While this unfortunate term, which refers to the Nazi attempt to annihilate the Jewish people, is manifest in a variety of documents, we have chosen several that reflect the essential evil of the Nazi plan of genocide. Each time you read these words, they get worse as the faces of those who lost their lives flash into memory. Make no mistake- this was a concerted effort, carefully planned to destroy the entire Jewish community as Hitler attempted to move his war machine through Europe and beyond.
A memo to Adolf Eichmann from an SS major in Poland
Reich Security Main Office
Office IV B4
Attention SS-Lt. Col. Eichmann
July 16, 1941
Dear Comrade Eichmann,
Enclosed is a memorandum on the results of various discussions held locally in the office of the Reich Governor. I would be grateful to have your reactions sometime. These things sound in part fantastic, but in my view are thoroughly feasible.
Poznan July 16,1941
Subject- Solution of the Jewish question
During discussions in the office of the Reich Governor various groups broached the solution of the Jewish question in Warthe province. The following solution is being proposed.
1. All the Jews of the Warthe province will be taken to a camp for 300,000 Jews which will be erected in barrack form as close as possible to the coal precincts and which will contain barracks-like installations for economic enterprises, tailor shops, shoe manufacturing plants, etc.
2. All Jews of Warthe province will be brought into this camp. Jews capable of labor may be constituted into labor columns as needed and drawn from the camp.
3. In my view, a camp of this type may be guarded by SS-Brig. Gen. Albert with substantially fewer police forces than are required now. Furthermore, the danger of epidemics, which always exists in the Lodz and other ghettos for the surrounding population, will be minimized.
4. This winter there is a danger that not all of the Jews can be fed anymore. One should weigh honestly, if the most humane solution might not be to finish off those of the Jews who are not employable by means of some quick-working device. At any rate, that would be more pleasant than to let them starve to death.
5. For the rest, the proposal was made that in this camp all the Jewish women, from whom one could still expect children, should be sterilized so that the Jewish problem may actually be solved completely with this generation.
6. The Reich Governor has not yet expressed an opinion in this matter. There is an impression that Government President Ubelhor does not wish to see the ghetto in Lodz disappear since he [his office] seems to profit quite well with it. As an example of how one can profit from the Jews, I was told that the Reich Labor Ministry pays 6 Reichsmark from a special fund for each employed Jew, but that the Jew costs only 80 Pfennige.
Nuremberg document PS-710
Reich Marshal of Greater German Reich Göring to Chief of Security Police and Security Service Heydrich
Berlin, July , 1941
Complementing the task already assigned to you in the decree of January 24, 1939, to undertake, by emigration or evacuation, a solution of the Jewish question as advantageous as possible under the conditions at the time, I hereby charge you with making all necessary organizational, functional, and material preparations for a complete solution of the Jewish question in the German sphere of influence in Europe.
In so far as the jurisdiction of other central agencies may be touched thereby, they are so to be involved.
I charge you furthermore with submitting to me in the near future an overall plan of the organizational, functional, and material measures to be taken in preparing for the implementation of the aspired final solution of the Jewish question.
Nuremberg document NG-2586
Secret Reich Matter
I. The following participated in the conference of January 20, 1942, in Berlin, Am Grossen Wannsee 56-58, on the final solution of the Jewish question-
Gauleiter Dr. Meyer and Reich Office Director Dr. Leibrandt, Reich Ministry for the Occupied Eastern Territories
Undersecretary Dr. Stuckart, Reich Ministry of the Interior
Undersecretary Dr. Neumann, [Office of] Plenipotentiary of the Four Year Plan
Undersecretary Dr. Freisler, Reich Justice Ministry
Undersecretary Dr. Buhler, Office of Governor General [of Poland]
Assistant Secretary Luther, Foreign Office
SS [Senior]-Colonel Klopfer, Party Chancellery
Ministerial Director Kritzinger, Reich Chancellery
SS-Major General Hoffman, Race and Resettlement Main Office
SS-Major General Müller, Reich Security Main Office
SS-Lt. Colonel Eichmann, Reich Security Main Office
SS[Senior]-Colonel Dr. Schoengarth, Commanding Officer Security Police and Security Service in General Government (Poland), Security Police and Security Service
SS-Major Dr. Lange, Commander of Security Police and Security Service for General Commissariat Latvia, as deputy of Commanding Officer of Security Police and Security Service for Reich Commissariat [Baltic States and White Russia].
II. Chief of Security Police and Security Service, SS-Lieutenant General Heydrich, opened the meeting by informing everyone that the Reich Marshal [Goring] had placed him in charge of preparations for the final solution of the Jewish question, and that the invitations to this conference had been issued to obtain clarity in fundamental questions. The Reich Marshal’s wish to have a draft submitted to him on the organizational, functional, and material considerations aimed at a final solution of the European Jewish question requires that all of the central agencies, which are directly concerned with these problems, first join together with a view to parallelizing their lines of action.
The implementation of the final solution of the Jewish question is to be guided centrally without regard to geographic boundaries from the office of the Reichführer-SS and Chief of the German Police (Chief of Security Police and Security Service).
The Chief of Security Police and Security Service then reviewed briefly the battle fought thus far against these opponents. The principal stages constituted
a. Forcing the Jews out of individual sectors of life [Lebensgebiete] of the German people
b. Forcing the Jews out of the living space [Lebensraum] of the German people
In pursuance of this endeavor, a systematic and concentrated effort was made to accelerate Jewish emigration from Reich territory as the only temporary solution possibility.
On instructions of the Reich Marshal, a Reich Central Office for Jewish Emigration was established in January, 1939, and its direction was entrusted to the Chief of Security Police and Security Service. In particular the office had the task of
a. taking every step to prepare for a larger volume of Jewish emigration,
b. steering the flow of emigration,
c. expediting emigration in individual cases.
The goal of the task was to cleanse the German living space of Jews in a legal manner.
The disadvantages brought forth by such forcing of emigration were clear to every agency. In the meantime, however, they had to be accepted for the lack of any other solution possibility.
The migration work in the ensuing period was not only a German problem, but also one that concerned the offices of the countries of destination and immigration. Financial difficulties, such as increasingly demanding regulations on the part of various foreign governments for money to be shown by the immigrant or to be paid by him on landing, insufficient berths on ships, constantly increasing immigration restrictions and suspensions-all this placed extraordinary burdens on emigration efforts. In spite of all these difficulties, some 537,000 Jews were moved out from the day of the seizure of power to October 31, 1941. Of this total
from January 30, 1933 out of the Old Reich. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . ca. 360,000
from March 15, 1938 out of Austria . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . ca. 147,000
from March 15, 1939 out of the Protectorate Bohemia and Moravia. . . .ca. 30,000
The emigration was financed by the Jews (or Jewish political organizations) themselves. In order to avoid having a residue of proletarianized Jews, the Jews with means had to finance the departure of the Jews without means; an appropriate assessment and emigration tax were used to finance the payments of debts owed by the poor Jews in the course of their emigration.
In addition to this levy in Reichsmark, foreign currencies were required for showing or payment on landing. In order to spare German foreign currency reserves, the Jewish financial institutions abroad were called upon by Jewish organizations at home to take care of the collection of an appropriate foreign currency pile. In this manner about $9,500,000 were made available through these foreign Jews as gifts to October 30, 1941.
Meanwhile, in view of the dangers of emigration in time of war and in view of the possibilities in the east, the Reichsfuhrer-SS and Chief of the German Police [Himmler] has forbidden the emigration of Jews.
III. In lieu of emigration, the evacuation of the Jews to the east has emerged, after an appropriate prior authorization by the Fuhrer [Hitler], as a further solution possibility.
While these actions are to be regarded solely as temporary measures, practical experiences are already being gathered here which will be of great importance during the coming final solution of the Jewish question.
Around 11 million Jews are involved in the final solution of the Jewish question. They are distributed as follows among individual countries-
A. Old Reich 131,800
Eastern Territories [Poland] 420,000
General Government [Poland] 2,284,000
Bialystok [Poland] 400,000
Protectorate of Bohemia and Moravia 74,200
Estonia-free of Jews
Latvia 3,500 3500
France/occupied territory 165,000
unoccupied territory 700,000
B. Bulgaria 48,000
Italy, including Sardinia 58,000
Romania, including Bessarabia 342,000
Turkey (European portion) 55,550
White Russia, excluding Bialystok 446,484
Total- over 11,000,000
So far as the number of Jews of the various foreign countries are concerned, the numbers listed include only Jews by religion, since definitions of Jews according to racial principles are in part still lacking there. Given prevailing attitudes and conceptions, the treatment of the problem in individual countries will encounter certain difficulties, especially in Hungary and Romania. For example, even today a Jew in Romania can buy for cash appropriate documents officially certifying him in a foreign nationality.
