Tag: Albert Speer

On Marcel Ophuls’ The Memory of Justice

I’m about 2/3 of the way through Marcel Ophuls’s long-lost documentary The Memory of Justice, which is now playing on HBO. I had been alerted to it by this mostly appreciative review from Ian Buruma. If I can be permitted an opinion without having quite finished the film (that comes tonight), part of me is disappointed with what I’ve seen. The first half covers fairly well trodden ground, without unearthing much that’s new. Much of it feels like a director being put through his paces, or a director putting his subjects through their paces. Despite his reputation as an interviewer, Ophuls doesn’t extricate a lot from Telford Taylor that you wouldn’t know from reading Taylor’s articles and books. Or from Albert Speer, for that matter, that you didn’t know […]

We can get rid of the Hitlers and the Himmlers, but not the Speers

1. A king who enjoins inhuman deeds Will find enough retainers, who for grace and payment Avidly accept half the anathema. —Goethe, Iphigenia in Taurus 2. In 1942, Albert Speer drafted a decree that made it a crime, punishable by death, to provide false information about raw materials, labor, machinery or products. Himmler thought it was too harsh. 3. So contemptuous of bureaucracy and paperwork was Speer that he welcomed the Allied bombing raids on Berlin in November 1943, which partially destroyed his ministry’s offices. In a memo, he wrote: I believe that thanks to this [raid] the question of the bureaucratic treatment of problems that should best be dealt with in a manner free from administrative restraints, is automatically resolved. In a speech, […]

K Street in Nazi Germany

Building on these old posts about the relationship between capitalism and Nazism, here’s another nugget from Martin Kitchen’s biography of Speer: Speer’s plan for Berlin underlined the fact that the headquarters of the Armed Forces and of Germany’s leading companies did not merely share the same address, but lived together in harmony….Ernst Petersen’s project for the washing powder manufacturer Henkel was next door to Herbert Rimpl’s building for the Hermann Göring Works. IG Farben was placed opposite Hitler’s palace. AEG was across the street from the Ministry of Propaganda. This sense of togetherness and of monumentality was strengthened by bunching these huge buildings together along the north-south axis.

Hitler’s Furniture

Tipped off by Adam Tooze’s review in the Wall Street Journal, which I highly recommend, I ordered Martin Kitchen’s new biography of Albert Speer. A few nuggets so far. On Hitler, Speer, and furniture: The style of furniture that was extolled in the professional journals of the day as ‘furniture for the German people’ that reflected ‘the honesty, solidity and directness of a natural lifestyle’ was not to be found in the new chancellery [designed by Speer to Hitler’s specifications]. Aping the style of bygone ages, particularly if foreign and essentially aristocratic, was roundly condemned. Such gaudy luxury and ostentatious grandeur had no place in the new Germany….Speer’s approach was radically different. His was the exact reverse of the Werkbund’s. […]