The Diary of Friedrich Kellner
Read Excerpts from Kellner's Diary
- October 23, 1941
- October 28, 1941
- December 8, 1941
- December 15, 1941
- July 29, 1941
- December 10, 1942
- March 28, 1945
- March 29, 1945
- May 1, 1945
- May 6, 1945
- May 7, 1945
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Read Excerpts from the Tribunals
Friedrich Kellner was a political activist in Mainz, Germany for the Social Democrats and campaigned against the Nazi Party. When Hitler came to power and sought revenge against his political opponents, Friedrich Kellner moved his family to the small town of Laubach where he became the chief justice inspector in the district courthouse. He had access to police and prosecutors' records and trial documents. His open declarations against the miscarriages of justice caused him to be brought before a tribunal and threatened with imprisonment in a concentration camp. After that he spent his nights writing in a secret diary, at risk to his life, decrying the militarism of his countrymen and the insanity of their totalitarian leader.
I could not fight the Nazis in the present, as they had the power to still my voice, so I decided to fight them in the future," he explained, when he gave the diary to his grandson for safekeeping. "I would give the coming generations a weapon against any resurgence of such evil. My eyewitness account would record the barbarous acts, and also show the way to stop them."
Friedrich Kellner bore witness in his diary to barbaric acts of the Nazis: indoctrinating children in prejudice and hatred, and sending those children with weapons to kill; terror bombing civilian population centers; spreading propaganda to make the world believe the victims were responsible for their own slaughter; and using Jews as scapegoats, and targeting them for genocide.
On October 26, 1941 Friedrich Kellner wrote: "The world will rightfully be enraged about this inhumanity, and a hate will burn that can never be extinguished. How long will this reign of terror continue?"
According to Friedrich Kellner, there was but one way to combat such barbarity. In 1968, two years before his death at the age of eighty-five, he explained: "I was a soldier in the First World War, and a judicial officer in the Second, and at all times a man who wanted peace. Civilization requires all three of these. If there is to be peace, you must have democracy, where laws have been agreed upon by the governed; and democracy must be preserved by men of courage who will fight for it. When dictators enslave their own people and seek to impose their anti-democratic ideology upon others, when evil seeks power, men of good will, no matter how much they love peace and hate war, must put aside their differences and stand together and fight."
"Mankind awake!" Friedrich Kellner wrote in his entry of June 25, 194l: "Attack together with all your might against the destroyers of peace! No reflections, no resolutions, no speeches, no neutrality. Advance against the enemy of mankind!"
He looked to America and England to lead the fight: "Now is a unique chance for England and America to take the initiative, but not with empty promises and insufficient measures. If America had the will to throw its entire might into the fray, it could tip the balance for a return of peace. Only a tremendous force and the commitment of all war material can bring the beast of war to reason."
When the war came to an end, Friedrich Kellner was appointed deputy mayor of Laubach. He helped to restore the Social Democratic Party and became chairman of the Laubach branch. But he and his wife Pauline would suffer a great personal tragedy. In 1935 they had sent their only child to America to keep him out of the German army. In an ironic twist of fate, their son joined the U.S. Army and was sent to serve in France. He reunited with his parents in 1946, but in the midst of the ruins of the country of his birth, wearing the despised uniform of the victor, young Fred Kellner could not adjust to the fractured reality of being a man without a country and took his own life. He is buried in the American Legion Tomb in Paris, France.
For further information about Friedrich Kellner, please visit Scott Kellner's website (Friedrich Kellner's grandson) at http://www.geocities.com/chippen0/index.html or email Scott at firstname.lastname@example.org