On This Day: January 20 1942 – Nazis Meet At Wansee To Plan The Final Solution
ON January 20, 1942 ”The following took part in the conference on the final solution (Endloesung) of the Jewish question”. The meeting was held in Berlin, Am Grossen Wannsee No. 56-58.
Moments from that meeting follow:
II. The meeting opened with the announcement by the Chief of the Security Police and the SD, SS Obergruppenfuehrer Heydrich, of his appointment by the Reich Marshal (1*) as Plenipotentiary for the Preparation of the Final Solution of the European Jewish Question. He noted that this Conference had been called in order to obtain clarity on questions of principle. The Reich Marshal’s request for a draft plan concerning the organizational, practical and economic aspects of the final solution of the European Jewish question required prior joint consideration by all central agencies directly involved in these questions, with a view to maintaining parallel policy lines.
Responsibility for the handling of the final solution of the Jewish question, he said, would lie centrally with the Reichsfuehrer SS and the Chief of the German Police (Chief of the Security Police and the SD), without regard to geographic boundaries.
The aim of this task was to cleanse the German living space of Jews in a legal manner.
In the course of this final solution of the European Jewish question approximately 11 million Jews may be taken into consideration, distributed over the individual countries as follows:
A. Altreich 131,800
Eastern Territories (2*) 420,000
Protectorate of Bohemia and Moravia 74,200
Estonia — free of Jews
France: Occupied territory 165,000
France: Unoccupied territory 700,000
B. Bulgaria 48,000
Italy, including Sardinia 58,000
Rumania, including Bessarabia
Turkey (in Europe) 55,500
Total: over 11,000,000
The influence of the Jews in all spheres of life in the U.S.S.R. is well known. There are about 5 million Jews in European Russia, and barely another 250,000 in Asiatic Russia.
Under appropriate direction the Jews are to be utilized for work in the East in an expedient manner in the course of the final solution. In large (labor) columns, with the sexes separated, Jews capable of work will be moved into these areas as they build roads, during which a large proportion will no doubt drop out through natural reduction. The remnant that eventually remains will require suitable treatment; because it will without doubt represent the most [physically] resistant part, it consists of a natural selection that could, on its release, become the germ-cell of a new Jewish revival. (Witness the experience of history.)
Europe is to be combed through from West to East in the course of the practical implementation of the final solution. The area of the Reich, including the Protectorate of Bohemia and Moravia, will have to be handled in advance, if only because of the housing problem and other socio-political needs.
The evacuated Jews will first be taken, group by group, to so-called transit ghettos, in order to be transported further east from there.
An important precondition, SS Obergruppenfuehrer Heydrich noted further, for the carrying out of the evacuation in general is the precise determination of the groups of persons involved. It is intended not to evacuate Jews over 65 years old, but to place them in an old-age ghetto — Theresienstadt is being considered.
In addition to these age groups — about 30% of the 280,000 Jews who were present in the Altreich and the Ostmark on October 31, 1941, were over 65 years old Jews with severe war injuries and Jews with war decorations (Iron Cross, First Class) will be admitted to the Jewish old-age ghetto. This suitable solution will eliminate at one blow the many applications for exceptions.
IV. In the implementation of the plan for the final solution, the Nuremberg Laws are to form the basis, as it were; a precondition for the total clearing up of the problem will also require solutions for the question of mixed marriages and Mischlinge.
The Chief of the Security Police and the SD then discussed the following points, theoretically for the time being, in connection with a letter from the Chief of the Reich Chancellery:
1. Treatment of first-degree Mischlinge
First-degree Mischlinge are in the same position as Jews with respect to the final solution of the Jewish question. The following will be exempt from this treatment:
a) First-degree Mischlinge married to persons of German blood, from whose marriages there are children (second-degree Mischlinge). Such second-degree Mischlinge are essentially in the same position as Germans.
b) First-degree Mischlinge for whom up to now exceptions were granted in some (vital) area by the highest authorities
of the Party and the State. Each individual case must be re-examined, and it is not excluded that the new decision will again be in favor of the Mischlinge.
The grounds for granting an exception must always, as a matter of principle, be the deserts of the Mischling himself (not the merits of the parent or spouse of German blood.)
The first-degree Mischling exempted from evacuation will be sterilized in order to obviate progeny and to settle the Mischling problem for good. Sterilization is voluntary, but it is the condition for remaining in the Reich. The sterilized Mischling is subsequently free of all restrictive regulations to which he was previously subject.
2. Treatment of second-degree Mischlinge
Second-degree Mischlinge are on principle classed with persons of German blood, with the exception of the following cases, in which the second-degree Mischlinge are considered equivalent to Jews:
a) Descent of the second-degree Mischling from a bastard marriage (both spouses being Mischlinge).
b) Racially especially unfavorable appearance of the second-degree Mischling, which will class him with the Jews on external grounds alone.
c) Especially bad police and political rating of the second-degree Mischling, indicating that he feels and behaves as a Jew.
Even in these cases exceptions are not to be made if the second-degree Mischling is married to a person of German blood.
3. Marriages between full Jews and persons of German blood
Here it must be decided from case to case whether the Jewish spouse should be evacuated or whether he or she should be sent to an old-age ghetto in consideration of the effect of the measure on the German relatives of the mixed couple.
4. Marriages between first-degree Mischlinge and persons of German blood
a) Without children
If there are no children of the marriage, the first-degree Mischling is evacuated or sent to an old-age ghetto. (The same treatment as in marriages between full Jews and persons of German blood, [see] para. 3.)
b) With children
If there are children of the marriage (second-degree Mischlinge), they will be evacuated or sent to a ghetto, together with the first-degree Mischlinge, if they are considered equivalent to Jews. Where such children are considered equivalent to persons of German blood (the rule), they and also the first-degree Mischling are to be exempted from evacuation.
5. Marriages between first-degree Mischlinge and first-degree Mischlinge or Jews
In such marriages all parties (including children) are treated as Jews and therefore evacuated or sent to an old-age ghetto.
6. Marriages between first-degree Mischlinge and second-degree Mischlinge
Both partners to the marriage, regardless of whether or not there are children, are evacuated or sent to an old-age ghetto, since children of such marriages commonly are seen to have a stronger admixture of Jewish blood than the second-degree Jewish Mischlinge.
SS Gruppenfuehrer Hofmann is of the opinion that extensive use must be made of sterilization, as the Mischling, given the choice of evacuation or sterilization, would prefer to accept sterilization.
Secretary of State Dr. Stuckart noted that in this form the practical aspects of the possible solutions proposed above for the settling of the of mixed marriages and Mischlinge would entail endless administrative work. In order to take the biological realities into account, at any rate, Secretary of State Dr. Stuckart proposed a move in the direction of compulsory sterilization.
To simplify the problem of the Mischlinge further possibilities should be considered, with the aim that the Legislator should rule something like: “These marriages are dissolved.”