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Shofar FTP Archive File: people/s/speer.albert/sereny-re-speer-affidavit

From Wed Sep  4 07:56:49 PDT 1996
Article: 62093 of alt.revisionism
From: (Ken Lewis)
Newsgroups: alt.revisionism
Subject: Speer talks to Sereny
Date: Tue, 03 Sep 1996 17:18:45 GMT
Organization: InterServ News Service
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"In a review Speer once brought out to show me [Sereny], Lucy
Davidowicz had written, 'What his diaries do not mention, are any
sleepless nights ... or dreams about Auschwitz.'

'But that is exactly what *does*  give me sleepless nights,'  he
said, sounding very weary. This was the last day of our original 
three weeks together.

'I think I know what you knew about the Jews, ' I said, 'But could
you yourself not go a little further?' 

He had known this question would come up that day. 'I can say,' he
said slowly, that I sensed (*dass ich ahnte*) ... that dreadful things
were happening with the Jews...'  This was no longer the man I had
found glib, smooth and almost theatrically charming when we first met.
Deadly serious, deeply tired, there was not a shred of glibness left.

But if you 'sensed,' I said,  'then you knew. You cannot sense or 
suspect in a void. You knew.' 

He was silent for a long moment, then he got up, went into his study
and came back with a piece of paper. 'Read this.  Do as you wish with
it; and then let us speak of it no more.' 

In April 1977, Speer received a letter from D. Diamond, director
of the South African (Jewish) Board of Deputies, asking him to assist
the Board in their legal action against the publishers and
distributors of the pamphlet   *_Did Six Million Die? The Hoax of the
Twentieth Century_* to prevent its distribution in South Africa.

The request to Speer was that he should affirm on oath that:
a) contrary to what the pamphlet claimed, there had indeed been a plan
to exterminate the Jews of Europe; b) that he had heard of this plan
and could testify that it existed; c) that it was implemented and how
he knew that it was implemented.

Speers affidavit in reply, which I translated from his original
German, consisted of three pages in which, point after point, he
described the background to the exterminations and the devastating
admissions of those directly implicated accused at the Nuremberg
trial. After paying, as often before,  a tribute to Nuremberg as an
attempt to create a better world, he ended with the most revealing
words he had ever written:

        'I still recognize today that the grounds upon which I was
        convicted by the International Military Tribunal were
        correct. More than this, I still consider it essential today
        to take upon myself the responsibility, and thus the blame
        in general, for all crimes which were committed after I
        became a member of Hitler's government on February 8,
        1942. It is not individual acts or omissions, however grave,
        which weigh upon me, but my conduct as pasrt of the
        leadership.  This is why I accepted an overall responsibility
        in the Nuremberg trial and reaffirm this now.

       *However, to this day I still consider my main guilt to
        be my tacit acceptance (Billigung) of the persecution and
        murder of millions of Jews* (author's italics).

With those words, especially the hard-to-trannslate *Billigung*,
Speer associated himself for the first time directly with the murder
of the Jews. Three months later, when *_Die Zeit Magazin_*, the color
supplement of Germany's influential weekly, obtained the German
rights to my profile of Speer, the contract provided that the 
retranslation into German would be rechecked with Speer, and
most specifically this last paragraph.

Just as he had not registered any objection when I had given
him the English draft to read, here again he accepted the profile 
as written, except that in a handwritten note to  *_Die Zeit_*    he
asked for a footnote to be written in which he explained the term
'*Billigung*' which I translated as  'tacit consent' to mean
'looking away, not by knowledge of an order or its execution. 
The first,' he wrote,  'is as grave as the second.' 

'Why did you say this so directly now, after denying it for so
long?' I asked him.  He shrugged. 'For this purpose, and with these
people,' he said,  'I didn't wish to -- I couldn't -- hedge. (*wollte
ich nicht -- komte ich nicht -- handeln.*)

If Speer had said so much in Nuremberg, he would have been 

Sereny, Gitta. Albert Speer: His Battle with the Truth. New York.
Alfred A. Knopf. 1995. pp 706 - 709

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