Born in 1881, Victor Klemperer was a German academic of the old school—proud, dignified, intensely conscious of his high position in the social hierarchy, and convinced of the superiority of Germany to all other nations in the greatness of its culture and the enlightenment of its polity. A professor of philology at the Technical University of Dresden and the author of several scholarly books on French literature, Klemperer took pride in his work and reputation but for many years privately felt himself to be something of an underachiever compared to his oldest brother, Georg, a distinguished physician who served as the director of a major Berlin hospital, and to his renowned first cousin, the orchestra conductor Otto Klemperer (whose son, Werner, became famous in 1960s America for playing Colonel Klink on Hogan’s Heroes). 

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