Überleben als Widerstand : die Performativität des Schreibens in Holocaust-Tagebüchern
Faculty of Arts. Linguistics and Literature
Revue interdisciplinaire "Textes et contextes"
University of Antwerp
This contribution sets out to investigate the formal and functional characteristics of Victor Klemperers Third Reich Diaries I Will Bear Witness. After an introductory discussion of the relation between trauma and self-writing and a brief description of the textual genetic context of his diary entries, I will turn to the performative functions of Klemperers writing under Nazi rule. In this regard, the article will focus on three dominant functional axes, around which his diaries revolve: Testimony, Self-Redemption, and Self-Therapy. This three-fold functional structure is highly indicative of the authors effort of trying to come to terms with his marginalization and constant fear of death. The idea of the performative act of writing of writing oneself passes beyond the textual framework, by focusing, on the one hand, on the writing itself but also, on the other hand, on the effects of writing which constitute the subject Victor Klemperer in the Third Reich. His diary writing played an important psychological role for his personal resistance against National-Socialism and his survival during the Holocaust.