Being, History, Technology, and Extermination in the Work of Heidegger

EmmanuEl FayE*

the year 2001, the first of our twenty-first century, marks a turning point in the publication of the work of martin Heidegger. That year, the very first courses he taught during the Third Reich were published. under the seemingly noble title Being and Truth (Sein und Wahrheit), the double volume 36/37 of the complete works (Gesamtausgabe) grouped the 1933 summer course, The Fundamental Question of Philosophy (Der Grundfrage der Philosophie), and the 1933/34 winter semester course, On the Essence of Truth (Vom Wesen der Wahrheit). Why was this a turning point? For one thing, these are among the most explicitly national Socialist and Hitlerian courses he taught. In them, we discover that Heidegger does not limit himself to exposing his national Socialist theses on the being, truth, and historicity of the Germanic people in political discourses; he also introduces them into his courses, by communicating them to his students in the guise of “philosophy.” For another, he not only teaches frankly völkisch and racist positions but, in the 1933/34 semester course, manifests an exterminatory will. These two courses are difficult to summarize. They must be read in their entirety. In them, Heidegger interweaves two languages. On one hand, for the 1933 summer semester, we have a rather dryly academic course, doubtless written earlier, on the concept of metaphysics in modern thought from Descartes to Baumgarten, Kant, and Hegel, and for the winter semester of 1933/34, a previously given course on Plato’s Cave; on the other, the most radical national Socialist pathos, expressed in the form of abrupt theses.

1. an exterminatory doctrine
In the course On the Essence of Truth, Heidegger assigns his students the goal of “tapping the full potential of the fundamental possibilities of the original Germanic

* Emmanuel Faye is Professor of modern and Contemporary Philosophy at the university of Rouen.
Journal of the History of Philosophy, vol. 50, no. 1 (2012) 111–130



journal of the history of philosophy 50:1 january 2012

root-being, and of leading them to domination.”1 This is followed by a radical interpretation of “conflict” (polemos) understood as a “confronting of the enemy” (Stehen gegen den Feind) that no longer has that much to do with Heraclitus, but elaborates dangerously on Carl Schmitt. Schmitt had sent him his 1933 edition of The Concept of the Political (Das Begriff des Politischen), updated in keeping with the taste of the times and published by the national Socialist press of Hamburg: Hanseatische Verlagsanstalt. Heidegger had answered him on august 22, 1933, with an approving letter, in which he said he had a new interpretation of the Heraclitean polemos that had been ready for years. It is that “interpretation” that he exposits in his course:
Combat as confronting the enemy . . . The enemy is one who poses an essential threat to the existence of the people and its members. The enemy is not necessarily the outside enemy, and the outside enemy is not necessarily the most dangerous. It may even appear that there is no enemy at all. The root requirement is then to find the enemy, bring him to light or even to create him, so that there may be that standing up to the enemy, and so that existence does not become apathetic. The enemy may have grafted himself onto the innermost root of the existence of a people, and oppose the latter’s ownmost essence, acting contrary to it. all the keener and harsher and more difficult is then the struggle, for only a very small part of the struggle consists in mutual blows; it is often much harder and more exhausting to seek out the enemy as such, and to lead him to reveal himself, to avoid nurturing illusions about him, to remain ready to attack, to cultivate and increase constant preparedness and to initiate the attack on a long-term basis, with the goal of total extermination [völligen Vernichtung].2

The insistence with which Heidegger recommends identifying the enemy within, or even creating him, corresponds to the new mission assigned to the Gestapo at that time: the search for the enemy (die Gegnerforschung) described by Viktor Klemperer in his Journal. as for that enemy, grafted onto the most intimate root of the Germanic people, which one must be able to oppose over the long haul, making one’s goal his total extermination, he is the political opponent of the national Socialist revolution, but also, and especially, the assimilated Jew among the German people, who must be singled out as such for extermination. Before Heidegger, Ernst Jünger had expressed in 1933 the only possible alternative for the Jew who had hitherto been assimilated to the German people in the
. . . die Grundmöglichkeiten des urgermanischen Stammeswesens auszuschöpfen und zur Herrschaft zu bringen (Heidegger, Ga 36/37:89). 2 Der Kampf als Stehen gegen den Feind … Feind ist derjenige und jeder, von dem eine wesentliche Bedrohung des Daseins des Volkes und seiner Einzelnen ausgeht. Der Feind braucht nicht der äußere zu sein, und der äußere ist nicht einmal immer der gefährlichere. Und es kann so ausstehen, als sei kein Feind da. Dann ist Grunderfordernis, den Feind zu finden, ins Licht zu stellen oder gar erst zu schaffen, damit dieses Stehen gegen den Feind geschehe und das Dasein nicht stumpf werde. Der Feind kann in der innersten Wurzel des Daseins eines Volkes sich festgesetzt haben und dessen eigenem Wesen sich entgegenstellen und zuwiderhandeln. Um so schärfer und härter und schwerer ist der Kampf, denn dieser besteht ja nur zum geringsten Teil im Gegeneinanderschlagen, oft weit schwieriger und langwieriger ist es, den Feind als solchen zu erspähen, ihn zur Entfaltung zu bringen, ihm gegenüber sich nichts vorzumachen sich angriffsfertig zu halten, die ständige Bereitschaft zu pflegen und zu steigern und den Angriff auf weite Sicht mit dem Ziel des völligen Vernichtung auszusetzen (Heidegger, Ga 36/37:90–91). Here I follow the translation given in 2009 in my book Heidegger: The Introduction of Nazism into Philosophy, 168. The following year a translation of the entire course was published. See Heidegger, Being and Truth, 72–73.

Mai 1933. Victor Farías. gather yourselves for this combat! Demonstrate the collective willingness to fight publicly. First. sammelt euch zu diesem Kampf ! Bekundet die Kampfgemeinschaft auch öffentlich” (Breisgauer Zeitung. as for the expression ‘total extermination’ or ‘annihilation’ (völligen Vernichtung). on the tenth of may 1933. using the same homicidal terms as the national Socialist deutsche Studentenschaft. Heidegger undertook new action. but published in 2001. den geistigen Kampf gegen die jüdisch-marxistische Zersetzung des deutschen Volkes bis zur völligen Vernichtung durchzuführen. there is the properly historical question of Heidegger’s behavior under national Socialist domination. Nachlese zu Heidegger. it is precisely the one used by the association of German Students of the university of Freiburg (of nazi allegiance) in a call to action published on may 8. Hugo Ott proved that the self-justification of his rectorship produced by Heidegger in 1945 is a text whose every sentence contains an omission or a lie. may 8. wrote. the publication of such a text without any self-criticism or regrets leads me to maintain that the question of the relationship between Heidegger and national Socialism in fact comprises two questions. demonstrated that far from distancing himself from the regime after his resignation from the rectorate. we must confront the fact that we are talking about a course given in 1933.b e i n g . 3 4 . quoted by Schneeberger. Schleicher. and Schmitt on the Commission for the Philosophy of law at Hans Franck’s German law academy. Completely conclusive research has been carried out on this question. against the Judeo-marxist dissolution of the German people. he shows unambiguously the goal toward which he summons them. and those of Claudia Schorcht. of the Judeo-marxist writings. after him. Als Sinnbild dieses Kampfes gelte die Öffentliche Verbrennung des jüdisch-marxistischen Schriftums am 10.” Die Studentenschaft der Universität Freiburg erläßt folgenden Aufruf : “Die deutsche Studentenschaft ist entschlossen. by the Breisgauer Zeitung: The association of German Students launches the following call to action: “The German Student association has determined to wage a spiritual struggle. 29–30).1933. Furthermore. such as—to cite just one example—his active participation alongside Rosenberg. and taught during the Third Reich. h i s t o r y. intended to introduce the Führerprinzip into the German university system. whose charge was to lend its support to the future nuremburg laws. a n d e x t e r m i n at i o n i n h e i d e g g e r 113 following words: “[E]ither be Jewish or do not be at all” (entweder Jude zu sein oder nicht zu sein). unto total annihilation [völligen Vernichtung]. in Part 3 of his Heidegger and Nazism. Deutsche. who discovered and published the disturbed reactions of the philosophers of the university of munich when Jünger.3 Three years later. Heidegger went much further. with whose directors he is on familiar terms. which show Heidegger’s active participation in the elaboration of the new constitution of the university. We must also mention the works of Bernd martin. Programmed by Heidegger for after his death. for there was no longer any alternative: “total extermination” was the only goal. even more compromising if that is possible. The symbol of this struggle will be the public burning. In the 1980s. It concerns everything he did. “Über nationalismus und Judenfrage. Germans.”4 What makes Professor Heidegger overwhelmingly responsible is his willingness to bestow upon these calls for the extermination of the German Jews and political opponents an appearance of legitimacy and of existential and “philosophical” nobility. 1933.

