In the Corriere Della Sera
, Donatella Di Cesare discusses
GA 97, the black notebooks from 1942 to 1948.
Rigorous and coherent, Heidegger does nothing but draw the conclusion from all what he said earlier. The Jews are the agents of modernity; they've only spread evil. They have disfigured the "spirit" of the West, chipping away from the inside. Accomplices of metaphysics, the have everywhere accelerated technicity. The accusation could not be more serious.
Only Germany, thanks to the iron cohesion of his people, could have curbed the devastating effects of technicity. That's why the planetary conflict was above all the war of the Germans against the Jews. If the latter were annihilated in the camps, it is through that device, whose gears they have favored and promoted everywhere, while plotting world domination. The link between technicity and the Holocaust must not be avoided. And it is precisely as Heidegger has alluded to us elsewhere. For what is Auschwitz if not the industrialization of death, the "manufacture of corpses"?
In line with his metaphysical anti-Semitism, Heidegger thus sees in the extermination a "self-annihilation." The Judenschaft , the "community of the Jews" - he writes in 1942 - "is, in the era of the Christian West, that of metaphysics, the beginning of destruction." A little further on he adds: "Only when he who is essentially "Jewish", in a metaphysical sense, fights against him who is Jewish, do we reach the summit of self-annihilation in history."
The Shoah would then have a decisive role in the history of Being because it would coincide with the "supreme fulfillment of technicity" that, after having worn down everything, consumes itself. In this sense, the extermination of the Jews would represent the apocalyptic moment in which what destroys ends up destroying itself. The culmination of "self-annihilation in history," the Shoah thus makes possible the "purification of Being."
But what if this summit is reached? What if world Jewry self-annihilates in Auschwitz? In the end there should be no winners and losers - those are still metaphysical categories. Rather, the Jew is the end that simply must end; only then can emerge the "other beginning" and the new European dawn glimpsed.
When Heidegger is writing, in 1942, Hitler's death factories work at a fast pace. Yet after the war, "the summit of self-annihilation" does not appear to have been reached. The agents of the machinations - despite the millions of deaths - may even appear victorious. That would be an huge danger for the Germans, because it would put them into their "death gear."
After 1945 Heidegger observes, the "foreign elements" continue to disfigure "our defrauded essence." And he questions himself about the Germans, on the "ease with which they allow themselves to be seduced by foreigners," on their "political incapacity", the "radicalism with which they fulfill even the most egregious errors."
Translation errors are all mine.