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

Linguistics and Literary Studies, Vrije Universiteit Brussel, Brussels 1050, Belgium
Institute for Jewish Studies, University of Antwerp, Antwerp 2000, Belgium
Humanities 2019, 8(4), 168;
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.

After 1945, the German–Jewish diarist Victor Klemperer finally had to come to terms with the fact that Germanness referred not only to the history of ideas and culture; that it stood not only for Kant, Lessing, Goethe and Humboldt, but also for the Holocaust and ignorance. The emancipatory significance of its educational capital, and its orientation towards classical German cultural heritage, was clearly in need of revision. Until the 1930s, many German intellectuals of Jewish origin shared Klemperer’s relationship to Germany and the German language, but, after the Holocaust, those who had survived usually perceived this German identity as a mere reminder of a lost spiritual world, while Klemperer believed, from the depths of his soul, that he would find this identity again in the German Democratic Republic.
In his essay, “Gott schütz uns vor den guten Menschen”, the Austrian–Jewish writer Robert Schindel draws our attention to the dialectic of homeland and homelessness as a fundamental experience of Jewish identity:
Heimat zu produzieren inmitten der Heimatlosigkeit selbst. Hier geht es um den Unterschied, der darin besteht, ob ich eine Heimat vorfinde, in die sie hineingeboren werde, oder ob ich eine Heimat nach und nach erst produzieren muß, in die vorgefundene Umwelt hinein, denn diese Umwelt hat uns Juden stets gelehrt, daß sie unsere Heimat nicht sein mag.
The feeling of homelessness gradually played a central role in Klemperer’s diaries, as well. Yet the everyday course of daily life, and the continuous practice of registration, counteracted the historical events of the Third Reich as much as possible. His records thus created a reserve of order and hope in a state of emergency, and offered a compensatory alternative to the deficits, contradictions, and constraints of reality. In its narrative, created through the daily writing process, Klemperer’s diary placed unalienated life, and his own national identity and personal autonomy, which the National Socialist society denied, within reach. Against this background, Victor Klemperer’s diaristic testimony also serves as a mirror-inverted historiography of National Socialism, since the historical world described in the diaries becomes a reflection of one’s own exclusion, one’s own homelessness. More and more, this search for a stable self became a search for a newly defined Heimat, an uncanny attempt to re-establish a connection with one’s own origin.2
With the collapse of the narrative of a unified Germany, and its corresponding values, Klemperer is consequently forced to reflect upon his position and identity and to reorient himself, once again, in the Soviet Occupation Zone and the GDR. In this sense, the diary is, for Klemperer, an important means of social and cultural identity formation, and has an autotherapeutic function for the diarist, as the recording of his experience also serves the purpose of mastering it. As a result, the diary becomes a site of auto-hospitality, which provides the “I” with a fixed abode in times of homelessness, a space in which the author is welcome. In ZwischenWeltenSchreiben. Literaturen ohne festen Wohnsitz, Ottmar Ette writes in this regard: “Der Belagerungszustand des Ich führt zur Schaffung von Räumen des Widerstands, die im Körper-Leib des Ich jenseits des Denkens ihren eigentlichen (Zufluchts-)Ort finden.” ((Ette 2005, p. 49); italics in the original)3 Accordingly, Klemperer’s diary is a refugium, a place of refuge in written self-communication.
Immediately after the end of the war, Klemperer’s attribution of identity fluctuated between critical distance from, and national loyalty to, Germany. This ambivalence manifested itself even before the war ended, between January and April, 1945. Klemperer reflected on the end of the war not only as it related to liberation, but also as a humiliated German citizen, who was ashamed of the fascist corruption of German culture: “[I]ch finge an rot zu sehen, wenn ich bloß das Wort ‚deutsche Kultur’ hörte.” (ZAII, p. 640 [15.1.1945])4 The philologist was ashamed of “des Verfalls und der Verräterei deutscher Intelligenz, deutscher Sittlichkeit.” (ibid., p. 705 [21.3.1945])5 Thus, for Klemperer, the word “German” had not become synonymous with “mass murder” or “totalitarianism”, but, rather, still possessed an aura of the human and the universal. He had given up patriotism and nationalism, but his self-image as a German and his sense of belonging to Germany were still intact. When he meets three young, unarmed German soldiers on the run in Upper Bavaria, he does not distrust them, he only feels compassion: “Die geduckten und hilflosen drei Soldaten waren wie eine Allegorie des verlorenen Krieges. Und so leidenschaftlich wir den Verlust dieses Krieges ersehnt haben, und so notwendig dieser Verlust für Deutschland ist (und wahrhaftig für die Menschheit)—die Jungen taten uns doch leid.” (ibid., p. 760 [29.4.1945])6 Shortly after surrender, an entry reads: “Am Schweizer Rundfunk erschütterte und packte mich der Satz einer alliierten Erklärung: Deutschland habe ‘aufgehört, als souveräner Staat zu existieren.’” (ibid., p. 778 [17.5.1945])7 Klemperer had mixed feelings about the loss of German sovereignty, as the following passage—a critical description of the American military presence in Munich—poignantly illustrates:
Und durch den Staub, den Schutt, das Lärmen des Sturms rasten immerfort die Cars der Amerikaner. [...] Sie fahren eilig und nonchalant, und die Deutschen trotten demütig zu Fuß, sie spucken überallhin die Fülle ihrer Zigarettenstummel, und die Deutschen sammeln die Stummel auf. Die Deutschen? Wir, die Befreiten, schleichen zu Fuß, wir bücken uns nach den Stummeln, wir die wir gestern noch die Unterdrückten waren, und die wir heute die Befreiten heißen, sind schließlich doch nur die Mitgefangenen und Mitgedemütigten. Merkwürdiger Konflikt in mir: Ich freue mich der Rache Gottes an den Henkersknechten des 3. Reichs [...], und ich empfinde es doch als grausam, wie nun die Sieger und Rächer durch die von ihnen so höllisch zugerichtete Stadt jagen.
