De Gruyter is launching a digital version of Victor Klemperer’s archive: one of the most important sources for understanding 20th century German history.
A Blog Post by Eric Merkel-Sobotta.
The database Klemperer Online contains the complete and unabridged diaries of Victor Klemperer as transcripts and facsimiles of the handwritten pages with commentaries. The digital version of the diaries has more than 30 percent of additional content than the print edition. The complete collection of the diaries provides a more comprehensive, detailed and focused depiction of the decades that Klemperer documents.
Victor Klemperer (1881-1960) was a noted Romance Studies scholar and a professor at the Technical University of Dresden, from which he was dismissed in 1935 due to his Jewish origins. From 1945 to 1960, he held university positions in Greifswald, Halle and Berlin and published a large number of works on the history of Italian and French literature. His reputation was confirmed with the publication of LTI – Lingua tertii imperii, in which he analyzes the degeneration of the German language during the Nazi period.
The early diaries from the period of the Weimar Republic give insight into Klemperer’s life and career as a professor of romance studies in Dresden. His descriptions of the rise of National Socialism have earned him the reputation as a “cultural historian of the catastrophe.” Klemperer chronicles the deprivation of rights of Jewish citizens and describes day-to-day life under the Nazi regime in minute detail.
His diaries after 1945 confirm his strong desire for a radical new beginning both for himself and for Germany. These less well-known – and previously only partially published – diaries are an important testimony of the divided Germany, the early German Democratic Republic and Klemperer’s attitudes towards Communism and Zionism.
The database also includes Klemperer’s exclusive and unabridged notes from the preparation of the LTI – Lingua tertii imperii and groundwork of his Geschichte der französischen Literatur (History of French Literature) as well as notations on 750 cinematic works, extensive travel reports and significant additional material.
Walter Nowojski and Christian Löser are the editors of Klemperer Online. Walter Nowojski (1931-2012) worked on Klemperer’s estate from 1978 to his death in 2012 and was the editor of the abridged version of the Klemperer diaries. From 2007 to 2012 he prepared the database version. Christian Löser has been an editor on the Klemperer diaries and the digital collected works since 1995. Since 2012, he has been the sole editor of Klemperer Online.
Written by by Eric Merkel-Sobotta
Edited by Pablo Markin
Featured Image Credits: Dresden’s Military History Museum, 2011, Daniel Libeskind, Dresden, Germany, November 9, 2013 | © Courtesy of Maciek Lulko/Flickr.
This post is based on a press release that originally appeared in degruyter.com, 15/7/2019, https://www.degruyter.com/dg/newsitem/342/klemperer-online-alle-tagebcher-von-1918-bis-1959-in-einer-datenbank.