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The publication of Victor Klemperer's secret diaries brings to light one of the most extraordinary documents of the Nazi period In its cool lucid style and power of observation said The New York Times it is the best  written most evocative most observant record of daily life in the Third Reich I Will Bear Witness is a work of literature as well as a revelation of the day by day horror of the Nazi years                           A Dresden Jew a veteran of World War I a man of letters and historian of great sophistication Klemperer recognized the danger of Hitler as early as 1933 His diaries written in secrecy provide a vivid account of everyday life in Hitler's Germany                          What makes this book so remarkable aside from its literary distinction is Klemperer's preoccupation with the thoughts and actions of ordinary Germans Berger the greengrocer who was given Klemperer's house anti Hitlerist but of course pleased at the good exchange the fishmonger the baker the much visited dentist All offer their thoughts and theories on the progress of the war Will England hold out? Who listens to Goebbels? How much longer will it last?                          This symphony of voices is ordered by the brilliant grumbling Klemperer struggling to complete his work on eighteenth century France while documenting the ever tightening Nazi grip He loses first his professorship and then his car his phone his house even his typewriter and is forced to move into a Jews' House the last step before the camps put his cat to death Jews may not own pets and suffer countless other indignities                           Despite the danger his diaries would pose if discovered Klemperer sees it as his duty to record events I continue to write he notes in 1941 after a terrifying run in with the police This is my heroics I want to bear witness precise witness until the very end   When a neighbor remarks that in his isolation Klemperer will not be able to cover the main events of the war he writes It's not the big things that are important but the everyday life of  tyranny which may be forgotten A thousand mosquito bites are worse than a blow on the head I observe I note the mosquito bites                          This book covers the years from 1933 to 1941 Volume Two from 1941  to 1945 will be published in 1999

10 thoughts on “Ich will Zeugnis ablegen bis zum Letzten

  1. says:

    An astonishing document that's unlike anything else I know that might fit under the heading of Nazi period memoirs The perspective it provides — that of Jewish academic Victor Klemperer and his Aryan wife living in Dresden during a time of state sponsored genocide —beggars description Moreover it's very well written Do read both volumes

  2. says:

    UPDATE 61017 As part of my research in preparation for writing the next section of the sequel to A Flood of Evil I read Klemperer's diary from 1936 38 Here are a few observations on the major events of the day Jul 1938 antisemitism is again greatly increased Jewish assets must be reported Jews are banned from certain trades yellow visitor's cards needed for baths the Academic Society for Research into Jewry is meeting in Munich the opening of art exhibitions in Munich and elsewhere recite their familiar anti Jewish slogans Aug 1938 for weeks now intensified Jew baiting and drastic new measures all the time extreme tension everywhere fear of war everywhereThe entries however contain not a single word about the horrors of Kristallnacht which took place on November 9 1938 EXCEPT Several days after the events however he makes this cryptic and sarcastic entry in April when in wise anticipation of the Grunspan murder and its atonement This refers to the murder of a German diplomat in Paris by a Polish Jew an event which was used by the Nazis as the excuse to unleash a nationwide pogrom Klemperer is referring to the extensive preparations months before November for what was later falsely described as a spontaneous reaction PRIOR COMMENTS It is one thing to read the history of horrific events but even greatly written history cannot match the immediacy of a contemporaneous diary The pain fear anxiety and frustration come through with a raw clarity that is unnervingSo far I have read only 26 pages through the entry of July 28 1933 but already I have several ideas I will look to incorporate into my characters in my novel in progress The diary continues through the end of the war in 1945 An incomparable resource it is a disgrace which gets worse with every day that passes there's not a sound of protest? from anyone everyone's keeping his head down Jewry SPD? most of all and their democratic press who will have the majority on March 5? Will the terror be tolerated and for how long? It is impossible to make predictions the defeat in 1918 did not depress me as greatly as the present state of affairs it is shocking how day after day naked acts of violence breaches of the law barbaric opinions appear quite undisguised as official decree the Socialist papers are permanently banned no one dares write a letter no one dares make a telephone call we visit one another and weigh up our chances since telephone calls are unsafe and since everyone is depressed we constantly have nerve racking morning or afternoon visits catastrophe is imminent there is no salvation Eva's nerves are completely gone the same conversations everywhere fragments of madness in which we are unceasingly immersed for the moment I am still safe but as someone on the gallows who has a rope around his neck is safe at any moment a new law can kick away the steps on which I'm standing and then I'm hanging Hitler on a film at the cinema clenched fists twisted face wild bawling on January 30 they were still laughing at me they won't be laughing anyMORE TO FOLLOW

