Spandau: The Secret Diaries ePUB Ï Spandau: The

Spandau: The Secret Diaries He served as Hitler s architect, the undisputed master of the German war machine, and the one responsible for conscripted foreign labor in the Third Reich And, when Albert Speer was captured and sentenced at Nuremberg after becoming the only defendant to plead guilty he started keeping this secret diary, much of it on toilet paper Afteryears of imprisonment, he found , of the smuggled pages waiting for him, and from those entries he shaped this deeply powerful document My fictional character Berthold Becker see A Flood of Evil and A Promise Kept 1934 to 1946 has pleaded guilty and been sentenced to 20 years at Spandau Prison Among his 7 co prisoners is Albert Speer Berthold, looking for something to engage his mind in the dank emptiness of prison, initiates a conversation with Speer and then I have written this Alone in my cell, many disjointed questions ran through my head about the unique resource to understanding I had begun to develop What wa My fictional character Berthold Becker see A Flood of Evil and A Promise Kept 1934 to 1946 has pleaded guilty and been sentenced to 20 years at Spandau Prison Among his 7 co prisoners is Albert Speer Berthold, looking for something to engage his mind in the dank emptiness of prison, initiates a conversation with Speer and then I have written this Alone in my cell, many disjointed questions ran through my head about the unique resource to understanding I had begun to develop What was the best way to keep Speer engaging in serious conversation with me How could I get him to tell meabout why he and so many others had gone along with Hitler Could either of us have doneto resist Hitler Would conversations with Speer lead me to rethink my own guilt It occurred to me that it would be important, if these conversations were to continue, to make sure the assessing of blame did not get in the way of understanding That would be a tight line to walk, but critical if I was to take advantage of my unique and extended access to one of theintelligent of the Nazi leaders Was he also observant What had he seen I had twenty years to find out Speer s Spandau diary not only reveals his thinking or his lies about his thinking but does so in chronological sequence, which is perfect for my evolving historical novel, as yet untitled, which will follow Berthold and Anna s post Nuremberg lives Simply one of the most fascinating book I have ever read, for three reasons 1 Speer s position as one of Hitler s closest confidante is clear in this piece his recollections on Hitler are wonderfully vivid and personal, mostly in casual settings, stripped from Goebbels oratory languages He provides insight on Hitler beyond historical facts and figures, but on the man itself, portraying the Fuhrer truly as a person with strong emotions, fears and flaws The most interesting Hitler story for Simply one of the most fascinating book I have ever read, for three reasons 1 Speer s position as one of Hitler s closest confidante is clear in this piece his recollections on Hitler are wonderfully vivid and personal, mostly in casual settings, stripped from Goebbels oratory languages He provides insight on Hitler beyond historical facts and figures, but on the man itself, portraying the Fuhrer truly as a person with strong emotions, fears and flaws The most interesting Hitler story for me is how Hitler tries to win the love of Speer s and Bormann s children without success, even though he, of course, charms the adults.2 Dynamics between The Spandau Seven, the Nazi criminals incarcerated in Spandau, are particularly interesting Here we see leaders who are belittled to common prisoners who mop and clean the bathroom with banal day to day chatter Donitz and Raeder, the two former grand admirals, hate each other, Neurath is the diplomat who s always nice to everyone, Funk and von Schirach are best friends, and Hess is the strange, supposedly mentally ill one a lot of very interesting stories about Hess s acts and sanity insanity 3 Above all, let s not forget that Speer, different from most of other leading Nazis, is an intelligent, complex man who shows his remorse in Nuremberg Trials while being very close to Hitler before In this book he deals and confronts his own thoughts about his past with Hitler, continually questioning himself for justification or explanation of what he has done Through his eyes, I start to understand why so many people admire and follow Hitler blindly, including intelligent people like Speer.Must read to history, Nazi and WW II enthusiast This book should not be missed by readers who enjoy the history of WWII and its protagonists It is the secret diary of Albert Speer, written on scraps of paper, mostly toilet paper, during his 20 year imprisonment in Spandau Prison, following the judgement handed by the International Military Tribunal at the Nuremberg Trials in 1946 The book was edited and published in 1975 almost ten years after his release, because as he himself acknowledges in the introduction to the diary, he could not bri This book should not be missed by readers who enjoy the history of WWII and its protagonists It is the secret diary of Albert Speer, written on scraps of paper, mostly toilet paper, during his 20 year imprisonment in Spandau Prison, following the judgement handed by the International Military Tribunal at the Nuremberg Trials in 1946 The book was edited and published in 1975 almost ten years after his release, because as he