This third Klemperer diary is much less exciting than the previous two (unsurprising, as the Nazi years and the war are now over) and also much less comprehensive. The first diary covered nine years; the second three and a half; this one covers a little over thirteen years in about the same number of pages as the first two books. The editor marked omissions with ellipses, and I don't know if there was a single entry that didn't have at least one. Sometimes entire entries were eliminated and the editor summarized them in brackets. But, looking at what was left, I don't think I missed much.
After the armistice Victor Klemperer and his wife Eva experienced a remarkable, 180-degree turn of fortune. They got their house back. He was feted by everybody, as they were all anxious to demonstrate that THEY had not been Jew-hating Nazis, thank you very much (try Googling the Chad Mitchell Trio song "The I Was Not A Nazi Polka" to see what I mean). Wealth, fame and international travel, to as far away as China, followed as Klemperer's academic career rose from the grave and he became a minor celebrity within East Germany.
Yet from my reading of the diary I can't say Klemperer's postwar years were happy ones. He considered Communism the "lesser evil" to capitalism, but he was uneasy about the similarities he noticed between the Communist government and the Nazis. He witnessed the revival of anti-Semitism and the rise of Holocaust denial. He got embroiled in petty academic infighting while becoming convinced that his star was only on the ascendancy for lack of competitors within East Germany. Eva Klemperer died in 1951 and Victor remarried within a year to Hadwig, a former student who was twenty-five years to his seventy. They deeply loved one another, but he felt guilty for his seeming "betrayal" of Eva and for denying Hadwig her youth and the possibility of children. And, in the final years, his health went into a marked decline, forcing Hadwig to be a nursemaid to him more often than not.
Were it not for the deep impression Klemperer's earlier diaries made on me, and my determination to see his life through, I probably would not have finished this book. But this diary is a good picture of what life was like during the early years of the German Democratic Republic, before the Berlin Wall was erected, and therefore it's of much historical interest. Unlike the first two diaries I think this one can stand on its own.