Robert A. DeGray, Ph. D. Edmund Husserl a very Short Introduction to his Phenomenology 1859-1938


§ 33. HUSSERL’S “CONVERSION” TO CHRISTIANITY



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§ 33. HUSSERL’S “CONVERSION” TO CHRISTIANITY
Did Husserl believe in God or not as a philosopher and as a phenomenologist?

This is a very simple and reasonable question to ask ourselves. Any answer on this subject-matter deserves a straightforward and honest reply to the reader who may be wondering at this point about what type of faith or religious conviction

Husserl actually held as a philosopher concerning the idea of God in his phenomenology? In light of these facts, I wish to allow Husserl to “speak for

himself” on this point regarding the specific relationship between Christian theology and philosophy.

Says Husserl,
‘ “SEE MY NEW TESTAMENT?” he said. More than once to favorite students. “It is always on my desk, but I never open it. I know once I open it and read it, I

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shall have to give up philosophy”. 25 Husserl made is admission to students during his later so-called “Jewish retirement” period of development (1929-1938).



Moreover, as far as Husserl’s conversion from Judaism to Christianity is concerned, it should be pointed out that his personal faith in Jesus Christ (as a Jew) to the body of Christ (in the form of the Christian church) came at around seventeen years of age when Husserl was still a young man during his first semester of study at the University of Leipzig.

This is to say, upon the advice of Thomas Masaryk, a personal friend, at the University of Leipzig, (and the former first president of Czechoslovakia), Husserl went through a long period of spiritual meditation and self-examination before converting from “Judaism to Christianity”; that is, once his inner convictions had ripened into faith he simply approached the minister of his church, with his “New Testament” in hand, and said:


On the basis of this book, I should like to be baptized” 26

Thus, in light of his faith, Husserl wished no further interpretation of the Christian scriptures. No further explanations of his faith. No further interpretation of

theology or philosophy. But solely on the basis of his own “inner spiritual” convictions did he ask to be allowed to be received into the Christian church as a “Jewish convert” to Christianity through his personal and existential faith in Jesus Christ.

In this fashion was Husserl baptized into the Christian church (on the basis of his “faith” and “spiritual convictions”) and he remained firmly anchored in the Christian faith right up until the end of his life, when he died, in Freiburg, Germany,

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on April, 27th, 1938. These are the “outward” circumstances of Husserl’s “conversion” to Christianity as a Jewish convert. The “inner” side of this above



conversion can be found running throughout all of Husserl’s writings (as the soul’s journey back to God) in the form of a phenomenology “Spirit” which overlap with the spiritual questions of theology.
§ 34. THE DEATH OF EDMUND HUSSERL
Moreover, since Husserl held a deep faith in God he certainly had no fear of death and was prepared to die for the “spiritual convictions” which he believed in as a member of the body of Christ and His invisible church (without four walls) to which he was a spiritual member. Nevertheless, on April 27th, 1938, Husserl fell ill with pluersey and died.

“On Holy Thursday, 1938, feeling death approaching, he asked, his nurse: “Can one really die well?” ‘Yes, in perfect peace,’ she said. ‘But how’? asked Husserl, ‘Through the grace of our Savior, Jesus Christ,’ said the nurse, and read him the psalm: ‘The Lord is my shepherd. ‘ ” 27

“When she came to the words: ‘Though I should walk in the valley of the shadow of death, I fear no evil, for Thou art with me,’ Husserl interrupted her: ‘Yes, that is what I mean! I want Him to be with me. ‘ ” 28

Again, “when he awoke the next morning, his wife greeted him: ‘Today is Good Friday.’ ‘What a wonderful day, Good Friday! he said. ‘Yes, Christ has forgiven us everything.‘ 29


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“For days Husserl lay in a light slumber, silent even during his waking hours. But on April 27th, 1938, he suddenly turned to his nurse: and said, ‘I HAVE SEEN SOMETHING WONDERFUL’. ‘Write it down quickly!’ 30



