October 10, 1979
Note for the Record dictated on the morning of 11th October 1979
1. I sat yesterday evening next to the former Reichsminister Albert Speer at the dinner party given by the publishers Langen-Müller Verlag, at Frankfurt. Speer was in a very friendly mood and looked healthier than when I saw him last year here at the Book Fair. He attributed this to the fact that he is now living in the Allgäu for several months each year; his former house in Heidelberg now belongs to his sons. We talked about his financial problems which had derived from the huge income which he had amassed from the sales of his memoirs. In a friendly way he chided me for having suggested on several occasions that he was not the real author of the Speer memoirs.
He said that this was not the case and that he was the origin of all the information contained in the book. I asked: "Wann werden wir die wirklich Speer-Erinnerungen aber sehen, diejenigen Seiten die Sie damals in Spandau bzw. Nürnberg geschrieben haben?" He answered: "Das was ich damals geschrieben habe, war nicht geeignet für die heutige Veröffentlichung. Da habe ich z.B. dumme Überschriften gemacht," und er nannte dabei einige Beispiele. Die Ansichten, die er damals vertreten habe, seien nicht geeignet für die heutigen Leser, meinte er. In fact Speer claimed that Wolf Jobst Siedler removed from his memoirs many more confessions than actually remained in it.
2. He talked about the difficulty that he has in writing his manuscripts. He overwrites, the manuscripts are about three times too long, and he then solves this problem by retyping them with the old material which he cuts out on pink pages, which he puts facing the white pages. Later on he re reads the pink pages and realizes that they contain nothing of intrinsic value and he then has no compunctions about cutting them out.
3. He agreed that the version of his memoirs which he had read to me shortly after his release from Spandau, in Heidelberg, was different from what was finally published. I regretted once again that what was finally published contained many errors, for example about the Me.262, which he was unlikely to have made himself
4. The conversation turned to Hitler's War and the Judenfrage. He said that he did not believe that I could be right. I said that his position as expressed in an interview, I believe, with the Daily Mail in 1977, was basically illogical: he claims that he himself never discussed the Judenfrage with Hitler, he adds that it was never discussed in the Führer's HQ at all, and that he himself knew nothing about the Judenvernichtung until the war was over; and yet he still claims that Hitler knew all about it! There is an obvious inconsistency. I then asked him when he himself first heard about it, and he said: "I believe it was after the war, oder vielleicht schon während der Dönitz-Zeit in Flensburg 1945."
5. In an attempt to provoke Speer into a defensive stance I said: "Sie wissen, daß ich Sie vor allem wegen eines Punktes angreife: nämlich wegen Ihrer Förderung der V-2 Waffe (A4)." Speer answered quite simply: "Ja, da haben Sie recht, das war eben ein Fehler! Verantwortlich war aber vor allem Wernher von Braun. Der wußte zu begeistern! Er hat Hitler und mich einfach damit begeistert!"
6. He claimed that Playboy magazine had grossly distorted the interview with him. He was not shown the English text before it was published, and the interview was conducted in German or at least it was translated subsequently into English as his own English was not up to that standard.
7. We discussed initially the book by Professor Hermann Giesler, Ein Anderer Hitler. Speer was negative about it. The book contained two completely wrong statements about him. There is he says an entire chapter attacking him. One wrong allegation is the suggestion that the BBC flew him to London under a false name, Reeps. The other point I cannot remember. However he agrees that Giesler's descriptions of the Landsberger Haftzeit and other Hitler matters may possibly be correct. I laughed at the way that the rival architects versteiften sich in solchen Kleinigkeiten.
8. He says that he expends a lot of money on paperwork. He pays his secretary alone DM 25,000 per annum.
9. I asked Speer if he had ever visited Auschwitz himself, and he said he had visited the IG Farben Anlage there, once or more. "Es war eine riesige Anlage," he reflected reminiscently. "Und auch eine der leistungsfähigsten in der Welt." He mentioned in this connection a book by Langbehn, who was a doctor in Auschwitz yet was unaware that his subordinate doctors were given orders to administer Todesspritzen.
Source note: from a recently found diary note by David Irving; pictures from Börsenblatt and (bottom) David Irving Nuremberg, the Last Battle