Bettina Stangneth

Germany, 1966

Philosopher Bettina Stangneth received her doctorate for her work on Immanuel Kant’s ‘religion’ and his concept of ‘radical evil’. For her work on the anti-Semitic ideas of Immanuel Kant, a second project after her doctorate, she was awarded with the first prize by the Philosophisch-Politische Akademie of Cologne. Thereafter, she started her work on the National Socialists’ philosophy and undertook the daunting task of searching for Eichmann documents, including his postwar writings and hours of tape-recorded discussions with fellow Nazi exiles in Argentina. This resulted in the ground-breaking work Eichmann before Jerusalem (2011), in which she portrays Eichmann as a convinced and thoughtful Nazi, hence challenging Hannah Arendt’s image of the passionless bureaucrat while subtly demonstrating that National Socialists’ crimes in particular cannot be described in terms of the ‘banality of evil’ and ‘thoughtlessness’.