Walter Benjamin, (1892-1940) Born in Berlin, a German philosopher of Jewish origin and literary critic. His works − The Origin of German Tragic Drama (1925), The Work of Art in the Age of Mechanical Reproduction, (1935-36) and the unfinished Arcades Project (worked on it since 1927) − are the guiding text when discussing many topical issues of modern humanities. He collaborated with the Institute for Social Research in Frankfurt, which sought to update Marxism. He was a friend of Theodor V. Adorno, Berthold Brecht and Gershom Scholem and translated Marcel Proust. In 1933, as the National Socialists seized the power, Benjamin was forced to flee from Germany due to his Jewish heritage. He committed suicide to avoid capture by Nazis when attempting to cross the Spanish-French border on September 26, 1940.