National Identity and Recovering Memories in Contemporary Germany: The Reception of Victor Klemperer’s Diaries

in German Politics and Society
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  • 1 University of Wuppertal
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The overwhelming critical response in Germany to the publication of

Victor Klemperer’s journals, particularly those spanning the years

from 1933 to 1945, has been a veritable sensation. Hundreds of

reviews, mostly appreciations, have appeared. Klemperer’s journals

have also turned into big business. On October 12, 1999, the German

television channel ARD began broadcasting a thirteen-episode series

on the diaries in the most expensive, made-for-television program of

its kind in Germany. Additionally, the English-language rights to the

journals were sold to Random House for a record $550,000, more

than has ever been paid for translation rights of any German book in

history. The selling of Klemperer’s journals may have led to a distorted

evaluation of their author’s position and importance.