American Treasures of the Library of Congress: Memory, Exhibit Object Focus

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Hannah Arendt

Affidavit of Identity in Lieu of a Passport
Hannah Arendt (1906-1975)
"Affidavit of Identity in Lieu of a Passport"
Document with photograph, 1949
Page 2
Manuscript Division
Gift and bequest of
Hannah Arendt,1965-2000 (234.1a)

Introduction to the third edition of Origins of Totalitarianism
Introduction to the third edition of
Origins of Totalitarianism

Typescript with author's alterations
Manuscript Division
Gift and bequest of
Hannah Arendt,1965-2000 (234.1c)

Author, educator, and political philosopher Hannah Arendt was born into a German Jewish family in Königsberg, now Russian "Kaliningrad." After being arrested in 1933, Arendt fled her homeland, moving from Prague to Geneva then to Paris, and finally to the United States in 1941. In 1946, she wrote that she understood that "the infinitely complex red-tape existence of stateless persons" inhibits freedom of movement. This denial of the right of citizenship led Arendt on a exploration of the origins of totalitarianism that would dominate her intellectual life.

In 1949 Arendt used this well-worn affidavit of identity "in lieu of a passport, which I, a stateless person, cannot obtain at present." Also seen here is Arendt's draft of the introduction to the third edition of Origins Of Totalitarianism, her first major book.

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