  3. says:

    I found this diary fascinating and believe it's an indispensable work of history almost one of a kind You see a lot of diaries and memoirs from the HolocaustWW2 years but not much from the mid to late 1930s and the rise of Hitler Reading Klemperer's diary which covers January 1933 through December 1941 you can see how the fascist state gradually chipped away at the rights of Jews and the Holocaust was accomplished in little baby steps I can summarize it like thisJewish civil servants were thrown out of their jobs Klemperer a college professor was forced into early retirement and didn't get a veteran's pension Non Jewish maids were prohibited from working in Jewish households First Aryan civil servants then all Aryans were forbidden to associate with Jews Jews had to fill out an inventory of all their assets Everyone was either leaving the country or trying to get out many of Klemperer's Jewish friends left for places as far away as South America Kristallnacht happened the synagogues burned Jews were no longer permitted to drive War started and with it rations Jews got smaller rations than Aryans People who were half Jewish or less could serve in the military but had limited opportunities for promotion Jews were no longer allowed to use the library reading room then they were forbidden to check out library books There was an earlier curfew for Jews and they were only allowed to go grocery shopping at certain times of the day Many stores had No Jews Allowed signs Jews were no longer allowed to live in their own homes Klemperer and his wife had to move into a special Jew house and rent out their home to a tenant selected by the Nazis Klemperer committed a minor breach of blackout regulations and served an eight day jail sentence in solitary confinement the same offense committed by an Aryan would probably have resulted in a 20 mark fine As the book ended Klemperer had just gotten out of jail and his typewriter was confiscated Jews were no longer permitted to have them And the war has three and a half years left to goYet Klemperer was extremely fortunate in a lot of ways He was very assimilated in fact he had converted to Christianity after a fashion and had a lot of Aryan friends and most of them remained his friends His siblings provided much needed financial support And his marriage to an Aryan woman would eventually save his life he was one of the few hundred German Jews who never had to go into hiding and was never deported to a concentration campAll this he faithfully records along with the minutae of daily life his pet cat building and maintaining his house learning to drive and buying a lemon that breaks every week constant dental appointments and general hypochondria dinner parties reading scholarship sibling rivalry the weather etc etc etcOne thing I took note of was at least from what Klemperer saw perhaps half the German population sympathized with the Jews He writes about meeting ardent Nazis and people who try to make his life miserable because of his Jewishness but often he notes expressions of sympathy from strangers shopkeepers slipping forbidden food into his basket that sort of thing He even wrote about a Star Club a group of Aryans who went around giving friendly greetings to Jews on the street who wore the yellow star just to show them not everyone hated them This sort of thing flatly contradicts the theses of a lot of scholars who write books with titles like Hitler's Willing Executioners The problem was at least in Klemperer's case most of the people who sympathized with him did so in a very quiet unproductive way they were either too apathetic or too scared to take real action and provide serious tangible aid As some wise person once said all that is needed for evil to triumph is for good men to do nothingVictor Klemperer wrote two other diaries one up to 1945 and the other about the postwar years in Communist East Germany I hope they are as good as this one I plan to read them both as soon as I can get my hands on them

  4. says:

