|Plot Summary of I Will Bear Witness|
|"Difficult reading because of repetitve nature of the diary. This journal of the quotidian existence of a philology professor and his wife, living in Dresden during the terrible Hotler years, bears witness to the horror of the Nazi regime and the effect it had on ther German citiznes, Gentile and Jew alike."
Norman Kiell, Resident Scholar
|"'I WILL BEAR WITNESS",the diary of Victor Klemperer, A German Jew, kept during the Nazi years, 1933-1941, is a harrowingk, painful,but always enlightening account of survival over degradation and certain death.
Klemperer, a Jew who who considered himself fundamentally German, married Eva Schlemmer,a Protestant musician,who shared his life for the next 45 years, in 1906. But marriage to an "Aryan" did not spare him the humiliating, constricted life Jews led after Hitler seized power in 1933.
The diary describes how he was first stripped of his position of Professor of Romance Languages adn Literature at Dresden Technical University, and then, how he and Eva were forced to leave the modest home they had built in the city's suburb and move into a "Jews House" in Dresden.
Little by litle, all the amenities that Klemperer had become accustomed to; his car, his home, and finally, even his typewriter, the crowning insult to a writer, were taken away.
Klemperer also kept a record of how the Nazi regime distorted the German language. Exaggeration was one of the devices used by the propaganda machine. Examples included; ,"The order for a thousand years" for the Third Reich,and "We are building a hall for 60,000 people, the biggest opera house in the globe"Klemperer called these terms,"religious madness", and described Hitler an "absolute master" who "shouts in a strained voice like a drunken and paranoid laborer..(in)..the unctuous bawling, truly bawling of a priest".
A "tour de force" in "I WILL BEAR WITNESS" is the description of eight days Klemperer spent in solitary confinement, deprived of reading or writing materials. At the end of the second day, Klemperer seized upon the strategy of imagining he was dictating his diary to his wife. In this way, he was able to endure the extreme punishment and write about it later.
The diary ends in the December, 1941.Later, we learn that Victor and Eva escaped from Dresden during the firebombing of the city by the Allies in 1945.When the war ended, his home and job restored to him, Klemperer lived to see his books and diary published.
"I WILL BEAR WITNESS" is a remarkable document of those terrible times.
Betty-Jeanne Korson, Resident Scholar
|Review Analysis of I Will Bear Witness|
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Ratings are on a 1-10 scale (Low to High)
Political/social rights fight
- minorities fighting for rights
- religious issues
War/Cloak & Dagger story?
- impact on civilian
Subject of Biography
Is this an ordinary person caught up in events?
How sensitive is this person?
- sensitive to others' feelings
Sense of humor
- Cynical sense of humor
- Smarter than most other people
- physically sick
- mostly 1st
Accounts of torture and death?
- explicit references to deaths
Commentary on society?
- wicked men
Writer's slant towards subject:
- very unfavorable
How much dialogue in bio?
- significantly more descript than dialog
How much of bio focuses on most famous period of life?
- 76%-100% of book
How much is philosophy rather than life story?
- 26-50% of book