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Posted Wednesday, May 11, 2005

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Wednesday, May 11, 2005


Photo: Albert Speer shares a jest with a well-known writer at Frankfurt Book Fair, 1979

Albert SpeerWartime reports debunk Speer as the Good Nazi

By Kate Connolly in Berlin

ALBERT Speer, Hitler's architect and munitions minister, was fully aware of and involved in the mass murder of Jews despite his lifelong claims to the contrary, new documents have shown.

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David Irving comments:

FINALLY the conformist historians are catching up with the real facts about their former darling, Albert Speer.
   I first reported in my Goebbels biography (London, 1996) that Speer was the initiator of the program to expel Jews from their Berlin housing, so that he could take over their 5,000 luxury apartments for himself and his Nazi cronies. His original, and undoctored, office diary revealed that he had set up a special department in his office as Generalbauinspector for Berlin to handle this step in 1941 - long before the Wannsee conference.
   Speer donated a sanitized version of his diaries to the German federal archives, omitting such passages, and sent a set to me too; but I was not taken in!
   Unfortunately, thanks to Deborah Lipstadt and her lying friends who accused me of Holocaust denial, this Goebbels book never saw the light of day in the USA as St Martins Press and Doubleday (and subsequently Random House too) were intimidated into dropping it in April 1996.
   I have a few quibbles with this article. The breathless Miss Willems conducted "further research" showing "that on the day of Desch and Sander's visit, 900 Polish Jews were murdered in the gas chambers."
   If her source was the infamous,pompously named Auschwitz Kalendarium compiled by communist writer Danuta Czech, the further research is almost worthless, as the book relies largely on train manifests and timetables, without proper evidence as to what happened to the passengers.
   I also doubt that the document quoted actually refers to a "Prof Speer special programme" to "expand the Auschwitz camp so that it could serve as a death camp," as this journalist writes.
   I have read most of the Himmler/ Speer correspondence in either Himmler's files in the Library of Congress or Speer's at the Bundesarchiv. A passage like that would have, ahem, caught even my "holocaust denier" attention.
I have today posted on this website images of the only items in the Himmler files that match the newspaper description, and challenge readers to find the quotation referred to. [Link]
   I have also posted also his note in Gabelsberger shorthand, scribbled on the obverse of Speer's report, and I invite somebody to transcribe it: it may yet surprise us all.
   As I wrote in a letter published in The Times ten years ago, however, in my view Albert Speer could count himself lucky not to have been hanged at Nuremberg.
   He certainly deserved the rope more than others like General Alfred Jodl -- but my book "Nuremberg, the Last Battle" reveals the horse-trading that went on behind the scenes over names and sentences: Speer had made himself the darling of the Americans at Nuremberg by his submissiveness, and he was spared, though not as much as he had hoped.

FOOTNOTE: IT IS amusing to see that that shriveled little toad Gita Sereny (above, by Gary) is even now trying to salvage Speer's reputation; we wonder sometimes what went on between them, that she should persist in this necrophilia.

Speer's reputation in Germany as the "Good Nazi" who stood by Hitler only because it enabled him to fulfil his dreams to become an architect of international acclaim, has been blackened by the disclosures that he was fully informed of the human destruction in Auschwitz, the largest of the Nazi's murder factories.

His insistence that he knew nothing about Auschwitz or the crimes against Jews, meant that he was the only leading Nazi to escape execution following the Nuremberg trials. Instead he was sentenced to 20 years in prison and after his release in 1966, went on to become the best-selling author of books such as Inside the Third Reich and Spandau: Secret Diaries. He died in 1981, spending his last years in London.

His insistence that, despite being the closest Nazi to Hitler, he knew nothing of the Holocaust, led to many Germans adopting a similar stance of denial.

The new disclosures have formed the backbone of a documentary drama called Speer and Him, the first part of which was broadcast this week, the 60th anniversary of the end of the Second World War in Europe. It debunks the myth of the benign family father who happened to fall in with the wrong crowd.

The film's director, Heinrich Brelör, said: "[He created] a market for people who said 'believe me, I didn't know anything about it. Just look at the Führer's friend, he didn't know about it either'."

The documents uncovered by the Berlin historian Susanne Willems include a Third Reich report from May 1943 that refers to a "Prof Speer special programme" to expand the Auschwitz camp so that it could serve as a death camp. The report, on which Speer made copious handwritten notes in the margins and over the text, refers to the fact that Auschwitz's role as a work camp had "recently been expanded to include the solution to the Jewish question".

The gassing of Jews began at the latest in the spring of 1942. The report was compiled after Speer, who as the head of armaments for the Third Reich was responsible for overseeing the distribution of building materials, dispatched two of his advisers, Desch and Sander, to investigate a number of concentration camps around Germany and Poland, including Auschwitz.

They reported being shown "everything" at the camp by its leader, Rudölf Höss, right, who gave them a "short report on the erection and purpose of the whole concentration camp site".

Further research by Miss Willems has shown that on the day of Desch and Sander's visit, 900 Polish Jews were murdered in the gas chambers.

Following the visit and resulting report, Speer approved the shipment of a thousand tons of steel to the camp to enable its expansion.

The head of the SS, Heinrich Himmler, wrote to Speer to thank him "very much".

Brelör argues that Speer was more than just a "cog in the works". He said: "He was not only entangled in the works, he was the terror itself."

The drama also concentrates on Speer's plans to expel thousands of Jews from their homes in Berlin to free building space [SEE PANEL AT RIGHT].

Gita Sereny, the London-based author of the 1995 book Albert Speer: His Battle with Truth, yesterday accused Brelör of stripping Speer of "the honesty he always showed". In an interview with Die Welt, she said: "The Jewish question, for which he carried no personal guilt, was for him a huge psychological strain," she said.

"We have to ask ourselves first and foremost what did he feel about Jews? I'll tell you: nothing. He was anything but an active hater of the Jews. They were irrelevant to him."

She added that Speer had had "no time" to concern himself with the workings of the Holocaust machine.

"Speer had no time, he had an unbelievable amount to do, what one would nowadays call a workaholic. The most important thing for him was Hitler -- Hitler filled and fulfilled his life."




In Die Welt, Berlin, Historian Götz Aly deals a blow to the reputation of Albert Speer, and admits Mr Irving's role in exposing him: Warum es heute nichts mehr kostet, die Lügen über Hitlers liebsten Architekten auffliegen zu lassen
Flashback: David Irving: Table Talk with Albert Speer, October 10, 1979

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