for example. hence prior to the Bolshevik revolution of 1917 and the Versailles Treaty of 1918: The Jewification (Verjudung) of our culture and universities is indeed frightening and I think the German race (die deutsche Rasse) should try to find enough inner strength to come out on top. . They considered him “politically too extreme” (politisch zu extrem) and believed that with his “ecstatic language” (ekstatischen Sprache) and “with such sentences. but also national Socialism in “philosophy. we read that for years he has supported in the most effective way the party of adolf Hitler in his hard struggle for being and power. tells us that he bought and read the Völkischer Beobachter. 7 … daß er seit Jahren die Partei Adolf Hitlers in ihrem schweren Ringen um Sein und Macht auf wirksamste unterstürtzte. The correspondence with Elfride. on may 3. as for his radical anti-Semitism and his project fostering the dominance of Germanic roots. ich meine die deutsche Rasse sollte noch soviel innere Kraft aufbringen um in die Höhe zu kommen (Heidegger. and that no national Socialist has ever knocked at his door in vain. 237). its most explicit expression is found as early as 1916.” and in a long text published in the nazi newspaper of Freiburg. but also from what date. 51). 1930). in the sentence quoted. daß er stets bereit war.7 let us take note. Universitäten ist allerdings schreckerregend u. that he has consistently proved ready for sacrifice to the holy cause of Germany. and for how long? The question involves not only philosophy in national Socialism. quoted by Schneeberger. of the expression “struggle for being” (Ringen um Sein).” 5 … mit solchen Phrasen könne den Studenten keine Philosophie geboten warden (Schorcht. which is more directly relevant to philosophy. of course. 2. may 2. ‘being’ as a “code name” (deckname) It appears certain today that the question of national Socialism in Heidegger’s thought requires our going back considerably further than 1933. 6 Die Verjudung unsrer Kultur u. für Deutschlands heilige Sache Opfer zu bringen. and identified with the paper’s point of view (letter of October 2. and this research must of course continue. Thus it becomes necessary to take a look at the question that has contributed most to his reputation as a “thinker. Nachlese zu Heidegger. 1933. in Heidegger. on more than one occasion. Kampfblatt der Nationalsozialisten Oberbadens.114 journal of the history of philosophy 50:1 january 2012 Heidegger was called there in September 1933 by the ministry. the word ‘being’ in the vicinity of Hitlerism. the students could not consider themselves to be getting any philosophy. 23). There is. however. und daß ein Nationalsozialist niemals vergebens bei ihm anpochte (Der Alemanne.6 It is a fact that Heidegger was not able to say certain things publicly until 1933. Briefe an seine Frau Elfride. 1933.”5 The archive collections are far from being exhausted. but it is significant that he tells Carl Schmitt that he has had his interpretation of polemos ready “for years.” namely the “question of being. How deep does Heidegger’s introduction of radically national Socialist positions run in his work? To what depth. another question.” or rather in what is claimed to be such—because I do not believe there can be a philosophy worthy of the name as radically racist and exterminatory as is the teaching dispensed by Heidegger in the summer courses. We will find. Der Alemanne. complementary to the first. Philosophie an den bayerischen Universitäten.

Behind that formulation. He thus appropriates a classic bastion of philosophy: the question of the meaning of being. . though without saying so.” something essential is hidden. . Here is what Heidegger writes to him on august 1. which must remain intentionally hidden. which indeed contains a “distinction. 22). Particularly revealing in this respect is an astonishing letter to Kurt Bauch. in the course already mentioned of summer semester 1933 on Das Sein ist definitorisch aus höheren Begriffen nicht abzuleiten und durch niedere nicht darzustellen (Heidegger.) and it is with formidable skill that Heidegger would build on this lack of precision of the term ‘to be’ to support his position. the radical indetermination of being with respect to any conceptual determination and to any empirical existence is a traditional thesis of Scholasticism. “The ‘Fatherland’ is being itself” (Das “Vaterland” ist das Seyn selbst). like him. When at the beginning of Being and Time Heidegger asserts that “being cannot be derived from higher concepts by way of definition. a n d e x t e r m i n at i o n i n h e i d e g g e r 115 It is widely believed that he discovered a fundamental philosophical motif with his thematization of the ontological difference between being and beings. 92). developed notably by Brentano on the basis of aristotle and Scholasticism. . . Briefwechsel. 1943: What you say about “the being of beings” is correct. but Braig’s ontology. to be revealed exclusively at the chosen moment. h i s t o r y. which combines a perspective that looks down from above with radicalness and withdrawal. and not at all fallen into oblivion. In certain texts. But as we shall see. but also a veritable crux of philosophy. on Hölderlin’s Germania. für mich oft ein Deckname. aber auch eine wirkliche crux der Philosophie. But an attentive analysis of his writings proves that this is largely a borrowed motif.”8 he is repeating almost word for word what Braig had already written three decades earlier in Vom Sein: Abriß der Ontologie: “Being cannot be derived from higher concepts and is not representable on the basis of lower ones. Es ist eine Formel. SZ 4/BT 3). Bonaventure at the beginning of the same work by Braig. from his former theology teacher Carl Braig. underlining it in the published text. with the difference between being and beings. he abruptly gives a glimpse of the object toward which he beckons. 8 . 9 Aus höhern Begriffen ist der des Seins nicht ableit. 1933. In Being and Time. and cannot be represented by lower ones. he uses it for radically non-philosophical purposes.10 Indeed.und aus niedrigern ist er nicht darstellbar (Braig. a professor of art history at the university of Freiburg. as proof of this. It is a formulation—for me often a “code name” (ein Deckname). Even more explicitly. it appears in a quotation from St. . Vom Sein. he takes his lead very literally. 10 Was du über das “Sein des Seienden” sagst ist richtig. in which he exclaims. let us consider the course of winter semester 1934/35.”9 as for the difference between being and beings. who. die ja eine ‘Unterscheidung’ enthält. detached it from that traditional theological perspective. Heidegger has taken this bastion of philosophy but to use it as a “formula” (eine Formel) and even as a “code word” (ein Deckname) intended to suggest something entirely different. (It continues to serve within that tradition to conceptualize the relationship between creator and creatures. had entered the nSDaP [national Socialist German Workers’ Party] on may 1. . Hinter der Formel. whom Braig introduced to the young Heidegger. a close friend of Heidegger’s.b e i n g . In reality. verbirgt sich etwas wesentliches (Heidegger and Bauch. largely influenced by Schelling and Hegel.