The pervasive influence of Jewry in the USSR is known. The European area contains some 5 million, the Asian barely a half million Jews.
The occupational distribution of Jewry in the European area of the USSR was approximately as follows-
Agriculture 9.1 %
urban workers 14.8%
state employees 23.4%
private professions-medical, press, theater, and so forth 32.7%
In the course of the final solution, the Jews should be brought under appropriate direction in a suitable manner to the east for labor utilization. Separated by sex, the Jews capable of work will be led into these areas in large labor columns to build roads, whereby doubtless a large part will fall away through natural reduction.
The inevitable final remainder which doubtless constitutes the toughest element will have to be dealt with appropriately, since it represents a natural selection which upon liberation is to be regarded as a germ cell of a new Jewish development.
In the course of the practical implementation of the final solution, Europe will be combed from west to east. If only because of the apartment shortage and other socio-political necessities, the Reich area – including the Protectorate of Bohemia and Moravia – will have to be placed ahead of the line.
For the moment, the evacuated Jews will be brought bit by bit to so called transit ghettos from where they will be transported further to the east.
SS-Lieutenant General Heydrich pointed out further that an important prerequisite for the evacuation in general was the exact specification of the category of persons liable to be involved.
It is intended not to evacuate Jews over 65, but to transfer them to an old people’s ghetto.
In addition to these age groups-some 30% of the 280,000 Jews lived in the Old Reich and Austria on October 11, 1941, are over 65-the old people’s ghetto will receive badly invalid Jewish war veterans and Jews with war decorations. Many intersessions will be eliminated in one blow by means of this purposeful solution.
The start of major individual evacuation operations will depend in large measure on military developments. With regard to the treatment of the final solution in European areas occupied or influenced by us, it was proposed that the appropriate specialists of the Foreign Office get together with the experts having jurisdiction in these matters within the Security Police and Security Service.
In Slovakia and Croatia the situation is no longer all that difficult, since the essential key questions there have already been resolved. Meanwhile, the Romanian government has already appointed a plenipotentiary for Jewish affairs. To settle the matter in Hungary, it will be necessary before long to impose upon the Hungarian government an adviser on Jewish questions.
Regarding a start of preparations in Italy, SS-Lieutenant General Heydrich considers it appropriate to contact Police Chief [Himmler].
In occupied and unoccupied France, the seizure of Jews for evacuation should in all probability proceed without major difficulty.
Assistant Secretary [Foreign Office] then pointed out that with a deeply penetrating treatment of these problems in some countries, such as the Nordic states, difficulties would emerge and that meanwhile it would therefore be best to hold these countries in abeyance. In view of the insignificant number of Jews involved there, the postponement would not amount to a substantial restriction. On the other hand, the Foreign Office sees no difficulties in southeastern and western Europe.
SS-Major General Hoffman intends to dispatch a specialist of the Race and Resettlement Office for general orientation to Hungary as soon as the Chief of Security Police and Security Service is about to tackle the situation over there. It was decided that temporarily the specialist of the Race and Resettlement Office-who is not to become active-should be officially attached as an assistant to the Police Attache.
IV. The Nuremberg laws should constitute the basis, so to speak, of the final solution project, while a solution of the mixed marriage and mixed parentage questions is a prerequisite for the complete purification of the problem.
The Chief of the Security Police and Security Service addressed himself to a letter of the Chief of the Reich Chancellery, and speaking theoretically for the moment, dealt with the following points-
1. Treatment of Mischlinge [“half-breed”] of the 1st degree
In view of the final solution of the Jewish question Mischlinge of the first degree are placed into the same position as Jews.
To be exempted from this treatment will be
a. Mischlinge of the 1st degree married to Germans, if this marriage produced offspring (Mischlinge of the 2nd degree). These Mischlinge of the 2nd degree are in the main placed into the same position as Germans.
b. Mischlinge of the 1st degree who are in some (vital) area have been accorded higher authorities of the party or state. Each individual case has to be examined anew, whereby one must not exclude an unfavorable decision for the Mischlinge.
Prerequisite for an exemption must always be basic merits of the Mischlinge himself (not merits of the German parent or marital partner).
To avoid any progeny and to clean up the Mischling problem once and for all, the Mischlinge of the 1st degree who are to be exempted from evacuation must be sterilized. Sterilization is voluntary, but it is a prerequisite for remaining in the Reich. The sterilized “Mischling” is then liberated from all the constricting ordinances to which he has heretofore been subjected.