(ibid., pp. 788–89 [22.5.1945]; italics in the original)8
The diarist judged both as a Jewish survivor and as a defeated German: “We” in the preceding passage refers to the Jewish survivors in Munich, who, according to Klemperer, in reality, suffered the same fate as the Germans—humiliation and co-captivity.9 His description of the Dresden bombing also expresses this highly ambivalent relationship between German and Jewish self-understanding. The diarist viewed his survival of this attack as an ambiguous privilege over the many German dead. In this context, Klemperer’s psychological identification with the German civilian population, from whose midst he had been expelled, is striking. Although for Klemperer, the destruction of the Elbe city meant, first and foremost, liberation from persecution and repression, he viewed it with ambivalence, for, while the hated Nazis were defeated, his beloved and idealized Germany had also became meaningless as a political power—was now a “kleine[r] Ackerstaat” (US, p. 80 [4.8.1945])10, since it would apparently be administered by the Allies: “Als unser Dresden zerstört wurde, fiel deutscherseits kein einziger Abwehrschuß mehr, stieg deutscherseits kein einziges Flugzeug mehr auf—die Vergeltung war da, aber sie traf Deutschland.” (LTI, p. 294)11 Germany was not Nazi Germany in Klemperer’s mind, it was the land of a dematerialized, supernatural Germanness, as he saw it exemplarily represented in Kant, Lessing and Goethe.12
In the final phase of the war, and the post-war period, rare moments showed that the diarist retained a certain Jewish self-image and had indeed accepted the proposed identification of recent years, as a Jew: “Sooft ich an den Schutthaufen Zeughausstraße 1 und 3 dachte und denke, hatte und habe doch auch ich das atavistische Gefühl: Jahwe! Dort hat man in Dresden die Synagoge niedergebrannt.” (ZAII, p. 675 [15.2.-17.2.1945])13 In the immediate post-war period, Klemperer clearly felt solidarity with Jewish survivors, who now occupied key positions in the Soviet occupation zone: “Sieg—aber um welchen Preis! O Jahwe!” (US, p. 184 [20.11.1945])14 On the other hand, the diarist feared that the aforementioned Jewish “victory”—a fateful Pyrrhic victory—would entail renewed hostility towards the Jews: “Es wird sehr bald heißen: sie [=die Juden, A.S.] drängen sich vor, sie rächen sich, sie sind die Gewinner: Hitler und Goebbels haben recht gehabt.” (ibid., p. 10 [17.6.1945]; cf. ibid., p. 195 [7.12.1945])15 Against this background, Klemperer was particularly wary of presenting himself as a Jew or of criticizing Germans. He was afraid of anti-Semitic reprisals: “Ich mag nur nicht als jüdischer Rachgeist und Triumphator erscheinen.” (ibid., p. 15 [20.6.1945])16
Although Germany had largely lost its emotional–symbiotic or nationalistic reference as a homeland for Klemperer after the Holocaust, he still declared himself in solidarity with his fatherland, the German state, in political and identificatory ways. The diarist explicitly expresses the will “am Wiederaufbau meines Vaterlandes mitwirken zu können; ich betonte ‚meines’, denn was mir auch geschehen ist, ich kann kein anderes haben.” (ibid., p. 88 [12.8.1945])17 For Klemperer, the founding of the GDR meant a reconnection to universality and humanism. The diarist, and with him a number of Jewish remigrants—artists, writers, intellectuals—once again hoped for a German–Jewish symbiosis, secured by the anti-fascism decreed by the state, which would go hand in hand with the complete denazification of the Soviet Occupation Zone/GDR (cf. Jung 1999, p. 67).18 Klemperer’s professional and social situation remained very uncomfortable, even in the GDR. He no longer wanted to accept his continued classification as a “Jew” in all areas of life. Rather, he sought general recognition, as a human being, as a German citizen, as a scientist and—despite his earlier aversion to Marxism—even as a communist. The general public and the fight against any particularism were Klemperer’s aims until the end. When, for example, the GDR newspaper Deutschlands Stimme asked him to write an eyewitness report of the destruction of Dresden, he gave himself the following order in his diary: “[I]ch mag nicht die Judenerinnerung schreiben, ich muß mich allgemein halten.” (SSII, p. 6 [7.1.1950])19 At a meeting for the victims of fascism in 1947, the diarist was evidently disturbed by the constant dichotomization of “German” and “Jewish” in the speeches. Klemperer found the overemphasis of the Jewish extremely unpleasant, perhaps because it served as a kind of revelation of his own otherness, which he wanted to hide from the outside world at all costs.20 Accordingly, he abhorred the term “racially persecuted” and the plea for “equal consideration of the Jews”. Against this background, the diarist objected in a way that conformed to the Party: “Ich hatte eingegriffen u. betont, daß ich alle Differenzierungen von Jud u. Christ ablehnte u. nur Faschisten u. Antifaschisten anerkennte.” (SSI, p. 340 [19.1.1947])21 For the diarist, the communist code “antifascist/fascist”, just like the code “German/un-German” before it, was tantamount to concealing Jewish origin.
Against this background, it is particularly revealing that, on the occasion of a planned laudation in 1953, for which he had already seen the printed version, Victor Klemperer expressed his displeasure at the fact that, in the speech, “etwas viel vom Sohn des Rabbiners, Judenleid etc. die Rede war. Ich schrieb [...] mit eindeutigster Klarheit: mir sei Philosemitismus genauso peinlich wie Antisemitismus. Ich bin deutscher u. Kommunist, sonst nichts. Übrigens sei die Folge des Philosem. bestimmt nur eine neue Verstärkung des Antisem.“ (SSII, p. 351 [2.1.1953]; cf. ibid., p. 353 [19.1.1953])22 Peter Gay describes the newly emerging “philosemitism” of the Germans, their “newly discovered love for everything Jewish”, as “white anti-Semitism”:
1945 gab es etwa 15 000 Juden im Lande verglichen mit einer halben Million 1933, und sie wurden von den nichtjüdischen Deutschen mit einer Art schmieriger Zuvorkommenheit behandelt, mit auffälliger Bewunderung für alles, was Juden sagten, taten oder glaubten. Mit tiefer Ironie verspotteten jene, denen diese Behandlung galt, die neuentdeckte Liebe für alles Jüdische, gleich wie ehrlich, als ‚weißen Antisemitismus’.
This “philosemitism” was widespread, not least because it seemed to render a confrontation between anti-Semitism, one’s own attitude towards the regime, and the Nazi outrages against humanity, superfluous (cf. Bajohr and Pohl 2006, p. 79; Greiner 1997, p. 150). A further reason, or ulterior motive, for this suddenly revived sympathy for Jewish fellow citizens, might lie in the fact that former party members of the NSDAP sought to acquire the favor of former Jewish acquaintances, in order to then ask them for a discharge certificate for their denazification. In an entry from September, 1945, Klemperer records such a process:
Einmal traf ich unterwegs Schnauder, den durchaus freundlichen Prokuristen der Firma Schlüter […]. Gestern schickte er seinen Sohn zu mir mit der Bitte um ein Attest, daß er trotz seines Hakenkreuzes judenfreundlich gewesen. […] Ich schrieb das Zeugnis.
