To the Editors of The Crimson:
In the Washington Post of February 23, 1976, correspondent Michael Getler reports from Germany that Albert Speer had told him, among others, that he was greatly troubled by a forthcoming book in which he will be accused of having been present when Himmler announced on October 6, 1943 that the Jews were being systematically exterminated. This would give the lie to his protestations that he had not known of the slaughter of the Jews.
I assume that Speer was referring to my own book in preparation. But the accusation, when it appears, will not be a new one; for I had made it in an article in "Midstream" in October 1971. There, I proved, by reproducing the hitherto unpublished speech of Himmler's, that Speer was a witting accomplice in the murder of European Jewry. In that speech of October 6 1943 Himmler announced that the Jewish people "must disappear from the face of the earth" and that all Jewish men, women and children were being exterminated. He went on to complain that some Germans had been protecting Jews in defense enterprises. But not so Speer. Turning to Speer, who was sitting in the audience, Himmler addressed him directly, lauding him as a man on whom one can rely to aid in the "cleansing" of the last remnants of Polish Jewry. Here are Himmler's words spoken directly to Speer:
"Of course all this has nothing to do with Comrade Speer, you cannot do anything about it. It is those alleged defense enterprises that Comrade Speer and I jointly will cleanse during the coming weeks and months."
I repeat, the historical evidence proves that Speer was a witting accomplice in the murder of European Jewry. I herewith challenge him to disprove the evidence. Can a penitent be considered sincere in his penance when he confesses to all sorts of misdeeds but conceals the most heinous of his crimes? Erich Goldhagen Lecturer on Contemporary Jewish Studies