“When the nurse returned with the notebook, Husserl was dead.” This is the way Husserl’s life ended following “Good Friday”, on April 27th, 1938. 31
35. THE RESCUE OF HUSSERL’S MANUSCRIPTS FROM NAZI-GERMANY
What happened to Edmund Husserl’s writings after his death? Were they safe? How did Husserl’s “unpublished manuscripts” surrounding his idea of a pure phenomenology and phenomenological philosophy end up “surviving” the Nazi purges, the Nazi confiscations, and the Nazi seizures of all Jewish property by Adolf Hitler’s Nazi regime? That is to say, at a time when the Nazi persecution of the Jewish people was occurring on a daily basis inside Nazi-Germany by 1938. Was Edmund Husserl’s Nachlass in danger of being completely destroyed by Hitler’s Nazi regime because he and his wife were both Jews? And if so, how did Malvine Husserl (the widow of Edmund Husserl) attempt to deal with this “crisis” and political situation inside Nazi-Germany at the time? That is to say, concerning the danger of the possible seizure or confiscation of her late husband’s writings by Adolf Hitler’s Nazi regime after Husserl died on April 27th, 1938, in Freiburg?

In attempting to answer some of these above questions I wish to briefly turn to the story of the rescue and salvage of Edmund Husserl’s unpublished manuscripts by Father Hermann Leo Van Breda in Nazi-Germany at the time when Adolf Hitler’s political machinery or Nazi regime were on the verge of confiscating and completely destroying all of Husserl’s unpublished works if his Nachlass was not immediately

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moved outside of Nazi-Germany to a “safer location” beyond the German borders for safe keeping. Thus the story of the salvage and rescue of Husserl’s Nachlass, begins with the very first visit by Father Hermann Leo Van Breda to Mrs. Husserl in Freiburg, Germany on August 29th, 1938.


Says Father Van Breda:
During my first visit with Mrs. Husserl, on August 29th, 1938, I was first able to grasp the

the astonishing quantity of philosophical documents that Husserl had left to the world. Eugene Fink, his loyal and knowledgeable assistant during his last years, was also in attendance. Already at that moment, he stressed the capital importance of Husserl’s posthumous work. Deeply stirred, I let my gaze scan the impressive row of folders, comprising some 40,000 pages of stenographic material that has been handwritten by Husserl, as well as around 10,000 pages of typed or hand written transcriptions. The transcription work has been done by Husserl’s successive assistants, namely, Edith Stein, Ludwig Landgrebe, and Eugene Fink….

Mrs. Husserl and Fink then showed me the extensive philosophical library that Husserl had collected between 1880 and 1938. It consisted of over two-thousand-seven-hundred volumes, including a remarkable collection of two-thousand offprints. 32
However, prior to coming to visit with Mrs. Husserl, Fr. Van Breda had written to her earlier in advance about his “Leuven proposal” surrounding the rescue and salvage of Husserl’s Nachlass from Nazi-Germany which he was prepared to discuss with Mrs. Husserl and Eugene Fink during their first visit together.
Throughout this first guided tour of this significant bulk of documents, I was mentally preparing myself for the discussion of Leuven’s edition proposal. I was in fact hoping to close my first meeting with Mrs. Husserl with a discussion of this proposal. However, I was somewhat taken aback when, immediately after a detailed inspection of all the documents in question, Mrs. Husserl asked me about the “Leuven proposal” hinted at in my letter. 33

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While Fr. Van Breda informed Mrs. Husserl and Eugene Fink that the realization of the “Leuven proposal” would involve the approval of his “superiors” back in Leuven, Belgium, nevertheless, Fr. Van Breda indicated to Mrs. Husserl and Eugene Fink during his first visit that he had put together a “secret plan” in order to try to rescue Husserl’s entire Nachlass from the destruction of Hitler’s Nazi regime. The “secret plan” which Fr. Van Breda devised was to try to smuggle all of Husserl’s Nachlass (40,000 pages of manuscripts) out of Nazi-Germany through the Belgian diplomatic service; that is, by having the whole corpus Husserl’s entire Nachlass and personal library declared official Belgian “diplomatic” property by the Belgian government (Foreign Ministry office) and transported outside of Nazi-Germany to Belgium. The contents of Husserl’s Nachlass and library would be placed inside diplomatic pouches and “sealed” at the Belgian embassy in Frankfurt; once this first step occurred, the pouches would then be sent directly from Frankfurt to Brussels in order to avoid any official border inspections by Nazi customs officials at the “border crossings” between Germany and Belgium. This was Father Van Breda’s “secret” plan. The question was, of course, would it work?


§ 36. A BENEDICTINE NUN – SR. ADELGUNDIS JÄGERSCHMIDT
However, Father Van Breda’s initial plan failed on its first attempt. That is to say, after going to the Belgian embassy in Frankfurt Father Van Breda was initially informed by the Belgian counsel there that only the ambassador himself (at the Belgian embassy in Berlin) had the power to authorize any such plan in cooperation with the Foreign Ministry Office in Brussels. Father Van Breda would have to go to the Belgian embassy in Berlin in order to realize his plans.

