Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Henri Bergson (October 18, 1859)

Henri Bergson was born to Jewish parents in France, but became an original non-Jewish moral philosopher (famous in his day, winning the Nobel Prize, now basically forgotten). He said he would have become a Catholic except for the persecution of Jews that he witnessed at the end of his life. He died in Paris – where he had lived his entire life -- in 1941. Although he was offered a sort of honorary non-Jewish status to protect him from the persecutions that were about to occur, he refused the "honor" and stood in line to get a Jewish identity card just a few days before his death. Maybe that makes him an unusual secular Jewish hero.

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