1F Text

Perhaps the most detailed account of life in Germany, and specifically Dresden, from 1933 onwards is in the mostly handwritten (centre) diaries of Victor Klemperer (top left and bottom right). A Professor of Romance Languages at the University of Dresden (centre right), Klemperer was a Jew married to Eva (bottom left), an Aryan. In his writing Klemperer demonstrates the importance of an almost daily record. He aspired to ‘become a writer of contemporary cultural history’. The diaries, which were published in Germany in 1995, cover the years 1933 to 1945 and bring together detailed
observation, linguistic mastery and an educated scepticism. These chronicles, with their mix of political acuity, domestic minutiae and unflinching self-reflection have become a standard source for historians of the period. The relationship between the Isakowitz family and the acclaimed diarist
was initially professional but developed into a close personal friendship. I understand significantly more about my grandparent’s and mother’s experience of this time from the diaries. As Lore, age 17, was about to take her school leaving certificate, this was Klemperer’s diary entry for Friday 10th March: