Hannah Arendt on the Holocaust a Study of the Suppression of Truth

Author: Steinberg, Jules
Year:2000
Pages:304
ISBN:0-7734-7760-8
978-0-7734-7760-5
Price:219.95
The unique contribution of this study consists in the discovery and presentation of concrete textual evidence of a major shift in Arendt’s political thinking between 1951 and 1958, textual material that has been ignored by all Arendt scholars, because it presents Arendt endorsing a radically inegalitarian and anti-democratic doctrine called “the rule of masters,” which Arendt discovered in “ancient political theory.” On the basis of this evidence, the book explains why Arendt’s The Human Condition rehabilitates the pattern of antiliberal and antidemocratic thinking that formed one of the major ideological premises of fascist political thinking. It demonstrates comprehensively that Arendtian antiliberalism shares a great deal in common with the right-wing German tradition of “antisemitic antiliberalism” that arose in the immediate aftermath of 1789 and 1806, where modern liberalism was ridiculed and rejected as Jewish “slave morals” The study contends that the key to deciphering Arendt’s Holocaust scholarship lies in the recognition that scholars are wrong to portray Arendt’s thinking as highly original, and that the most conspicuous feature of Arendt’s thinking is its systematic lack of originality. This leads to the central claim that we can understand the Nazi hatred of the Jews and the ensuing mass murder by reading Arendt’s accounts of these matters in order to figure out how and why she got these matters wrong, even though we find evidence of the truth in her own writings, which Arendt suppresses dishonestly in order to reconcile her interpretation of Nazism with her own defense of a right-wing Nietzschean-Heideggerian pattern of antiliberalism, of the precise kind endorsed as the central premise of Nazi ideology.

Reviews

“This is a well-written and important study which provides a new interpretation of Hannah Arendt.” – Rabbi Daniel Cohn-Sherbok

Table of Contents

Table of Contents: