Hilde Schramm on Remembering the Holocaust

Hilde Schramm is the daughter of Nazi Minister of Armaments and War Production Albert Speer who has spent her life helping Germany atone for its sins. In honor of Holocaust Remembrance Day, she joins Christiane Amanpour to talk about her incredible life story.

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CHRISTIANE AMANPOUR: So, let’s start with right now. You recently just received a major prize here in Germany for all the work you’ve done against anti-Semitism and to promote Jewish women and culture and reconciliation. How does that feel to you? What is the purpose of your work?

HILDE SCHRAMM, FOUNDER, THE RETURN FOUNDATION: Well, the purpose to not forget, to know about the past, to raise consciousness about topics that blackholes or white spots, as you call it, and there still are some, to pick them up and enlarge knowledge. And at the same time, to work for a democratic society in our country and for human rights as far as you can all over.

AMANPOUR: What was it like growing up as the daughter of Albert Speer?

SCHRAMM: Yes. When I was a child, I didn’t understand what was going on. I take it to what I saw as natural, so to speak. And we were rather protected. So, I did not have those horrible adventures and feelings many people had by the war and later, the bombing. So, in a way I was protected. Which looking back, it’s not bad. And later, when my father was imprisoned, my father Albert Speer, he has been punished for the crimes he did in the — as minister, a part of the — in his government.

AMANPOUR: He was the minister of armaments for Hitler.


AMANPOUR: And he was obviously Hitler’s favorite architect.

SCHRAMM: Yes, that’s it. And he was sentenced to 20 years to jail.

AMANPOUR: Hilde, you are 82 years old, I think. Do you remember your mother’s influence after your father was arrested? You were 10 years old when the Nuremberg trials began and you were aware of what was happening. What was your mother’s influence on your life?

SCHRAMM: Well, the main influence was that she let me free, she let me find my own ways, she did not force me or my brothers and sisters emotionally and neither were words but neither by emotions to take any kind of an (INAUDIBLE) in our thinking.

AMANPOUR: That means the National Socialist Party.

SCHRAMM: Yes, yes.

AMANPOUR: The Nazis.

SCHRAMM: The Nazis.

AMANPOUR: She didn’t influence you to do that?

SCHRAMM: No, no.

About This Episode EXPAND

Christiane Amanpour speaks with Hilde Schramm about her life’s work making sure people do not forget about the Holocaust. She also speaks with young climate activist Greta Thunberg. Walter Isaacson speaks with Deborah Lipstadt, Professor of Modern Jewish History and Holocaust Studies and author of a new book, “Antisemitism: Here and Now.”