(US, pp. 117–18 [6.9.1945]; italics in the original)24
Yet, anti-Semitism still existed, and the diaries vividly describe its renewed rise.25 Following the end of the war, the fear of a new wave of anti-Semitism preoccupied Klemperer (see US, p. 137 [18.9.1945]), making him particularly sensitive to foreign and self-portrayals of what is Jewish. At a congress of the Union of Persecutees of the Nazi Regime, the “Vereinigung der Verfolgten des Naziregimes” (VVN), in 1947, Julius Meyer gave a speech in which he referred to the “Jewish people”, separating them completely from the Germans. In accordance with his lifelong aspiration to assimilate, Victor Klemperer wholly disagreed with the concept of an ethnically or politically defined Jewish collective, and was angry that the speaker spoke about Jews: “wie man von den Polen u. Russen spricht, u. isolierte sich feindselig, nicht von den Nazis, sondern von Deutschland überhaupt. ‚Wir werden es nie vergessen, nicht die Kristallnacht, nicht die 6 Millionen Tote.’” (SSI, p. 354 [28.2.1947]; italics in the original)26 The fear of a new climax of anti-Semitism runs unceasingly through the diaries of the GDR era. The diarist fearfully states: “Ständiges Wachsen des Antisemitismus, auch in der SED.” (ibid., p. 614 [16.12.1948])27 In letters and conversations from the early post-war years, acquaintances and friends of the Klemperers also expressed their inner unease and concern about the subliminal, undiminished hostility towards Jews among the East German population. Against this background, the diarist records the statements of three acquaintances: “Kussy [...]: die Jugend sei durchaus nazistisch, durchaus gegen Kommunisten u. Russen.—Ein Brief Frau Lisl Stühlers aus München: Nazismus u. mehr Antisemitismus als je. Bernhard St: ‘Wenn meine Mitschüler wüßten, daß ich Jude bin, verkehrte keiner mit mir!’” (ibid., p. 247 [25.5.1946])28
The diaries from the GDR era clearly depict how the apolitical, liberal, educated citizen Klemperer chooses the GDR. Despite the fact that, in communism, he is “Arbeiter tertio loco” (US, p. 167 [26.10.1945]; italics in the original)29, Klemperer tries to come to terms with the new system, in order to cooperate with the “Auspumpen der Jauchengrube Deutschland […]” (ZAII, pp. 876-77 [20.6.1946])30 Between his conservative values from the pre-war period and the communist ideals demanded of him in the GDR, Klemperer again found himself in an anomalous state.
Klemperer’s criticism of communism, which he had consistently compared with National Socialism under the Hitler regime, now turns into an ambivalent commitment in favor of the GDR (cf. Aschheim 2002, p. 186). On the one hand, Klemperer considers the GDR to be “innerlich verlogen” (SSI, p. 692 [12.10.1949]).31 On the other hand, he reminds himself: “Ich glaube aber, ich muß bei der radikalen u. russophilen Linie bleiben, sie ist nicht schön, aber doch wohl notwendig.” (ibid., p. 426 [2.9.1947]; italics in the original)32 Despite its weaknesses, the GDR’s state-mandated anti-fascism strikes him as the safest protection against anti-Semitism, as “das kleiner [sic] Übel” (US, p. 56 [14.7.1945])33 The criticism of political continuity, and of the lack of coming to terms with Germany’s Nazi past, is a constant in Klemperer’s GDR notes: “Mit all unsern Schwächen: wir sind doch die besseren Leute, Wahrheit u. Zukunft ist doch bei uns. Womit ich die SU u. die DDR meine. Ohne gegen die Engen u. Verkehrtheiten unsererseits blind zu sein.” (SSII, p. 245 [10.2.1952])34 Adenauer’s “Bonn Republic”, which he accuses of subliminal fascism, repels the diarist even more than the GDR dictatorship: “[S]timmungsmäßig hänge ich an unserer Sache und hasse den Bonner Nazismus noch mehr als unsere stupide u. geistlose Diktatur.” (ibid., p. 607 [1.3.1957])35 Ideologically, the GDR set itself radically apart from the Third Reich, and an equally radical new future was expected from the new founding of the state, which the official discourse presented in a quasi-messianic manner: “Die DDR koppelte sich von der deutschen Geschichte ab und erscheint in ihrem Selbstverständnis als kopfgeborene Territorialisierung offiziell-idealisierter KPD-Geschichte.” (Diner 1987, p. 63)36 Against this background, the diarist, who, during the imperial era, had even considered the Germans to be the “auserwählte Volk”, the “chosen people” (cf. CVI, p. 315), was in favor of giving up East German sovereignty for Soviet paternalism. The diary entries clearly demonstrate the transitory identity of the individual, as the breaks and paradoxes in his own value system come to the fore. The former anti-communist Klemperer has gradually become a proponent of the Soviet occupation:
Die Wandlung in mir! Als mir Wollschläger vor einer Zeit sagte, er wünschte, wir hier würden Sowjet-Bundesstaat, war ich erschüttert. Jetzt wünsche ich’s selber. Ich glaube nicht mehr an die einige deutsche Patria. Ich glaube wir könnten sehr wohl deutsche Kultur pflegen als sowjetischer Staat unter deutscher Führung.
