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Victor Klemperer listens to Hitler’s speech

In Dresden, in eastern Germany, Victor Klemperer, continued to maintain his diary. As a Jew he had been forced out his post as a professor of literature in 1935. His diary chronicles the growing restrictions and harassment of Jews within Germany as well as the general German perspective on the progress of the war. His position was slightly eased by being married to Eva, an ‘Aryan’, who nevertheless had to share in the many privations imposed on him. He also maintained a critical study of the language used in Nazi propaganda and its changing tone during the course of the war.

Our situation grows daily more catastrophic. Order yesterday: restricted access to bank account, surrender of all ready cash; today police inquiry as to our suppliers; it therefore looks as if we are to be more strictly rationed than the general populace. I was in Pirna in the morning.

Yesterday afternoon I heard the greater part of the Fuhrer’s speech over the loudspeaker at the Freiheitskampf office on Bismarckplatz. Some of it rhetorically very effective. The Polish soldiers fought very bravely, the junior officers did their duty, the middle ranks lacked intelligence, the commanding officers were all bad, the organisation was Polish. .. We do not have a kept government as in 1918, we are a nation in the tradition of Frederick the Great, we shall not capitulate even after three years, even after five years, even after six years. Etc. etc. At the same time France is courted, it should abandon England. The English are bunglers at propaganda, they need to take lessons from us. Peace with Russia, they remain Bolshevists and we remain National Socialists! … I had the impression that all the bystanders were completely satisfied, sure of victory, sure even of imminent peace. – But every single measure points to a long war.

See Victor Klempere: I Will Bear Witness 1933-1941: A Diary of the Nazi Years