The twentieth century simply cannot be understood without Hannah Arendt, wrote the Israeli author Amos Elon. Two concepts significantly influenced by Arendt’s thought, totalitarianism and the banality of evil, determine how we view the twentieth century down to the present day. One reason for this ongoing influence is that Arendt’s insights were rarely left unchallenged.
The planned exhibition aims to trace Arendt’s observations on contemporary history and introduce to the public a life and work that mirrors the history of the twentieth century: totalitarianism, the situation of refugees, the Adenauer era, racial segregation in the U.S., the Eichmann trial in Jerusalem or the student movement.
Arendt frequently expressed her views on current events as a public intellectual, often sparking fierce controversy. As the exhibition will show this diagnostic appraisal makes the question of the power of judgement particularly urgent today against the backdrop of pluralization, the accelerated change in values and growing populism.