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Meanwhile, the verge of World War II was now imminent and threatening Europe and Fr. Van Breda (now back in Freiburg) along with Mrs. Husserl, and Eugene Fink, all “feared the worse” at this point, namely, that Husserl’s entire Nachlass was completely unsafe and in serious danger of being captured at any moment by the Nazi’s in Freiburg; therefore, Husserl’s Nachlass, it was agreed, had to be immediately be moved to a “safe-house” location outside of Freiburg if his manuscripts were going to survive being confiscated or seized by Hitler’s Nazi regime. Thus, as political pressure began to mount by the day and the Nazi’s were busy rounding up innocent Jews inside the Reich for immediate deportation from Germany (as well as the seizure all their property), this left little time for Father Van Breda, as it were, as the Husserl family could easily become the next victim of Adolf Hitler’s Nazi purge of all Jews now living in Freiburg.



This is exactly the moment when sister Adelgundia Jägerschmidt, a Benedictine nun from the “Convent of Lioba” (a former student of Husserl’s in Freiburg) stepped into the picture and proposed an alternative plan. Her short term alternative plan was simply to take Husserl’s writings across the German border from Freiburg, Germany into Switzerland (just four kilometers away) in order to deposit all his unpublished manuscripts at the “Convent of Lioba” for temporary safe-keeping; that is to say, until Father Van Breda had a chance to travel to Berlin in order to make all the necessary arrangements in advance with the ambassador at the Belgian embassy there in order to have Husserl’s Nachlass transported safely out of Nazi Germany to Leuven (via diplomatic pouch). Hence, by accomplishing this above plan they would be able to save all Husserl’s unpublished manuscripts from being completely destroyed at the hands of the Nazi regime. Again, the question was, would Sister Adelgundis’ alternative plan work?

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As it is easy to see, the plan put forward by Sister Adelgundis did not restrict itself to relocating the manuscripts to a safer region in Germany. It equally offered a solution to the sticky problem of getting the documents across the border. I have to admit that upon first considering this proposal I had serious doubts about it. Moreover, I believe that the “international situation” would shortly lead to the “closure of all borders”, thereby incurring the “risk” of having to “break off” the operation half way. I could not conceal these concerns during our meetings. However, I did add that even though I could not quite envisage the manuscripts being moved to Swiss territory in this fashion, I was convinced that this nearly providential opportunity was to be seized upon and that the manuscripts were to be taken from Freiburg to Konstanz. 34


Again, the alternative plan proposed by Sister Adelgundis failed.
It was decided on September 19th, 1938, Sister Adelgundis would travel to

Konstanz and take the manuscripts with her. That Monday, as I dropped off the three heavy suitcases containing over 40,000 handwritten pages in Sister Adelgundis’s train compartment, it was clear that the time of exodus and parting had come for the Husserlian Nachlass.

What Sister Adelgundis reported upon her return only confirmed my suspicions regarding the transport of the manuscripts to Switzerland. It was apparent that any such plan would undoubtedly fail. On Tuesday September 20th, 1938, only one day after her departure, she told us that the nuns at the monastery in Konstanz unhesitatingly declared their willingness to keep Husserl’s writings safe. However, they thought that smuggling the documents into Switzerland in these troubled times was an extremely dangerous undertaking. While the act of smuggling a mass of texts may not have been impossible outright, it was so dangerous that no one of sound mind would risk it.

During my meeting that took place at Mrs. Husserl’s house on the night of September 20th, 1938, I clearly stated my position in the matter. Sister Adelgundis and Eugene Fink also took part in this meeting. Following a thorough assessment of the current situation, everyone endorsed my opinion. Mrs. Husserl thus asked me to go to the Belgian embassy in Berlin as soon as possible, so that I could take the necessary steps to ensure the safety of her late husbands Nachlass and their transport abroad. Before making my way to Berlin, I would first have to go to Konstanz to retrieve the manuscripts. In this way, if my measures at the embassy were to be successful, I could at once deposit the documents there. 35



