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From Hitler to Hölderlin

Much has been written about Heidegger's involvement with the Nazis. But Desmond Christy welcomes a new biography which refrains from hasty judgements, and lets the life speak for itself

By Desmond Christy   June 1998

Martin Heidegger, one of the great philosophers of our century, was born in Messkirch, a little town between Lake Constance, the Schwaben mountains, and the Upper Danube in 1889, the same year as Adolf Hitler. Heidegger’s involvement with the Nazis, uncovered in books by Victor Farias and Hugo Ott, has made it easy to condemn the man and his philosophy. Why listen to a philosopher who bangs on about Being when he supported a “revolution” which would murder millions of people?

R?iger Safranski’s new biography of Heidegger, a huge success in Germany and already translated into half a dozen languages,…

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