walter, georg and dora: childhood under the watchful eye of the benjamin siblings




childhood, walter benjamin, georg benjamin, dora benjamin, benjamin brothers.



The following text introduces the story of the siblings Walter, Georg and Dora Benjamin, who understood childhood as a topic of interest, training, performance and theoretical production. Walter sees childhood as a philosophical perspective for a critique of culture, sensitive to children's actions and language; Georg, as a pediatrician, school doctor and deputy, takes childhood as a health emergency for the formulation of public policies; and Dora weaves a strong sociological analysis of the binomial women/children crossed by the work relations transferred from the textile industry to the domestic environment. These are just a few nuances of the Benjamin siblings' multifaceted relationship with the theme of childhood. Born at the end of 19th and the beginning of the 20th centuries, they lived through the oscillation of German politics and economy, the hardships of the First World War, the rise and consolidation of Nazism which forced them, due to their Jewish origins and intellectual condition, to undergo displacement, imprisonment, illness and death. A significant part of Walter's production was saved when he deposited his writings in libraries or sent copies to friends. Georg and Dora, who were more closely linked to the communist party, did not achieve the same success, and most of their vast production was destroyed in the book bonfires perpetrated by the Nazis. This has resulted in a silencing of their history and their vast intellectual production, which is now considered visionary–a silence that denounces the policies of exception dedicated to history's erasure.

Author Biography

rita ribes pereira, Universidade do Estado do Rio de Janeiro

Estudos da Infância


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Benjamin, Walter. Reflexões sobre a criança, o brinquedo e a educação. São Paulo: Duas Cidades; Editora 34, 2002.

Benjamin, Walter; Sholem, Gershom. Correspondência. São Paulo: Perspectiva, 1993.

Benjamin, Walter. “Opinions et pensées. Mots et locutions du fils.” In: Marx, Ursula; Schwarz, Gudrun; Schearz, Michael; Wisisla, Erdmut (Org.). Walter Benjamin. Archives. Paris: Les Belles Lettres, 2011. p. 104 – 147.

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Jarek, Márcio. Reformar a escola para reformar a vida: Walter Benjamin, formação e juventude. APRENDER – Cad. de Filosofia e Psic. da Educação, ano XII, n. 19. 2018. p. 64-75.

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Mattos, Manuela Sampaio de. “Mundo de Singulares Afinidades Secretas”: o inconsciente nas Passagens de Walter Benjamin. Pontifícia Universidade Católica do Rio Grande do Sul. Porto Alegre, 2019. (Tese de Doutorado).

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How to Cite

pereira, rita ribes. (2022). walter, georg and dora: childhood under the watchful eye of the benjamin siblings. Childhood & Philosophy, 18, 01–32.



estudos da infância: movimentos, limiares e fronteir