himself acknowledges in the introduction to the diary, he could not bring himself to look at those miniscule notes when he returned to his family in Heidelberg The notes had been smuggled out of the prison thanks to the help of friendly guards at Spandau.The diary entries take the reader through Speer s psychological journey in prison, his thoughts and memories as a front row protagonist of Hitler s Third Reich, his dealings with the sense of guilt,and yearning for freedom and his family.Yet in no way does he try to portray himself as the victim The diary was, in fact, one of the chores that kept him going during those long, mundane years in prison It also gives an insight to the other War criminals who were serving a prison sentence at Spandau, namely, Doenitz, Raeder, Funk, von Neurath, Hess and Schirach Some of the entries are quite amusing and they truly show how these Nazi leaders were no different than any other person in such circumstances, even though some of them obstinately tried to retain a sense of self importance Doenitz and Raeder continued to bicker amongst themselves on subjects concerning the German navy, Hess, who at the beginning of the imprisonment, continued to profess attitudes of insanity, seems to have changed over the years, and I dare say he almost turned out to be a loveable character I was particularly struck by Speer s description of Hess s words before he Speer and Schirach were to be released Hess had to serve a life sentence.As for the issue of guilt, that is the subject of anti semitism and the atrocities, I have to admit, I think Speer only mentioned them fleetingly exclaimingthan once that he had been no anti semite Perhaps Speer has deceived his readers, somewhat, in that particular subject, though I still would not imagine him as being the author of the actual atrocities that took place He always stood comfortably in the background, but I cannot accept the fact that he naively believed that concentration camps were strictly work camps But not having had a direct experience with such matters, might have made it easier for him to declare a degree of innocence in that regard Nevertheless he continuously accepts responsability for having been involved in a Government that brought so much suffering in Germany and subsequently in Europe During his years in Spandau he also consolidates his view, which he states to have started to form in around 1943, that Hitler was not the great man he and the rest of Germany thought him to be The diary presents various stories of Speer s interaction with Hitler He also recounts conversations he had with the other prisoners, who being cut off from the outside world, could not but discuss matters from the past.I think Speer s shame to all that happened is genuine He was a cultured, intelligent man who systematically organised his prison days in such a way to ward off despair and depression episodes of depression do come through from some of the diary entries He kept himself busy with his memoirs, his diary, endless loans of books from the Prison Library and he also started a world walking tour He merely walked in circles in an area of the prison garden and imagined himself walking across the world He not only managed to keep the imagination alive with a heavy dependence on an Atlas and travel books , but he actually noted down all the kilometers he had made It gave him something to look forward to in Spandau, especially when only three prisoners were left And yet, some of his entries show that after his 15th year in prison, he was almost afraid of leaving the place.The book gives you an insight into Speer s character, and reveals some of the mystery that surrounds him It also re inforced my view that it was wrong of the Tribunal to hand out the death sentences to the other Nazi leaders tried at Nuremberg Only three had been acquitted, the rest were hanged inside Nuremberg prison Imprisonment would have certainly subdued them and perhaps also given them enough time to re asses their former situation The single most thought provoking book I have ever read and re read If I am ever asked to recommend a book, this is the one I suggest While Speer may be less than totally honest in this book, he nonetheless wrestles openly and forthrightly with his guilt, his conscience, his role in history, his time in prison, and. Interesting insight from Speer on his stay in prison Not exciting prose by anymeans but words from the horse s mouth so to speak Speer s everyday activities reveal the battle with one s mind in prison, thatprobably Hess was already on his way to losing Speer got an atlas fromthe prison library and set off to hike around the world in the prison exercise yard, carefully measuring each kilometer Picking up this book for the first time in years I see I have saved newspaperclippings from the 77 Interesting insight from Speer on his stay in prison Not exciting prose by anymeans but words from the horse s mouth so to speak Speer s everyday activities reveal the battle with one s mind in prison, thatprobably Hess was already on his way to losing Speer got an atlas fromthe prison library and set off to hike around the world in the prison exercise yard, carefully measuring each kilometer Picking up this book for the first time in years I see I have saved newspaperclippings from the 77 on Hess, Feb slashes wrists April, birthdaydoesn t ask for cake, May US asks Soviets to release Hess This book was actually published in 1976 and after Inside the Third Reich 1970 and this had followed