A normal German citizen as a chronicler of his times: The resistance of one individual and mass susceptibility to propaganda.
The judicial inspector Friedrich Kellner wished to leave evidence of the thoughtless obsequiousness of his contemporaries and the hollowness of National Socialist propaganda phrases to posterity. From 1939 to 1945 he wrote down his criticism of the Nazi regime on an almost daily basis, documenting the many crimes of the Nazi dictatorship, both large and small.
These diaries show that everyone was in a position to unmask National Socialist rhetoric and be aware of the atrocities of the Third Reich.
A large part of the diary consists of Kellner’s meticulous analysis of the daily newspapers, alongside newspaper cuttings; thus the text is a unique source giving us a completely new insight into daily life in the Third Reich. Here he criticises the conforming reports mercilessly, clearly showing how blatant the lies in the Nazi press were. By placing the newspaper article next to his comments, Friedrich Kellner finds a highly effective method which places the importance of his diaries alongside that of the reports of Victor Klemperer.
»At that time, I was unable to fight against the Nazis in the present. Therefore I decided to fight against them in the future. I wanted to give future generations a weapon to use against the resurgence of any such injustice« .
Friedrich Kellner (1885-1970) was a clear opponent of the National Socialists right from the early stages. In 1933 he became Head of the Administrative Office of the County Court in Laubach (Oberhessen), where he continued his public criticism of the regime. He was threatened several times, and through luck escaped a planned attempt to send him to a concentration camp. After the war, Kellner was a town councillor in Laubach. His diary has been shown several times at exhibitions in the USA and Germany, and his life story is told in a Canadian documentary film.
Sascha Feuchert, Head of the Holocaust Literature Section at the Justus Liebig University Gießen.
Robert Kellner was a Professor of »American Literature« and »Writing« .
Erwin Leibfried was a Professor of General Literary Studies in Gießen and Head of the Holocaust Literature Section for many years.
Jörg Riecke, Professor of German Linguistics in Heidelberg.
Markus Roth, historian and Deputy Dead of the Holocaust Literature Section.
Also published by Wallstein
Die Chronik des Gettos Lodz/Litzmannstadt (Chronicle of the Lodz/Litzmannstadt Ghetto), edited by Sascha Feuchert, Erwin Leibfried, Jörg Riecke (2007).
Rights soldPolish: Fundacja Ośrodka Karta