I Will Bear Witness

I Will Bear Witness

A Diary of the Nazi Years 1942-1945

Book - 1999
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"Volume 2 of Victor Klemperer's diaries. The author risked his life to preserve these diaries so that he could, as he wrote, "bear witness" to the gathering horror of the Nazi regime. The son of a Berlin rabbi, Klemperer was a German patriot who served with honor during the First World War, married a gentile, and converted to Protestantism. He was a professor of Romance languages at the Dresden Technical Institute, a fine scholar and writer, and an intellectual of a somewhat conservative disposition. Unlike many of his Jewish friends and academic colleagues, he feared Hitler from the start, and though he felt little allegiance to any religion, under Nazi law he was a Jew. In the years 1933 to 1941, covered in the first volume of these diaries, Klemperer's life is not yet in danger, but he loses his professorship, his house, even his typewriter; he is not allowed to drive, and since Jews are forbidden to own pets, he must put his cat to death. Because of his military record and marriage to a "full-blooded Aryan," he is spared deportation, but nevertheless, Klemperer has to wear the yellow Jewish star, and he and his wife, Eva, are subjected to the ever-increasing escalation of Nazi tyranny. The distinguished historian Peter Gay, in The New York Times Book Review, wrote that Klemperer's "personal history of how the Third Reich month by month, sometimes week by week, accelerated its crusade against the Jews gives as accurate a picture of Nazi trickery and brutality as we are likely to have...a report from the interior that tells the horrifying story of the evolving Nazi persecution...with a concrete, vivid power that is, and I think will remain, unsurpassed." This second volume of the diary begins in 1942, the year of the Final Solution, and ends in 1945, with the devastation of Hitler's Germany. Volume 3 of the diaries is 'The Lesser Evil : the diaries of Victor Klemperer, 1945-1959"--Provided by publisher.
Publisher: New York : Random House, 1999
Edition: 1st ed
Branch Call Number: 943.086092 K648iw
Characteristics: xv, 556 p


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Jun 30, 2015

I read the two volumes of I Will Bear Witness together and found them mesmerizing. The detailed footnotes point out source materials from which all historical references are made. This was the work of a scholar that detailed the horribly fascinating world falling apart over the ten year period that Klemperer survived. I have read many autobiographies and histories of this period and this is among the best.

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