his first attempt entitled Erinnerungen Recollections in 1966 My Opinion I found parts of this difficult, but at the same time very humanistic We see Speer, a cultured man tormented in the early days of imprisonment first at Nuremburg, then transferred to Spandau in the summer of 1947 transfixed on all that has occurred to him Speer became Minister of Armaments and War Production when This book was actually published in 1976 and after Inside the Third Reich 1970 and this had followed his first attempt entitled Erinnerungen Recollections in 1966 My Opinion I found parts of this difficult, but at the same time very humanistic We see Speer, a cultured man tormented in the early days of imprisonment first at Nuremburg, then transferred to Spandau in the summer of 1947 transfixed on all that has occurred to him Speer became Minister of Armaments and War Production when Fritz Todt was killed in a plane crash on 8 January 1942 and, inherently this is where his guilt lays for the Nuremburg Trials We know too that the war in Europe could have likely ended earlier had he not been the leader behind the production schedule The Allies are very well lucky indeed that Speer was not the Munitions Minister before the outbreak of the Second World War and lucky again in 1939, 1940, and 1941 During the early phases of his imprisonment, Speer grasps of what the monster that Hitler was however, he also acknowledges the special life he had between the years of 1933 45 Humor is occasionally inset within the circumstances of the book on several accounts during the prison years with or toward other prisoners there were 7 total from the Nuremburg major Trials A joke early on between Speer and Funk Walter Funk Minister of Economics develops when Speer informs him that he Speer is allowed to have a half glass of champagne daily for his heart condition as prescribed from the Doctors When one Doctor sees a prisoner of one Nation then all other three Nations have to have their Medical Opinion provided as well or at minimum be witness to whatever examination is occurring at the time later this will apply to Dentists during routine dental extractions To wrap up my personal opinion I believe Speer deserved nothan 5 years and if anyone deserved either a 20 year or life sentence it was Admiral Karl D nitz.Guards The Guards split monthly shifts by Director Nation and four in total Russian, French, British, and American In the early days of stay at Spandau Speer is slapped by a guard with a Lithuanian name wearing a Russian uniform In a polite military fashion Speer does not report the Guard but realizes all of this instantaneously to the event and then informs this Guard that you are Lithuanian and I realize you likely have lost your family, I will not report you this time but Guards are not allowed to slap the prisoners He observes that during and proceeding the Nuremburg Trials and prior to moving to Spandau that the African American Soldiers who guarded him had no hate in their eyes he speculates I assume correctly that this is based on the fact that they themselves have been treated indecently for most of their lives and can to some degree understand the difficulty he is under much better than the Caucasian American counterparts Some Guards were or became sympathetic toward the Prisoners and would at times sneak alcohol for them inside away from the watchful eyes of the Director or other Sentries who could not be trusted Speer notes and was grateful to a Jewish American soldier who assisted his sneaking unauthorized letters out of the Nuremburg prison period of time after the verdict was rendered in 1946 but before the transition to Spandau.Meals During the transition of Guard Director Sentry duties that some were better than the others French food was the favorite, though the American and British were the heartier The prisoners themselves all seemed to lose weight during the Russian period of Director Sentry duties but they would soon gain it back.Walk around the World Out of sheer boredom and desire to stay mentally alert Speer decides to walk the distance in the Spandau Garden to a city that would provide a physical challenge for him By this point in 1954 he had spent 8 years on redesigning the gardens of Spandau His first trip took him to his family home in Heidelberg 626 kilometers In his diary, Speer wrote, This project is a battle against the endless boredom but it is also an expression of the last remnants of my urge toward status and activity The walking project took on unexpectedly vast dimensions from Heidelberg, Speer set off through Eastern Europe to Istanbul, passing through Afghanistan into India, through China Beijing and Russia Vladivostok all the way across the Bering Strait which he crossed continuing south down the western coast of North America walking his way from Alaska, through Vancouver down to Los Angeles he crosses the Mexican Border in his mind at Mexicali California His trip ended twelve years after it began In his final week in prison, Speer sent a postcard to a friend, asking to be picked up some thirty kilometers west of Guadalajara, Mexico His diaries tally the total distance he walked 32,000 kilometers nearly 20,000 miles but based on previous walking up to 1954 it is quite possible he walkedthan 45,000 kilometers , enough to have circled the globe at the equator maybe even twice The walking ends just a few days before his prison sentence concludes however he still manages another 200 kilometers even before his final departure day To