DIARIES OF VICTOR KLEMPERER

The Lesser Evil, 1945-1959

The secondary title supposedly refers to the comparison of Nazism to Communism. The author’s well-known, excellent World War Two diaries set in Dresden where he was living are compelling and dramatic. Therein, Klemperer is less an academic and less intellectual and more human and communicative.

This single volume of his last 14 years of life seem academic with pretense to intellectualism. He is a professor but not set to one location. The writing is onerous and much less clear; he seems confused and conflicted as a diarist. Why did the Chicken cross the road? Should I also cross the road? Will the chicken be there if I cross the road after it does? is If the chicken becomes road kill should I consume the remainder?

Much was goofed up in Germany after World War Two. The Americans Army fed itself well. It organized much in its sector using non-Nazi Germans and German Jews. But Klemperer has few good impressions to report about the Soviets, except they are not Nazis.

I read until I got to one repeated point: Social pressures to join this organization or another group to support the establishment seemed like high school. Klemperer reacts and joins, if he can go 10 or 20 miles, to meetings. Be part of the influential class, the in-group and popular and be comfortable. Early on he isn’t at ease; his diet is monotonous; it’s hard to visit friends, if they can be found; there is no work for him, although he is recognized as an authority in his field.

I did not need to read another 500 pages of this East German Storm and Trag, not well-expressed and always relying on some remote big-wig’s good will who might drive Klemperer to an event one evening yet by the next week be arrested to put into prison.

MEIN KAMPF – RACE

Adolph is devoted to ancient rituals, science and theology. Anthropology declares there are distinctions among nationalities. Although they all look the same, Pole supposedly are Slavs; Germans are Teutons, although their stock came from the Ukraine and central Asia. Note the Germans tribe opposing the Romans during the Classical era moved: the Lombards to Italy, the Franks to France, the Visigoths to Spain. According to Adolph those persons are not German and not even Teutonic. The English became a mix of peoples: Britons, Celts, Romans, Anglo-Saxons and Norsemen.

In Mein Kampf Adolph tells readers only Germans are Germans: “…it is a scaredy conceivable fallacy of thought to believe that a Negro or a Chinese … will turn into a German because he learns German and is willing to speak the German language in the future and perhaps even give his one vote to a German political party. That any such Germanization is in reality a de-Germanization never become clear to our bourgeois national world. For if today, by forcing a universal language on them, obvious differences between different peoples are bridge over and finally effaced, this means the beginning for a bastardization, and hence in our case not a Germanization but a destruction of the German element.” (Page 388, 389; see also, 438-39)

It came to pass that Don Trump trumpeted this favorite passage from Mein Kampf: Persons of Mexican parents were not American, although born in Indiana. All Americans reject Adolph’s view of Neanderthal anthropology. Americans can ask themselves, how have the mongrel populations done in mano-e-mano showdowns against the PURE? Just after Pearl Harbor, Americans believed Americans of Japanese descent were not American. We put most of the West Coast population into concentration camps. How did the Japanese-Americans react? They joined the Army and went to war.

How did the mongrels speaking English, fully accustomed to American life and following American ways do against the race of supermen, racial superior, he-men pure and inbred? No contest: The Japanese-Americans kicked German butts into the fatherland and beyond. The U.S. Army 442 is the most heavily decorated division in army history. The Japanese-Americans affirmed citizenship for themselves and their families 73 years ago, and for other sons from countries and their families contributing to our war efforts.

And Don Trump? He should come into the Twenty-First Century rather than hold and defend social norms and ideals prevalent in American between World War One and Two.