The existentialist philosopher held the Jews to be responsible for the Holocaust, claimed Italian scholar Donatella Di Cesare last week in the Corriere della Sera.
Martin Heidegger held the Jews to be responsible for the Holocaust, claimed Italian scholar Donatella Di Cesare in extracts of her forthcoming book on the German philosopher published last week in the Corriere della Sera. Newly discovered journals of the Continental philosopher, who holds a seminal place among Twentieth Century philosophers for his work in existential phenomenology and philosophical hermeneutics, Di Cesare claims show he believed: “The Shoah was an act of self-destruction by the Jews.” A member of the Nazi Party, Heidegger was rehabilitated after the war and returned to academia in the 1950s, but his links to the Nazis remains controversial. According to Di Cesare, the Holocaust played a central role in the construction of Heidegger’s philosophy of the history of being. She wrote: “In this sense, the extermination of the Jews represents the apocalyptic moment when that which destroys ends up destroying itself. As the peak of ‘self-destruction in history,’ the Shoah makes possible the purification of being.” In 1942 Heidegger wrote the “community of Jews” was “in the age of the Christian West – the age of metaphysics – the principle of destruction.” Adding: “Only when what is essentially ‘Jewish,’ in the metaphysical sense, combats what is Jewish, is the peak of self-destruction in history reached.”