“He [Speer] also told the orchestra’s manager to schedule a series of last concerts. ‘When I asked them to play Bruckner’s Romantic Symphony, I told him, it would mean the end was near and the musicians should get ready to leave Berlin.'”
The Philharmonic Hall was filled to bursting the afternoon of the 12th April . Nichlaus von Below wrote of the occasion.
It was unforgettable. I sat with Speer and Admiral Donitz and listened to Beethoven’s Violin Concerto, the finale from the Gotterdammerung and Bruckner’s symphony. Can there ever have been such a moment, such an experience? Silently the three of us walked afterwards across the totally destroyed Potsdamer Platz back to the Reich Chancellery.
“Electricity was, of course, strictly rationed by then,” Speer told me, “but I had it switched on for this occasion. Absurd I know, but I thought that Berlin should see that lovely hall, miraculously intact, just once more fully lit.”
“What those who didn’t attend didn’t see,” said Annemarie [Speer’s secretary and confidant], “were the baskets offered to spectators on the way out – cyanide capsules.”
Gitta Sereny Albert Speer: His battle with truth pp506-7
Tag Albert Speer, Homo-erotic relationship with Hitler, Terminal delusion,