(SSI, p. 187 [3.2.1946])37
Klemperer interpreted the popular uprising of 17 June, 1953, which was suppressed by the Soviet army, as a fascist counterrevolution, in accordance with the official communist party line.38 The Soviet authorities declared a state of emergency, and thus de facto took over the power of government in the GDR, a move with which Klemperer declared himself in complete agreement: “Für mich wirken die sowjetischen Panzer als Friedenstauben. Ich werde mich genauso lange sicher in meiner Haut u. Position fühlen, als die sowjetische Herrschaft bei uns währt.” (SSII, p. 390 [22.6.1953]; italics in the original)39
As a victim of fascism, he unintentionally became the personification of anti-fascism, embodying the spirit of communist ideology. Yet, internal tensions between bourgeois habitus and the desire for social recognition were enormous: his view of the world was still shaped by the universalistic, bourgeois, educational ideas of the imperial era and the Weimar Republic, and bourgeois humanism and individualism, as Klemperer advocated them, hardly shared any points of contact with Marxism (cf. Jacobs 2000, p. 330). The diarist was particularly skeptical of Marxist aesthetics, as he had admitted in a diary note from 1950: “[W]elche Enge, daß der Dichter nur seine eigene Klasse zu schildern vermag! Überhaupt steht hier Klasse wie bei den Nazis Art steht.” (SSII, p. 24 [16.4.1950]; italics in the original)40 On the occasion of a disputation in Romance languages, for which Klemperer served as a member of the examination commission, it became apparent to what extent he felt like a foreign body in a communist academic environment, given his bourgeois–individualistic frame of reference. Socialist realism and Marxist aesthetics did not interest him very much: “Von mir aus Farce. Ich fragte Literatur (Realismus u. Aufklärung); er antwortete, mir unverständlich, soziologisch marxistisch; ich ließ ihn reden u. sagte: sehr gut.” (SSII, p. 95 [12.10.1950]; italics in the original)41
In contrast to his original convictions, the numerous lectures Klemperer gave in the new state are mostly “scharf russophil”42 and refer to the rhetoric of Stalinist “humanism”. Self-mockingly, he calls himself a “Humanismuswalze” (ibid., p. 85 [12.9.1950]),43 and self-critically admonishes his abundance of speeches that always resemble each other, when he serves the “141. Currysauce zum gleichen Humanismusreis” (ibid., p. 256 [23.3.1952]).44 After so many years, he was very anxious to finally occupy a leading position; therefore, he was especially pleased about the career opportunities offered to him (see SSI, p. 532 [19.4.1948]). Despite his skepticism of communism and socialist realism, the ambitious philologist wanted to make up for lost time as quickly as possible after the end of the war, and to make up for his missed work. Essentially, he was only interested in one thing: continuing his career, and therefore “sofort [zu] versuchen [...], ins Spiel zu kommen” (ZAII, p. 778 [17.5.1945]): “Mein egoistischer Hintergedanke ist immerfort das Univ.-Katheder.” (US, p. 213 [23.12.1945])45 However, the ability to attain this position was connected to membership in the SED. Just as Victor Klemperer had converted to Protestantism during the imperial era in order to not stand on the sidelines, he converted to communism in the GDR. For the most part, his political conversion was purely expedient46 and hardly convincing from an ideological perspective, because the educated citizen, with conservative values, was anything but a Marxist, and had already criticized communism in the strongest terms before the Third Reich: “Es ist zwischen Hakenkreuz u. Sowjetstern kein Unterschied des Niveaus. Geistige Freiheit, bloßer geistiger Anstand fehlen.” (LSII, p. 752 [14.5.1932])47 His decision to join the party can largely be explained by his eager desire to be included and participate in society again, after the Holocaust.
The diarist embraced the gift of survival in order to make full use of his remaining time, and to make a fresh start, probably for the last time in his life, since he was already 64 years old in 1945. This personal and philosophical change was accompanied by a redefinition of the self. The turn to communism was a tremendous step in Klemperer’s self-understanding, since reconciling this ideology with his liberal–individualistic convictions was a delicate process. At the same time, the Romanist had to entirely correct his self-image as a German, which had previously been an important part of his identity. His decision was based on a complex interplay of a personal urge for recognition, professional opportunism, social self-interest and a certain humanistic idealism (cf. Aschheim 2002, pp. 188–89). As far as professional advancement was concerned, in the GDR the diarist achieved the social success that he had previously had to do without. In 1947, he was promoted to the presidential council of the Kulturbund; in 1948, he became chairman of this institution for Saxony–Anhalt; and, in 1950, he was elected to the Volkskammer parliament as a faction member of the Kulturbund: “Hier bin ich jemand, hier bin ich reich, hier bin ich vir doctissimus.” (SSII, p. 598 [13.1.1957]; italics in the original).48 Somewhat overestimating himself, Klemperer, looking back on these successful years, saw himself as the “Paradepferd der DDR” (ibid., p. 750 [6.6.1959]).49 Yet, at the same time, Klemperer faced the system of the GDR with constantly growing doubts. Already, he had established “die Halbheit [s]einer Natur” (CVI, p. 399)50 towards the authorities. In the GDR, too, he notes with horror that he belonged to the “Russian servants” against his will: “Ich rechne zu den Russenknechten, ich bin vorgemerkt, ich werde wahrscheinlich nicht ‚in meinem Bette sterben’.” (SSI, p. 692 [12.10.1949])51 The diarist was increasingly offended by the religious Stalin cult of the 1940s, which displayed many similarities with the Hitler cult in the Third Reich: “Und immer wieder Stalin. Dreimal bei besonders feierlicher Nennung seines Namens stand alles auf u. die Musik spielte. Primitive Vergottung weit über den Hitlerismus hinaus!!” (SSI, p. 699 [6.11.1949])52 Klemperer’s trip to China in 1958 was a drastic turning point, which dealt a severe blow to his ambivalent commitment to communism. His advocacy of Marxism–Leninism was, once and for all, a thing of the past:
Es ist mir [...] klar geworden, daß der Kommunismus gleicherweise geeignet ist, primitive Völker aus dem Urschlamm zu ziehen und civilisierte in den Urschlamm zurückzutauchen. Im zweiten Fall geht es verlogener zu Werk und wirkt nicht nur verdummend sondern ersittlichend, indem er durchweg zur Heuchelei erzieht. Ich bin gerade durch meine Chinareise u. bei der Anerkennung der gewaltigen Leistungen hier zum endgiltigen Antikommunisten geworden.
