Walter Benjamin

1892 (Berlin) – 1940 (Portbou, Spain)

The ideas of Benjamin’s close friends Adorno, Brecht and Scholem all informed his own work. He met Rilke and Scholem while studying in Munich, and Brecht (who sheltered him twice in Denmark) through a lover, Brecht’s secretary. He worked closely with Adorno, latterly by correspondence, and befriended Lukács, a strong influence. Hofmannsthal published an essay of Benjamin’s. Arendt, Weill and Hesse, exiles from Nazism, were all met in Paris: also Bataille and Klossowski. Perse saved him from a second wartime internment. Horkheimer arranged for him to enter the U.S., but thwarted in his escape from France, he killed himself.

Walter Benjamin knew…