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

rita ribes pereira

Abstract


 

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.


Keywords


childhood; walter benjamin; georg benjamin; dora benjamin; benjamin brothers.

References


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DOI: https://doi.org/10.12957/childphilo.2022.68145

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