(SSII, p. 723 [24.10.1958])53
Despite this fundamental ideological unease, his public stance was characterized by absolute solidarity with Moscow. Klemperer was never truly able to free himself from this intermediate social area; he was always half a careerist, half an outsider. This ambivalence almost became his self-chosen motto when diary writing in the GDR: “Zwischen den Stühlen, immer zwischen den Stühlen—das müßte mein Ex libris sein!” (SSI, p. 637 [10.4.1949])54 This uncomfortable intermediate position followed the diarist like a shadow in all situations. Thus, until the end of his life, the philologist felt “am Platz der Nicht-für-voll-Geltung. Von Judenstern zu Judenstern.” (SSII, p. 601 [1.2.1957])55 His Judaism, his childhood in a rabbi family in West Prussia, his struggles in the Weimar period to get a professorial chair with his ancestry, his persecution in the Third Reich, being stylized as an eminent representative of the VVN, the Union of Persecutees of the Nazi Regime, in the GDR—these experiences never relinquished their hold on him. He could never rid himself of the feeling that he was not being judged solely on his abilities and his inner values. The diarist had renounced Judaism, but Judaism caught up with him again and again. Even in the workers’ and peasants’ state, Klemperer had to realize, at an advanced age, that his quest to negate his Judaism was basically a failed project: “[I]ch [gräme] mich über meine Blindheit. So bin ich durchs Leben gegangen, u. jetzt bin ich am Ende. Ich war damals allein—Jude, unbestimmt liberal u. in einer Gesellschaft, die mich nicht achtete; ich bin heute in einer Gesellschaft, die mich mißachtet.” (ibid., p. 504 [23.8.1955]; italics in the original)56 Even with a wife, Hadwig Klemperer, who was more than forty years younger, and her Catholic parents, the diarist could not rid himself of the uncanny feeling of otherness: “Ich selber fühle mich in der Minderheit—drei gegen einen—ich fühle mein Fremdsein: ein halbes Jahrhundert, ein Glaube, eine völlig andere Vergangenheit.” (ibid., p. 478 [12.4.1955])57 In the last chapter of Hannah Arendt’s Varnhagen book—“Aus dem Judentum kommt man nicht heraus“ (Arendt 1981, pp. 201–11)58—the philosopher explains how Rahel Varnhagen, paradigmatic embodiment of the dilemma of Jewish life in the context of emancipation in Prussia, had always subliminally taken the position of the pariah, although she had entered the Protestant church through baptism. According to Arendt, at the end of her life, Varnhagen had reconciled herself with her Judaism: “Rahel ist Jüdin und Paria geblieben.” (ibid., p. 210)59 Despite his lifelong struggle for recognition, Victor Klemperer was also an eternal pariah, a victim of arbitrariness and of the hazards of society and history. Klemperer pursued the “Position zwischen allen Stühlen” (SSI, p. 340 [19.1.1947]; italics in the original)60 nolens volens until the end of his life. He could not find a home in any religion, ideology, people, or nation. Even assimilation through religious or political conversion could not prevent Klemperer from remaining an eternal outsider—a reality he would have liked to deny.
In view of his painful exclusion under National Socialism, it may come as no surprise that Klemperer, who, in the GDR—the state of officially decreed antifascism—again aspired towards an academic career, rejected altogether any emphasis on being a Jew, which had previously been “zum Schimpfwort gestempelt“.61 On the occasion of a performance of Lessing’s Nathan the Wise, the first theater performance in Dresden after the end of the war, to which he had been personally invited by the mayor, the diarist criticizes the “obtrusive” emphasis on the Jewish in the play. Although the figure of Nathan—due to the postulates of interpersonal solidarity and virtuous action that Lessing developed—occupied a key position in the context of the emancipation of the Jews (cf. Mayer 1975, pp. 344–46; Wessels 1979, pp. 305–53) and also in Klemperer’s diaries of the Nazi period, Klemperer felt uneasy about the German emphasis on the “good Jew” in the play (cf. Fischer 2000, p. 146). Whether it was a game of reconciliation after the Nazi’s crimes, an attempt to make amends, or a revival of tolerance, Klemperer considered it dishonest to sing the praises of humanity, so closely intertwined with the history of Jewish emancipation, immediately after the Holocaust: “Nathan freilich empfand ich als aufdringliche Taktlosigkeit, Iphigenie wäre mir lieber gewesen.“ (US, p. 51 [11.7.1945])62 And further, in the same vein: “Sehr peinlich, wie gesagt, fand ich die Wahl des Judenstücks, obwohl mir wie schon vor Jahren auffiel, daß es sich gar nicht um eine Glorifikation der oder DES Juden handelt—‚was heißt denn Volk?’” (ibid., p. 54 [11.7.1945])63 Klemperer perceived the emphasis on the Jewish moment after the fall of the Hitler dictatorship as an obtrusiveness that could fuel anti-Semitism even more. Another example in this context: in the immediate post-war period, part of the first service of the first synagogue in Berlin was broadcast on the radio. Klemperer commented on this broadcast, which was sandwiched between cabaret pieces on the radio, as follows: “Scheußlich, einmal als Geschmacklosigkeit zwischen den Amüsements, Ent- nicht Einweihung, sodann als Betonung des jüdischen Sieges noch scheußlicher. Es unterstützt den bekämpften Natsoc.” (US, p. 62 [20.7.1945])64
That Germanness, which was fundamental to Klemperer’s self-understanding for a long time, and which he occasionally exaggerated to the point of nationalism, did not represent an empirically ascertainable factor, but rather served for him as a purely spiritual norm for culture, education and humanity, which was bound to a liberal and individualistic worldview. As Heide Gerstenberger (1997, p. 18) points out, this concept is “ein aus deutschem Kulturgut gewonnener Wesensbegriff.”65 This Germanness, as a concept, was detached from social reality, for it by no means referred to a concrete way in which Germans behaved (cf. Aschheim 2007, p. 164). The German nation, which had repeatedly rejected Klemperer, did not correspond to his ideal. Accordingly, he had constructed a “platonisches Bild der Deutschen” (CVI, p. 287)66, which did not correspond to reality. Victor Klemperer’s tragedy after the Holocaust stems, above all, from the impossibility of reconciling his Jewish origins with his belonging to a Germany that had rejected him, even though he saw it as a moral task and norm to do so. Klemperer’s Germanness thus represented a kind of transcendent, ideal state, a defensive mechanism that allowed him to assert his German identity, even—or particularly—during the Holocaust, and to deny it to the perpetrators and followers of Nazism.67
The artificiality of clearly separated (partial) identities comes to bear exemplarily in a genre such as the diary, because it is characterized by the absence of a coherent, teleological narrative order. The diary has not yet abstracted from concrete events and experiences. The dated sequence of propositions thus reveals the acting and perceiving subject’s difficulty in creating a stable self over time. The diaristic ego mediates its identity daily between self-conception and external perception. Klemperer’s reflections on German and Jewish identity after the Holocaust are thus not the fantastic musings of a single, private person, but rather are based on social exchange, and depend on the way in which the environment relates to him. Accordingly, Victor Klemperer’s post-war diaries highlight the fact that identity is always socially conveyed and context-dependent. Against this background, these records have an important cultural–historical significance, since they depict an astute, complex psychogram of the assimilated German–Jewish bourgeoisie. Klemperer’s diaries show that, for the subject, identity is an accomplishment or an attempt, that must be performed anew every day to ensure the experience of personal coherence. Indeed, his diary entries after 1945 reveal how his position in the GDR as a German–Jewish survivor of the Holocaust encouraged his pursuit of self-awareness: diary writing is, for him, a process that serves to reflect the origins of, and the tensions in, his identity. After the Third Reich, he continues to create a complex and engaging body of diary entries, that eloquently express the pressures between the past and the present, and between GDR mainstream and Jewish minority. While he maintains a distance from both Judaism and Marxism, the uneasy, singular, and decentered position of Jews and Jewish culture in East Germany lies at the heart of his diaries. The diaries of the border-crosser Victor Klemperer, which bear witness to the complexity of multiple identities, emphasize impressively how difficult it ultimately is to achieve such a coherence of the self—a forteriori in times of crisis.


