“Hitler Was a Nice Uncle”

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Albert Speer Jr., son of Adolf Hitler’s chief architect, who had his own accomplished architectural career, died Friday in Frankfurt at age 83. His death was announced by his architectural firm, AS & P, in Frankfurt. It said the cause was complications of surgery he had undergone after falling at his home.

The younger Mr. Speer’s impact on urban landscapes was ultimately far greater than that of his father, whose architectural plans for the Third Reich were never realized. Albert Jr.’s firm designed master plans for Expo 2000 in Hanover, Germany; the Nigerian capital city, Abuja; and a so-called Automobile City on the outskirts of Shanghai, close to a large Volkswagen factory.

He had a particularly strong impact on Frankfurt, his home city, where he served as an adviser to the municipal government for many years and worked on master plans for the European Central Bank, as well as for a new section of the city known as the Europaviertel, which was built on land reclaimed from railroad freight yards.

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Speer was 12 when his father was convicted in Nuremburg of “war crimes” and sentenced to 20 years in prison, where he was for much of his son’s childhood.

In a 2010 interview with German newspaper Sueddeutsche Zeitung he said: “I’m always being asked about my father. It’s annoying. I have tried my whole life to distance myself from my father, but it’s hard for young journalists to accept that.

“From the perspective of a young boy,” he recalls, “Hitler was a nice uncle to me. Visits to Hitler were joyous events. I was allowed to play with the dogs, I got sweets. ”

Professionally, Speer Jr. concentrated on designing environmentally sound and energy-efficient buildings. Many of his projects, however, were never implemented.

In preparation for the Beijing Olympics in 2008, Speer was criticized for a design that looked too similar to that of his fathers. “What I’m trying to do to Beijing is to take a 2,000-year-old city and move it into the future.”

His firm was selected to design the stadiums for the 2022 World Cup in Qatar.
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Published in: on September 24, 2017 at 10:32 pm  Leave a Comment  

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