What Albert Speer Knew about the Holocaust

The German architect Albert Speer was a favorite of Adolf Hitler, who put him in charge of the Third Reich’s building projects and later made him minister of armaments. Speer was spared the death penalty at Nuremburg, consistently denied he had any knowledge of the extermination of the Jews, and earned himself a reputation as the ex-Nazi with a conscience. A recent biography by Martin Kitchen sets the record straight, as Daniel Johnson writes:

It was [Speer] who evicted and expropriated the Jews of Berlin—an audacious crime that had no basis in law and which made thousands of Jewish families homeless—and he who engineered their deportation—of which he later disclaimed all knowledge. It was he who, working closely with [Heinrich] Himmler’s SS, played a key role in the creation of the Nazi concentration-camp system, initially to provide stone for his building projects, later to make arms. The building of crematoria at Auschwitz was “Professor Speer’s special program.” Not only did Speer know what lay in store for the Jews in the camps: he was one of the key individuals who made the genocide possible.

His own anti-Semitic outbursts may have been less crude than [those of] other leading Nazis, but his empire employed millions of slave laborers, thousands of whom were deliberately worked to death. Speer lied about almost every aspect of his role in the Third Reich. But the biggest lie was that he had tried to prevent its worst excesses. Speer had been closer to Hitler, and had more opportunities to stop him, than anybody else. He never even tried.

Read more at Standpoint

More about: Adolf Hitler, History & Ideas, Holocaust, Nuremberg Trials, World War II

Only Hamas’s Defeat Can Pave the Path to Peace

Opponents of the IDF’s campaign in Gaza often appeal to two related arguments: that Hamas is rooted in a set of ideas and thus cannot be defeated militarily, and that the destruction in Gaza only further radicalizes Palestinians, thus increasing the threat to Israel. Rejecting both lines of thinking, Ghaith al-Omar writes:

What makes Hamas and similar militant organizations effective is not their ideologies but their ability to act on them. For Hamas, the sustained capacity to use violence was key to helping it build political power. Back in the 1990s, Hamas’s popularity was at its lowest point, as most Palestinians believed that liberation could be achieved by peaceful and diplomatic means. Its use of violence derailed that concept, but it established Hamas as a political alternative.

Ever since, the use of force and violence has been an integral part of Hamas’s strategy. . . . Indeed, one lesson from October 7 is that while Hamas maintains its military and violent capabilities, it will remain capable of shaping the political reality. To be defeated, Hamas must be denied that. This can only be done through the use of force.

Any illusions that Palestinian and Israeli societies can now trust one another or even develop a level of coexistence anytime soon should be laid to rest. If it can ever be reached, such an outcome is at best a generational endeavor. . . . Hamas triggered war and still insists that it would do it all again given the chance, so it will be hard-pressed to garner a following from Palestinians in Gaza who suffered so horribly for its decision.

Read more at Washington Institute for Near East Policy

More about: Gaza War 2023, Hamas, Israeli-Palestinian Conflict