2. for we shall soon see what the historical means in Heidegger’s work. he writes. let us also take note of the emphasis placed on the “historicity” of this twofold issue. d. had read ‘ethos’ instead of ‘eros.” 13 See Faye. Philosophie ist der unausgesetzte fragende Kampf um das Wesen und Sein des Seienden.15 1. He drops the mask and proposes a course in “political education. das in seinem Sein den Staat verwirklicht. 14 So wie das Seiende. weiss um den Staat. particularly intended to propose an entirely explicit defense of the Hitlerian völkischer Staat and the Führerstaat. interrogative struggle for the essence and the being of beings. kümmert sich um ihn und will ihn (Heidegger. man. Theodore Kisiel had published a few excerpts from this seminar. 5. “Über Wesen und Begriff. Heidegger: The Introduction of Nazism into Philosophy. in the name of the harshness and clarity of its destiny—requires. wie er sich dazu verhält. That relationship of the people to the Führerstaat is conceived along the lines of the Hitlerian relationship between Führung (leading) and Gefolgschaft (following) and in keeping with the principle of attraction of the Männerbund: it is the drive (Drang) and the eros of the people toward their state and its Führer that Heidegger desires to ¯ impart to his students.e. Heidegger wishes to impose the idea that there exists between the people and their state a relation as essential and constitutive as between the human being and his own being.12 I published others.116 journal of the history of philosophy 50:1 january 2012 The Fundamental Question of Philosophy. “Heidegger als politischer Erzieher. Philosophy is the unremitting. This question is in itself historical. In this course. das Seiende. he summarizes his goal by connecting what he refers to as two “questions”: 1. which. similarly the people-being maintains a fundamental relationship with his state. titled “On the Essence and Concepts of nature. I have corrected the error of Kisiel. ch.’ is not a philosophical or properly ontological distinction.” 76). 113–50. is preoccupied with it and cares about it. Just as the being. Dieses Fragen ist in sich geschichtlich.’ ¯ 11 . who. so hat auch das Seiende Volk ein wissendes Grundverhältnis zu seinem Staat. 2. and State” (“Über Wesen und Begriff von natur. quarrels over. it is because his Hitlerism is so radical and so explicit there that it cannot be made to look like philosophy. 15 In my book.” intended to form a “political nobility” for the Third Reich. History. Hadern und Verehren eines Volkes um der Härte und Klarheit seines Schicksals willen (Ga 36/37:12). sich darum kümmert. is hidden according to Heidegger behind the “formula” or the “code name” of the word ‘being. We must also bring up the seminar of winter 1933/34. in 2002.11 The essence and the being of beings are therefore assimilated by Heidegger to the hardness and clarity of the will of the destiny of the Germanic people. and asked publicly about the absence of this seminar from the publication of the “complete works” (Gesamtausgabe). are preoccupied with it and want it. der Mensch sich seines Mensch-Sein bewusst ist. es ist das Fordern. Geschichte und Staat”). i.14 The “essential distinction” here.h. 12 See Kisiel. but the entirely political one between the German people and their state. are cognizant of the state. as Kurt Bauch’s future letter will say. Thus. it is what a people. and venerates. The people. the beings who in their being realize the state. is conscious of his man-being.13 I think that if Heidegger omitted this seminar from the complete works. Das Volk.

it must be recognized that in reality there is no political philosophy worthy of the name in Heidegger. Dann ist die Existenz und Überlegenheit des Führers eingesenkt in das Sein. the “devil” in reality designates the “Jew.’ . als strengste Zucht. The word ‘state’ is.h. 140 and 369). also ihres Seins zu erwirken.’ That is why I wanted to show in my book how Heidegger uses the philosophical vocabulary to transmit something entirely different. We can even speak of a connection to occult possession here. of the seventh session of the seminar. in a tone of a sort of nazi religiosity. aneinander wachsend werden sie den beiden bedrohenden Mächten Tod und Teufel. Only where leader and led together bind each other in one destiny. den Staat. as commitment.’ It has no other function than to predispose minds to let themselves be possessed and dominated by the will of the Führer. as indeterminate and empty as the word ‘being. geschichtliches Sein und Wollen entgegensetzen (Heidegger. with their meaningful. historical being and will. in which.’ which is the version I retain here. does true order grow. Then spiritual superiority and freedom respond in the form of deep dedication of all powers to the people. Vergänglichkeit und Abfall vom eigenen Wesen. be true. in die Seele des Volkes und bindet es so mit Ursprünglichkeit und Leidenschaft an die Aufgabe. a n d e x t e r m i n at i o n i n h e i d e g g e r 117 Indeed. because he presents no theorization or conceptualization of the state and its institutions. The copy of the manuscript I used for my book has ‘aneinander. growing together. and fight for the realization of one idea. Dann wirkt sich die geistige Überlegenheit und Freiheit aus als tiefe Hingabe aller Kräfte an das Volk. ihr sinnvolles. to the state. resistance. in the form of the most rigid training. With each new moment the Führer and the people will be bound more closely. Einsamkeit und Liebe. and sacrifice themselves. erwächst wahre Ordnung. Delivered in the tone of a sort of rogue religiosity. treu sein und sich opfern. Here is an excerpt from it. 3. as do so many commentators who are 16 Nur wo Führer und Geführte gemeinsam in ein Schicksal sich binden und für die Verwirklichung einer Idee kämpfen. and when the people feel this dedication. in which. solitude and love. such as ‘historicity’ or ‘truth. as in Mein Kampf.” 77. although the recent editor gives ‘auseinander. als Einsatz. They will develop and persist in their strength.16 We can see from this example how Heidegger goes about captivating his audience. I have published in my book the long conclusion. and thus bind it authentically and passionately to the task. Then the existence and the superiority of the Führer sink down into being. um das Wesen ihres Staates. impermanence and the falling away from one’s own essence. Standhalten. h i s t o r y. as such. wird es sich in den Kampf führen lassen und den Kampf wollen und lieben. in order to realize the essence of their state.b e i n g . that is their being. Heidegger: The Introduction of Nazism into Philosophy. that is. Carl Schmitt will do the same thing with the legal vocabulary. namely the goals of national Socialism. d. quoted in Faye. death and the devil. hitherto unpublished. the historicity of the lingua tertii imperii What I have just said about the word ‘being’ and the word ‘state’ is equally true of all the key words of Heideggerian discourse. Es wird seine Kräfte entfalten und ausharren. “Über Wesen und Begriff. it has nothing to do with a philosophical doctrine. and they will want and love the struggle. In jedem neuen Augenblick werden sich Führer und Volk enger verbinden. into the soul of the people. they will let themselves be led into struggle. Heidegger exposits how the Führer’s will penetrates the “being” and the “soul” of his people. in his discourse. they will oppose the two threatening forces.” his teaching translates a determination to dominate hearts and minds completely. Und wenn das Volk diese Hingabe spürt. Therefore we cannot stop at the ostensible meaning of these words.