    I wrote this a few years ago but nothing's changed not in my part of the world anyway It was around the time I was reading Klemperer's book on the language of the third reich and interactions with friends online prompted itIn Australia and no doubt elsewhere in the world this sequence is happeningFirst we have terrorNext we have anti terrorAnd new on the line is terror of anti terror or anti anti terror such as a glut of journalistic articles telling us why the Australian Government's new anti terror laws are 1984 and the instigation of the thing we should really be terrified of You can see an example here This is the spin we all create the Nazis Mark my friend who quotes the Nazis Ed my friend and I guess me much as I'd like to think I'm if not above then at least apart from spin Mark the other day quoted a highranking Nazi talking about the effect of propaganda in this case the value of creating fear the implication being that this is what is happening in Australia at the momentGöring the people can always be brought to the bidding of the leaders That is easy All you have to do is tell them they are being attacked and denounce the pacifists for lack of patriotism and exposing the country to danger It works the same way in any country He followed this up by linking to one of the many media articles talking about the Orwellian world into which Australia has now descended and which is the true enemy the one of which we should be truly terrifiedAs it happens my reading at the moment has me firmly entrenched in the 1930s and WWII a sickening period to be reliving but also an educational one especially in view of IS Mark referred to IS in terms of fascism the other day but as Klemperer would be quick to point out there is a massive difference between fascism and Nazism Clearly we would have to say if we observe this difference that IS is not fascist but something far horrific and the comparison to Nazism seems accurate to meBecause of this reading I happened to come across something said by a highranking Nazi too and it is thisHimmler The best political weapon is the weapon of terror Cruelty commands respectThe fact is propaganda is one thing It can't hurt it might help and no doubt the Nazis were masters of utilising it for their cause But terror is like this It is getting beaten to death in the street It is being forced into slavery and not just any old slavery but slavery where you are starved to death and treated in unspeakable ways before being killed in equally unspeakable ways It is not only about groups of Jews being forced naked into rooms where they are gassed to death but about the people who watched this happen and enjoyed it Ordinary people who got their jollies like this It is about being a French person in occupied France in the resistance and what that entailed If one German was killed by you then ten French prisoners were killed When that didn't help it became and French for one German It is about being in so called Free France but being forced into slavery for the Germans If you were not Jewish that is If you were Jewish some other appalling fate Terror in the IS area and in other parts of the world where fundamentalist Islam invades is like this It is fucking terrifying That is what Australia is fighting against at the moment I don't have the skills nor the presumption to present a true picture of the sheer terror that was life in Europe in this period if you weren't willing to be one of the terrorisers and maybe even if you were But surely it can't be too hard to put yourself in this world and get an idea of it This is not a world I want to be part of Probably most Germans would have thought they didn't want to be part of it either given the choice and even after some of them to their surprise perhaps discovered that it was fun watching groups of naked human beings being gassed to death It happened and it happened because people let it happen At which point do we step in? Having seen when and how this process took place in WWII I find it hard to believe it isn't right to step in earlier rather than later The bottom line is however the terror is real It isn't something the PM of Australia has created because you don't like what he's done to the Barrier Reef or women's shelters And if he and others have attempted to deal with this through anti terror ie creating fear of terror one can hardly blame him It is hard to believe that it is necessary even Fear of terror? Count me in Fighting against terror? Count me in Hoping that this doesn't turn into something Orwellian Count me in Do I put this last? Yep It's a no brainerIn the 1930s everybody outside Germany let what was happening continue They watched Hitler happen They watched ordinary Germans become Nazis They watched Germans kill Jews 'hey as long as it's just Jews and homosexuals and people like that let's not worry about it' They let Germany start brutally taking over other countries 'Hey it's not our country let's hope for the best' Nobody ever wanted to do anything much about it until they perceived their own country to be under threat World War Two was not the only horrifying consequence of this willingness to hope for the best Oh it's only Kurds It's only women It's only homosexuals And you know These guys aren't so awful really they are maybe a bit crazy Hey let's send in some therapists Yeah Let's see if that works And yeah maybe if we leave them alone you know They'll leave us alone Well hell's bells they said they would leave other countries alone Okay we'll give them half of Czechoslovakia God damn They've taken the other half too My nightmares are half IS and half Nazi They are both real

  5. says:

    Amazing Quite possibly the most important book to come out of WW2 This man's first hand account of what went on in Germany during the rise of the National Socialists and the affect upon his family neighbors and friends is an insight into a society gone mad Although many Germans were anti Nazi the National Socialists came into power because they were seen as the lesser of the two evils when given a choice between that and Communism As Professor Klemperer observes throughout this diary the ideologies are similiar but most people did not see it that way The paralyzing fear of day to day living gave rise to an apathy experienced across the country and he mostly found himself talking to people who could not or would not listenI found this work to be outstanding Daily recital of the changes and abuses suffered by the Jews over the years 1933 1941 are interspersed with incredible insight and occasional flashes of brilliance The novella Cell 89 particularily impressed me as an awakening of the human soul I am so glad that this book survived destruction and am amazed that it was discovered in the 1990s Everyone should read this book The lessons and insights in this book could apply to the current situation in the United States It could also serve as a warning against the dangers of mass apathy

  6. says:

    Reviews of this diary consistently fail to account for the richness of its contents No one should rate a Holocaust memoir but my decision to do so reflects my impression of my experience with Klemperer's words as a witness to a place time and life at times oddly similar and dissimilar to my ownKlemperer's diary is unique As an academic he knows he lives in troubled and interesting times He leaves the facts of events in Nazi Germany to historians and focuses on documenting his lived experience and responses to his changing world As a WWI veteran a professor and husband of an Aryan woman his circumstances and a great deal of Providence allow him to both remain in Germany a suburb of Dresden and survive many of his contemporaries despite his own advanced yearsKlemperer's prose provides the reader with than a window He might as well be sitting in your room speaking to you His emotions are palpable eighty years later and his thoughts almost answer your own questions as soon as they're formed He knew as he wrote that his actions would have consequences and prompt serious question for than himself in the years to come and he is unapologetic and stubborn He will bear witness so help him GodBeyond the obvious reason to read this book as a unique account of Nazi Germany there are important secondary reasons As an academic he struggles within the academy courses curriculum colleagues petty squabbles publishing Timeless Despite being deprived of a position and seeming impossible odds Klemperer drags himself out of bed each day and writes reads and thinks Even in a cell uncertain of seeing his loved ones again he argues with himself over the success of Hitler's regime in light of known history considers material for his own work and creates a puzzle for he and his wife's 37th anniversary the first ever spent apart His heart soul and mind are his own His will to stay and chronicle his life a choice he makes mainly on his own His words carefully worded are his alone At the same point he makes concerted and specific mention of the many kindnesses surprising to us and him day after day year after year that conspire to keep him alive As a result we bear witness to the strength not only of his will but the compassion and love of humankind in the midst of darkness

  7. says:

    Victor Klemperer was a professor of classical languages in Dresden He lost his position and sense of security soon after Hitler took power Although he had converted to Protestantism in 1911 he was classified a Jew by the Nazis As Dresden’s Jewish community steadily dwindled because of deportations to Lodz Auschwitz and Theresienstadt since his wife Eva was a “full blooded Aryan” they were kept safe from deportation until they were notified to prepare to leave the city on February 13 1945 That night the infamous firebombing of Dresden that killed thousands took place Ironically it turned out to be a reprieve for Klemperer and Eva In the chaos that ensued he removed the yellow stars from his clothing before they both joined the flood of refugees streaming to the west and south of Germany as the war came to a close By some miracle his diaries which he stored in the shed of a friend on the outskirts of Dresden survived They may well be among the best most insightful documents that describe what life was like at “ground level” in Nazi Germany This first translated volume covers 1933 1941Klemperer understood the personal threats Nazism posed for him and others like him He recognized in April 1933 that he was “nowat the mercy of an arbitrary power” Within two years the threats became visceral “I truly expect that one day our little house will be set alight and I shall be beaten to death” Less than three months after Hitler came to power he was “almost used to the condition of being without rights” and noted how official propaganda became “the opposite of a democratic press is the disciplined press”Compounding their dread was the abandonment and marginalization of their friends colleagues and neighbors “No one dares write” he wrote later adding “but everywhere complete helplessness cowardice fear” Yet there was also a perverse acceptance and support for Hitler he noted in May 1936 “The majority of the people is content a small group accepts Hitler as the lesser evil no one really wants to be rid of him” Two years later he was “ever convinced that Hitler truly speaks for or less all Germans” As bad as many might have thought the Nazis were many believed “the Communists and that would be even worse” leading him to conclude “the saddest thing about it is that everyone now reckons only with extreme governments NSDAP or Communism—as if there were nothing in between” As a veteran of WWI Klemperer was a German first but the daily indignities led him to conclude “No one can my Germanness away from me but my nationalism and patriotism are gone forever”As early as December 31 1933 Klemperer anticipated Hannah Arendt’s thesis in The Origins of Totalitarianism to “equate National Socialism and Communism both are materialistic and tyrannical both disregard and negate the freedom of the spirit and the individual” Being an academic who lost his position at the university he understood that “they do not want anyone to study intellect scholarship are the enemies” By 1941 he was succinct “Always and everywhere National Socialism does not want to know to think only believeThe main thing for tyrannies of any kind is the suppression of the urge to ask questions”Another difficulty for Klemperer was that he himself did not consider himself to be a Jew Indeed although he would have liked to emigrate—as many of his family members and colleagues did—he was very critical of Zionists who he felt were “are just as offensive as the Nazis” and “exchanged nationalism and narrowness for nationalism and narrowness” His strong opinions caused further isolation even among the Jewish community “No one will help us To the Jews I am apostate” Feelings of isolation intensified in his rare communications with friends and family who emigrated His nephew who settled in Chicago “has no idea of the difficulties here Obtain a visitor’s visa immediately—how easy he thinks it is” Instead he and Eva continued to “go on living fatalistically”Regardless of his deep convictions however Klemperer and Eva were still subject to every legal and social restriction that applied to all Jews Not only was his profession denied him but so was over time his ability to learn and read “In the morning of October 9 1936 at the library I was told gently that as a non Aryan I was no longer allowed to use the reading room They will let me take everything home or give it to me in the catalog room but an official ban has been issued for the reading room” On December 3 1938 shortly after Kristallnacht Klemperer was banned from “using the library” The man who informed him “was distressed beyond words I had to calm him He stroked my hand the whole time he could not hold back the tears” leading Klemperer to write “But these few sympathizing and in despair are isolated and they too are afraid” because “Aryan friends of the Jews are always treated worse than Jews themselves” Other ramifications after Kristallnacht included a prohibition for Jews to go to movie theaters have driver’s licenses and increases in taxes which made it difficult for them to emigrate and “all Jewish doctors were struck from the Medical Registerso they can starve” After the invasion of Poland restrictions increased including limits on withdrawals from bank accounts and curfews for Jews after 8 pm Klemperer’s contemporaneous writing debunks notions that average Germans were unaware of the atrocities committed in their nation’s name For example word of the building of the new Buchenwald concentration camp in became common knowledge “no one comes back from there a second time between ten and twenty people die every day anyway” He notes the November 8 1939 assassination attempt on Hitler at the Munich Bürgerbräu had him “reckoning with arrest concentration camp perhaps also the bullet” since “we know the culprits England and behind it Jewry” He also notes in August 1941 that “there is widespread talk now of the killing of the mentally ill in the asylums” which turned out to be one of the few times Nazi policies were changed due to public outcryPopular knowledge of the reality of Nazi Germany was also underscored in anecdotes and urban legends implying than they said especially since “dissemination carries the threat of prison A man in Berlin takes his wife to the hospital so she can give birth A picture of Christ hangs over the bed The man ‘Nurse that picture must go I don’t want the Jewboy to be the first thing by child sees’ The nurse She herself could not do anything about it she will report it In the evening he gets a telegram from the doctor ‘You have a son The picture did not need to be removed the child is blind’” Another story he recorded on September 7 1941 “A married couplelearn that all four of their sons have been killed in Russia The father hangs himself the mother hurls the picture of Hitler out of the window into the courtyard Half an hour later she is arrested ‘taken away’”Two instances of his prescience in his diaries are noteworthy One of his philosophical remarks that is as relevant today as when he wrote it right after the 1936 Olympics in Berlin was his recognition of “an absurd overestimation of sport the honor of the nation depends on whether a fellow citizen can jump four inches higher than all the rest” And when he is briefly imprisoned for not having followed rules during a blackout Klemperer has much time to reflect and realizes “It is honorable to be imprisoned now it will be advantageous to any future character reference” He foresaw how future generations would elevate the memory of those who resistedOccasionally Klemperer found fleeting moments of optimism and grace as he wrote on New Year’s Eve 1938 of “not having reached the last circle of hell for uncertainty is not the worst thing because in uncertainty there is still hope” In his few public forays Klemperer sometimes had quiet conversations with old friends and acquaintances on street cars only to revert to silence when “a man with a Party badge got onSuch incidents always give me hope for a quarter of an hour No ” Prior to Christmas 1939 many of his neighbors committed small acts of kindness A grocery store owner “slips me one bar of chocolate after another and the butcher writes on the back of a receipt For Christmas we have put by a tongue for you” Some even gave secret gifts of books “an expression of courage and a profession of opposition It is a most significant symptom of the general mood In return I gave her Germinal” These acts of kindness prompted him to write on New Year’s Eve 1939 “I am now convinced that National Socialism will collapse in the coming year Perhaps we shall perish with it—but it will certainly end and with it one way or another the terror” He often “encounters much sympathy people help me out but fearfully of course”What little optimism he had was quashed by the swift military success Germany has in Holland Belgium and France “Historical development takes time that an individual human being has And I fear Hitler’s halo of invincibility” By the end of May 1940 he notes “ Everybody in the Jewish house absolutely certain of German victory” Even when wounded soldiers return home for treatment cries of “It’s the Jews fault” only deepen despair Widespread rumors of England’s capitulation were also taken as fact until the air raids began In the beginning of 1941 Klemperer realizes that the good news from the front must be false based on what he sees around him the quality and quantity of meat is severely curtailed ersatz coffee replaces the real thing restrictions on Jews multiply—higher taxes confiscation of typewriters stricter emigration rules prohibitions of half Jews from serving on the front lines milk delivery for Jews becomes illegal increased police checks at Jewish homes bans on smoking for Jews—everything belies official propagandaKlemperer considered September 19 1941 to be the worst day of life when he was required to wear the yellow Star of David even though he wrote in 1938 that “for half a day I thought now one must find the courage for suicide” Perhaps than anything it brought back the words he had written in 1933 “I must live here and die here” As hard as his life had been since 1933 he could not have imagined that things would get even worse as he would describe the events of 1942 1945