§ 37. FR. VAN BREDA TRAVELS TO THE BELGIAN EMBASSY IN BERLIN
However, before leaving for the Belgian embassy in Berlin certain legal documents had to be “signed” and “countersigned” between Mrs. Husserl and Father Van Breda; that is, by giving him exclusive “power of attorney” over all of Husserl’s manuscripts as a Belgian citizen in order to officially transport the entire Nachlass and personal library of Husserl’s from Germany to Belgium. Once the above legal documents were formally signed, Father Van Breda was prepared to “countersign” a an additional “secret” legal agreement between Mrs. Malvine Husserl and himself stating that the first legal document they had just “signed” was purely “fictitious” and that all exclusive rights to Husserl’s Nachlass and personal library would remain the property of Mrs. Husserl and her family. This is the situation which presented itself to them at their final meeting together in Freiburg.
….Mrs. Husserl issued me with a document “certifying” that she had bestowed

upon me her “powers of attorney” regarding her husband’s manuscripts. I should immediately add that such a document, carrying all the hallmarks of complete “authenticity”, was never meant to be binding for either Mrs. Husserl or her family. It was simply meant to establish the legal situation necessary to achieve a common goal.

To be sure, as soon as I realized the need for such a legal document, I composed a “second document”. This last stipulated that the “act of donation” was purely “fictitious” and that all rights pertaining to the manuscripts would rest with the family once the documents crossed the border.

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Moreover, on Thursday September 22nd, 1938, Fr. Van Breda returned to the “Convent of Lioba” near Konstanz in order to collect his three suitcases containing Husserl’s Nachlass (40,000 pages of shorthand manuscripts) and then travelled overnight by train from Konstanz, Switzerland, to Berlin, Germany, directly to the

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Franciscan monastery at Berlin-Pankow where he then temporarily deposited and left his three suitcases containing Husserl’s Nachlass before paying an official visit at the Belgium embassy to the Consul General there in order to make all the necessary arrangements for the transport of Husserl’s Nachlass from Nazi Germany to Belgium.



Thus, everything was ready for my trip to Berlin. On Thursday September 22nd, I set off for Konstanz by train to collect the suitcases with the manuscripts. I spent that night traveling from Konstanz to Berlin. On Friday, September 23rd, 1938, after leaving the manuscripts at the Franciscan monestry in Berlin-Pankow, I secured an appointment with two Belgian diplomats for that afternoon. I first spoke with the consul general, Mr. Halleau (?). He told me that the ambassador himself was responsible for all the decisions concerning the deposit of Belgian property at the embassy as well as the inclusion of non-official items in the diplomatic pouch. Since the ambassador was out of Berlin at the time, only his secretary could see to my request. 37
Elsewhere, Fr. Van Breda says,
Viscount J. Berryer was the secretary to the ambassador in Berlin in 1938, in what would prove

to be an early stage of a brilliant diplomatic career. In those memorable circumstances, the warmth of his welcome was exceptional. Even to this day, I am still astonished by the total confidence that he placed in me. The immediate sympathy and energy shown by this refined man, especially at the most serious and decisive time for the fate of Husserl’s work, undoubtedly deserves special mention.

With great attentiveness, he listened to the remarkable story of what had happened to me. He immediately gave his consent for the deposit, the very next day, of the manuscripts at the embassy.

Furthermore, he assured me that from that moment on they would remain safely out of Nazi reach. For greater protection, he would place them in the embassy’s massive safe. 38


Moreover, at this point in time Father Van Breda’s task was now completely over. He had saved Husserl’s unpublished manuscripts from destruction by the Nazi regime. Husserl’s Nachlass was now safe under the official protection of the Belgian

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embassy in Berlin. However, Father Van Breda would still needed return to Freiburg in order to inform Mrs. Husserl and Eugene Fink of these above favorable circumstances surrounding the fate of Husserl’s manuscripts. After returning to Freiburg to meet with Mrs. Husserl and Eugene Fink there was nothing left for Father Van Breda to do except to return back to Belgium. Their mission had been accomplished. However, Father Van Breda still needed to secure the final approval from the Foreign Ministry Office in Brussels for permission to place Husserl’s Nachlass into sealed diplomatic pouches in Berlin in order to transport his manuscripts and personal library out of Nazi-Germany and safely back to Catholic University, in Leuven. Thus, after securing this “final approval” from the Foreign Ministry Office in Brussels (after his return) all that was left for Father Van Breda to do at this point was simply wait for official word of the arrival of Husserl’s Nachlass by the Foreign Ministry Office.


