Earlier this week in class we touched on Victor Klemperer, who was a Jewish man who lived in Germany. Klemperer is known for keeping diaries and journals of his day to day experiences, but especially for his entries during the Third Reich. His journals eventually were bought by a Berlin publisher and turned into a two volume book. What I found most interesting was Klemperer’s reaction to the Nazi propaganda film, Jud Suss. Klemperer notes his reactions to the film and how it impacted him as a German Jew. He states on how it made himself and others fear the Nazi’s. Klemperer had always felt a close connection to his German culture and heritage, but the influence of the Nazi anti-Semitism made him think otherwise. Klemperer states that the anti-Semitism that was exercised by the Nazi’s ostracized not only himself, but other German Jews. Jud Suss had a very strong influence on the people of Germany, those who previously did not support anti-Semitism now did. Klemperer remembers that friends and neighbors of his were influenced so strongly after viewing the film that their views, and how they viewed Klemperer as a person changed drastically.
Along with the hatred that was seen and exercised over the German Jews, there was also love. Klemperer writes that not all Germans were anti-Semitist, he records multiple times of Aryan Germans helping him and his wife out, even though the status quo was to exercise hatred.
Through Klemperer’s journal we are able to view a rare in site of Jewish day to day life within Germany. I found it most interesting that Klemperer recorded his thoughts, feelings, and own attitude about the film Jud Suss. His journals are able to give historians a closer look at how powerful anti-Semitism was during the Third Reich and how it dominated German culture.
Alsya Nicole Kociuruba, 2009. Ordinary Germans or Willing Killers: Klemperer and the Goldhagen Debate. [History] thesis, Ohio State University.