The Hitler and Mannerheim Recording refers to the secret voice recording of a private conversation between Adolf Hitler and Carl Gustaf Emil Mannerheim in 1942. The Finnish engineer of the broadcasting company YLE, Thor Damen, succeeded in recording the first 11 minutes of Hitler’s and Mannerheim’s private conversation. Since Hitler never allowed anyone to record him off-guard, it had to be done secretly. Damen’s original purpose was to record official birthday speeches and Mannerheim’s responses. However, Damen decided to continue recording after the conversation switched from official to private.
The SS realized that Damen was recording the conversation, and they immediately demanded to have it stopped. The SS were furious, but YLE was allowed to keep the tape hidden away, never to be opened. The tape was given to head of the state censors’ office, Kustaa Vilkuna, returned to YLE in 1957, and made publicly available a few years later. It is the only known recording of Hitler speaking in an unofficial tone and one of the very few recordings in which Hitler may be heard delivering a narrative without raising his voice.
The conversation is about Hitler explaining the failure of Operation Barbarossa, Italian defeats in North Africa, Yugoslavia, and Albania, armaments in the Soviet Union, and Romanian petroleum wells.