Iconic Photos

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Posts Tagged ‘Albert Speer

A Nazi Funeral in London

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The extraordinary photo above captured in April 1936, showed the funeral of the German Ambassador Leopold Von Hoesch, with the people clearly giving the Nazi salute on the balcony of the Germany Embassy on Carlton House Terrace, overlooking The Mall. This photo was unearthed for the Discovery Channel programme: ‘Wartime London with Harry Harris’, a London cab driver and historian who has driven a taxi for two decades.

The Grenadier Guards and Nazi soldiers march together down The Pall Mall carrying a swastika-draped coffin; well-liked by most British statesmen, von Hoesch was considered as the best hope for enhancing the Anglo-German relations during the early 1930s. He was a career diplomat but no Nazi; he would even be disturbed by this display of Nazi pageantry at his funeral — he frequently feuded with Hitler over disarmament and vocally denounced Hitler’s invasion of Rhineland. If it were not for this untimely death, it was most likely that he would have been recalled.

Von Hoesch was replaced by his nemesis, Joachim von Ribbentrop, who lasting legacy in London was to transform the German Embassy into a grandiose building that would convey some of the portentous glamour of the Third Reich. The 6-9 Carlton House Terrance, the then embassy within the sight of the Buckingham Palace and the Foreign Office, was renovated with Albert Speer himself flying in from Berlin and designing staircase inside made from Italian marble donated by Mussolini. No. 7 was used as a base to house German military attachés and the headquarters of the Nazi espoinage machine in London.

The Germans were kicked out at the outbreak of war, and the building was stripped of its Nazi fixtures before it was rented to the Royal Society in 1967. There are still signs that this was once a Nazi residence, including the border designs of swastikas on the floor of one public room. A memorial to Giro, von Hoesch’s dog which died in 1934 when he made a fatal connection with an exposed electricity wire, was also buried here. Its grave on the front garden to No 9, with the epitaph “Giro: Ein treuer Begleiter” (“Giro: A true companion”), remains Great Britain’s sole Nazi memorial, situated somewhat inappropriately in an area filled with monuments to heroes of the British Empire.

Written by Alex Selwyn-Holmes

November 3, 2009 at 11:08 am

Hitler in Paris

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Adolf_Hitler_in_Paris_1940

Upon the Nazi occupation of Paris in 1940, Adolf Hitler posed in front of the Eiffel Tower with his architect Albert Speer (left) and his favorite sculptor Arno Breker. Breker’s monumental neo-Classical figures vividly expressed Nazi racial ideology.

Before the Nazi occupation, the lift cables were cut by the French so that Adolf Hitler would have to climb the steps to the summit of the Eiffel. The parts to repair them were allegedly impossible to obtain because of the war. Hitler indeed stayed on the ground. It was said that Hitler conquered France, but did not conquer the Eiffel Tower. Some German soldiers had to climb to the top to hoist the swastika, but the flag was so large it blew away just a few hours later, and it was replaced by a smaller one. A Frenchman scaled the tower during the German occupation to hang the French flag. In August 1944, when the Allies were nearing Paris, Hitler ordered General Dietrich von Choltitz, the military governor of Paris, to demolish the tower along with the rest of the city. Von Choltitz disobeyed the order. The lifts of the Tower were working normally within hours of the Liberation of Paris.

Hitler was a big fan of Paris (despite his eventual demand to have the city burnt down). He rose from the seat of his car as it slowly circled the Place de la Concorde before dawn to see the city he fantasized since boyhood. He climbed up to top of the Parvis du Sacré- Coeur, and looked down at the city he envisioned to recreate in the heart of Berlin.

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Written by Alex Selwyn-Holmes

August 12, 2009 at 3:11 am

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