This research received no external funding

Conflicts of Interest

The author declares no conflict of interest


In this contribution the following abbreviations of Klemperer’s works will be used:
CVIKlemperer, Victor. 1996. Curriculum Vitae: Erinnerungen 1881–1918. Band I. Hg. v. Walter Nowojski. Berlin: Aufbau Taschenbuch Verlag.
CVIIKlemperer, Victor. 1996. Curriculum Vitae: Erinnerungen 1881–1918. Band II. Hg. v. Walter Nowojski. Berlin: Aufbau Taschenbuch Verlag.
LSIIKlemperer, Victor. 1996. Leben sammeln, nicht fragen wozu und warum: Tagebücher 1925–1932. Band II. Hg. v. Walter Nowojski unter Mitarbeit von Christian Löser. Berlin: Aufbau-Verlag.
ZAIKlemperer, Victor. 1995. Ich will Zeugnis ablegen bis zum letzten: Tagebücher 1933–1941. Band I. Hg. v. Walter Nowojski unter Mitarbeit von Hadwig Klemperer. Berlin: Aufbau-Verlag.
ZAIIKlemperer, Victor. 1995. Ich will Zeugnis ablegen bis zum letzten: Tagebücher 1942–1945. Band II. Hg. v. Walter Nowojski unter Mitarbeit von Hadwig Klemperer. Berlin: Aufbau-Verlag.
USUnd so ist alles schwankend: Tagebücher Juni bis Dezember 1945. Hg. v. Günter Jäckel unter Mitarbeit von Hadwig Klemperer. Berlin: Aufbau Taschenbuch Verlag.
LTIKlemperer, Victor. 2001. LTI—Notizbuch eines Philologen. Leipzig: Reclam.
SSIKlemperer, Victor. 1999. So sitze ich denn zwischen allen Stühlen: Tagebücher des Victor Klemperer 1945–1949. Band I. Hg. v. Walter Nowojski unter Mitarbeit von Christian Löser. Berlin: Aufbau-Verlag.
SSIIKlemperer, Victor. 1999. So sitze ich denn zwischen allen Stühlen: Tagebücher des Victor Klemperer 1950–1959. Band II. Hg. v. Walter Nowojski unter Mitarbeit von Christian Löser. Berlin: Aufbau-Verlag.


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“to produce home in the midst of homelessness itself. This is about the difference which consists in whether I find a homeland into which it is born, or whether I have to produce a homeland step by step, into the found environment, for this environment has always taught us Jews that it may not be our home.” (Schindel 1995, pp. 33–34) All translations from the German in this contribution are mine.
For more information on the issue of “home/homelessness” in Victor Klemperer’s diaries, see, e.g., Sepp (2008) and Sepp (2016, pp. 200–12).
“The state of siege of the “I” leads to the creation of spaces of resistance, which find their true place (of refuge) in the organic and the lived body of the “I” beyond thought.” ((Ette 2005, p. 49); italics in the original).
“[I] would begin to see red if I so much as heard the word ‘German culture’.” (ZAII, p. 640 [15.1.1945]).
“the decline and treachery of German intelligence, German morality.” (ibid., p. 705 [21.3.1945]).
“The crouched and helpless three soldiers were like an allegory of the lost war. And as passionately as we have longed to lose this war, and as necessary as this loss is for Germany (and truly for mankind)—we felt sorry for the young.” (ibid., p. 760 [29.4.1945]).
“The sentence of an Allied declaration on the Swiss radio unsettled and gripped me: Germany had ‘ceased to exist as a sovereign state’.” (ibid., p. 778 [17.5.1945]).
“And the cars of the Americans raced constantly through the dust, the rubble, the noise of the storm. [...] They drive hastily and nonchalantly, and the Germans humbly trot on foot, they spit their many cigarette butts everywhere, and the Germans pick up the butts. The Germans? We, the liberated, sneak about on foot, we stoop for the butts, we who were still the oppressed yesterday and who are now called the liberated, are after all only the fellow prisoners and humiliated. A strange conflict in me: I rejoice in God’s revenge on the executioner’s assistants of the 3rd Reich [...], and I find it cruel how the victors and avengers now chase through the city they have so hellishly battered.” (ibid., pp. 788–89 [22.5.1945]; italics in the original).
In an interview with Bernard Reuter, Hadwig Klemperer, the diarist’s second wife, emphasizes that he had not found it difficult to choose Germany again after the Holocaust, because he still regarded himself as a German citizen: “[A]uf dem Rückweg von Bayern nach Dresden, da leidet er wie ein normaler Deutscher unter der Besatzungsmacht. [...] Und später, nach 1945 das Potsdamer Abkommen, Gott leidet der! Der leidet wie ein ganz deutscher Deutscher.” “On his way back from Bavaria to Dresden, he suffers like a normal German under the occupying power. [...] And later, after 1945, the Potsdam Agreement, my God, how he suffers! He suffers like a completely German German.” (Reuter 2002, p. 372).
“small agricultural state” (US, p. 80 [4.8.1945]).
“When our Dresden was destroyed, not a single defensive shot was fired on the German side anymore, not a single plane rose on the German side—the retaliation arrived, but it struck Germany.” (LTI, p. 294).
