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Scholem, Arendt, Klemperer

Intimate Chronicles in Turbulent Times

Steven E. Aschheim

Publication Year: 2001

Scholem, Arendt, Klemperer
Intimate Chronicles in Turbulent Times

Steven E. Aschheim

The way three prominent German-Jewish intellectuals confronted Nazism, as revealed by their intimate writings.

Through an examination of the remarkable diaries and letters of three extraordinary and distinctive German-Jewish thinkers -- Gershom Scholem, Hannah Arendt, and Victor Klemperer -- Steven E. Aschheim illuminates what these intimate writings reveal about their evolving identities and world views as they wrestled with the meaning of being both German and Jewish in Hitler's Third Reich. In recounting how their personal and private selves responded to the public experiences these writers faced, their letters and diaries provide a striking composite portrait. Scholem, a scholar of Jewish mysticism and the spiritual traditions of Judaism; Arendt, a political and social philosopher; and Klemperer, a professor of literature and philology, were all highly articulate German-Jewish intellectuals, shrewd observers, and acute analysts of the pathologies and special contours of their times. From their intimate writings Aschheim constructs a revealing "history from within" that sheds new light on the complexity and drama of the 20th-century European and Jewish experience.

Steven E. Aschheim holds the Vigevani Chair of European Studies and teaches in the Department of History at the Hebrew University, Jerusalem. He is author of Brothers and Strangers: The East European Jew in German and German-Jewish Consciousness, 1800--1923; The Nietzsche Legacy in Germany, 1890--1990; and Culture and Catastrophe: German and Jewish Confrontations with National Socialism and Other Crises.

Published in association with Hebrew Union College--Jewish Institute of Religion, Cincinnati

May 2001
120 pages, 5 1/2 x 8 1/2, index
cloth 0-253-33891-3 $19.95 s /

Published by: Indiana University Press

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pp. ix

This volume is based upon the Gustave A. and Mamie W. Efroymson Memorial Lectures delivered at the Hebrew Union College– Jewish Institute of Religion in Cincinnati, Ohio, between October 10 and October 14, 1999. It is a pleasure to record my gratitude to Michael A. Meyer ...

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pp. 1-8

This book draws its inspiration from some remarkable documents penned by three extraordinary, and quite distinctive, German-Jewish thinkers: Gershom Scholem, Hannah Arendt, and Victor Klemperer. These essentially personal writings furnish us with chronicles that illuminate the formation, ...

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1 Gershom Scholem and the Creation of Jewish Self-Certitude

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pp. 9-40

Gershom Scholem, we need hardly be reminded, was arguably the greatest scholar and thinker of matters Jewish in the twentieth century. It was through his easy mastery of vast fields of knowledge, his ability to present the esoteric byways of Jewish history in a thoroughly accessible, modern—indeed, radical—idiom ...

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2 Hannah Arendt and the Complexities of Jewish Selfhood

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pp. 41-69

We sorely need, I think, a history of German-Jewish and non-Jewish friendships, of marriages and intimate relations, their successes and failures. This would provide a necessary corrective to the view of all German-Jewish history, in the light of its terrible conclusion, as a history of unremitting hostility and estrangement. ...

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3 Victor Klemperer and the Shock of Multiple Identities

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pp. 70-98

In 1968 Hannah Arendt published a study of exemplary lives under the self-explanatory title Men in Dark Times.1 Victor Klemperer does not figure there, although he would have been a most fitting subject. Arendt did not know, indeed it appears—somewhat strangely—did not even know of, Klemperer.2 ...


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pp. 99-130


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pp. 131-134

E-ISBN-13: 9780253108692
E-ISBN-10: 0253108691
Print-ISBN-13: 9780253338914

Page Count: 152
Illustrations: 2 maps, 1 index
Publication Year: 2001