I Shall Bear Witness

I Shall Bear Witness

A publishing sensation, the publication of Victor Klemperer’s diaries brings to light one of the most extraordinary documents of the Nazi period.

‘A classic … Klemperer’s diary deserves to rank alongside that of Anne Frank’s’ SUNDAY TIMES

‘I can’t remember when I read a more engrossing book’ Antonia Fraser

‘Not dissimilar in its cumulative power to Primo Levi’s, is a devastating account of man’s inhumanity to man’ LITERARY REVIEW

The son of a rabbi, Klemperer was by 1933 a professor of languages at Dresden. Over the next decade he, like other German Jews, lost his job, his house and many of his friends.

Klemperer remained loyal to his country, determined not to emigrate, and convinced that each successive Nazi act against the Jews must be the last. Saved for much of the war from the Holocaust by his marriage to a gentile, he was able to escape in the aftermath of the Allied bombing of Dresden and survived the remaining months of the war in hiding. Throughout, Klemperer kept a diary. Shocking and moving by turns, it is a remarkable and important account.
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I can't remember when I read a more engrossing book
Antonia Fraser, SUNDAY TIMES
This extraordinary book describes in detail, and with unparalleled force and clarity, what it was like to live in Germany under Nazism. The historical record is very much the richer for it
This is a classic ... Klemperer's diary deserves to rank alongside that of Anne Frank's ... These diaries are certain to become not only the main primary source for historians of the Nazi period, but also an essential read for anyone who wishes to understand what it was like to be a Jew living in Germany during the 1930s. But perhaps it is even more than that ... Read this wonderful book and judge for yourself
It is not the horror of the Holocaust we see here, but the subtle, barely discernible corruption of daily life
Authoritative ... Victor Klemperer's detailed eye-witness chronicle, not dissimilar in its cumulative power to Primo Levi's, is a devastating account of man's inhumanity to man
His diaries are not only a harrowingly poignant record of the suffering of just one victimised married couple among countless others. They are also a testament to the restitution that the world still owes to those non-Aryans on whose plight too many turned their backs
All generalisations about German attitudes, from Trevor-Roper to Daniel Goldhagen, are dashed about the anthill of detail that Victor Klemperer so copiously and courageously assembled. I can hardly wait for the second volume
The first-hand immediacy of the material gives is an unmatched potency
The most detailed personal account of a German Jew's daily life in the Third Reich outweighs and will surely outlive Goldhagen's sensationalist speculations about German anti-semitism ... It's not levity to call Professor Klemperer German Jewry's Mr Pepys of the Hitler years
Marvellous, depressing, witty, sardonic, devastating