I assured him that on the contrary this solved our own problems about how to address the Final Solution, and that I’d always assumed that he must have known about it.
My remark was met with a look of “Et tu, Brute?”
Speer didn’t take my word alone and wanted me to ask “Mr Puttnam” (why’s he always so deferential towards David?!). I told him I’d call him directly I got back to the Europa [hotel].
“No, please – call him now.”
“From my telephone – over there.”
“But he might not be in.”
I pick up the phone and dial the office. “Is David there?”
No, he’s gone home.
“Please try him at home.”
I dial again and David’s wife Patsy picks up.
“Patsy, it’s me, AB – is David there?”
“AB! How are you? Hope you haven’t joined the Nazi party yet!”
“Er, no – but, uh – is David there?”
“He’s right here, having tea with Debbie and Sacha.”
Finally David comes on the phone.
“What’s up?” asks David, no doubt hearing a tremble in my voice.
“Uh – listen – I’m here with Herr Speer, and he’s just given me a xerox of an article by a chap called Erich Goldhagen who’s written an article in some American magazine called Midstream, accusing him of having been present at that Posen speech given by Himmler to the Gauleiters when he spelled out the Final Solution …”
“You’re kidding me …”
“Not only that, but Goldhagen says that Himmler actually pointed to Speer in the audience” – and I read out his damning words. [“Speer is not made of the stuff of which Jew-loving obstructors of the Final Solution are made. He and I together will wrest the last living Jews on Polish soil, dispatch them to their death and thereby close the last chapter of Polish Jewry.”]
If you’ve seen “Speer Goes To Hollywood,” you may believe that in his correspondence with me, and in the accounts he’s published elsewhere, Birkin wants to get some rehabilitation for himself. After all, several reviewers of the movie have cited Birkin’s arguably damning characterization of a “Jewish brigade” of people at Paramount standing in the way of a potential Speer self-whitewash. I brought this up with Birkin in a November 3 email, and Birkin responded on November 4.