254). after the example of ‘being. 17 .”19 In the correspondence between yorck and Dilthey. Es ist zunächst die Lehre vom geschichtlichen Charakter des menschlichen Daseins. but consists rather in sudden dictatorial assertions. 20 Ich gratuliere zu jedem einzelnen Fall. but more often it is because of a lack of fundamental research that so many philosophers have been taken in by this language. which does not proceed by true argumentation on the basis of which a critical discussion might be developed. when the historical Dasein chooses its hero (das Dasein sich seinen Helden wählt) and resolves to do battle.18 Further. von der Lehrstühlen fern halten (Dilthey and yorck.118 journal of the history of philosophy 50:1 january 2012 content with endless paraphrases and avoid quoting from pages in which national Socialist.20 Heidegger. SZ 384–85. and exterminatory positions are the most explicit. ist durch drei Grundzüge bestimmt. has predisposed many to paraphrase and repetition. What is needed is an interior view going far deeper if we want to see exactly what the “movement” is that carries Heidegger along his “path.17 On the precise meaning of the historicity of existence. wie dem ganzen Stamme das Gefühl psychischer und physischen Bodens. the presentation of Heidegger already mentioned in the issue of may 3 of Der Alemanne straightforwardly stresses his völkisch enrootedness. in the autochthony and people-hood. The being of man is determined on the basis of his resoluteness for commitment to destiny.’ This term is already of central importance in Being and Time. Es ist in der Erde. Das Sein des Menschen bestimmt sich aus seiner Entschlossenheit zum Einsatz in das Schicksal (Schneeberger. He is rooted in the soil.” It is also true that his way of writing. Briefwechsel. 18 Die philosophische Arbeit von Professor H. whose underlying movement goes from the anticipation of death and “self-abandonment” (Selbstaufgabe) in section 53 to the assertion in section 74 that the historical destiny of Dasein supervenes authentically only in the community. Heidegger asked Henri Corbin to translate the two chapters on death and historicity. section 77 of Being and Time. no doubt it is sometimes out of kindness that this approach is taken. die in seinem Hauptwerk “Sein und Zeit” eingehend dargestellt und begründet sind. racist. just as the entire race [die ganze Stamme] lacks a sense of psychic and physical soil [Boden]. by Rector Heidegger: The philosophical work of Professor Heidegger is determined by three fundamental traits that have been thoroughly exhibited and grounded in his masterpiece Being and Time. SZ 399. 25). 19 Heidegger.’ let us take that of ‘historicity. a compilation of quotations from Count yorck. the people. The text we read there was quite likely reviewed and approved. wo Sie die dünne jüdische Routine. der das Bewußtsein der Verantwortlichkeit für die Gedanken fehlt. Bodenständigkeit und Volkstum verwurzelt. It is significant in this respect that for the first anthology of his writings that appeared in French in 1938. focused principally on the absence of soil (Bodenlosigkeit) and constituting the true end of Being and Time (as they do of the Kassel Conferences pronounced two years earlier). if not directly inspired. It is primarily the doctrine of the historical character of the human Dasein. Here is what he writes to Dilthey on February 18. the absence of soil is understood by yorck in an openly anti-Semitic spirit. Nachlese zu Heidegger. Thank you for all the particular cases in which you keep at a distance from teaching chairs the flimsy Jewish run of the mill [die dünne jüdische Routine] who lack consciousness of the responsibility of thought. 1884. show the enlightened reader just how strong the anti-Semitic spirit (inherited from yorck) was that presided over the conception of historicity and “the generic difference between the ontic and the historic.

. Ga 36/37:176.27 The meaning of this “great transformation” is unambiguously expressed: When the Führer speaks continually of reeducation in the direction of the national Socialist worldview. Ga 36/37:215. insofern sie als Geschichte des menschen geschieht). domination” (so etwas gibt wie Entschlossenheit. . . as we believe. Ga 36/37:214. 28 Wenn heute der Führer immer wieder spricht von der Umerziehung zur national-sozialistischen Weltanschauung. Kampf. a worldwide blueprint. Ga 36/37:6. readiness to serve. 21 22 .” exists only “where it occurs as history of man” (Unverborgenheit . It is only by going further along the lines of that question that there can be. h i s t o r y. Heidegger does not give many explanations. heißt das nicht: irgendwelche Schlagworte beibringen. Die Geschichtlichkeit ist ein Grundmoment seines Seins (Heidegger. meanwhile we see.21 The guideline of these different courses is. Heidegger expresses this in veiled language in 1927. . when he speaks of “what is happening to us today. that does not mean—inculcate some slogans—but rather—bring about a total transformation. increasingly strong emphasis placed on the theme of historicity.”22 The philosophical question formulated by Kant must be changed from “What is man?” (Was ist der Mensch?) to “Who is man?” (Wer ist der Mensch?). combat. einen Weltentwurf.28 Here we must take a moment to have a look at the Heideggerian use of the word ‘truth’ (‘Wahrheit’). in which “the German people in its totality . It is in the following course. on the one hand. The course on The Fundamental Question of Philosophy (Die Grundfrage der Philosophie) opens with the emphatic evocation of “the greatness of the present historical moment” (der Größe des geschichtlichen Augenblicks). that things will be further clarified. mit unserm Volk)26 and speaks of “the great transformation of the existence of man” (die große Wandlung des Daseins des Menschen). according to him. he asserts. and on the other those who are without history. 25 Heidegger. national Socialism is not just any teaching but the fundamental transformation of the German and. 23 Heidegger. but the broader implications of the question “Who is man?” are disturbing. 24 Heidegger. on the foundation of which he educates the entire people. in the 1933/34 courses. for example. this work is perfectly interchangeable with the word ‘history’ (‘Geschichte’). Ga 36/37:215). Dienstbereitschaft. die Frage nach dem Menschen muß revolutioniert werden. Herrschaft).25 This nazi rhetoric only takes on its full meaning in other passages in the course. there is. Historicity is a fundamental moment of his being. ist nur. to our people” (was mit uns heute geschieht. findet seine Führung). the need for a radical transformation of the question of man: “We must revolutionize the question of man. Ga 36/37:119 (underlined by Heidegger).24 In this course. historical Dasein. “Truth. which is in the title of the course (On the Essence of Truth). . . a n d e x t e r m i n at i o n i n h e i d e g g e r 119 To return to section 77 of Being and Time. but with total explicitness in his course of summer 1934.” taken not in the sense of exactness but of “disclosedness. Ga 36/37:118.b e i n g .23 and this reformulated as “Who are we?” (Wer sind wir?). sondern einen Gesamtwandel hervorbringen. Ga 36/37:225. also the European world. . 27 Heidegger. finds its direction” (das deutsche Volk im Ganzen . of summer semester 1934. In reality. . aus dessen Grund heraus er das ganze Volk erzieht (Heidegger. 29 Heidegger.29 Heidegger. . “such a thing as resolve. 26 Heidegger. Ga 36/37:225).

’ [E]very meeting the Führer has with the Duce is historical. even if it doesn’t make the slightest difference to the existing state of things. translation modified).33 But the former rector goes on to point out that on the other hand: When the airplane takes the Führer from munich to Venice to see mussolini. which correspond neither to distinct ideas nor to determinate concepts.’ ‘history.’ ‘truth.32 Or rather. Ga 38:84). we find a small number of key words constantly repeated.’ namely the summer semester 1934 one. for example)” (es Menschen u. titled Logic (Logik). being deprived of history (the negroes. “men and groups of men [he no longer even says ‘peoples’] who have no history. yet Heidegger persists in adopting the hollow rhetoric of the LTI. so glibly used by Heidegger both in Being and Time and in his 1933–35 courses.’ etc. Hitler wanted to get mussolini’s agreement to invade austria. dann geschieht Geschichte (Heidegger. and even takes it a step further: with this trip of the Führer’s. . Ga 38:81. not only does “history happen” 30 Er [der Jargon der Eigentlichkeit] verfügt über eine bescheidene Anzahl signalhaft einschnappende Wörter (adorno. but Il Duce turns him down. . he tells his students. auch wenn sie gar nicht an den bestehenden Verhältnisse ändert . B. 9/The Jargon of Authenticity.”30 and adorno goes on to give the example of ‘decision’ (Entscheidung). .. . that’s history. and function exactly like that “jargon of authenticity” adorno described so well: jargon “uses a modest number of words that snap into place and become signals. . Menschengruppen [Neger wie z.31 In the course in which Heidegger goes into the most elaborate explanation of what he understands by the word ‘history.34 These texts are very revealing of Heidegger’s level of thought. therefore. such as ‘essence. such as the Kaffirs. 31 . not to allow oneself to be caught in the trap of the Heideggerian use of words taken from the vocabulary of philosophy. 32 Heidegger. Jargon der Eigentlichkeit. LTI—The Language of the Third Reich. . He repeats what he may well have read in the editorials of the Völkischer Beobachter of the day. 3. after having maintained that historicity is constitutive of human existence. or in his 1940 notes on Ernst Jünger. sie seien geschichtslos). historisch ist jede Zusammenkunft des Führers mit den Duce. Kaffer] gibt. 33 Heidegger. But there is an author who makes it possible for us to go further yet in the critical demystification of Heidegger: Victor Klemperer. 34 Wenn das Flugzeug freilich den Führer von München zu Mussolini nach Venedig bringt.’ ‘freedom. . 45/LTI 41). In his way of speaking. he asserts that there are. but are interchangeable. Ga 38:84. “[t]hey have no more history than do monkeys and birds” (Die haben doch ebensogut Geschichte wie die Affen u. Vögel).120 journal of the history of philosophy 50:1 january 2012 It is of decisive importance. They not only prove the extent of his racism and Hitlerism. Hitler’s trip to meet with mussolini on June 14–15. 1934 is a complete diplomatic fiasco. but they correspond precisely to Klemperer’s ironic description. The Language of the Third Reich. this philologist observes that among the three most hackneyed words in the language of the national Socialists there is the word ‘historical. nevertheless. In his remarkable work. . die keine Geschichte haben. (Klemperer.

