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To The Bitter End: The Diaries of Victor Klemperer 1942-45 Kindle Edition
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Top Customer Reviews
Because now we REALLY know just what it was like to be a Jew in Nazi Germany. Sure, we've read other books and studied, fascinated and horrified, the many tapes of Hitler and his gang in their pomp, at their most bestial. But few books have ever documented so precisely, so accurately, so disturbingly the gross deprivations, the wilful cruelties of life for the Jew in the Reich years.
Klemperer was a distinguished academic who suffered steady demotion in his work before finally losing his job and any opportunity of other work. But time on his hands, although a painful process to endure from a psychological point of view, gave Klemperer the chance to wield a formidable pen in defiance of his foes. The world should be grateful to him for his courage and bravery in compiling these diaries for betrayal or the emergence of them before the mayhem was over would have meant certain death. Victor Klemperer and his Aryan wife (her presence alone ensured he survived the early banishment to the concentration camps) somehow lived through and emerged from a nightmare. Vivid confirmation of the hunger, the cruel taunts of ordinary Germans and the appalling deprivations are listed here in meticulous detail.
But what is most revealing are the little psychological cruelties, the true trait of the madmen, in Germany at that time. Two things struck me especially. Jews were eventually banned from buying flowers, the simplest of pleasures to brighten one's home and one's life. And then, a decree is issued demanding that all pets belonging to Jews be put down.Read more ›
Klemperers diary gave me somekind of an answer. And he does it beautifully by writing about the daily life - as a german and a Jew in Germany during Hitlers regime from 1933-45. As a reader its like being there. He is not a hero - not a fearless warrior - just an ordinary university teacher. And yet he survived somehow. Please read this book if you really want to know how it was being a Jew in Germany under nazi rule. Or - read it just because its such a amazing story.
One other observation that I should perhaps keep to myself, but can't resist -- Klemperer as a German Jew is not a very attractive person, the more so after my reading of Amos Elon's 'The Pity of It All'. Klemperer is baptised, says his 'baptism was not a comedy' but does not seem to be any kind of Christian; at least he never refers to any aspect of Christian thought or sentiment in making sense of his suffering. He suffers as a Jew, but as a German Jew - one who seems to believe in the enduring superiority of German culture and in the unfairness of attempts to define him as outside of it.
For me being Jewish is at least partly about the experience of having a foot in two cultures and two identities - German Jews never seem to have felt that, but rather to have believed themselves to have been a particular kind of German tribe, like the Saxons.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Victor Klemperer lived in Dresden until nearly the end of the war. A Jew living with an Aryan wife he was allowed to stay in Germany. Read morePublished 11 months ago by Mike
Everyone really must read Victor Klemperer's diaries. They have to be the most important and enlightening works about life in Nazi Germany. Read morePublished 23 months ago by Kate
must have all three of these follow on books . all as it was when it was happening heart breaking and funny great readPublished on 7 May 2014 by Doreen Shepherd
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