Eva Klemperer

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Eva Klemperer , née Eva Schlemmer , (born July 12, 1882 in Königsberg , East Prussia , † July 8, 1951 in Dresden ) was a German concert pianist , organist , painter and literary translator . She was married to the German Romanist Victor Klemperer .


The Klemperer house in February 2012
Gravestone for Eva and Victor Klemperer in the Dölzschen cemetery

Elisabeth Hedwig Eva Schlemmer was born as the daughter of a Protestant farmer from East Prussia. She trained as a concert pianist. Shortly after 1900, however, she gave up her career aspiration and started working as a piano teacher. She studied painting with Walter Leistikow .

In 1904 she met the Jewish Romanist Victor Klemperer (1881–1960). The marriage took place on May 16, 1906 against the will of his parents, who refused to allow their son to marry the destitute pianist. Both initially lived in Berlin. At the time of the marriage, Victor Klemperer was working as a reviewer for various Berlin newspapers, among other things. Eva Klemperer gave up her job and became his employee. She corrected and retyped his articles, accompanied her husband to lectures and helped him write his doctoral thesis through research and preparatory work. She later followed him to Munich. During the First World War , Eva Klemperer lived with her husband in Leipzig , where he was transferred in 1916 as censor of the auditing office of the Commander-in-Chief East . She resumed her music studies there and specialized in organ music under the guidance of Prof. Carl Heynse. Her husband feared in the face of his deafening censorship activities that his wife's progress would endanger the "intellectual equality" of the spouses. Eva Klemperer occasionally made music with friends and acquaintances and also composed her own pieces, but had to quit her musical activity due to various illnesses. In the 1920s she suffered from biliary colic and depression , among other things .

After the First World War , the couple moved to Dresden as a result of Victor Klemperer's appointment to a professorship for Romance studies. Her attempts to emigrate from the National Socialist German Reich after 1935 failed; as an “ Aryan ” woman, however, she was later able to save Victor Klemperer from deportation. She also actively supported his work during the National Socialist era . Eva Klemperer initially hid her husband's diary manuscript pages between her music sheets. She later brought them regularly and "at considerable risk" to Annemarie Köhler, a friend in Pirna , since the pages could otherwise have fallen into the hands of the Gestapo during a house search . "It is thanks to Eva Klemperer that this chronicle of ordinary fascism has not been lost." In this regard, Eva Klemperer is also a topic in the sometimes controversial discourse about women's resistance in the Third Reich .

In 1940, the couple had to leave their now listed building in Dölzschen and move into a Jewish home. She stored the sheet music of her works together with the furniture of the apartment in a warehouse in Dresden. When Dresden was bombed in February 1945, which prevented a planned deportation of the Klemperers, the notes were destroyed. Klemperer had taken a small part along with paintings in a suitcase as emergency baggage and deposited it in Munich. The suitcase, however, was lost. “She is so infinitely more gifted, u. nothing of her remains, ”wrote Victor Klemperer in his diary.

The couple were able to flee to Bavaria after the bombing of Dresden and returned to Dresden in June 1945. Immediately after the end of the Second World War, Eva and Victor Klemperer actively campaigned for the rebuilding of a cultural life in Dresden as members of the Kulturbund of the GDR . Eva Klemperer occasionally appeared as a musician at Kulturbund concerts.

Eva Klemperer died in 1951 as a result of a heart attack . Her grave is in the Dölzschen cemetery .


Her compositions and pictures were lost during the war years . Her numerous translations of literary and journalistic works from French and Spanish have been preserved and were published in the GDR after the Second World War. The translations include:

  • Jacques Roumain : Lord of the dew . Volk und Welt, Berlin 1947. With a foreword by Ludwig Renn. Reclam, Leipzig 1960.
  • Jean Cassou : Paris Massacre. People and the world, Berlin 1948.
  • Guy de Maupassant : Uncle Julius and Other Stories. Children's book publisher, Berlin 1950.
  • Guy de Maupassant: short stories. Aufbau-Verlag, Berlin 1950f. / Book guild Gutenberg GmbH, Berlin 1950.
  • Mao Zedong : Speech to the Artists and Writers. Henschel, Berlin 1950.
  • Jesús Izcaray : Casto García Roza. Dietz, Berlin 1952.