in his new postwar ecstatic language.”37 and at the conclusion of the course of the summer semester 1940. in 1940. the focus of historicity is shifted.” To the question “What is history?” (Was ist Geschichte?) he responds. Heidegger. of the Fatherland. he endlessly repeats that the “wars . 4. . when the new legal concept of crime against humanity was established during the nuremberg Trials. jealous term used by Carl Schmitt in his Glossarium. conveniently omitted from Nietzsche published in 1961 but restored in the Gesamtausgabe. . he says that “we should not desire to overstep the zones of decision. now that the times have totally turned against him. geschichtlich Geschicke zu entscheiden (lecture of 27 June 1945. unreflective opportunism beneath the appearance of a sort of “neo-Hegelianism. dürfen wir die Entscheidungszonen nicht überspringen wollen (Heidegger. identified with “the present moment” (das Heutige). Ga 38:86). but not to give lectures or to publish. which takes up the task of thinking Heimlosigkeit. Ga 90:222).” But on the contrary. Thus. he gives a lecture series that he will divide into four distinct texts for publication: “The Thing. written at the end of the year 1946.b.) It is in the second lecture that Heidegger speaks of “the production of corpses in the gas chambers and the extermination camps”: 35 . to the “history of being” and to “future thought” (das künftige Denken). The second and third lectures contain two terrible passages that will be published posthumously. kann geschichtlich warden (Heidegger. h i s t o r y. in 1994. . 37 . nor with the “fundamental question of philosophy” that concerned the Germanic people gathered together in the Führerstaat. he lauds the motorization of the Wehrmacht as a “metaphysical act. historicity is no longer. from 1945 on. Das Gestell. Die Kehre).36 yet it is not even a question of recognizing the efficacy of the present. In 1946. as it was in 1933/34.” “The Frame. das erwähnte Flugzeug des Führers. . at the invitation of the Bremen Club in 1949. . whatever that present may be. (The first of these two passages was made public in 1983 by a listener in attendance. . 36 Heidegger. no sooner has the “denazification” been completed—with the classification in march 1949 of Heidegger as a simple “sympathizer” (Mitläufer)—than. in volume 79 of the Gesamtausgabe. and he has plenty of time on his hands to prepare his “comeback. a n d e x t e r m i n at i o n i n h e i d e g g e r 121 (geschieht Geschichte). wie z.”38 and in the Letter on Humanism. Die Gefahr. Schloß Wildenstein.b e i n g .” “The Danger. philosophy being henceforth impugned by Heidegger. . sind nicht imstande. 88). are not capable of deciding destinies historically.” to repeat the caustic. “[T]he present moment” (das Heutige). 38 Weltkriege . Ga 38:97 and 99. the negationism of the bremen lectures of 1949 Heidegger is at this date forbidden to teach. auch nicht menschliches Seiendes. the loss of one’s native land. . The fact is that this position is only maintained by Heidegger when the course of history seems to favor national Socialism. . but “even a non-human being like the airplane that served to transport the Führer can become historical”!35 It is true that Heidegger hides this hollow. Die Armut.” and “The Turning” (Das Ding.

without exposing himself to the charge of negationism in the most direct sense.” neither the identity of the victims—preponderantly Jewish—nor that of the executioners—the national Socialists—is stated. in a relativizing list.122 journal of the history of philosophy 50:1 january 2012 agriculture is now a motorized food industry. only one stage of the extermination process is retained and isolated. 39 . but completely relativized and reduced to the status of simple industrial and technological devices. But to die means to carry out death in its essence. . das Selbe wie die Blokade und Aushungerung von Ländern. Sobibor. But in the middle of innumerable deaths the essence of death remains unrecognizable. Do they die? They become supply pieces for stock in the fabrication of corpses. The genocidal intention of the nazis is equally suppressed: no longer is it a question of putting an entire people to death. and not on the nazi commanders and their henchmen. To be able to die means to be able to carry out this resolution. the shelter that shelters within itself the hidden character of the essence of being and draws together the saving of its essence. The second text goes still further in the direction of explicit revisionism. burning of bodies in the open air in the camps of Belzec. Death is neither empty nothingness. yet that is what we have here: silence on the identity of the victims and the negation of their humanness. Death is the loftiest shelter of the truth of being. by SS camp physician Friedrich Entress and. all that is left is one element among others. im Wesen das Selbe wie die Fabrikation von Leichen in Gaskammern und Vernichtungslagern. for example. corresponds to the language used. negation of the responsibility of the executioners—the barbaric and horribly primitive technology of the gas chambers and extermination camps being blamed on the planetary “device” of the Ge-stell.” Furthermore. They are put down. blockades and the starving of countries. on a par with any other product. We can only do this if our essence likes the essence of death.39 Gas chambers and extermination camps are not denied. Thus it shelters the essence of being. as Heidegger says nothing in his lectures about the cremation ovens. comes from a nazi “humor. the same thing in its essence as the production of corpses in the gas chambers and the extermination camps. and also. Death pertains to the Dasein of the man who appears out of the essence of being. das Selbe wie die Fabrikation von Wasserstoffbomben (Heidegger. the same thing as the manufacture of hydrogen bombs. but of the industrialized production of corpses. Ga 79:27).’ taken up after Heidegger by a number of authors. This is why man can die if and only if being itself appropriates the essence of man into the essence of being on the basis of the truth of its essence. The expression ‘production of corpses. . without such—millions in China sunken in poverty perish from hunger. Do they die? They are liquidated unnoticed in death camps. in the total dehumanizing of the victims: Hundreds of thousands die en masse. Death is the shelter of being in the poem of the world. nor just the passage from one state to another. and the production hydrogen bombs. such as Giorgio agamben. . on a level with motorized agriculture. It is a total dehumanizing of the “Final Solution. if not negationism. mass burial pits. Do they die? They perish. as Raoul Hilberg and François Rastier have shown. the same thing as blockades and the reduction of countries to famine. To be able toward death in its essence Ackerbau ist jetzt motorisierte Ernährungsindustrie. This way he was able to include in his work a statement of calculated and atrocious perversity.

