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33 review for Quality of Witness: A Romanian Diary, 1937-1944

  1. 5 out of 5

    Meaghan

    One might compare this diary to Victor Klemperer's. Both diarists were intelligent, educated, cultured middle-aged Jewish men living under the Nazi terror. Both of them kept detailed diaries throughout the war, and survived the Holocaust. However, there are significant differences. Klemperer was married to an Aryan woman and a nominal convert to Christianity, though he seemed to have no religion at all, and he didn't really have much to do with Jewish life. Dorian on the other hand was very invo One might compare this diary to Victor Klemperer's. Both diarists were intelligent, educated, cultured middle-aged Jewish men living under the Nazi terror. Both of them kept detailed diaries throughout the war, and survived the Holocaust. However, there are significant differences. Klemperer was married to an Aryan woman and a nominal convert to Christianity, though he seemed to have no religion at all, and he didn't really have much to do with Jewish life. Dorian on the other hand was very involved with the Romanian-Jewish culture, literature in particular. Klemperer focused much more on his private life in his diary than Dorian did; Dorian usually wrote about the war or the Yiddish translations he was doing. This book is quite interesting from a historical standpoint. Dorian was a keen and discerning observer of the events around him and it's intriguing to see just how much he knew about the persecution of the Jews in Europe. He knew, for instance, about the Warsaw Ghetto uprising. He knew that poison gas was being used to kill Jews in large numbers, though he significantly underestimated the death rate. Dorian also was a novelist and poet with obvious literary talent. I include a sample of quotes from his diary: "I stopped in front of a florist's window. Behind me, the screeching and throbbing boulevard vanished. Gone, too, were the voices of newspaper vendors selling their daily poisoned flowers. Facing me, behind the glass curtain, a fairyland. Shining, plump carnations, with the pink voluptuousness of women about to reach maturity, poised for the first step of a sprightly dance; shamelessly lascivious gladioli; virginal branches of white lilac; roses lost in pure meditation, undecided between the metaphysical white and the unreal yellow of a sky after the rain." (page 17) "The [ park :] is all decked out. Nothing new. The same bushes in bloom in the same spots, the same babies, like flowers, drinking the spring out of their bottles. The magnolias have shed their petals...the peacocks cry out their desolation." (page 28) "The fatigue I've gathered year after year and stored inside now heaves a muted cry of helplessness. Nothing but fatigue, rounding my shoulders, heavier than ever on this late autumn day with a useless sun, a world of unforgiving disasters. So many struggles and tragedies, so much sorrow and egotism in this dark, in this rotting century of hate." (page 127) "The garden has wrapped itself in autumn haze. An unusual autumn, lacking that thrill of vegetal warmth when the sap is still alive and holds up the trees, drunk on solar gold. It is the sorrowful climax of a summer's drought. Never before was I so struck by the cancerous emaciation in a garden. The leaves started turning yellow in July and began falling, like a dance of prematurely withered bodies." (page 226) Another Romanian Jewish writer, Mihail Sebastian, kept a diary during this same time period. It really doesn't compare, though.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Mona Nicoara

  3. 4 out of 5

    Jesse Somerville

  4. 4 out of 5

    Dan Arama

  5. 4 out of 5

    Vicki

  6. 5 out of 5

    Angeline Petras

  7. 5 out of 5

    Marlene

  8. 4 out of 5

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  9. 4 out of 5

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  10. 4 out of 5

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  11. 5 out of 5

    Kallie

  12. 5 out of 5

    Diana

  13. 5 out of 5

    Becca

  14. 4 out of 5

    Emma

  15. 4 out of 5

    Kelly

  16. 5 out of 5

    Courtney

  17. 4 out of 5

    Victor Sabau

  18. 5 out of 5

    Bakunin

  19. 5 out of 5

    Malene Brion

  20. 5 out of 5

    Jessica

  21. 4 out of 5

    Mattiaz

  22. 5 out of 5

    Leah

  23. 5 out of 5

    T

  24. 4 out of 5

    niste eroi fara societate

  25. 5 out of 5

    Stephen

  26. 4 out of 5

    Marcelle

  27. 5 out of 5

    Radena Rutherford

  28. 5 out of 5

    Angelia

  29. 4 out of 5

    Chloe

  30. 5 out of 5

    BookDB

  31. 4 out of 5

    Jim

  32. 5 out of 5

    Lyn Evans

  33. 5 out of 5

    Gabriela

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