Victor Klemperer, A Jew but also a Man: The Importance of Understanding German-Jewish Masculinities in the Third Reich

Sebastian Huebel

Abstract


This essay examines the Third Reich diaries of Victor Klemperer through the lens of gender. It argues for the importance of understanding the gendered constructions of Jewish male identity based on the experiences by Jewish men in Nazi Germany, their emasculation by Nazi policies and discourses, and the resulting attempts by Jewish men to re-negotiate new spaces for gender role performativity. Using the models of military and bourgeois masculinity, this essay articulates how Klemperer mirrored the cultural norms and ideals of German masculinity and how his understanding of and self-construction as a German-Jewish man transformed over the course of the Third Reich.

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