2. Treatment of the Mischlinge of the 2nd degree
In principle, the Mischlinge of the 2nd degree will be treated as Germans, with the exception of the following cases in which Mischlinge of the 2nd degree will be placed into the same position as Jews-
a. The descent of the Mischling of the 2nd degree from a bastard marriage (both parts Mischlinge).
b. Racially exceptionally poor appearance of the Mischling of the 2nd degree, so that for external reasons alone he has to be considered a Jew.
c. A particularly unfavorable appraisal from a police and political viewpoint which indicates that the Mischling of the 2nd degree feels and behaves like a Jew.
Even these considerations, however, should not apply if the Mischling of the 2nd degree is married to a German.
3. Marriages between full Jews and Germans.
In individual cases, it must be decided whether the Jewish partner is to be evacuated or whether, considering the effect of such a measure on the German relatives, he is to be transferred to an old people’s ghetto.
4. Marriages between Mischlinge of the 1st degree and Germans
a. Without children-
If there are no children, the Mischling of the 1st degree is to be evacuated, or transferred to an old people’s ghetto.
b. With children-
If there are children (Mischlinge of the 2nd degree) and they are placed into the same position as Jews, they will be evacuated along with the [parent who is a] Mischling of the 1st degree, or transferred to a ghetto. Insofar as these children are placed into the same position as Germans they are to be exempted from evacuation, and so will [the parent who is a] Mischling of the 1st degree.
5. Marriages between Mischlinge of the 1st degree and Mischlinge of the 2nd degree or Jews
In the case of these marriages, all the elements (including the children) are to be treated as Jews and hence evacuated, or transferred to an old people’s ghetto.
6. Marriages between Mischlinge of the 1st degree and Mischlinge of the 2nd degree.
Both partners, without regard to children, are to be evacuated, or placed into an old people’s ghetto, since racially the children, if any, regularly reveal a stronger Jewish blood component than do Mischlinge of the 2nd degree.
SS-Major General Hoffman is of the view that one will have to make widespread use of sterilization, especially since the Mischlinge, faced with the choice of being evacuated or sterilized, would rather submit to sterilization.
Undersecretary Dr. Stuckart [interior ministry] stated that in this form the practical implementation of the possibilities just mentioned for cleaning up the mixed marriage and mixed parentage problem would entail an endless administrative task. In order to be sure, however, of taking into account also the biological facts, Undersecretary Dr. Stuckart proposed to proceed with compulsory sterilization.
To simplify the Mischling problem, one should further think about the possibility of enabling the lawmaker to say in so many words- “These marriages are dissolved.”
As for the effect of the evacuation of the Jews on economic life, Undersecretary Newmann [Four Year Plan] declared that at the moment Jews employed in important war work could not be evacuated until replacements become available.
SS-Lieutenant General Heydrich pointed to the fact that in accordance with directives authorized by him for current evacuations, these Jews were not being evacuated anyhow.
Undersecretary Dr. Bühler stated that the General Government [of Poland] would welcome the start of the final solution of this question in its territory, since the transport problem was no overriding factor there and the course of the action would not be hindered by considerations of work utilization. Jews should be removed from the domain of the General Government as soon as possible, because it is precisely here that the Jew constitutes a substantial danger as carrier of epidemics and also because his continued black market activities create constant disorder in the economic structure of the country. Moreover, the majority of the 2 ½ million Jews involved were not capable of work.
Undersecretary Dr. Bühler stated further that the Chief of the Security Police and Security Service was in charge of the final solution of the Jewish question in the General Government and that his work was being supported by the offices of the General Government. He only had one favor to ask- that the Jewish question in this territory be solved as rapidly as possible.
Finally, there was a discussion of the various types of solution possibilities, with both Gauleiter Dr. Meyer and Undersecretary Dr. Buhler expressing the view that they could carry out certain preparatory measures in their territories on their own, provided, however, that any disturbance of the [non-Jewish] population had to be avoided.
The conference was closed with a plea of the Chief of Security Police and Security Service for the cooperation of all the participants in the implementation of the solution tasks.
Source- Ronald H. Isaacs and Kerry M. Olitzky. Critical Documents of Jewish History, a Sourcebook. Jason Aronson Inc. Northvale, NJ. pp. 38-48.