Wannsee Conference

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Excerpts from the Wannsee Conference Protocols:
January 20, 1942

(Several messages.)

Responsiblity for the handling of the final solution of the Jewish question, he [Heydrich] 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 Chief of the Security Police and the SD then gave a brief review of the struggle conducted up to now against this foe. The most important elements are:

a) Forcing the Jews out of the various areas of life of the German people.
b) Forcing the Jews out of the living space of the German people.

Emigration has now been replaced by evacuation of the Jews to the East, as a further possible solution, with the appropriate prior authorization by the Fuehrer. However, this operation should be regarded only as a provisional option; but it is already supplying practical experience of great significance in view of the coming final solution of the Jewish question. 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: [list follows]

As far as the figures for Jews of the various foreign countries are concerned, the numbers given include only Jews by religion since the definition of Jews according to racial principles is in part still lacking there. 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 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 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.) The first-degree Mischling [half-breeds] 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. Secretary of State Dr. Buehler put on record that the Government-General [Poland] would welcome it if the final solution of this problem was begun in the Government-General, as, on the one hand, the question of transport there played no major role and considerations of labor supply would not hinder the course of this Aktion. Jews must be removed as fast as possible from the Government-General. Furthermore, of the approximately 2 1/2 million Jews under consideration, the majority were in any case unfit for work. Secretary of State Dr. Buehler further states that the solution of the Jewish question in the Government-General was primarily the responsibility of the Chief of the Security Police and the SD and that his work would have the support of the authorities of the Government-General. He had only one request: that the Jewish question in this area be solved as quickly as possible. In conclusion, there was a discussion of the various possible forms which the solution might take, and here both Gauleiter Dr. Meyer and Secretary of State Dr. Buehler were of the opinion that certain preparatory work for the final solution should be carried out locally in the area concerned, but that, in doing so, alarm among the population must be avoided.

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