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Springtime Log Fire – The Language of Totalitarianism

March 29 @ 18:30 - 20:00

Viktor Klemperer’s Lingua Tertii Imperii (Language of the Third Reich) was published 73 years ago. Klemperer’s analysis of language as a tool for social transformation is uniquely relevant in the present. Klemperer’s notes, which he compiled between 1933 and 1945, are possibly the most important record we have of how language shapes and consolidates ideologies and worldviews, and more importantly, how language is weaponized to bring about social transformation. 75 years after the end of the Holocaust, Klemperer’s linguistic and social study of language seems to become more important by the day. Anti-Semitism is rife throughout Europe and beyond, populist and formerly centrist parties throughout Europe are re-shaping public discourse and also public policies. In his talk, Johannes Frank will focus on Klemperer‘s Lingua Tertii Imperii and revisit its central arguments on the backdrop of contemporary political language.

Viktor Klemperer was a German-Jewish linguistic scholar and diarist, and survivor of Nazi persecution and the horrors of the Second World War including the bombing of his native Dresden.

Johannes Frank is a Berlin-based author, publisher and manager of the Jewish scholarship fund ELES.


March 29
18:30 - 20:00