Abstract: Victor Klemperer argued in LTI that the Nazis used language to and linguistic analysis, LTI established Klemperer’s reputation as a student and. By: Victor Klemperer Media of Language of the Third Reich. See larger image Personal Announcementsas an LTI Revision Book \ What Remains? \ This Notebook, originally called LTI (Lingua Tertii Imperii)-the abbreviation itself a . While LTI: Notebook of a Philologist, Victor Klemperer’s shorthand for lingua.

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Holocaust and Genocide Studies Continuum, ; New York: Athlone Press,pp.

As a professor of romance studies and a Jewish survivor of the Third Reich, Victor Klemperer brought a sharp philological perspective to the study of language under the Nazi dictatorship. Readers may remember Klemperer from the publication of his two-volume diary, I Will Bear Witness, which, similar to this study, includes some of the most insightful observations to be found anywhere on the dynamics of propaganda and culture under the Third Reich.

Appearing originally in as LTI: Lingua Tertii Imperii Language of the Third ReichKlemperer’s book demonstrates with frightening clarity the powerful role played by propaganda in shaping individual as well as group identity.

That this volume even came to pass reflects an incredible journey for both Klemperer and Eva, his gentile wife. His marriage to Eva spared him from the early deportations. During his ,ti, he observed firsthand the pervasive influence of LTI over the daily lives of Jews and non-Jews in various settings, such as bomb shelters and apartments, stores and factories, an agricultural village, and the Dresden Gestapo.


Klemperer noted that LTI became a kind of “balancing pole” that provided him a strong intellectual focus in the midst of oppression. Saved from almost certain arrest, he survived the Dresden bombing of February 13, As he fled to the rural village of Piskowitz, Klemperer decided to test the prevalence of LTI in the countryside.

He discovered that the impoverished LTI “truly encompassed and contaminated the whole of Greater Germany in its absolute conformity” p. With images still fresh from the Third Reich, he penned thirty-six tightly written chapters and an afterword.

Language of the Third Reich

Klemperer’s writing combines the voice of the philologist and the pedagogue: If a piece of cutlery belonging to Orthodox Jews has become ritually unclean, they purify it by burying it in the earth. Many words in common usage during the Nazi period should be committed to a mass grave for a very long time, some for ever” p. Yet Klemperer points out that only a small number of words, if any at all, actually were coined by the Nazi dictatorship. Much of the lexicon was simply appropriated from the German language before or reflected foreign influences.

For all the rhetoric about a “New Order,” the language of the Third Reich rested firmly on a foundation of linguistic continuity.

Victor Klemperer – Wikiquote

Evident throughout the book, however, is another kind of continuity, one just as disturbing to Klemperer: The mechanistic verb aufziehen to set up used in describing the planning of an art exhibit in Dresden marked a propaganda continuity with the Third Reich replete with multiple and changing layers of meaning.


Goebbels, for example, declared before the University of Political Science in June that the Nazi Party had “set up” aufgezogen a huge organization bringing citizens together with a variety of social activities. On another level, somewhat earlier, Nazi newspapers used the term in a pejorative Project MUSE promotes the creation and dissemination of essential humanities and social science resources through collaboration with libraries, publishers, and scholars worldwide.

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Language of the Third Reich: LTI: Lingua Tertii Imperii – Victor Klemperer – Google Books

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