Albert Speer, Jr.

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Albert Speer, Jr.

Birthplace: Berlin, Berlin, Germany
Death: September 15, 2017 (83)
Frankfurt, Darmstadt, Hesse, Germany
Immediate Family:

Son of Albert Speer, Sr. and Margarete Speer
Husband of Private
Brother of Private; Private; Private; Private and Private

Occupation: Architect
Managed by: Private User
Last Updated:
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Immediate Family

About Albert Speer, Jr.

FRANKFURT — Albert Speer Jr., an internationally prominent architect who sought throughout his life to distance himself from the dark legacy of his father, a member of Adolf Hitler’s inner circle, died on Sept. 15 at his home in Frankfurt. He was 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.

Mr. Speer was the eldest of six children of Albert Speer, one of Hitler’s closest confidants. The elder Speer was Hitler’s chief architect and later his armaments minister, and was convicted of war crimes for his use of slave labor.

The younger Mr. Speer’s impact on urban landscapes was ultimately far greater than that of his father, whose grandiose architectural plans for the Nazi 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.

Albert Speer Jr. was born in Berlin on July 29, 1934, only days before Hitler declared himself Führer, or leader, of Germany. Albert Jr. grew up in Berchtesgaden, Germany, the Alpine village used by Hitler as a retreat. Films from the 1930s show a young Mr. Speer playing on the veranda of Hitler’s villa while the dictator looks on. But Mr. Speer once told an interviewer that he had only vague memories of that time.

As Hitler’s chief architect, the elder Mr. Speer designed the Reichskanzlei in Berlin, the regime’s seat of power, and formulated extravagant plans to remake the German capital as a showcase of Nazi power, including erecting a People’s Hall in Berlin capable of holding 180,000 people.

Appointed Germany’s armaments minister, Albert Speer used his organizational talents to maintain weapons production, largely through slave labor, and prolong the war. He was convicted during the Nuremberg trials and sentenced to 20 years in prison. He became one of the few top Nazis to express remorse for the regime’s crimes.

After he was imprisoned for war crimes, the Speer family moved in with Albert Jr.’s grandparents in Heidelberg. Albert Jr. developed a severe stutter, which he later overcame. He initially trained as a carpenter, then studied architecture at the Technical University of Munich before opening his own firm in Frankfurt in 1964.

Mr. Speer insisted that his decision to become an architect had little to do with his father. “I could draw well, I could express myself well, I had ideas,” he told an interviewer from ZDF, a German broadcaster, in 2005. “My father played almost no role.”

Over the years Mr. Speer made a name for himself specializing in large projects, often overseas. They included a criminal court complex in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia; a government building complex in Changchun, China; and the campus of Fudan University in Shanghai.

He is survived by his wife of 45 years, Ingmar Speer, an actress known professionally as Ingmar Zeisberg. He had no children. Information on other survivors was not available.

As an architect, Mr. Speer said he had striven to give his projects a human scale that respected local culture and the environment.

He told the newspaper Süddeutsche Zeitung in 2010 that he avoided talking about his father, who died in 1981.

“I have tried my whole life to separate myself from my father, to distance myself,” he said.

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Albert Speer, Jr.'s Timeline

July 29, 1934
Berlin, Berlin, Germany
September 15, 2017
Age 83
Frankfurt, Darmstadt, Hesse, Germany