HERSCH, JEANNE (1910–2000), Swiss philosopher. The daughter of the Bundist Pesach Liebman *Hersch, who was a professor of statistics at the University of Geneva from 1921, she studied philosophy in her home city, then in Heidelberg, where she met Karl Jaspers, and in Freiburg. She belonged to a group of Jewish students influenced by Martin Heidegger, as were Hannah Arendt and Emmanuel Levinas. But in 1933, witnessing the negative role Heidegger played as rector of the university during the rise of Nazism, she immediately left Freiburg. Between 1956 and 1965 she was a professor of systematic philosophy in Geneva. Between 1966 and 1968 she presided over the philosophy section of UNESCO in Paris. A long time Social Democrat, she distanced herself from the party in 1992 when it declared the use of drugs legal. As an "intellectuelle engagée" she fought for human rights and criticized the student movement of 1968 for not having distanced itself sufficiently from Soviet Communism. Her philosophy was also grounded in Jewish ethics. She translated the work of Karl Jaspers into French. Hersch was a highly esteemed philosopher in Switzerland.
Penser dans le temps (1977); Éclairer l'obscur. Entretiens avec Gabrielle et A. Dufour (1986), Kaufmann, Bibliographie, No. 1402f.
[Uri Kaufmann (2nd ed.)]
Source: Encyclopaedia Judaica. © 2008 The Gale Group. All Rights Reserved.