Klemens von Klemperer (1916-2012)
Historian and writer who chronicled German resistance dies at 96
Dr. Klemens von Klemperer, who detailed the German resistance and perhaps bore one of the most fantastic names of all time, died late last month at his home in Massachusetts. Von Klemperer fled to the United States in 1938 and would spend decades teaching and writing extensively about the anti-Hitler movement in Germany, which included everyone from ordinary citizens to high-ranking military officials who sought to overthrow Hitler and build alliances with Western forces.
“He attempted to show that there were indeed good Germans, and that they were deeply, morally offended by the Nazis,” said Allan Mitchell, who profiled Dr. von Klemperer in his 2011 book “Fleeing Nazi Germany: Five Historians Migrate to America.” “That’s what was most important to him.”
In “German Resistance Against Hitler,” Dr. von Klemperer wrote, “The determination of the German Resistance to reach the ‘greater world’ stands as an example for the many dissidents and freedom movements who in our day, still plagued by oppression, are appealing to the conscience of the world.”
Dr. von Klemperer came from a prominent family that had been leaders in German industry. While his grandfather converted from Judaism to Protestantism, after anti-Jewish laws were passed, von Klemperer fled to Vienna to live with his mother before leaving for the States. He studied after Harvard, but left to serve as an intelligence officer in the Supreme Headquarters Allied Expeditionary Force. A number of his family members perished in Auschwitz.
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