Victor Klemperer · 544 pages
Rating: (1.7K votes)
“To me the Zionists, who want to go back to the Jewish state of A.D. 70 (destruction of Jerusalem by Titus) are just as offensive as the Nazis. With their nosing after blood, their ancient "cultural roots," their partly canting, partly obtuse winding back of the world they are altogether a match for the National Socialists. That is the fantastic thing about the National Socialists, that they simultaneously share in a community of ideas with Soviet Russia and with Zion.”
“In the war I was subject to military law, but subject to law nevertheless; now I am at the mercy of an arbitrary power.”
“Their opinion: If at the cost of going backwards internally, he restores Germany’s power externally, then this cost is worth while. Conditions at home can always be made good later – politics is just not a clean business. [. . .]”
“That is the fantastic thing about the National Socialists, that they simultaneously share in a community of ideas with Soviet Russia and with Zion.”
“I changed Lessing’s35 words – Anyone who does not lose his reason over certain things, has no reason – into: Anyone whose heart remains calm today, has no heart.”
“That the door fell shut, that the latch fell into place, did I know it with a nameless fear. At that second the eight days turned into 192 hours, empty caged hours.”
“Head held high for the difficult last five minutes!”
“I am German forever, German 'nationalist'. The nazis are un-German.”
“Newspapers are read differently now [. . .] Between the lines.”
“Very quiet and yet quieter living-for-ourselves.”
“....the regional mental asylum. The SS is in charge. They have built a special crematorium. Those who are not wanted are taken up in a kind of police van.People here call it "the whispering coach". The relatives receive the urn. Recently one family here received two urns at once.
- We now have pure communism. But communism murders more honestly.”
“Socialism has now become completely or almost completely identical with Bolshevism; that”
“We are completely isolated. We have heard nothing from Annemarie Kohler, nothing from Johannes Kohler for weeks.......A frightening silence.”
At the very moment modern technology annuls all frontiers and distances
(flying, wireless, television, economic interdependance),
the most extreme nationalism is raging.”
“We had a friendly conversation, the man shook my hand, told me to keep my spirits up........ The next day......He stared ahead as he went past, as much a stranger as possible. In his behaviour the man probably represents 79 million Germans.”
“They have over-cultivated national rhetoric [. . .] they will have to undertake something.”
“I must make notes even now, I must, no matter how dangerous it is. That is my professional courage.”
“I only have the quite childish horror of the grave and of nothingness”
“Does one unceasingly talk about a thousand years and enemies destroyed, if one is certain of these thousand years and this annihilation?”
“They've made a peace treaty of their own',
Eva used to say, when we passed an illuminated window.
(In reference to the strict German laws on light blackouts.)”
“We hear a lot about Palestine now; it does not appeal to us. Anyone who goes there exchanges nationalism and narrowness for nationalism and narrowness.”
“No victorious revolution without an idea. Certainly!
But just as certainly:
It is not the idea which makes a revolution, but privation which causes it to break out.
And once under way, it deviates from the idea.”
“I am not a dictator, I have only simplified democracy.”
“The banal perception
- all the most profound perceptions are banal,
at most one man finds a somewhat more original expression for it than another man
- that we know nothing at all except what we have experienced ourselves.”
“I believe the pogroms of November '38 made less impression on the nation than cutting the bar of chocolate for Christmas.”
“Pity is such a shabby thing. I can torment myself with wanting to feel pity, and yet I don't succeed.”
“In a pharmacy toothpaste with a swastika. A mood of fear such as must have existed in France under the Jacobins. No one fears for their lives yet--but for bread and freedom.”
“Yes, I love your eyes—they are black and deep and almond-shaped but I see the kindness in those eyes I have never seen before,”
“There was a thing called Heaven; but all the same they used to drink enormous quantities of alcohol.”
“From the time I met Anne ten years earlier, I knew in my heart I wanted to be with her. Now that I’m out of college and pitching pro ball, there’s no reason to wait. I start by visiting an independent diamond dealer in Arkansas. My agent knows him and tells me I can trust him. I don’t trust easily, but as a man who would have a hard time telling the difference between the Hope diamond and dime-store zirconium, what choice do I have? I pick out a rock and the setting, and pray that it’s not a fake. When it’s all finished, the dealer mails it to me in Tennessee.”
“Sometimes, coming home in the early morning like this, I'd imagine things had altered while I was absent: a knife on the bread board that I didn't remember leaving out, a book face down on the table, a cup brimming with tea and dishwater in the sink. The evidence I wanted didn't need to be too elaborate or detailed. I could have constructed an entire afterlife from a half-moon of lemon rind or a small blister of jam on the tablecloth.”
“Judges live with shadows behind them.”
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