Martin Heidegger Society Chair Steps Down After Reading the Black Notebooks

Last year, Heidegger’s “Black Notebooks” were released in Germany and caused a stir both in Germany and abroad after passages containing strong anti-Semitic language came to light. Now, Gunter Figal, the chair of the Martin Heidegger Society has stepped down from his role after being “shocked” by the passages in the Black Notebooks.

Figal is the philosophy chair at the University of Freiburg and had been the chair of the Heidegger society since 2003.

The Black Notebooks have yet to be released in English, but various translated passages seem pretty damning.

The Daily Nous offered this translation of Figal’s statement:

“As chairman of a society, which is named after a person, one is in certain way a representative of that person. After reading the Schwarze Hefte, especially the antisemitic passages, I do not wish to be such a representative any longer. These statements have not only shocked me, but have turned me around to such an extent that it has become difficult to be a co-representative of this.”

Heidegger had laid out the publishing schedule for his posthumous works, dictating that the Black Notebooks not be released until long after he was gone. Still, thousands of pages of documents in Heidegger’s archives are still closely guarded by his heirs, who refuse to release them.

Read the original German article here.

[H/T The Daily Nous]

  • prographo

    No doubt you want to know what the anti-semitic passages were?

    This one stood out;

    Eine Frage, die für unsere Zeit; Warum Juden haben Doppelverglasung ? Ist es nicht so, dass die Kinder können den Klang der Eiscreme Verkäufer nicht gehört?

    • David

      Well, that’s some A+ German right there, buddy.

    • glennwire

      Which is the incredibly frustrating about reading virtually all of the articles on this issue.

      I would like to know what Heidegger’s actual position was. In his own terms.

      Then and only then can we come to some sort of judgement and assessment.

      This is the best article I have found in this regard. Particularly frustrating because it appears on a website with highly disagreeable political views.

      But which nonetheless manages to actually explicate Heidegger’s position.

    • bobbielou


      • metromiami

        “The question of our time is, why do Jews
        always live in places with double glazed (thick, soundproof) windows? Isn’t it so their kids don’t hear the sound of the ice cream man?”

        • glennwire

          Forgive me for being obtuse, but I really have no idea at all what “the sound of the ice cream man” is intended to be a symbol for.

          Can anyone help?

          • Henry Butterfield

            Nope. But if that’s an example of antisemitism in the Blackbooks, then it must be significant to anyone looking to trash Heidegger. Many are.

  • And this is a surprise how exactly? Hitler was after all a national *socialist*. Jeez.

    • glennwire

      You’re missing the point.

      It’s the exact *nature* of Heidegger’s anti-semitism.

      Not all form of Antisemitism are the same.

      • And of course that is the fallback position of the apologists.

        I wonder what the fallback would look like If tomorrow we found out he moonlighted at Bergen-Belsen.

        His antisemitism and his socialism and his fascism are woven pretty tightly. They can be teased apart only so far.

        That doesn’t mean Marty isn’t a fine subject for study. After all, Jewish classical musicians don’t have a problem performing Wagner, right?

        • glennwire

          Again, you’re missing the point.

          At least so far as I’m concerned.

          1/Facile condemnations of “x, y z” are to be rejected. As well as blanket, throw in everything plus the kitchen sink remarks like the one you gave above.

          Your “what if we discovered…” may give you the warm inner glow of moral self righteousness. However, it remains predicated on you indulging in complete fantasy.

          2/I’m not a Heideggerian. Whatever that may mean.

          Much less an “apologist”. Another favourite word of those who love to engage in facile condemnations and the inner glow of self righteousness.

          3/I simply don’t know the exact nature of what Heidegger’s “anti-semitism”. These new notebooks would seem to reveal new aspects of his positions on this issue.

          4/Let alone the exact nature of how this relates to other aspects of his thought.

          5/That’s the source of the frustration which I expressed below.

          I want to engage in – and abide by – basic, rudimentary standards of scholarship and intellectual inquiry and thought.

          In other words, I want to find out about the obvious question FIRST.

          Quite simply, what is the nature of Heidegger’s writings on Judaism and the Jews?

          And THEN make a judgement.

          • PhysicsWon

            Hmmm…..”sub-zero knowledge and experience of Socialism”….
            Those would be 98% supporters of Socialism. The other 2% are regime stooges who benefit from running socialists “utopias” like Venezuela and Cuba. Most people who have experience with Socialism are anti-Socialists, like so many close friends from the former USSR and former East Block. By the way, what is a feature of mature Socialism? No toilet paper.

          • glennwire

            The Nordic Countries and Germany outperform the USA on ALL the indexes of Human Happiness and Development.

            The USA has 20% child poverty.


            The USA has one of worst periods of wage stagnation in modern labor history.



            People like you are self-enslaved suckers who advocate socialism for the Banks and poverty and deprivation for ordinary people.

            EVERY nation in the OECD has had the completely commonsensical public good Universal Health Care as totally normal for generations. The American Ill Health System is the most expensive, least efficient system with the worst results of any advanced nation.

            The land of the fees and the home of the slaves love guns and equate the NRA ultra-nationalist military cult of death with “liberty” (from logic and life). Americans love guns and violence, hate health.

            Love death, hate Life.

            That’s the very definition of evil.

          • glennwire

            “Under Madisonian logic, it is important for power to be handed to
            “the more capable of men,” in order “to protect the minority of the
            opulent against the majority.” The class warfare derived from this
            manner of thinking has been heavily ingrained into the American system,
            for Madison’s beliefs have become the “guiding principle of the
            democratic system from its origins until today.” He was driven to create
            a system that would fragment society, protect the elites from
            “mischief,” and keep at bay those who “labor under all hardships of life
            and secretly sign for a more equal distribution of its benefits”

            “Madisonian scholars” agree that to James Madison and the Founding
            Fathers “the Constitution” was an “intrinsically…aristocratic document
            designed to check the democratic tendencies of the period, delivering to
            a ‘better sort’ of people and excluding those who were not rich, well
            born, or prominent from exercising political power.” Since the affluent
            were the only authority to “discern the interest of the country,”
            Madison’s framework provided the necessary backdrop for capitalism’s
            rise and the positioning of corporate leaders into their prominent
            positions in society.”


          • glennwire

            In any oligarchy – including the present day kleptocratic plutocratic lobbycracy – there are the self-serving anti-democratic power elite who benefit by gaming the system in order to suck the blood from their society – er, sorry “economy”, I forgot that for Thatcherite drones like you “there is no such thing as society” – and polity.

            In the modern democratic period, these will opposed by democratic forces. Notwithstanding the weakness of American democratic movements, these forces exist even in the modern USA.

            Finally, there are sock-puppet suckers and stooges like you without which no power elite can survive, as much as they despise Tea Party Ayn Randroids like you and laugh at you on the other sides of their faces.

          • glennwire

            No, it’s YOU, you pig-ignorant dickhead.

            “Cuba is bad”

            WOW, your erudition is a truly intergalactic!!

        • glennwire

          This post of yours is utterly deranged and haywire.

  • AB
  • jem

    Cette réaction ne m’étonne pas, la philosophie de Heidegger chute de son piédestal.