DALLAS, March 25 (UPI) -- The grandson of a German justice official who spoke out against the Nazi party during World War II will put his ancestor's personal diary on display for the first time in Texas, and he says it has lessons for today's war against terrorism.
"When men and women of good will are confronted by evil, they must put aside their differences and stand together and fight," said Scott Kellner, a retired Texas A&M University English professor who has translated the nine volumes.
His grandfather, Friedrich Kellner, was a justice inspector, the chief administrative officer in a German courthouse. He died in 1970 at the age of 85, but not before turning over his diary to his grandson, who vowed to use it as a weapon against anti-democratic forces.
The handwritten diary will be on display, along with family photos and other mementos, at the George Bush Presidential Library and Museum on the Texas A&M University campus at College Station from April 1 to May 30 to mark the 60th anniversary of Victory in Europe Day.
Susie Cox, assistant to the curator at the Bush library, said they believe the diary presents a "fascinating" perspective on World War II Germany.
As a courthouse administrator, Friedrich Kellner witnessed many acts that are identical to the terrorism committed today, his grandson says. Among them were the indoctrination of children with prejudice and targeting of Jews as scapegoats.
Kellner wrote on Oct. 26, 1941: "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?"
Kellner looked to the United States and England to lead the fight against Nazi Germany.
"Now is a unique chance for England and America to take the initiative but not with empty promises and insufficient measures," he wrote. "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. Up until now the statesmen -- through unbelievable shortsightedness -- have neglected or failed their duty."
Kellner, who served in the German infantry during World War I, later became a justice inspector in Mainz, where he campaigned as a Social Democrat against the Nazi party during Adolf Hitler's rise to power in Germany.
Kellner would take a copy of Hitler's "Mein Kampf" to rallies in Mainz, the home of Johann Gutenberg, the inventor of the printing press, and use it as a weapon against the Nazi party.
"He would hold this book above his head, and he would tell the crowd, 'Gutenberg, your press has been violated by this evil book,'" his grandson said.
Kellner was beaten on two occasions, and when Hitler became chancellor in 1933 he moved to the small town of Laubach, where his views were not well known, but he continued to speak out against miscarriages of justice.
Kellner was hauled before a tribunal in Laubach and threatened with imprisonment in a concentration camp. After that incident he began his diary, decrying the militarism of his countrymen and the insanity of Hitler.
"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 told his grandson in 1968. "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."
When the war ended, Kellner was appointed deputy mayor of Laubach, where he helped restore the Social Democratic Party. He and his wife, Pauline, suffered a personal tragedy, however, when their only son took his own life.
In 1935 the Kellners had sent their son to the United States to keep him out of the German army. Fred Kellner joined the U.S. Army and ironically was sent to serve in France. He was later reunited with his parents in 1946.
Scott Kellner, who grew up in a children's home, said the father that he never met could not adjust to the "fractured reality" of being a man without a country. He is buried in the American Legion Tomb in Paris.
Inspired by his grandfather, Kellner went on to college and graduated from the University of Massachusetts. He taught there for several years before joining the faculty at Texas A&M, now the home of the Bush library and museum.
Kellner's grandfather turned the 753-page diary over to him with the condition that it be used as a weapon against any resurgence of anti-democratic forces. He has used his retirement to complete the translation and prepare it for its first public display.
"Maybe it's good that it took so long to get to this point," he said. "I don't think the world has needed to hear my grandfather's voice more than they need it now."
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