For Work / Against Work
Debates on the centrality of work

Heidegger and Nazism

by Farías, Víctor (1989)


In part, the importance o f the book depends on the importance attributed to Heidegger, who, as this century draws to a close, looms ever larger as one o f the principal philosophers o f our age— perhaps, as some argue, the author o f the most important philosophical work since Hegel’s Phenomenology. There is no question that Heidegger is a most significant thinker, although the nature o f his contribution has been called into serious question since the end o f World War II because o f his link to Nazism. Heidegger stands before us as a singular case, philosophically sui generis, the source o f one o f the most influential cur­rents o f philosophical thought in our century, the only major thinker to opt for Nazism, the main example o f absolute evil in our time— possibly o f any time. The combination is without any known historical precedent.

Key Passage

Certainly  more  original,  even  though  always  within  the  radical  popu­list  option,  is  the  initiative  Heidegger  took  to  connect  student  work  and the  program  for  social  rehabilitation  begun  by  Mayor  Kerber,  which  cre­ated  a  “ living  bridge”  between  the  university  and  the  workers  that  had no  equal  among  the  initiatives  o f any  o f the  other  rectors  o f the  time.  In fact,  work  service  was  not  new  with  the  Nazis,  but  was  rather  an  old  idea begun  in  many  universities  involving  the  youth  movement (Jugendbewe­gung).  This  service  had  now  been  taken  over  by  the  state  and  offered various  options.  However,  to  build  a  “ living  bridge”  under  the  auspices o f the  university  and  in  concert  with  the  revolutionary  “base”  was  a  true innovation.  In  addition,  it  not  only  intended  students  to  leave  the  class­rooms  but  also  workers  to  come  into  the  university  itself  for  courses  of indoctrination. (p.125)


Heidegger, Student, Academic Work, Nazi, National Socialism


On Heidegger

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