Book Review: Gitta Sereny ~ Albert Speer: His battle with the truth (1995)

Anyone familiar with the history of Nazi Germany will know Speer was a senior member of Hitler’s entourage and therefore find the title surprising. The ‘Truth’ Gitta highlights is whether or not Speer knew about the Holocaust. It hardly seems worth the effort, as the answer is, ‘Yes, of course.’ The follow up question is: Why wasn’t he hanged after his trial at Nuremberg?

Speer was a unique member of Hitler’s entourage being a professional man and intellectual. Hitler, seemingly, felt proud to have Speer as a hanger-on. His conversation and qualities as an architect fed Hitler’s own predilections. Gitta suggests they had a Platonic homo-erotic relationship:

“….[Speers’s] very real emotion for Hitler, a mixture of hero worship, filial devotion and complicated feelings, which he only came to understand much later.” p233

Gitta spent hundreds of hours with Speer, his former Nazi colleagues and family. The book does have integrity but the possibility that Speer, who was in charge of armaments for two years, didn’t know about slave labour is risible. Suggesting he didn’t know where his slave labour was coming from beggars belief. Speer ‘got away with it’.

He made a fortune from his books and died an old man, accompanied by his lover, in London. Nonetheless it’s an interesting read if a bit long (ideal for lockdown?).

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