prepare himself mentally he read in advance of every location he would be walking into or toward Then, as he crossed the paths of kilometer miles into the new area he envisioned the scenery, the cold, the heat, the dust, and although he doesn t expand upon this within this account he likely managed to think of people he d meet along the way.Family Sort of tough reading of this account of the prison term as at first he doesn t see the young children he left behind, but they do begin to come around in their teenage years His wife and he had little to say on each of the annual visits all visits were strictly supervised accept for one that he had with his son in which he was able to touch his hand.Hitler Early on he realizes the monster that Hitler was and even acknowledges this by his guilty verdict during the Nuremburg Trials He was after all the Munitions Minister Speer is the first to contradict accounts of Hitler within his personal privacy of these notes from Spandau against his prisoner acquaintances as well as popular media that begins to develop in the 1950s Speer states that Hitler hated what he admired after an analysis he reviewed stated the opposite Some comments from Speer 05 06 1960 he states that Hitler is the genius of dilettantism 05 04 1965 he writes that only two concepts can include all his character traits and that are the common denominator of all the many contradictory aspects opaqueness and dishonesty There are simply too many to reference in total from this book and seemingly the book in my view is a treasure trove for Psychologists, Psychiatrists, and to a greater extent if possible Philosophers and of course Historians in general.Intentionally I will not read Inside the Third Reich for at least 12 to 18 months This book is a well written and is in my view a primary source for history as it relates to prison life following the Second World War This book is certainly not as fascinating as Speer s Inside the Third Reich Based on a prison diary, there is a plodding, repetitive cadence throughout, appropriate for the genre one would think Still, there was quite a bit to intrigue me, fascinated as I am with the souls of political monsters like Speer, his ilk and, sadly, many of the executives of our own criminal government Flitting throughout, for instance, is the figure of Rudolf Hess, the lst occupant of Spandau Sometimes coherant, s This book is certainly not as fascinating as Speer s Inside the Third Reich Based on a prison diary, there is a plodding, repetitive cadence throughout, appropriate for the genre one would think Still, there was quite a bit to intrigue me, fascinated as I am with the souls of political monsters like Speer, his ilk and, sadly, many of the executives of our own criminal government Flitting throughout, for instance, is the figure of Rudolf Hess, the lst occupant of Spandau Sometimes coherant, sometimes withdrawn, sometimes mad, sometimes clearly feigning madness, Hess remains an enigma to Speer and the reader So also are the others, the unrepentant except for having lost Nazis, fascinating in their reduced circumstances not so far removed from me, from us Would that Bush and Obama had to read the Nuremburg transcripts and write book reports about such an account What would they make of it Would they see any connection with themselves It was so fascinating to get an inside look into how Albert Speer spent his 20 year imprisonment I enjoy Speer s writing style, as it is thoughtful and introspective while still historically informative I watched as he tried to dissect his guilt, make sense of his actions, and understand his own emotions, and I must say, I enjoyed it. Albert Speer s astonishing achievement was to keep German industry producing in the face of devastating bombing by the Allies Sentenced to 20 years in prison, he was able most of the time to keep himself sane with projects such as writing clandestine books, landscape architecture, and an imaginary tramp around the world, supported by detailed geographical study SPANDAU THE SECRET DIARIES is a detailed account of his mental and emotional adaptations to prison Impressive as his achievements we Albert Speer s astonishing achievement was to keep German industry producing in the face of devastating bombing by the Allies Sentenced to 20 years in prison, he was able most of the time to keep himself sane with projects such as writing clandestine books, landscape architecture, and an imaginary tramp around the world, supported by detailed geographical study SPANDAU THE SECRET DIARIES is a detailed account of his mental and emotional adaptations to prison Impressive as his achievements were from a detached point of view, the most important thing Speer did with his life was to be the Nazi who said Sorry His personal evolution is a role model for the development of international ethics.Read 2 times Favorite nonfiction read of 2001 Favorite memoir read of 2019


About the Author: Albert Speer

Albert Speer, born Berthold Konrad Hermann Albert Speer, was a German architect who was, for a part of World War II, Minister of Armaments and War Production for the Third Reich Speer was Adolf Hitler s chief architect before assuming ministerial office As the Nazi who said sorry , he accepted responsibility at the Nuremberg trials and in his memoirs for crimes of the Nazi regime His level of involvement in the persecution of the Jews and his level of knowledge of the Holocaust remain matters of dispute.


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