Klemens von Klemperer: Authority on the Nazi regime


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The Independent Online

Klemens von Klemperer, who died on 23 December at the age of 96, was a German refugee who went on to write extensively about the rise and fall of the Nazi regime. He wrote numerous books and articles related to German and central European history, including German Resistance Against Hitler: The Search for Allies Abroad, 1938-1945.

Von Klemperer was born in Berlin in 1916 and became one of the leaders of the anti-Nazi student movement in Vienna until he fled to the US in 1938. He enrolled at Harvard, his studies interrupted by war service in the G2 intelligence unit of Shaef, in London, Versailles and Berlin. He received a doctorate from Harvard in 1949 and began teaching at Smith College in Massachusetts. "He felt his greatest accomplishment was to give a balanced view of this period of German history, that while it was dominated by evil and by terrible misuse of power, that there were some good Germans who tried to make a difference and change this," his son said.

Von Klemperer, who delivered a lecture in 1998 at Westminster Abbey to mark the unveiling of a sculpture of Dietrich Bonhoeffer in the Martyrs' Gallery, worked into his nineties, publishing his last book, a memoir, in 2009.