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Open AccessArticle

“Zwischen allen Stühlen”: Reflections on Judaism in Germany in Victor Klemperer’s Post-Holocaust Diaries

by Arvi Sepp 1,2
1
Linguistics and Literary Studies, Vrije Universiteit Brussel, Brussels 1050, Belgium
2
Institute for Jewish Studies, University of Antwerp, Antwerp 2000, Belgium
Humanities 2019, 8(4), 168; https://doi.org/10.3390/h8040168
Received: 3 July 2019 / Revised: 20 September 2019 / Accepted: 20 October 2019 / Published: 23 October 2019
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Revisiting German Jewish Writing & Culture, 1945-1975)
This article focuses as a case study on Victor Klemperer’s diaristic representation of German-Jewish identity and culture after 1945 in the Soviet Occupation Zone and the GDR. The contribution shows how Klemperer’s professional and social situation remained very uncomfortable even in East Germany. For the diarist, the communist code ‘antifascist/fascist’, just like the code ‘German/un-German’ before it, was tantamount to concealing Jewish origin. His post-Holocaust journals provide an immediate insider’s view of Jewish life in Germany after the Holocaust from the perspective of a victim of active persecution. Against this backdrop, the contribution examines how the author’s original German nationalism gradually makes way, caught between contradictory impulses of assimilation and decreed Jewish identity, for a much more complex understanding of his own cultural identity. Klemperer’s diaries highlight a number of tensions that ultimately reflect on the disjunction between living and writing: The divide between a single and changing self lies at the heart of his diaries after 1945, which depict an astute, complex psychogram of the assimilated German-Jewish bourgeoisie that survived the Holocaust and tried to continue living in communist Germany. View Full-Text
Keywords: victor klemperer; gdr; german-jewish identity; post holocaust writing; diaries victor klemperer; gdr; german-jewish identity; post holocaust writing; diaries
MDPI and ACS Style

Sepp, A. “Zwischen allen Stühlen”: Reflections on Judaism in Germany in Victor Klemperer’s Post-Holocaust Diaries. Humanities 2019, 8, 168.

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