Diejenigen. den Tod in sein Wesen austragen. but just a number: “hundreds of thousands” (Hunderttausende). in his own words. among many others. die sterben können. wenn das Seyn selber aus der Wahrheit seines Wesens das Wesen des Menschen in das Wesen des Seyns vereignet. So birgt er das Wesen des Seyns. das Gebirg. h i s t o r y.” This obliterates at once the responsibility of the national Socialist leaders and the specificity of the destruction of the European Jews. Heidegger speaks in the present tense of an extermination process with no indication of place. It comprises: 1. 2. an ontologized racism that pursues these victims even unto death. now. Hunderttausende sterben in Masse. The “concentration camps” are reduced to the state of signs and symptoms. Sterben sie? Sie werden Bestandstücke eines Bestandes der Fabrikation von Leichen. The deletion of the national Socialists’ responsibility for their crimes. Der Tod ist das Gebirg des Seyns im Gedicht der Welt. heißt: sterben können. 40 . of the planetary outburst of technology. no names—neither of the victims nor of the executioners. noch ist er nur der Übergang von einem Seienden zu einem anderen.” We must take the full measure of the horror there is in giving us to understand that the women and children exterminated by the nazis were not able to die (sterben) because they did not love “the essence of death. Wir vermögen es nur. The suppression of any explicit reference to the genocide of the Jews by Hitler. This is why Heidegger’s negationism is multidimensional. Sterben sie? Sie kommen um. which Heidegger compares with the “millions” (Millionen) who died from starvation in China in 1949. while the famines in China are a terrible reality. the identity of the victims is explicit. Darum vermag der Mensch den Tod nur und erst. diesen Austrag vermögen.40 again. apropos of the extermination camps. Sie werden umgelegt. In the case of the Chinese. the identity of the executioners. a n d e x t e r m i n at i o n i n h e i d e g g e r 123 means to be able to die. Only those who can die are mortals in the apposite sense of the word. This makes his silence with respect to the Jewish victims all the more odious. Der Tod gehört in das aus dem Wesen des Seyns ereignete Dasein des Menschen. Der Tod ist das höchste Gebirg der Wahrheit des Seyns selbst. Sterben aber heißt. The rhetorical use of a reiterated “questioning” intended to suggest that the victims of the extermination camps did not die (gestorben). Und auch ohne Solches—Millionen verelenden jetzt in China durch den Hunger in ein Verenden. Den Tod in seinem Wesen vermögen.” It is a radical discrimination. it is not the technological device. the Ge-stell. Ga 79:56). Der Tod ist weder das leere Nichts. das in sich die Verborgenheit des Wesens des Seyns birgt und die Bergung seines Wesens versammelt. but Heidegger himself who. “installs in advance a uniformity in which everything is of equal value” when he finds gas chambers and motorized agriculture to be “the same. Doch inmitten der ungezählten Tode bleibt das Wesen des Todes verstellt. Sterben können heißt. wenn unser Wesen das Wesen des Todes mag. they are not the result of willful genocide. sind erst die Sterblichen im tragenden Sinn dieses Wortes (Heidegger. properly speaking—that they are not “mortals” because they are not in the “keep of being.b e i n g . or that of the victims. The association Heidegger makes is therefore doubly negationist: it denies the actual scale as well as the genocidal intention of the nazi extermination. date. but nothing is clear. Furthermore. Sterben sie? Sie werden in Vernichtungslagern unauffällig liquidiert. are we talking about the nazi extermination camps? The word Vernichtungslager would seem to indicate that this is the case. 3.

which denies to those who are not in the shelter of being the possibility of dying. a “hero” according to the nazis. They are not. mortal. but indeed because. we find once more the Heideggerian conception of “dying” (das Sterben) distinguished in Being and Time from “perishing” (das Verenden).” which is. strictly speaking. in this distinction. Behind the “horribly undeceased dead” (grausig ungestorbener Tode) of the Bremen Lectures. des Volkes. according to Heidegger. which may be said of all living beings. 43 Heidegger. formulated in the same terms as in Mein Kampf. 41 42 . as a “self-abandonment” (Selbstaufgabe) to the benefit “of the community. Heidegger.124 journal of the history of philosophy 50:1 january 2012 To what conception of death does this Heideggerian “necrophilia” correspond? authentic death is conceived. Incomparably more developed is the theme of death conceived as “shelter of the essence of being.” such that only those can die whose essence is appropriated by being itself. It announces the Heideggerian justification. “[d]ying is said of the mode of being in which Dasein is toward its death. SZ 247. Heidegger is indeed referring to mass extermination. the primary meaning of the German verb. in section 53 of Sein und Zeit. But we must get to the root of the Heideggerian conception of death. most notably challenged by adorno in his Jargon of Authenticity.”43 When the victims of the extermination camps are called the dead “horribly undeceased” (grausig ungestorben). when it is asserted that they are not. This means that the victims exposed to being liquidated en masse in the national Socialist death camps cannot. nonetheless. mortal (sterbliche). not simply due to their vast numbers and the collective nature of their extermination. or else they have attempted to challenge or sidestep my translation of mögen by “like. The weakness of their critique could be seen by the fact that none of them dared take up and justify Heidegger’s lengthy argument. two anglo-Saxon Heideggerians have taken the tack of basing their critique on a huge and surprising misinterpretation of my own interpretation. monstrous. How can we not see that there is something revolting. properly speaking. Consequently it must be said that Dasein never perishes [verendet].42 In short. section 74).41 It is a sacrificial conception of death. Out of the fourteen sentences that make up the second and third paragraphs of the quotation I have given. Ga 16:759–60. more recently. the anniversary of whose death was celebrated with such great emphasis by Rector Heidegger. the Heideggerians who challenged my interpretation of this page of the Bremen Lectures have only countered by emphasizing the sparse allusions to mass extermination. die. being itself does not grant them the possibility of being able to die. It hinges on the distinction between dying (sterben). That distinction of the German language is almost untranslatable in English as well as in French. of the “sacrifice” (Opfer) of the individual for the community of the people (Volksgemeinschaft). along the lines of the example of albert-leo Schlageter. Heidegger. SZ 240–41. but the allusion to the conditions of extermination represent only a small portion of the text. and the fact of perishing (verenden). of the people” (der Gemeinschaft. which would be proper to Dasein. strictly speaking. only two sentences evoke the countless deaths. this “ontological negationism”? until now.

of the course titled Der Ister. and not the brute fact of their extermination.” 105/HMT 61. that the reading of this study.”45 and in the Spiegel-Gespräch of 1966. etc. Hemming seems to have had no more than a second-hand knowledge of the Bremen lectures. It is in fact for that very reason that I coined the expression ‘ontological negationism. Consideration should also be given to his praises—perfectly explicit. . he asserts that “national Socialism did indeed go in the direction” (der Nationalsozialismus ist zwar in die Richtung gegangen) of “a satisfactory relation” (ein zureichendes Verhältnis) of man to “the essence of technicity. “Spiegel Gespräch. The texts from the Bremen Lectures on extermination I brought up should not be isolated from the aggregate of Heidegger’s publications after 1945. expressed both by what is said and what is hushed up. but a “movement. 213). although in reality it occurs in the lecture titled The Framing (see his “Introduction. nämlich mit der Begegnung der planetarisch bestimmte Technik und des neuzeitlichen Menschen (Heidegger. For a fuller critical discussion of Robert Bernasconi’s remarks. in the Gesamtausgabe. with An Introduction to Metaphysics.” a project. and extermination It remains for us to bring out one essential point: namely that Heidegger’s rejection of technology and his persistent justification of national Socialism after 1945 are inseparable. a n d e x t e r m i n at i o n i n h e i d e g g e r 125 and of wrongfully attributing to me a thesis according to which Heidegger claimed there were no victims of the nazi extermination camps!44 yet it is quite obvious that Heidegger did not share the historical negationism of a Faurisson.’ Indeed it is the very being of the victims. t e c h n o l o g y. n at i o n a l s o c i a l i s m . So what we are faced with are not just isolated remarks—garbled. in national Socialism? The 1953 reference to planetary technology intentionally throws the reader off the track. or in 1984 with the publication. in his view. indefensible remarks—from Heidegger. since he speaks of hundreds of thousands of victims. “Subjectivity and Race in Heidegger’s Writings. 46 Heidegger.” 3–6.” 45 . the unworthy praise of the “inner truth and greatness” of the national Socialist “movement” is commented on in a parenthesis that we now know to have been added to the proofs in 1953: “(namely. then. “Introduction. let us hope. their existence qua mortals.” 3 and 6n11). as well as of those I have published in English from 2006 until now and which are included in the bibliography of my book. Heidegger associates the two very closely. .b e i n g . the encounter between global technology and modern humanity). this time—of the national Socialist movement and its “historical singularity”: in 1953. that is questioned. EIM 152/Introduction to Metaphysics. an overall strategy infused with the negationist and nazi spirit. in 1976 with the posthumous publication of the interview in Spiegel. In Introduction to Metaphysics.”46 now. 5 . .” 58. But now let us resume the overall demonstration. Both in the parenthetical addition added in 1953 and the 1966 interview (with Spiegel). see Faye. h i s t o r y. and Hemming. because that is not how 44 See Bernasconi. will enable those two commentators to rectify their misreading. “Race and Earth in Heidegger’s Thinking. what exactly is this “satisfactory relation”—realized. asserts that they were liquidated. because he does not make any distinction between the two passages in which Heidegger speaks of the death camps and places the text on the “motorized food industry” (which he translates rather poorly as “mechanized food production”) in the lecture titled The Danger.

