In a Sympathetic Light: Doing Dishes While Listening to Albert Speer's Inside the Third Reich on Tape  S.L. Wisenberg



Faust's voice at two removes fills my kitchen, speaking of a man remembering his first love as a boy: the family car, which was stored on blocks (to save the tires during the Great War). Young Albert climbed behind the steering wheel (when the chauffeur allowed it) seized with joy: This is what Man can do.


In Spandau, Speer lived like a man of the century before: books, paper; no radio, no access to light switches. After ten years, half-way through his sentence (lucky: the Soviets had wanted him hanged), he operated an electric floor buffer, and again, felt the glory of Homo faber. The sound, the sound!  


I am with him in prison, he is many years dead, I am in a small summer house, draining hot water from the sink, free not to think about what came between childhood and old age, free to boot up my computer, free to write about the man who was allowed to grow old and pathetic so that we would no longer condemn him.