  8. says:

    Most surprising was how quickly after 1933 that the vise began to tighten on Klemperer and his fellow Jews Second most surprising is how orderly and law abiding it all was in a twisted sense Over the next 12 years the Jews' rights and privileges were reduced one by one as Klemperer lost lost his prestigious university job his house his food rations his rights to use Dresden's transportation etc Then when almost all Jewish rights were gone and the deportation orders began to be enforced there was still a pecking order which was by and large upheld by the local authorities Klemperer watched the majority of his fellow Jews go to the camps with little illusion as to what awaited them there He avoided deportation longer than the rest because his wife was an Aryan and he was a WWI veteran Still he was next on the list when the Allied bombing of Dresden occurred and he and his wife escaped in the chaos Klemperer comes across as a fairly priggish cuss you'll tire of his self regard and his constant references to the work on his dix huitieme an academic study of 18th century French thought But that makes him a real person dealing with the tedium and trials of daily life under a regime that he watched turn from menacing to murderous trying to make sense of it all

  9. says:

    In April 1935 Klemperer 1881 1960 was a Protestant professor of French literature at Dresden University and a veteran of WWI By early May he was simply a Jew and like other Jews forcibly retired His marriage to an Aryan woman gave him some small protection By 1945 he was one of only 198 registered Jews left in Dresden Through it all Klemperer kept a diary that was not intended to be published It is a detailed account of living under the Nazis indignity piled on indignity all that he his wife cared about stripped away In the second volume 1942 1945 indignity becomes brutality and terror He wrote down everything in minute detail The two volumes read them in order are probably the most extraordinary eye witness account about life in Nazi Germany ever written It is powerful reading

  10. says:

    We all know of Anne Frank's tragic testimony to people's inhumanity when they are possessed by a vainglorious impression of themselves Superiority is clearly defined by how humanely you treat the vulnerable and not how easily you decide to crush the defencelessVictor Klemperer's two volume diaries are simply the most significant publication in recent years in any historical discipline While we are amazed by Frank's maturity in her observation and style and above all her resilience Klemperer is the better writer This is not solely due to his mature years but also to the fact that he was a professor of literature at Dresden University His writing style reflects his academic training as does his perceptive understanding of the times he was living throughWhat led to the Second World War was the gradual mutation of German society from a modern democratic society to one prepared to first accept a dictator and then follow him blindly down the road to European domination What was it then that enabled this to occur at grass roots level? Klemperer gives us fundamental insights into this question while documenting the acerbic hate towards the Jews and the daily atmosphere inside a country taken over by a military mindset He also paints a surprising picture of a German social kaleidoscope split between those who are openly aggressive alongside those who are secretively compassionateVictor Klemperer had no alternative but to bear witness and leave as his last will and testament an accurate document of what he and others were subjected to the moment society went to the wall and civilised acceptance of others' differences was exchanged for unremitting intolerance and accusationThe diaries are an integral part of clarifying the extent to which the ordinary German was responsible for Hitler's policies and the resultant Holocaust The poignant two volume memoirs are now standard texts in this field of studyTherefore for anyone with a serious interest in Nazi Germany this is a must read whether they be an armchair academic or Oxbridge Ivy League aspiring Don