Rudolf Wolters bigraphy, stories - German architect

Rudolf Wolters : biography

August 3, 1903 - January 7, 1983

Rudolf Wolters (August 3, 1903 – January 7, 1983) was a German architect and government official, known for his longtime association with fellow architect and Third Reich official Albert Speer. A friend and subordinate of Speer, Wolters received the many papers which were smuggled out of Spandau Prison for Speer while he was imprisoned there, and kept them for him until Speer was released in 1966. After Speer's release, the friendship slowly collapsed, Wolters objecting strongly to Speer's blaming of Hitler and other Nazis for the Jewish Holocaust and World War II, and they saw nothing of each other in the decade before Speer's death in 1981.

Wolters, who was born to a Catholic middle-class family in the northern German town of Coesfeld, obtained his degree and doctorate in architecture from the Technical University of Berlin, forging a close friendship with Speer while a student. After receiving his doctorate, he had difficulty finding employment prior to the Nazi rise to power. From 1933 to 1937, he worked for the Reichsbahn. In 1937, Speer hired him as a department head, and Wolters soon took major responsibility for Hitler's plan for the large scale reconstruction of Berlin. When Speer became Minister of Armaments and War Production in 1942, Wolters moved to his department, remaining his close associate.

After Speer's indictment and imprisonment for war crimes, Wolters stood by him. In addition to receiving and organizing Speer's clandestine notes from Spandau, which later served as the basis of his best-selling books of memoirs, Wolters quietly raised money for Speer. These funds were used to support Speer's family and for other purposes, according to directions which Wolters received from his former superior. Following Speer's release in 1966, their friendship gradually deteriorated, until the two men became so embittered that Wolters allowed papers demonstrating Speer's knowledge of the persecution of the Jews to become public in 1980.

Wolters was involved in the reconstruction of West Germany following World War II, rebuilding his hometown of Coesfeld among many other projects. Wolters wrote several architectural books during the war, as well as a biography of Speer.

Nazi era

In 1933, Wolters returned to Berlin, where he briefly worked as an assistant in Speer's office before returning to the Reichsbahn, this time getting paid for his work. Speer had forged a close relationship with Hitler, and in late 1936, Speer informed Wolters that the dictator would soon appoint Speer as Generalbauinspektor (GBI) or General Building Inspector for the Reich Capital, and suggested that Wolters resign his post with the railway and come work for him again. Wolters did so, beginning work at the GBI office in January 1937 as a Head of Department in the Planning Bureau. Wolters was one of a number of young, well-paid assistants of Speer at the GBI, who were collectively nicknamed "Speer's Kindergarten". Most of the Kindergarteners were not Nazi Party members, since Speer found that Party duties interfered with working time, and the Kindergarten was expected to work long hours. Speer had Hitler's permission to hire non-Nazis, so the GBI became something of a political sanctuary.

Wolters later wrote of his views at this time:

I had viewed Hitler and his movement with some skepticism, but when the abolition of the multi-party mess removed the obscenity of unemployment, and the first 1,000 kilometers of autobahns opened up a new era of mobility, I too saw the light: this was the time when Churchill said he hoped Great Britain would have a man like Hitler in time of peril, and when high church dignitaries and distinguished academics paid the Führer homage.

Much of Wolters' work at the GBI was connected to Hitler's plan for the large scale reconstruction of Berlin. The dictator had placed Speer in charge of this plan. The centerpiece of the scheme was a grand boulevard, long, dubbed by Speer as the Prachtstrasse (Street of Magnificence) or "North–South Axis", for which the main design responsibility was delegated to Wolters. Wolters was also responsible for transport rings in the new Berlin, for museums, and for the GBI's press office. In 1939, Wolters became responsible for the architecture portion of the magazine, Die Kunst im Deutschen Reich (Art in the German Reich).

Living octopus

Living octopus

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