Martin Heidegger (German, 1889 – 1976) was one of the most influential Western philosophers of the 20th century. His notion of Dasein (there-being), his essay “The Origin of the Work of Art” of 1936, and many other contributions, gave his philosophy relevance to modern thought. He was also a card carrying member of the Nazi party from the time of his election as Rector of the University at Freiburg in 1933 until January of 1945. His reasons for remaining a member of the party in spite of defying it remain obscure. And while there is arguably no fascist ideology in his philosophy, the recent publication of his Black Notebooks (first English publication 2016) clearly demonstrate anti-semitic thought. His immense contribution to philosophy does not acquit him.
This suite of giclée prints with gold leaf is composed of images of stressed typography from a prayer book that survived arson at the Anshei Minsk synagogue in Toronto in 2002. The text of Heidegger’s name is rearranged from a transliteration of Kaddish (the prayer for the dead) into English. The Hebrew in the background shows sabbath morning prayers, specifically for the return of the Torah scrolls to the holy ark at the front of the sanctuary.