Ágnes Heller (born 12 May 1929)
is a Hungarian philosopher.
Early Life and Political Development
Ágnes Heller was raised in a middle-class Jewish family. During World War II her father used his legal training and knowledge ofGerman to help people get together the necessary paperwork to emigrate from Nazi Europe. In 1944, Heller’s father was deported to the Auschwitz concentration camp where he died before the war ended. Heller and her mother managed to avoid deportation.
With regard to the influence of the Holocaust on her work, Heller said:I was always interested in the question: How could this possibly happen? How can I understand this? And this experience of the holocaust was joined with my experience in the totalitarian regime. This brought up very similar questions in my soul-search and world investigation: how could this happen? How could people do things like this? So I had to find out what morality is all about, what is the nature of good and evil, what can I do about crime, what can I figure out about the sources of morality and evil? That was the first inquiry. The other inquiry was a social question: what kind of world can produce this? What kind of world allows such things to happen? What is modernity all about? Can we expect redemption?