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I Will Bear Witness: A Diary of the Nazi Years, 1933-1941 Paperback – November 15, 1999


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I Will Bear Witness: A Diary of the Nazi Years, 1933-1941 + I Will Bear Witness 1942-1945: A Diary of the Nazi Years + Survival In Auschwitz
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 544 pages
  • Publisher: Modern Library; New edition edition (November 15, 1999)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0375753788
  • ISBN-13: 978-0375753787
  • Product Dimensions: 8 x 5.2 x 1.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.5 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (43 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #76,356 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

"One of the great testimonies of our century. . . . Klemperer's ability to grasp moods and attitudes has a truly Dickensian quality."   --Los Angeles Times

"What has been called one of the most remarkable documents to come out of the Second World War turns out to be one of the most compulsively readable books of the year."        --The San Diego Union Tribune

"For the next generation of historians, Klemperer's diaries will be required reading."  --Gordon Craig, The New York Review of Books

"To read his almost day-by-day account is a hypnotic experience; the whole, hard to put down, is a true murder mystery--from the perspective of the victim."--Peter Gay, The New York Times Book Review

From the Back Cover


"One of the great testimonies of our century. . . . Klemperer's ability to grasp moods and attitudes has a truly Dickensian quality." --Los Angeles Times

"What has been called one of the most remarkable documents to come out of the Second World War turns out to be one of the most compulsively readable books of the year."

--The San Diego Union Tribune

"For the next generation of historians, Klemperer's diaries will be required reading." --Gordon Craig, The New York Review of Books

"To read his almost day-by-day account is a hypnotic experience; the whole, hard to put down, is a true murder mystery--from the perspective of the victim."--Peter Gay, The New York Times Book Review


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Customer Reviews

This poignant book is quite unique.
Ronald H. Clark
I can really think of nothing to say other than I truly believe the world would be a better place if everyone read this book and the follow up volume.
busterv
With the words "Perhaps this is my last entry", Klemperer records his feelings and his love for his wife Eva.
Robert Muirhead

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

19 of 19 people found the following review helpful By Mr Mondo on June 19, 2004
Format: Paperback
You probably remember the old folk wisdom that a frog plunged into boiling water will hop out immediately, while a frog placed in cold water that is slowly heated will stay put even as it's boiled to death. The latter method was applied to Germany's Jews beginning in 1933, when Hitler became Chancellor and effectively ended the Weimar Republic overnight. Victor Klemperer, the irascible philologist who kept a diary for most of his adult life, is a most discerning frog. This volume of his diaries stretches from Hitler's ascent to power to the outbreak of World War II. During that time, Klemperer and his fellow Jews in Dresden saw their civil liberties slowly stripped away from them, along with their property and money.
What makes this such a fascinating read is Klemperer himself. By turns depressed, anxious and furious, this gentle, learned man discovers that his pride in being a true German is misplaced. Although Klemperer has converted to Christianity out of sincere solidarity with what he perceives as his true culture, this does nothing to make him anything but a Jew in the eyes of National Socialism. His shock at this discovery is soon matched by a determination to outlast his tormentors or, at least, avoid a terrible fate at their hands for as long as possible.
Why Germany fell prey to such atypical thuggery will remain a bone of contention for historians for centuries to come. But Victor Klemperer's diaries make it clear that, from the start, the Nazis intended to live down to their reputation. It is equally clear that, for Jew and Gentile alike, many Germans found themselves unable to fathom the evil of Hitler's regime until it was much too late.
Getting to know Klemperer through his diary is an enjoyable experience.
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18 of 18 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on December 9, 1999
Format: Paperback
If you like journals and diaries (and are a historical buff as well)you will be spell-bound by this book. Because there is so very much detail of Victor's day-to-day life, you are soon living with him as he documents his worries of money and losing the joys of his life - one by one -to the threshold of death. You dread what the next day will bring right along with him. It is a very human book showing all of Victor's foibles and irritating tendencies which are many. But you end up liking him anyway because he bears up under the horrors with spurts of courage and conviction and you know you could do no better, if as well. It is far too vivid in showing the truth of man's inhumanity to man to allow you to remain comfortable while reading it, but unlike many other books of that era, Victor's diaries are about the little things we live with and understand and constantly made me ask myself "would I have done the right thing in this or that circumstance." Because it is a two-part diary (the second half is just in the process of being published,I think), the worst was having it abruptly end! Having lived with Victor literally for so long I felt ripped apart from his life when the first book ended.
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14 of 15 people found the following review helpful By Cynthia S. Froning on April 7, 2003
Format: Paperback
Klemperer's diary provides an immediate, close-focus view of (in this volume) pre-war and (in the second) wartime Nazi Germany. He was a steady diarist, an intelligent, thinking man, and his dedication in maintaining his diary through months and years of deprivation and abuse was a profound gift to us all. After reading the facts concering Hitler's rise to power and its outcome, it is fascinating to see how these events were viewed by a German citizen and a Jew. Klemperer makes it clear that those with open eyes knew the evil of the Nazis from the first, so that claiming ignorance after the war is a poor excuse. On the other hand, he also shows how the Nazis consilidated their grip on power and played on the fears of the German people. I found it particularly interesting how successful the Nazis were at playing up the communist menace; how many times in Klemperer's diaries does someone state that the Nazis are tolerable because they are keeping out the communists, as though only those two choices were possible? It is the little tidbits such as this, the thoughts of the Germans, gentile and Jew, as they marched toward their doom, that makes Klemperer's diary so fascinating.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Ronald H. Clark VINE VOICE on May 24, 2004
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This poignant book is quite unique. Written as a diary, and not intended to be published, Klemperer's book is like no other I have read in conveying the impact upon one couple of the Nazi's repressive regime. Virtually day after day, Klemperer recounts how he and his wife (who was not Jewish) bear the brunt of an endless array of irritating and debilitating Nazi policies. For example, he loses his teaching position; he is divested of his car; his house is "rented" to an Aryan; the couple is forced to move into and share a home with other Jewish individuals; his bank accounts are frozen; the couple's food and clothing rations are cut; and on and on in and endless procession of indignities. The human dimension of these repressive Nazi practices emerges with such startling force one simply is amazed that the couple surived at all. A moving and valuable addition to the literature of the period.
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12 of 13 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on October 29, 2000
Format: Paperback
Do not buy the paperback version if you have any significant visual difficulties. The publisher has shamelessly used such light type and a miniscule typestyle that it's an absolutely excruciating task to read..
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