1940) tend in the same direction. but of extermination camps and gas chambers.47 Even more explicitly. with the publication of volume 48 of the Gesamtausgabe. His justification covers the twofold specificity of national Socialism with respect to 47 Es bedarf eines Menschentum. There is something else involved than a simple revenge for what Heidegger calls. he comments very specifically on the defeat of France as being that of a people no longer “measuring up to the height of the metaphysics that issued from its own history” (daß ein Volk eines Tages der Metaphysik. Nietzsche II. the conclusion of the course. in 1986. But that is not all. The stakes are not just military. that is to say.h. die aus seiner eigenen Geschichte entsprungen. Ga 48:333. the “Western powers” (die Westmächte).” which represents to him “a metaphysical act that. if we are attentive to the fact that Heidegger is both the author of the statements in his Bremen Lectures. in his comments about Jünger during the same time period. in contrast. not published until 1994. that lets itself be entirely dominated by the essence of technology precisely in order to steer and deploy individual technological processes and possibilities. Der Einzelnen verschwindet als Individuum (Heidegger.”49 Thus. das von Grund aus dem einzigartigen Grundwesen der neuzeitlichen Technik und ihrer metaphysischen Wahrheit gemäß ist. . and the French ardennes. and of the two justifications of national Socialism in its relation to technology. published in 1953 and 1976. . just when the armored tank divisions of the Third Reich were attacking Holland. nicht mehr gewachsen ist). the “satisfactory relation” to technology established under national Socialism corresponds to the motorization of the Wehrmacht and the unconditional technologization of war—these two phenomena being conceived. but restored a quarter of a century later. Briefe an seine Frau Elfride. um so gerade selbst die einzelnen technischen Vorgänge und Möglichkeiten zu lenken und zu nützen (Heidegger. 165–66/Nietzsche. 49 . we discover that he attributes to national Socialism a different “specificity” with respect to “technology. He speaks of an “unconditional commitment to the inner lawfulness of the unconditional mechanization of warfare” in which “the single person disappears as an individual. Belgium. in terms close to those of Jünger. For this we must look at what Heidegger wrote in may/June 1940. the victorious “new humanity” in the following terms: What is needed is a form of mankind that is from top to bottom equal to the unique fundamental essence of modern technology and its metaphysical truth. eine unbedingte Verschreibung an die innere Gesetzlichkeit der unbedingten Technisierung des Krieges. suppressed in 1961 because it was too compromising. the most horrifying remains to be shown. 167). 117). .126 journal of the history of philosophy 50:1 january 2012 he expressed himself during the victories of the Third Reich. now. exceeds in depth the suppression of ‘philosophy. celebrates the “total [meaning in this case radically fundamental] ‘motorization’ of the Wehrmacht. vom Wesen der Technik sich ganz beherrschen läßt. d. beyond the slightest doubt. after his death. 48 Heidegger. 50 Heidegger. and he exalts. In his course of summer semester 1940 titled Der europäische Nihilismus.” It is no longer a question of the motorization of the Wehrmacht. celebrated in the spring of 1940. Ga 90:221.’”48 and Heidegger’s remarks in a letter to Elfride of the same year (may 18.50 In reading the Bremen lectures. we become aware of the monstrousness of his position. 210/Letters to his Wife. as the crucible of a new humanity.

” and both reveal a direction esteemed “satisfactory. in this case. on the other hand. The search for truth requires an in-depth synthesis of thought. This course is generally considered to be a simple presentation of nietzsche’s philosophy. a n d e x t e r m i n at i o n i n h e i d e g g e r 127 technology: motorization of the Wehrmacht and gas chambers in the extermination camps as the final outcome of racial selection. or. But his discourse on extermination this time is explicitly linked to historico-ontological legitimation of what he calls “the principle of the institution of a racial selection” (der Prinzip der Einrichtung einer Rassenzüchtung). that “the presentation of nietzsche’s thought and his interpretation are worked together to the point of mutual interpenetration. 53 Heidgger. If Heidegger defends the relation established by national Socialism to technology. “Subjectivity and Race in Heidegger’s Writings. to a greatness. Ga 50:8–9. and Faye. and of decontextualizing them more or less completely. “Heideggers maske”. it is because both of these are considered to bear witness to an “internal truth. in the context of the nazi extermination in which Heidegger uses them. has become conscious of this monstrous position? It is because Heidegger’s commentators are in the habit of paraphrasing his various texts in isolation. both of which remain far too close to the surface of the texts.” How has it come about that almost no one. although in this last case things become more complex. historically. and a recontextualization of the writings.”52 It is not only philosophical terms that Heidegger uses as code words but also the names of philosophers and certain poets: Heraclitus. until recently. Heidegger’s apologists have tried to maintain that what he says about racial selection was actually a critique of it. Hölderlin. It takes at once an interior view. Ga 50:57–58. in this case. These pages emphasize the “mammoth proportion of the great style” (das Riesenhafte des großen Stils) and the “fullness that characterizes that simplicity” (die eigene Wesensfülle jenes Einfachen).53 and in the immediately ensuing pages 51 On the evolution of Heidegger’s way of speaking about subjectivity before and after 1945. I believe. nietzsche. at the end of his introduction to the lecture. see Kellerer. let us consider the course written for the winter semester of 1941/42. accompany the work of the philosopher. h i s t o r y. But they become even more so. . that I have sufficiently demonstrated. While the call to exterminate the enemy within is not in Heraclitus. the nietzsche quotes on “human equipment” or on “annihilating thought” that he enlists are already disturbing in themselves. But it suffices to be attentive to the entirely positive tone of the pages in which Heidegger exposes the “metaphysical necessity” of the “principle of the institution of a racial selection” to see that this is not the case. that Heidegger’s courses and lectures represent in every case the taking up of a position on the issues of the times (das Heutige). This is why history and philology must.b e i n g . but also and especially in my book. can be of much help here. titled Nietzsche’s Metaphysics. What then was the current event or issue to which the nietzsche lecture was a response? In it he once again sets forth the theme of extermination (Vernichtung) already defended in 1933/34. a synthesis. not only in the present paper. neither hermeneutics nor deconstruction. and take on a new meaning.51 It should be added that Heidegger took care to specify. deemed by him to be “metaphysically necessary” (metaphysisch notwendig) since being is conceived of as subjectivity.” 52 Heidgger.

