LTI - a philologist's notebook

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Title from 1975, published in Reclam's Universal Library, Leipzig
Title from 1975, published in Reclam's Universal Library, Leipzig

LTI - Notebook of a Philologist (lat. L ingua T ertii I mperii - Language of the Third Reich (e) s ) is a work by Victor Klemperer published in 1947 that deals with the language of National Socialism .

Even its title is a swipe at the countless abbreviations from the language of National Socialism such as BDM ( Bund Deutscher Mädel ), HJ ( Hitler Youth ), DAF ( German Labor Front ), NSKK ( National Socialist Motor Vehicle Corps ), KdF ( Strength through Joy ). Klemperer explains in the first chapter: “A beautiful, learned signature, as the Third Reich loved the full-sounding foreign expression from time to time: guarantor sounds more meaningful as guarantor and defame more imposingly than badly. (Perhaps not everyone understands it, and it affects them all the more.) He comes to the conclusion that during the Nazi era, language influenced people less through individual speeches, leaflets or the like than through the stereotypical repetition of the again and again the same terms occupied with National Socialist ideas.

Content and structure

The motto of the book is "Language is more than blood" according to Franz Rosenzweig . Instead of a foreword, it begins with the chapter Heroism , in which the author speaks out against the excessive use of the terms “ heroism ” and “heroic” in National Socialism . At the same time, it contains a dedication to his wife, who as an "Aryan" stuck to him under all terror, which Klemperer found heroic:

“But I know of an even more desolate, much quieter heroism, of a heroism, which has every support of common ground with an army, a political group, which has absolutely lost any hope of future splendor, which was completely on its own : Those were the few Aryan wives ... who had withstood any pressure to separate from their Jewish husbands. "

Klemperer dedicated the book to his wife Eva Klemperer .

The characteristics of the National Socialist language
Categorized excerpt

It consists of 36 chapters.

  • The fourth chapter deals with Max René Hesse's novel Partenau , which Klemperer describes as an “extraordinary anticipation of the language and the fundamental views of the Third Reich”.
  • Chapter 6 The first three words Nazi deals with the following words: punitive expedition , state act and historical .
  • In Chapter 8, Ten Years of Fascism , Klemperer describes the screening of an Italian sound film with Benito Mussolini as the main actor and then compares Italian fascism with German National Socialism.
  • In the 19th chapter, family advertisements , the author thinks about the phrases In proud joy when announcements of births or In proud sadness when reports of deaths are announced.
  • In the 21st chapter, The German Root , he arrives after deliberations about the typical German delimitation , i.e. H. Excessiveness, on the uniqueness of anti-Semitism in the Third Reich. This differs from the usual hostility towards Jews in three points: It represents an anachronism , i. H. a relapse into times long past believed, it is technically perfected in the organization of annihilation, and above all it is based on the racial idea, so that assimilation becomes impossible.
  • In the 22nd chapter Sunny Weltanschauung (from random reading) he examines the role of the word Weltanschauung and the ubiquitous attribute sunny in trivial novels , with which blond, blue-eyed boys and girls in particular were given.
  • In chapter 23 , when two do the same , he is the Nazi expression gleichschalten Lenin once over, the teacher is the engineer of the soul.
  • Chapter 25, Der Stern, is dedicated to the Jewish star , which the author, like all Jews, had to wear from September 19, 1941. To do this, he looks at suitable signs and stamps that appeared on houses, on letters, etc.: Judenhaus - This house is free of Jews. - Jewish business! - Addressee has migrated. - Insufficiency of the heart muscle - shot when attempting to escape.
  • Chapter 26, The Jewish War, describes a routine investigation of the author by Gestapo officials, which begins with the words: I want to flee him . Any such investigation could bring death to the victim. At this, the Gestapo officer gave the Jew a lecture on the "Jewish war" that "the Jew" had forced upon Germany.
  • In Chapter 32, Boxing , he shows Hitler and Goebbels' preference for sports metaphors , especially for metaphors from boxing, using many examples .
  • The 34th Chapter One syllable is about the final line of the song How weary, weary these old bones ". Because today we own Germany, and tomorrow the world" reports Klemperer, he was in an issue of 1942-43, after the defeat in Stalingrad , surprisingly found the line modified as follows: "And today, Germany hears us, and tomorrow the whole world." Klemperer comments: "That sounded more innocent." (See also: Hans Baumann .)


In 2003, LTI was adapted for television under the title The language does not lie (original title: “La langue ne ment pas”). Stan Neumann directed this Franco-German documentary . The 80-minute film won an award at the Jerusalem Film Festival in July 2005.



  • Dolf Sternberger , Gerhard Storz and Wilhelm Emanuel Süskind : From the dictionary of the monster. Ullstein, Munich 1989, ISBN 3-548-34335-X (reprint of the Munich 1957 edition).
  • Frank O. Hrachowy: Steely romanticism. Car racing driver and National Socialist modernism. BoD, Norderstedt 2008, ISBN 978-3-8370-1249-1 (This study is based on Klemperer's LTI and examines the Nazi propaganda language specified by him in the publications of contemporary popular heroes.)
  • Kristine Fischer-Hupe: Victor Klemperer's LTI - a philologist's notebook. A comment. Georg Olms Verlag - Weidmannsche Verlagsbuchhandlung, Hildesheim 2001, ISBN 3-487-11484-4 .

Web links

Wiktionary: Lingua Tertii Imperii  - explanations of meanings, word origins, synonyms, translations
Wiktionary: LTI  - explanations of meanings, word origins, synonyms, translations

Individual evidence

  1. The language does not lie: The diaries of Victor Klemperer by Stan Neumann