Even in the immediate post-war period, the diarist did not give up his ideal of the enlightened Prussian Germans: “Was mich an den Antifaschismus-Kundgebungen der KPD [...] am meisten stört, ist die Identification von ‚Preußengeist’ und natsoc. Mentalität. Das stimmt nicht.” (US, p. 124 [10.9.1945]; italics in the original) “What bothers me most about the anti-fascism demonstrations of the KPD [...] is the identification of ‘Prussian spirit’ and Nat[ional Soc[ialist] mentality. That is not true.” (US, p. 124 [10.9.1945]; italics in the original). Klemperer’s “Vorliebe für mein Preußen” (CVII, p. 365) “preference for my Prussia” (CVII, p. 365) was based on the concept of enlightened state thinking under Wilhelm II, which, according to Klemperer, represented the counterpart to “romantic”, irrational National Socialism.
“Whenever I thought and think of the rubble heaps at Zeughausstraße 1 and 3, I had and still have the atavistic feeling: Yahweh! They burned down the synagogue in Dresden there.” (ZAII, p. 675 [15.2.–17.2.1945]) The (ambivalent) Jewish element in Klemperer’s identity also seems to be expressed in the fact that immediately after the war—in July 1945—the diarist renamed his new tomcat Moritz “Moische” (see US, p. 62 [20.7.1945]). The diarist also noted, much to his regret, the decimation of the Dresden Jewish community: “[H]ier in Dresden hat es vor 33 eine Judengemeinde von 4stelliger Zahl gegeben, sie ist ausgerottet, es werden heute keine 100 Juden mehr hier leben.” (ibid., p. 195 [7.12.1945]) “[H]ere in Dresden there was a Jewish community numbering in the four digits before 33; it has been exterminated, there must not even be 100 Jews living here today”. (ibid., p. 195 [7.12.1945]) His reaction to the theatrical performance of Anne Frank’s diary many years later presents another extraordinary scene, from which a melancholic or nostalgic stance emerges, and which highlights his Jewish socialisation: “Ich dachte an meine Judenhaus-Erlebnisse. Ein Höhepunkt die Chanuka-Szene mit dem hebräischen Gesang—die Melodie habe ich vor vielen Jahrzehnten gehört.” (SSII, pp. 647-648 [14.2.1958]) “I thought of my Judenhaus experiences. A highlight, the Hanukkah scene with the Hebrew singing—I heard the melody many decades ago.” (SSII, pp. 647-648 [14.2.1958]).
“Victory—but at what price! O Yahweh!” (US, P. 184 [20.11.1945]).
“Very soon, people will say: they [=the Jews, A.S.] push themselves to the front, they take revenge, they are the winners: Hitler and Goebbels were right.” (ibid., p. 10 [17.6.1945]; cf. ibid., p. 195 [7.12.1945]).
“I just do not like to seem like a Jewish avenging spirit and triumphator.” (ibid., p. 15 [20.6.1945]).
“to participate in the reconstruction of my fatherland; I emphasized ‘mine’, because whatever has happened to me, I can have no other”. (ibid., p. 88 [12.8.1945]).
In this context, Anna Seghers and Arnold Zweig should also be mentioned as prominent and influential Jewish remigrants in the GDR. See Berg (2016) for a comparative analysis of Seghers’ and Klemperer’s experience in the early GDR, and Zuckermann (2002) for more details on the general position of German Jews in the GDR.
“[I] do not wish to write Jewish memory, I must remain general”. (SSII, p. 6 [7.1.1950]).
In the chapter “Elements of Anti-Semitism: Limits of Enlightenment” from Dialectic of Enlightenment, Adorno and Horkheimer highlight the de-specification and stereotypification of the image of the Jew in modernity: “Die den Individualismus, das abstrakte Recht, den Begriff der Person propagierten, sind nun zur Spezies degradiert. Die das Bürgerrecht, das ihnen die Qualität der Menschheit zusprechen sollte, nie ganz ohne Sorge besitzen durften, heißen wieder Der Jude, ohne Unterschied.” (Adorno and Horkheimer 2003, pp. 199–200) “They who were never allowed untroubled ownership of the civic right which should have granted them human dignity are again called ‘the Jews’ without distinction.” (Adorno and Horkheimer 2002, p. 144) Accordingly, Klemperer’s diaries offer pertinent insights into the ways in which the Jewish individual often continued to be associated with the “Jewish people” as a whole, also under communist rule. The diarist continuously struggled to reconcile his Jewish origins with his German sense of belonging.
I had intervened and emphasized that I rejected all differentiations of Jew and Christian and only recognized fascists and anti-fascists.” (SSI, p. 340 [19.1.1947]).
“there was a bit too much talk about the rabbi’s son, Jewish suffering, etc. I wrote [...] with the clearest clarity: I find philosemitism just as embarrassing as anti-Semitism. I am German and a communist, nothing else. By the way, the consequence of the philosophy will surely just be a new reinforcement of antisem.” (SSII, p. 351 [2.1.1953]; cf. ibid., p. 353 [19.1.1953]).
“In 1945, there were about 15,000 Jews in the country compared with half a million in 1933, and the non-Jewish Germans treated them with a kind of dirty courtesy, with conspicuous admiration for everything that Jews said, did, or believed. With profound irony, those treated in this way mocked the rediscovered love for everything Jewish, no matter how honest, as ‘white anti-Semitism’.” (Gay 1999, p. 213).
“Once, while I was out, I met Schnauder, the perfectly friendly authorized signatory of the Schlüter company [...]. Yesterday he sent his son to me with the request for an attestation that he had been favorably disposed towards the Jews despite his swastika. [...] I wrote the certificate.” (US, pp. 117-118 [6.9.1945]; italics in the original).
For further examples of anti-Semitic remarks and events in the Soviet Zone, see (ibid., p. 175 [4.1.1946]; ibid., p. 242 [11.5.1946]; ibid., p. 460 [12.11.1946]; ibid., p. 417 et seq. [14.8.1947]; ibid., p. 512 [22.2.1948]; ibid., p. 614 [16.12.1948]).
“how one speaks about the Poles and Russians, and isolated himself in a hostile fashion, not from the Nazis, but from Germany in general. ‘We will never forget it, not Kristallnacht, not the 6 million dead.’“ (SSI, p. 354 [28.2.1947]; italics in the original).
“Constant growth of anti-Semitism, also in the SED.” (ibid., p. 614 [16.12.1948]).