My trip to Freiburg on September 25th, 1938, and the subsequent journey from Freiburg to Leuven two days later seemed like two segments of a single rushed escape. I could no longer bear the tension and longed to be with my friends and family in Leuven. While Mrs. Husserl was overjoyed at the news of my successful trip, she completely understood my longing to be back in Belgium.

As a matter of fact, she realized that, on the one hand, there was no longer anything requiring my presence in Germany and that, on the other, my return to Belgium would actually be conductive to the effort of transporting the manuscripts across the border.

Upon leaving Mrs. Husserl, the thought of finally escaping the police surveillance of Hitler’s regime was a happy one. However, the decision to leave this noble lady to her fate weighted heavily upon my heart. Although she was moved to tears on my departure, she once again demonstrated exceptional bravery in the period that followed. 39
Moreover, on July 12th, 1939, on the verge of the outbreak World War II, Father Van Breda received official word from the Foreign Ministry Office in Brussels that

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Husserl’s entire Nachlass and personal library had arrived safely from Nazi-Germany to Brussels. This above date and the time, without doubt, marks the historic beginning of the genesis and birth of the “Husserl-Archives” at Catholic University, Leuven, Belgium under the direction of Father Van Breda. Now that Husserl’s entire Nachlass had arrived safely from Nazi-Germany, the hard part would have to begin; that is, the next stage of development in Father Van Breda’s project would be to physically set-up the “Husserl-Archives” in the philosophy department at Catholic University in order to allow scholars to begin transcribing and editing Husserl’s unpublished transcripts. This task would be achieved with the professional appointment of two highly qualified Husserl scholars, namely, that of professors Ludwig Landgrebe and Eugene Fink who would complete the task by transcribing and editing Husserl’s Nachlass for future publication.



§ 38. FR. HERMANN LEO VAN BREDA AND THE HUSSERL ARCHIVES

As we have seen the rescue of Husserl’s unpublished manuscripts led to the founding of the “Husserl-Archives” by Father Hermann Leo Van Breda at Catholic University, Leuven, Belgium in 1939. Today the “Husserl-Archives” ‘contains not

only Husserl’s manuscripts, but also his philosophical library, letters, and numerous transcriptions in longhand of manuscripts previously written in shorthand form. Among the some eight-thousand (8,000) works housed at Leuven are many publications dedicated to Husserl by renowned philosophers and scientists. Also at Leuven are the unpublished manuscripts left untouched after Husserl’s death and

now being transcribed; they comprise approximately forty-thousand (40,000) pages




http://www.aseliso.net/tapanta/wp-content/themes/gabfire-snapwire-3e28dcb/timthumb.php?src=http%3a%2f%2fwww.aseliso.net%2ftapanta%2fwp-content%2fuploads%2f2011%2f02%2flandgreb8x6.jpg&q=90&w=604&zc=1 http://img.over-blog.com/208x300/1/28/77/10/elections2012/finkeugen.jpg
Lugwig Landgrebe Eugene Fink

Edmund Husserl’s Assistant Edmund Husserl’s Assistant

(Probably 1979/80) (Probably 1969/70)

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of shorthand set down by Husserl in the “Gabelberg system” of shorthand. And in addition to the extensive collection of letters and diaries there are more than seven-thousand (7,000) pages of longhand transcriptions of Husserl’s original shorthand manuscripts that his assistants, Edith Stein, Ludwig Landgrebe, and Eugene Fink worked out before 1938. Since 1939 the task of transcribing these manuscripts has been continued by Fink, Landgrebe, Strasser, Walter and Marly Biemel, and Rudolf Boehm. 40


http://rds.yahoo.com/_ylt=a0pdos7k.jnow3sa5kkjzbkf/sig=14bv6i6f8/exp=1312058212/**http%3a/upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/en/thumb/d/d9/hermanvanbreda_seat_070320.jpg/300px-hermanvanbreda_seat_070320.jpg
Father Herman Leo Van Breda (founder)

“The Husserl Archives”


‘To date, more than 60 per cent of the manuscripts have been typed in fivefold. Moreover, copies of the manuscripts are forwarded to the five cooperating centers: Paris (Ecole Normale Supérieure), Freiburg im Breisgau (Germany), Cologne

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(University of Köln), Pittsburg (Duquesne University), and New York (The New School for Social Research). At these locations the texts are studied further and, in consultation with the “Husserl-Archives” at Leuven, are prepared for publication.’ 41



