Hitler in Vienna – Speer was not there, but do not believe he did not know (Photo: Flickr)
During the Third Reich Albert Speer was Hitler’s first architect – in the seventies Germany adopted him as an example for the German technocrat who, fascinated by Hitler, becomes his accomplice but stays a good man in his heart – and does not know anything about the killing of millions of Jews. Now the German newspaper FAZ reports about new found letter in which Mr Speer admits his knowledge of the Holocaust. In a letter to the widow of a Belgian resistance fighter, Mr Speer wrote in 1971: “There is no doubt. I was there on October 6th 1943, when Himmler announced all Jews would be killed.”
Albert Speer was sentenced to twenty years in prison at the Nuremberg trials. He did not receive capital punishment as he admitted his guilt, but also insisted he did not know anything about the Holocaust, despite being the minister for armament. After his release, he wrote an autobiography in which he repeated his claims – also denying that he was present at Heinrich Himmlers infamous presentation of the „Endlösung“ (final solution). He went to become a figure the German post-war establishment viewed with a mixture of disgust and fascination – especially as he was one of the last people who could tell historians private memories of Hitler.
But in 1999, a TV documentary proved for the first time that Mr Speer knew about extermination camps and even exploited the inmates, as he pushed forward the recruitment of more and more slave-labourers from the camps to rise the arms industry’s output.