Author: Jelena Vuckovic

Bravery and Betrayal: The Peculiar Case of Ágnes Heller

Balatonalmádi is a small lakeside village in Hungary still brimming with socialist influence: Stalinist architecture, standardized everything, alongside the serenity of the lake after which it is named. It was here that on July 19th, 2019, a 90-year-old woman went for a swim and did not come back. Her name was Ágnes Heller, and she was one of the most distinguished female philosophers of the modern world. Heller was full of life, with a vivacious laugh and venomous sense of humor, but she also enjoyed a reputation as a principled foe of injustice and defender of the oppressed, whether they were Jews, women, or whoever happened to be on the wrong side of power. In particular, she was revered as a courageous political dissident and outspoken supporter of the doomed uprising against Hungary’s communist regime in 1956, a vitally important event in the history of her homeland. At a 2007 conference in Berlin, when asked about the book she and her husband had written about the events of 1956, she said: For me, 1956 was …