Friedrich Kellner was a social democrat whose attitude towards the NS-regime right from the beginning ranged from firm rejection to revulsion. Since 1933 he worked as a judicial inspector in the town of Laubach, northern Hesse, and observed intensively and with great distrust the politics of the political rulers. Since the beginning of the war, he kept a diary. Initially, he particularly recorded his fellow citizens’ attitudes and reactions to the recent political changes. Eventually, he began to focus on the documentation of the propaganda, which he critically scrutinized.
In his diaries Friedrich Kellner showed how the careful and vigilant monitoring of the official propaganda, as well as a critical review of the official rhetoric, could have enabled his contemporaries to identify the true character of the dictatorship.
He read the media attentively and glued numerous newspaper articles into his diary along with simple yet direct commentary.
Documenting the effects of the often easily intelligible propaganda on his fellow citizens was one of Kellner’s main concerns. Furthermore, the diaries reveal how much there was to know even then about the central mass crimes of the regime. Kellner understood the hidden meanings in the media and connected them with other information and local incidents to gain a broader insight.
With the edition a source is made public, which is significant for the research and understanding of the history of the NS-dictatorship and its ideology of the so-called ‘Volksgemeinschaft’. The knowledge of the NS State and its propaganda, their local effects and manifestations, including the limits and possibilities of critical and oppositional behavior towards the regime will thus be broadened and differentiated.
Friedrich Kellner: “Vernebelt, verdunkelt sind alle Hirne”. Tagebücher 1939-1945. (2 volumes) Edited by Sascha Feuchert, Robert Martin Scott Kellner, Erwin Leibfried, Jörg Riecke and Markus Roth. In cooperation with Elisabeth Turvold and Diana Nusko as well as Nassrin Sadeghi and Birgit M. Körner. Göttingen: Wallstein 2011 (the fourth edition has been published).