Essays

Martin Heidegger on the “Jewish Contamination of German Spiritual Life”

At this National-Socialist gathering Heidegger sits at the table toward the right, marked with an x.

by Hadding Scott

NOBODY CAN ARGUE that the great Martin Heidegger was acting under any pressure or stating any view other than his own in this confidential letter that preceded the rise of the NSDAP, and gives an indication of why some anti-Jewish measures of the NSDAP were necessary.

LETTER TO VICTOR SCHWOERER (1929)

Freiburg i. Br., 2 October 1929

Most esteemed Mr. Privy Councillor,

In the coming days, Dr. Baumgarten’s application for a fellowship will be sent to the Emergency Association (of German Science). I should like to add to the official letter of recommendation my personal request to you, esteemed Mr. Privy Councillor, to give this application your undivided attention. In what follows, I want to make more explicit what I could only indirectly hint at in my recommendation. Nothing less is at stake than our undeferrable facing of the fact that we are confronted by a crucial choice: either to infuse, again, our German spiritual life with genuine indigenous forces and educators, or to leave it at the mercy, once and for all, of the growing Jewish contamination, both in a larger and a narrower sense. We can only regain our own path, if we prove capable of helping fresh forces to prosper, without the usual baiting and fruitless controversies.

With this great goal in mind, I would be particularly obliged, if Mr. Baumgarten whom I have chosen as my “assistant,” could receive the fellowship support requested.

We are currently enjoying the most beautiful fall days in our new home, and I take great pleasure, every day, in seeing my work deeply rooted in our native soil.

In sincere appreciation, I am, most esteemed Mr. Privy Councillor, devotedly yours,

Martin Heidegger

Translated by Manfred Stassen

* * *

Source: National-Socialist Worldview

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