‘By 1962 nine volumes in the Husserliana series totaling some four-thousand pages in the Nachlass have been published; (today over forty-one volumes of the Nachlass have now been published in the Husserliana series by the Archives).’ 42

Moreover, ‘since 1958 there have been a supplement to these publications

entitled “Phanomenologica” consisting of philosophical studies written by scholars

who think in the phenomenological tradition. In 1964 the series had reached eighteen volumes,’ (today the “Phenomenologica” series now has well-over one-hundred and fifty volumes). 43

Finally, ‘since its inception, the “Husserl-Archives” has organized three important international congresses for phenomenology: Brussels (1951), Krefeld (1956), and Royaumont (1957).’ 44 However, since this time there have been a total of sixty-two international congresses on Edmund Husserl’s phenomenology worldwide.
____________________

Endnotes
1. Husserl: Reminiscences of Brentano (“Erinnerungen an Brentano)” translated by Linda McAlister and Margarete Schättle, in “The Philosophy of Franz Brentano”, edited by Linda L. McAlister, New Jersey: Humanities Press, 1976; pp. 47-48.

2. Ibid; p. 48.

3. Carl Stumpf: “Reminiscences of Brentano”, translated by Linda McAlister and Margarete Schättle, in “The Philosophy of Franz Brentano”, New Jersey: Humanities Press, 1976; p.12;

4. Ibid; p.13.

5. Husserl: Reminiscences of Brentano (“Erinnerungen an Brentano)” translated by Linda McAlister and Margarete Schättle, in “The Philosophy of Franz Brentano”, New Jersey, Humanities Press, 1976; pp. 52-53;

6. Ibid; p. 53.

7. Ibid; p. 53.

8. Ibid; p. 53.

9. Ibid; p. 54.

10. Ibid; p. 54-55.

11. As far as I am aware, I am the first writer to designate Husserl’s “Jewish-Retirement Period” (1928-1938) as being a forced “Jewish-Retirement” at the “University of Freiburg” (after 1935) precisely because Husserl’s “teaching license” was officially “revoked” or “suspended” by Hitler’s “Nazi regime” at the end of the year in 1935, (and then reinstated) and then at the beginning of 1936, (on January 15th, 1936, his teaching license was permanently revoked); this means Husserl’s “Jewish-Retirement Period” (after the year 1935) at the University of Freiburg, was a politically motivated or forced “Jewish Retirement” effected by the Nazi party precisely because Husserl was a Jew and was now being systematically persecuted by Hitler’s “Nazi regime” at this point in time (in 1936) along with millions of other Jews inside Nazi-Germany who were illegitimately “stripped” of their professions within the Fatherland because of their race and religion; hence, the designation: “The Jewish-Retirement Period” is completely justified in this above context based on these historical facts.

12. Marvin Farber, “The Foundations of Phenomenology: Edmund Husserl and the Quest for a Rigorous Science of Philosophy”. Albany: State University of New York (SUNY) Press, 1968. p.17.

13. Ibid; p. 21.

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14. Rudolf Bernet, Iso Kern, and Eduard Marbach, “An Introduction to Husserlian Phenomenology,” Illinois: Northwestern University Press, 1993, pp. 235-236.

15. Ibid; p. 237-238.

16. Edith Stein, “Life in a Jewish Family”, (1891-1916): An Autobiography”;

The Collected Works of Edith Stein, Volume 1. (Sister Teresa Benedicta of the Cross Discalced Carmelite). Translated by Josephine Koeppel, O.C.D. Edited by Dr. Lucy Gelber. Washington, D.C.: ICS Publications, 1986, p. 239.

Edith Stein was one of the most “gifted” Jewish German woman of twentieth-century phenomenology. She became Edmund Husserl’s Göttingen assistant (at the age of twenty-five) and wrote her Ph.D. thesis work under Husserl (as the founder of phenomenology) in Göttingen in the year in 1916. Her doctoral thesis entitled:“Zum Problem der Einfühlung” (On the Problem of Empathy) explores Husserl’s “Second Book” of Ideas (Ideen II) on the “Soul-Body” relationship in Husserl’s phenomenology. Edith Stein experienced a remarkable “conversion” in her life from “Jewish atheism” to “Roman Catholicism” upon visiting Adolf Reinach’s wife after his death. She later entered the Catholic church in order to became a Carmelite nun.

