Stills from Albert Speer’s interview with Daniel Ellburg for German Television in 1973 (for OnkelSpeer)
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Ellburg: How often have you been interviewed, since you were freed from Spandau?
Speer: By TV? Perhaps 10, 15 times. Or even more frequently.
Ellburg: And otherwise?
Speer: That’s impossible to say. Hundreds. Hundreds of times.
Ellburg: What are your motives?
Speer: To tell people what it was like, so they can learn from it. I don’t want to tell people what to think. I leave that to them.
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And, now I throw in my two cents, take it or leave it!
At center stage in this photo set, one can see Albert Speer’s only genuine full-blown smile that happened in this interview. One tiny, candid glimmer of the man, I mean the real one who isn’t suffocating under the weight of all those complexes…the one that feels and dreams, a part that he didn’t share with his family much less in front of the cameras. He liked to stick to telling stories of the happenings between the personalities in the inner circle, colored with his personal insights concerning their characters (all of which are valuable and fascinating, but tell us nothing about *him*). He is just kind of “on” when he is making his rounds through the press.
And yet, there was always this vague melancholy in his eyes that betrayed someone a lot deeper than he was willing to show us, and which is captured in a few of these stills…the look that gives his eyes this faraway, ethereal quality, as though part of him were always somewhere else, deep within himself, or perhaps deep within the past. Or perhaps those were impossible for Speer to separate at that point in his life.
So, when does Speer give us that pleased-as-punch little grin? Why am I saying it is significant? Well, that frame comes just as he is telling Ellburg that he had been interviewed “hundreds of times.” ;) This is one of my favorite Speer moments, post-Spandau, hands down, and I’d like to tell you why. In spite of all those rough years, it’s nice to catch a split-second glimpse of the side of him we don’t often see, the one that is real. The person who, despite being so didactic and cooly rational in his tone, could really believe that Germania could actually work, could actually come to exist, then actually design a concept for it (without much of any, well, living quarters! I think cities kind of need those, hahaha, but SOMEONE got a bit carried away! Hess’s first remark when he saw the model, and how ironic he was the voice of REASON! Bad sign, Albert, lol: “Where are the houses?”).
BUT what is even better is that he spent who-knows-how-many-days building a true-to-scale model of it to fill a room in which he and Hitler could both go to their own little architectural la-la land and escape their very present real-life problems. Perhaps deep down, Speer at least knew that only the model would really be as far as it ever went. I think that Speer and Hitler brought out a rather carefree joy in one another and that the tenor kept building and…WE HAVE LIFT OFF! Now, I have no doubt that at times, he believed, “No, really, this could come to pass, with Hitler leading the way ANYTHING is possible!” This is the Speer I have come to treasure and care for over the years, like an old friend that makes you smile with those fun little things that you have come to love in them. Yep, it is the fact that he would tell historians what a garish/amateurish idea Germania was in one breath, then brag about the particulars and the epic porportions of it all, how actually it could have really worked because blah blah…in the very next one. Oh yes, some small part of his young self, however crazy, misguided, easily influenced, and ungrounded it may have been, managed to survive his upbringing, the pain of the Hitler relationship, Spandau…and well, right in that moment, if we’re paying attention, we get to see it for ourselves. It’s so very real, and a rare treat indeed. As much hell as he went through in prison and then put himself through over the years, it is nice to see him get a little puffed up in his new-found success. Bravo, Albi! Get on with your bad self and your super-awesome, make-believe (but maybe not! hey, it could happen if Adolf says!) city! You have earned it! We all deserve to dream. Perhaps someone as extraordinary and larger than life as Albert just needed to dream a little bigger than most people. ;)
Hess in coats appreciation post
tumblr is the saddest on the weekends because we see who has a life and who doesn’t
Oh look, it’s my gif.
Happens to me all the time too. I even saw something I wrote for this blog plagiarized on another website…
Ugh, that’s even worse.