Hannah Arendt Prize

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The Hannah Arendt Prize for Political Thought (German: Hannah-Arendt-Preis für politisches Denken) is a prize awarded to individuals representing the tradition of political theorist Hannah Arendt, especially in regard to totalitarianism.[1] It was instituted by the German Heinrich Böll Foundation (affiliated with the Alliance 90/The Greens) and the government of Bremen in 1994,[2] and is awarded by an international jury.[3] The prize money is €10,000.[4][5]


Prize recipients
Year Person Country Ref.
1995 Ágnes Heller Hungary
1996 François Furet France
1997 Freimut Duve Germany
Joachim Gauck Germany
1998 Antje Vollmer Germany
Claude Lefort France
1999 Massimo Cacciari Italy
2000 Yelena Bonner Russia
2001 Ernst Vollrath [bg; de] Germany
Daniel Cohn-Bendit France, Germany
2002 Gianni Vattimo Italy
2003 Michael Ignatieff Canada
2004 Ernst-Wolfgang Böckenförde Germany
2005 Vaira Vīķe-Freiberga Latvia
2006 Julia Kristeva Bulgaria, France
2007 Tony Judt United Kingdom
2008 Victor Zaslavsky Russia
2009 Kurt Flasch Germany
2010 François Jullien France
2011 Navid Kermani Germany, Iran
2012 Yfaat Weiss [bg; de; he] Israel
2013 Timothy Snyder United States [6]
2014 Nadya Tolokonnikova Russia [7]
Maria Alyokhina Russia
Yurii Andrukhovych Ukraine
2016 Christian Teichmann Germany
2017 Étienne Balibar France [5]
2018 Ann Pettifor South Africa, United Kingdom [8]
2019 Roger Berkowitz United States [4][9]
Jerome Kohn United States [9]
2021 Jill Lepore United States
2022 Serhiy Zhadan Ukraine [10]
2023 Masha Gessen Russia, United States [11][12]


In 2023, the German-Israeli Society Bremen chapter chair Hermann Kuhn wrote an open letter calling for a suspension of Masha Gessen's prize out of objection to their essay "In the Shadow of the Holocaust" in The New Yorker. Gessen compared the Blockade of the Gaza Strip to Jewish ghettos established by Nazi Germany, stating “the ghetto is being liquidated” in the context of the 2023 Israeli invasion of the Gaza Strip The Heinrich Böll Foundation initially announced it would not sponsor the award, then later announced that the award would be presented in a smaller ceremony.[13][14]

In response to criticisms, Gessen said "Hannah Arendt wouldn’t have gotten the Hannah Arendt prize if you applied those kinds of criteria to it," and referenced Arendt's frequent comparisons of Israeli policies and ideologies to Nazi Germany. In The New Yorker essay they quoted Arendt's 1948 letter that compared Menachem Begin's Herut party to the Nazis.[13]


  1. ^ "Hannah Arendt". dw.de. Deutsche Welle. 11 December 2017. Archived from the original on 8 July 2021. Retrieved 22 April 2020.
  2. ^ "Hannah Arendt-Preis für politisches Denken". kulturpreise.de. 2018. Retrieved 22 April 2020.
  3. ^ "Hannah Arendt Award For Political Thought". Heinrich Boell Stiftung The Green Political Foundation. Heinrich Boell Foundation. Archived from the original on 18 May 2021. Retrieved 10 November 2016.
  4. ^ a b Henkenberens, Carolin (6 December 2019). "Arendt-Preis verliehen". Weser Kurier (in German). Bremen. Archived from the original on 27 February 2021. Retrieved 22 April 2020.
  5. ^ a b "Hannah-Arendt-Preis für politisches Denken". Die Tagespost (in German). Würzburg. dpa. 1 December 2017. Retrieved 19 April 2020.
  6. ^ "Timothy Snyder has been awarded the 2013 Hannah Arendt Prize". history.yale.edu. 27 August 2013. Archived from the original on 15 May 2021. Retrieved 19 August 2021.
  7. ^ "Pussy Riot für politische Aktionen ausgezeichnet". Stuttgarter Zeitung (in German). Stuttgart. dpa. 24 July 2014. Archived from the original on 29 January 2019. Retrieved 22 April 2020.
  8. ^ "Ökonomin Ann Pettifor erhält Hannah-Arendt-Preis 2018". Süddeutsche Zeitung (in German). Munich. dpa. 19 July 2018. Retrieved 22 April 2020.
  9. ^ a b "Hannah Arendt Award for Political Thought". Bard College. Archived from the original on 12 December 2023. Retrieved 20 December 2023.
  10. ^ "Serhiy Zhadan receives Hannah Arendt Prize for Political Thought 2022". Suhrkamp. 14 July 2022. Archived from the original on 18 July 2022. Retrieved 20 December 2023.
  11. ^ "Masha Gessen erhält den Hannah-Arendt-Preis für politisches Denken 2023". Suhrkamp Verlag (in German). 16 June 2021. Retrieved 3 August 2023.
  12. ^ Schaub, Michael (18 December 2023). "Masha Gessen Receives Prize Despite Controversy". Kirkus Reviews. Archived from the original on 19 December 2023. Retrieved 20 December 2023.
  13. ^ a b Lapin, Andrew (15 December 2023). "Masha Gessen will receive Hannah Arendt Prize after all, following controversy over Gaza essay". Jewish Telegraphic Agency. Archived from the original on 17 December 2023. Retrieved 18 December 2023.
  14. ^ "Author receives German prize in scaled-down format after comparing Gaza to Nazi-era ghettos". AP News. 16 December 2023. Archived from the original on 18 December 2023. Retrieved 18 December 2023.

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