“Kussy [...]: the youth is certainly Nazi, certainly against Communists and Russians.—A letter from Mrs. Lisl Stühler from Munich: Nazism and more anti-Semitism than ever. Bernhard St: ‘If my classmates knew that I was Jewish, no one would associate with me’”. (ibid., p. 247 [25.5.1946]).
“a worker tertio loco” (US, p. 167 [26.10.1945]; italics in the original).
“cooperate in pumping dry the cesspool that is Germany”. (ZAII, p. 876–77 [20.6.1946]).
“internally hypocritical” (SSI, p. 692 [12.10.1949]).
“But I think I have to stick with the radical and russophilic line, it is not beautiful, but still necessary. (ibid., p. 426 [2.9.1947]; italics in the original).
“the lesser evil” (US, p. 56 [14.7.1945]).
“With all our weaknesses: we are nevertheless the better people, truth and future are with us, after all. By which I mean the SU and the GDR. Without in turn being blind to narrow-mindedness and inaccuracy.” (SSII, p. 245 [10.2.1952]).
“As far as my mood is concerned, I am attached to our cause and hate the Nazism of Bonn even more than our stupid and insipid dictatorship.” (ibid., p. 607 [1.3.1957]).
“The GDR detached itself from German history and appears in its self-understanding as the mentally created territorialization of officially idealized KPD history.” (Diner 1987, p. 63).
“The change in me! When Wollschläger told me a while ago that he wished we would become a Soviet state here, I was shocked. Now I wish it myself. I no longer believe in the united German patria. I think we could very well cultivate German culture as a Soviet state under German leadership.” (SSI, p. 187 [3.2.1946])37.
On Klemperer’s political stance with regard to the June Uprising, and on the general intellectual state of intelligence in the higher education sector in 1953, see Prokop (2003, pp. 96, 107–109, 135).
For me the Soviet tanks act as peace doves. I will feel safe in my own skin and position for as long as Soviet rule lasts here.” (SSII, p. 390 [22.6.1953]; italics in the original).
“[W]hat narrowness, that the poet can only describe his own class! In any event, class is used here the way the Nazis used kind.” (SSII, p. 24 [16.4.1950]; italics in the original).
“Farce, as far as I’m concerned. I asked [about] literature (realism and enlightenment); he answered, incomprehensible to me, in a sociologically Marxist fashion; I let him talk and said: very good.” (SSII, p. 95 [12.10.1950]; italics in the original).
“strictly Russophile” (ibid., p. 12 [12.2.1950]).
“humanism roller” (ibid., p. 85 [12.9.1950]).
“141st curry sauce with the same humanism rice” (ibid., p. 256 [23.3.1952]).
“immediately trying [...] to come into play” (ZAII, p. 778 [17.5.1945]): “My egoistic ulterior motive is always the university lectern.” (US, p. 213 [23.12.1945]).
For additional entries explaining his reasons for joining the Communist Party, see (US, p. 72 [26.7.1945]; ibid., p. 77 [1.8.1945]; ibid., p. 85 [8.8.1945]; ibid., p. 186 [20.11.1945]; ibid., p. 187 [23.11.1945]).
“There is no difference in standard between the swastika and the Soviet star. Spiritual freedom, simple spiritual decency are lacking.” (LSII, p. 752 [14.5.1932]).
Here I am somebody, here I am rich, here I am vir doctissimus”. (SSII, p. 598 [13.1.1957]; italics in the original).
“showpiece horse of the GDR” (ibid., p. 750 [6.6.1959]).
“the half-measure of his nature” (CVI, p. 399).
“I rank among the Russian servants, I am earmarked, I will probably not ‘die in my bed’”. (SSI, p. 692 [12.10.1949]).
“And again and again Stalin. Three times with particularly solemn naming of his name everyone stood up and the music played. Primitive deification far beyond Hitlerism!!” (SSI, p. 699 [6.11.1949]).
“It has become clear to me [...] that communism is equally suited to pulling primitive peoples out of the primeval mud and to plunging civilized peoples back into the primeval mud. In the second case, the process is more deceitful, and its result is not only to make people dumb but to make them conventional, educating them to be hypocritical without exception. It is precisely my trip to China and the recognition of the immense accomplishments here that have turned me into the ultimate anti-Communist.” (SSII, p. 723 [24.10.1958]).
“Between the chairs, always between the chairs—that should be my ex libris”. (SSI, p. 637 [10.4.1949]).
“at the place of not counting as a full subject. From Jewish star to Jewish star.” (SSII, p. 601 [1.2.1957]).
“[I] grieve over my blindness. That’s how I went through life, and now I’ve reached the end. At that time, I was alone—a Jew, vaguely liberal and in a society that did not respect me; today I am in a society that disparages me.” (ibid., p. 504 [23.8.1955]; italics in the original).
“I myself feel in the minority—three against one—I feel my strangeness: half a century, a faith, a completely different past.” (ibid., p. 478 [12.4.1955]).
“One does not escape Jewishness” (Arendt 1981, pp. 201–11).
“Rahel remained Jewish and Pariah.” (ibid., p. 210).
“position between all chairs” (SSI, p. 340 [19.1.1947]; italics in the original).
“stamped as an abusive word” (ZAI, p. 612 [23.6.-1.7.1941]).
“Nathan struck me as an obtrusive tactlessness, I would have preferred Iphigenia.” (US, p. 51 [11.7.1945]).
“As I said, I found the choice of the Jewish piece very embarrassing, although I noticed again, as I did years ago, that it is not at all a matter of glorifying the Jews (or THE Jew)—‘what does ‘people’ even mean’?” (ibid., p. 54 [11.7.1945]).
“Hideous, for one as such bad taste between the other kinds of entertainment, desecration not dedication, for another even more hideous by stressing the Jewish victory. It supports combatted Nat[ional] Soc[ialism].” (US, p. 62 [20.7.1945]).
“a concept derived from German cultural assets”.
“Platonic image of the Germans” (CVI, p. 287).
For more information on Victor Klemperer’s diaristic representation of German-Jewish identity, see Sepp (2016).

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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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Sepp A. “Zwischen allen Stühlen”: Reflections on Judaism in Germany in Victor Klemperer’s Post-Holocaust Diaries. Humanities. 2019; 8(4):168.

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Sepp, Arvi. 2019. "“Zwischen allen Stühlen”: Reflections on Judaism in Germany in Victor Klemperer’s Post-Holocaust Diaries" Humanities 8, no. 4: 168.

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