river.”
1960(October) Accepts an assignment from The New Yorker to cover the 1961 war-crimes trial of Adolf Eichmann in Jerusalem.
1961(April-July) Attends parts of Eichmann trial, interrupted by periods of travel in Israel and Europe.
Publishes Between Past and Future: Six Exercises in Political Thought.
 (October) Heinrich Blucher suffers from an aneurism of the brain and recovers slowly.
(December) Adolf Eichmann found guilty of crimes against the Jewish People and crimes against humanity and sentenced to death.
1962(March) Hannah spends eleven days in the hospital after a taxi accident in Central Park.
(May) Eichmann executed by hanging in Ramle prison in Israel .
1963Publishes On Revolution.
(February 16-March 16) Publishes “Eichmann in Jerusalem” as a five-part series in The New Yorker.
(May) Publishes Eichmann in Jerusalem: A Report on the Banality of Evil in book form.
1963-1967Joins the University of Chicago’s Committee on Social Thought, teaching classes on subjects ranging from ancient philosophy to Spinoza and Rousseau, while continuing to lecture at universities nationwide.
1967Awarded the Sigmund Freud Prize by the German Academy for Language and Literature.
1968Publishes Men in Dark Times.
After a series of mild heart attacks, Blucher retires from Bard College, giving his final lecture in December.
1968-1975Permanent appointment as University Professor at the Graduate Faculty of the New School for Social Research in New York.
1969Death of Karl Jaspers.
Receives the Emerson-Thoreau Medal of the American Academy of Arts and Letters.
1970Publishes On Violence.
(October 31) Death of Heinrich Blucher.
1972Publishes Crises of the Republic.
1973-1974Delivers the Gifford Lectures in Aberdeen, Scotland, on “The Life of the Mind.”
(May, 1974) Suffers a heart attack.
1975Receives the Danish government’s Sonning Prize for Contributions to European Civilization.
(December 4) Dies of a heart attack after dinner in her apartment on Riverside Drive, in New York.
(December 8) Memorial service conducted in Hannah Arendt’s honor at the Riverside Memorial Chapel in New York, where friends including Hans Jonas, Mary McCarthy, Jerome Kohn, William Jovanovich recalled her life and work.