Upon her capture by the Nazi “Gestapo” SS troops, in Echt, Holland, during World War II (at the Carmelite convent of Echt), she was soon transported to the East and perished in the Nazi concentration camp gas chambers (along with her sister Rosa) at Auschwitz-Birkenau (along with thousands of other Jews) on August 9th, 1942. She was “beautified” (1987) and later “canonized” (1998) as a “Saint” in the Roman Catholic church by Pope John Paul II (who is himself a phenomenologist) .

17. Edith Stein, “Life in a Jewish Family”, (1891-1916): An Autobiography”;



The Collected Works of Edith Stein, Volume 1. (Sister Teresa Benedicta of the Cross Discalced Carmelite). Translated by Josephine Koeppel, O.C.D. Edited by Dr. Lucy Gelber. Washington, D.C.: ICS Publications, 1986, p. 253.

18. Rudolf Bernet, Iso Kern, and Eduard Marbach, “An Introduction to Husserlian Phenomenology,” Illinois: Northwestern University Press, 1993, pp. 241-242.

19. Der Spiegel Article (Only a God can Save Us). English translation by Maria Alter and John Caputo. Philosophy Today, Vol. 20. (Winter 1976), pp. 267-284.

20. W.R. Boyce Gibson, “From Husserl to Heidegger: Excerpts from a 1928 Freiburg Diary”, (Journal of the British Society of Phenomenology), JBSP, Volume 2. No. 1. 1972. p. 63.

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Professor W. R. Boyce Gibson was born on March 15th, 1869 in Paris, France and was educated at the Kingswood School, Bath, England; he later studied at the Universities of Oxford, Jena, Paris and Glasgow; he was sometime lecturer in Logic, Psychology and Ethics, and Moral philosophy at Regents Park Colleges (1898 – 1909) and in addition, he was sometime lecture in Philosophy at the University of Liverpool (1910-1911), as well as being Professor of Moral Philosophy at the University of Melbourne, Australia, (1912 -1934). He married Lucy Judge Peacock (1898), and had five sons, two of which (Alexander and Quentin), later become professors of philosophy.

21. Ibid; p. 64.

22. Ibid; p. 65.

23. Ibid; p. 66.

24. Rudolf Bernet, Iso Kern, and Eduard Marbach, “An Introduction to Husserlian Phenomenology,” Illinois: Northwestern University Press, 1993. pp. 243-244.

25. John M. Oesterreicher, “Walls are Crumbling: Seven Jewish Philosophers Discover Christ.”

New York: The Devin-Adair Company, 1952. p. 50. ‘Private communications from Dr. Hedwig Conrad-Martius, Munich, and Sr. Soror Adelgundis Jaegerschmidt, O.S.B., St. Lioba-Kloster, Freiburg im Breisgau.’

26. Ibid; p. 50.

27. Ibid; p. 95.

28. Ibid; p. 95.

29. Ibid; p. 96.

30. Ibid; p. 96.

31. Ibid; p. 96.

32. Herman Leo Van Breda, “The Rescue of Husserl’s Nachlass and the Founding of the Husserl-Archives,” In: “The History of the Husserl-Archives.” Dordrecht: Springer Publishing. 2007.

33. Ibid; p. 44.

34. Ibid; p. 55.

35. Ibid; pp. 55-56.

36. Ibid; p. 56.

37. Ibid; p. 57.

38. Ibid; p. 57.

39. Ibid; pp. 57-58.

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40. Joseph J. Kockelmans, “Phenomenology: The Philosophy of Edmund Husserl and its Interpretation.” New York: Doubleday, 1967. pp. 20-21.

This present writer had the great privilege of meeting Husserl’s Freiburg assistant the legendary Ludwig Landgrebe at a “Husserl-Conference” held at Ohio University in the year 1979 in the United States . Dr. Landgre gave a conference paper at this occasion on: “Historicity and the Problem of the Life-World) . The conventor of the conference was Dr. Algis Mickunas (a former student and friend of Dr. Landgrebe’s at the University of Köln); I asked professor Landgrebe to sign a copy of my “Experience and Judgment” which I handed to him at the conference (in the library) which he gladly signed for me as an undergraduate student in the philosophy department at Ohio University. This was the height of my joy in philosophy.

41. Ibid; p. 21.

42. Ibid; p. 21.

43. Ibid; p. 21.

44. Ibid; p. 21.

Appendix I

From Husserl to Carmel:

SISTER TERESA BENEDICTA OF THE CROSS

(1892-1942)




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