which I have partially published in my book on Heidegger. Das Vernichten sichert gegen den Andrang aller Bedingungen des Niederganges (Heidegger. racist. as if to accompany the passage into the third millennium. zu Entschlüssen). which alone can enable us to resist Heidegger’s attempt to legitimate national Socialism through a deceptive use of the language of philosophy itself.54 Hence his justification of extermination. Thus it has come about that after the Bremen Lectures of 1949. . as it was in spring 1940. [Jargon der Eigentlichkeit] Heidgger. Today we can clearly see that Heidegger wished to use the vocabulary of philosophy and the names of certain philosophers and poets to spread and legitimate such teachings on a planetary scale. Theodor W.hermeneute. although the seller had authorized me to come and consult it. published in 1994. by personally programming not just the plan. and those titled Heraklit and Parmenides—would confirm and give further weight to these analyses.57 bibliography and abbreviations adorno. Why. and 2001. an appeal for the opening up of the Heidegger archives. . Ga 50:59–60. the order of publication of the volumes of the 56 Complementary research is therefore indispensable. 57 I would like to thank michael B. is it not possible to consult the long letter of 1943 from Baumler to Heidegger—even though Heidegger writes in a letter to Elfride that he has made several copies of it—or his response to Baumler? What is it. which “ensures against the surge of all that brings decadence about. Today it is very clear that Heidegger’s national Socialism was not for him something of the past. The attentive reading of the courses of the following years leads me to think that an in-depth study of the courses of the years 1942–44—particularly the one concerning Hölderlin’s hymn Der Ister. sifting human beings to the utmost consequences (die Menschen aussiebt .”55 It is no longer. we are already in a position to know a great deal. Smith for his assistance in translating this article. 1964. but the choice of the “final solution” and the extermination of the Jews. augmented by the two seminars that for a long time remained unpublished. Frankfurt am main: Suhrkamp. This is why I launched in 2006.56 But with what has been published in the Gesamtausgabe. but also. then. in 2006. Thus it has now become possible for us to fully appreciate the necessity of the philosopher’s labor for truth. the military victory of the Third Reich over France that is now being historically and ontologically legitimated. in its general delineation. that the responsible parties have to hide? Similarly. when the original manuscript of the course of summer semester 1934 was put up for sale in Berlin by Stargart. and expressive of a determination to foster extermination appeared in 1998. for example. I have only been able to allude to a few short passages from this course on nietzsche. 2000. It was a reality that he wanted to project into the future. See http://archives-heidegger. yet now applied no longer to military victory but to radical extermination—of forging an absolutely new humanity that would dominate the earth and carry out racial selection. the texts that are the most explicitly Hitlerian. But the researchers need free access to all the archives. Ga 50:70). Jargon der Eigentlichkeit: Zur deutschen Ideologie. Hermann Heidegger’s lawyers intervened to forbid all viewing of the document. which was being carried out on the Eastern Front by 1941.128 journal of the history of philosophy 50:1 january 2012 he speaks—in terms that recall his theses in the course of spring 1940. if we concentrate on sounding the depths of the “path” traced out by this assemblage. 54 55 . in the journal Le Monde.

2010. 3 and 4. 79. Introduction to Metaphysics. Translated by Gregory Fried and Richard Polt. new york: Continuum. Zu Ernst Jünger. 2008. Edited by Hartmut Tietjen. “Spiegel Gespräch. Robert. Translated by michael B. Wilhelm. [Die Armut] ———.metamorphose eines Textes. Freiburg: Verlag Karl alber. martin. Frankfurt am main: Klostermann. [Ga 90] Heidegger. edited by alfred Denker and Holger Zaborowski. La pauvreté (Die Armut). [Heidegger: The Introduction of Nazism into Philosophy] ———. 2. h i s t o r y. Edited by Peter Trawny. Briefwechsel 1932–1975: Martin Heidegger Briefausgabe. Strasbourg: Presses universitaires de Strasbourg. Heidegger. 1927. CT: yale university Press. Wartenburg. Gesamtausgabe.” Zeitschrift für Ideengeschichte. Jünger. Vol. Einleitung in die Philosophie—Denken und Dichten. 2011.7265). new york: HarperCollins. [“Über Wesen und Begriff”] ———. 2005. Tübingen: max niemeyer. Die Grundfrage der Philosophie. [Ga 38] ———. 2000. Bloomington: Indiana university Press. 2004. 1896. Edited by Sven Olaf Berggötz. and Paul yorck v. [BT] ———. Edited by Petra Jaeger. 1923. 2010. Gesamtausgabe. Dokumente. Gesamtausgabe. Frankfurt am main: Klostermann. 50. The Jargon of Authenticity. CT: yale university Press. Il: northwestern university Press. 2. Frankfurt am main: Klostermann. Frankfurt am main: Klostermann. 2009. Evanston. 1991. Emmanuel.” In Antwort: Martin Heidegger im Gespräch. Edited by Petra Jaeger. Tübingen: max niemeyer. [Ga 50] ———. Frankfurt am main: Klostermann. [“Race and Earth in Heidegger’s Thinking”] Braig. Heft V/2 (2011): 109–20. “Über Wesen und Begriff von natur.” Philosophy Today 55 (2011): 268–81. [Briefwechsel] Faye. Edited by Günther neske and Emil Kettering. Freiburg im Breisgau: Herder’sche Verlagsbuchhandlung. Being and Time.” In Heidegger und der Nationalsozialismus. Vol. Vols. Freiburg: Verlag Karl alber. “Heideggers maske. ——— . Nietzsche: Der Europäische Nihilismus. ———. “Race and Earth in Heidegger’s Thinking during the late 1930s.” The Southern Journal of Philosophy 48 (2010): 49–66. Stuttgart: Klett-Cotta. Vol. [Nietzsche] ———. Sidonie. laurence Paul. Kellerer. [Briefwechsel] Hemming. Vol. Schulenburg. Die Grundzüge der Philosophie: Abriß der Ontologie: Vom Sein. 1986. Logik als die Frage nach dem Wesen der Sprache. Frankfurt am main: Klostermann. and Kurt Bauch. Foreword by Tom Rockmore. Nietzsches Metaphysik. 1961.” Politische Publizistik.1. Edited by Petra Jaeger. new Haven.” In The Movement of Nihilism: Heidegger’s Thinking After Nietzsche. 90. 16. Heidegger: The Introduction of Nazism into Philosophy in Light of the Unpublished Seminars of 1933–1935. Edited by Günther Seubold. 36/37. 2004. Pfullingen: Günther neske. 1994. [EIM] ———. [SZ] ———. Nietzsche. Being and Truth. Nietzsche. Translated by Rupert Glasgow. Sein und Zeit. and Bogdan Costea.d. [Nietzsche II] ———. 1877–1897. [Vom Sein] Dilthey. Translated by Joan Staumbach. 48. Reden und andere Zeugnisse eines Lebensweges. Edited by Hermann Heidegger. [Ga 48] ———. “Subjectivity and Race in Heidegger’s Writings. 1988. 2000. [Ga 79] ———. Vol. Letters to his Wife: 1915–1970. Ernst. 38. 2001. 1. new Haven.b e i n g . Über Wesen und Begriff von Natur. Kostas amiridis. ———. 1–6. [Ga 16] ———. 2009. “Über nationalismus und Judenfrage. Wartenburg. martin. [Über Wesen und Begriff] ———. 1953. 1998. 2010. Carl. Briefwechsel zwischen Wilhelm Dilthey und dem Grafen Paul Yorck v. 2. “Introduction. 2001. Geschichte and Staat: Wintersemester 1933–1934. Translated by Knut Tarnowski and Frederic Will. Bernasconi. Pfullingen: Günther neske. ———. Heidegger-Jahrbuch 4. Vol. “Mein liebes Seelchen!”: Briefe Martin Heideggers an seine Frau Elfride 1915–1970. ma: Polity Press. Einführung in die Metaphysik. Translated by David Farrel Krell. 1973. Deutschen litteraturarchiv (Dla 75. Translated by Gregory Fried and Richard Polt. Gesamtausgabe. Gesamtausgabe. 53–88. Gesamtausgabe. Geschichte and Staat: Übung aus dem Wintersemester 1933/34. Sein und Wahrheit: 1. Bremer und Freiburger Vorträge. Smith. II. 587–92. edited by laurence Paul Hemming. Frankfurt am main: Klostermann. Gesamtausgabe. albany: Suny Press. a n d e x t e r m i n at i o n i n h e i d e g g e r 129 ——— . Selected and annotated by Gertrud Heidegger. Edited by Sigrist v. [Briefe an seine Frau Elfride] ———. Vom Wesen der Wahrheit. Vol. ‘Die Zeit des Weltbildes’ . Vol. niemeyer. malden. [“Heideggers maske”] . Halle: m. 1990. Vol. munich: Deutsche Verlags-anstalt. [Ga 36/37] ———.

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