I Will Bear Witness: A diary of the Nazi years, 1933-1941

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Random House, 1998 - Biography & Autobiography - 519 pages
When the secret World War II diaries of Victor Klemperer, a distinguished historian at the University of Dresden, a German patriot, and a Jew, were published in Germany two years ago, they became a huge bestseller. "The acclaim is the result of Victor Klemperer's evocative literary gift, his power of observation", Amos Elon wrote in The New York Times Magazine. "No one had been so clear-sighted from die very first as he had been about the unmitigated horror of Nazism. Day in, day out, Klemperer comments on current affairs: on Hitler's speeches and the elimination of all opposition, on the racial laws, on the war's progress. There are vivid accounts of events he witnesses, conversations he overhears, and character studies of victims and victimizers, fanatics and opportunists of all sorts. All this, and the narrowing horizons of his own private world, produces a nightmarish picture of life within a society gone berserk; the inferno is an artful mosaic, made up of endless fragments of meanness".

Klemperer's diaries are a work of literature as well as a revelation -- the only one we have -- of the day-by-day horror of Nazi Germany.

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I WILL BEAR WITNESS: A Diary of the Nazi Years, 1933-1941

User Review  - Kirkus

A classic (of two genres) finally translated into English. As an example both of Holocaust literature and the memoir, the diaries of Klemperer are superior. First published in 1995 in Germany, the ... Read full review


User Review  - Overstock.com

I have long been interested in learning the background of the holocaust particularly from the point of view of the survivors. This is yet another volume that provides information of that aspect and does it well. Read full review

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About the author (1998)

A professor of Romance languages in Dresden, Victor Klemperer wrote several major works on seventeenth- and eighteenth-century French literature before he was expelled from his post in 1935. He lived through the war in Dresden with his wife, Eva. Klemperer's secret diaries were thought for many years to have been lost or suppressed by the communist authorities of East Germany, where Klemperer lived after the war. His wife deposited them after his death in the Dresden Landesarchiv, where they remained until they were uncovered by Victor Nowojski, a former pupil, who edited and transcribed them for publication in Germany. Their reception there was a national event. The diaries have been translated into twelve languages.

About the Translator

Martin Chalmers has trans

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