In 1999, Kai Wessel filmed Victor Klemperer's life during the Nazi regime after editing Victor Klemperer's diaries with invented episodes. The television series Klemperer - A Life in Germany included twelve episodes. Dagmar Manzel took on the role of Eva Klemperer .


  • Victor Klemperer: Curriculum vitae. Memoirs 1881–1918. Ed .: Walter Nowojski. 1st edition Rütten & Loening, Berlin 1989, ISBN 3-352-00247-9
  • Victor Klemperer: The diaries 1933-1945. Critical complete edition. CD-ROM. Berlin 2007, ISBN 978-3-89853-550-2 .
  • Didier Herlem: A "mixed marriage" in the Third Reich. Eva and Victor Klemperer. In: Mittelweg 36th Journal of the Hamburg Institute for Social Research. Hamburg, Jg. 7, 1998/99, H. 4, pp. 83-91, ISSN  0941-6382 .
  • Gaby Zipfel: "Wouldn't she be a piece of me". Eva Klemperer in Victor Klemperer's diaries. In: Germanica. Lille, No. 27, 2000, pp. 41-58. ISSN  0984-2632 .

Web links

Individual evidence

  1. a b woman , announcement of the lecture Freundeskreis Dresdner Synagoge eV
  2. Identity card for Eva Klemperer geb. Schlemmer dated December 13, 1940. Inside pages with passport photo , Deutsche Fotothek, SLUB Dresden.
  3. a b c d Elisabeth Bauschmid: Tippfäulein with pianist hands . In: Süddeutsche Zeitung , July 21, 2001, p. VI.
  4. ^ Victor Klemperer: Curriculum vitae: Memories of a Philologist: 1881-1918 . Ed .: Walter Nowojski. 1st edition volume 2 . Rütten & Loening, Berlin 1989, ISBN 3-352-00247-9 , pp. 461-633 .
  5. Lothar Pöthe: German Library and military censorship in WW1. The Auditing Office Ober Ost Leipzig 1916-1918 . In: Leipzig yearbook on book history . tape 19 . Harrassowitz, Wiesbaden 2010, ISBN 978-3-447-06486-6 , pp. 173-193 .
  6. Lothar Poethe: "We came there with great prejudice and were disarmed, converted, won." Victor Klemperer in Leipzig (1916–1918 / 19) . In: Kulturstiftung Leipzig (ed.): Leipziger Blätter . No. 75 . Passage-Verlag, 2019, p. 74-76 .
  7. Jana Leichsenring (Ed.): Women and Resistance. LIT Verlag, Münster 2003, ISBN 3-8258-6489-8 , p. 105 .
  8. Christl Wickert : Women's Resistance and Dissent in Everyday Warfare. In: Peter Steinbach, Johannes Tuchel (eds.): Resistance against National Socialism. Federal Agency for Political Education 1994, pp. 411–426.
  9. Victor Klemperer noted about the Dresden Judenhaus: “Cohns, Stühlers, we. Bathroom and toilet together. Kitchen together with Stuhlers, only half separated - a watering hole for all three [...] It's already half Barack life, you stumble over each other, confused "Cited in post on 14 December 1943. In:.. I want to bear witness to the last . Berlin 1995, ISBN 3-351-02340-5 , p. 459.
  10. Quoted from: Elisabeth Bauschmid: Tippfäulein with pianist hands . In: Süddeutsche Zeitung , July 21, 2001, p. VI.
  11. Film review: Klemperer - A life in Germany in haGalil.com. Retrieved August 7, 2012.