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THE WANNSEE CONFEENCE

On January 20, 1942, 15 high-ranking Nazi Party and German


government officials gathered at a villa in the Berlin suburb of Wannsee
to discuss and coordinate the implementation of what they called the
"Final Solution of the Jewish Question." The meeting lasted approximately
90 minutes.

Representing the SS at the meeting


were:

SS General Reinhard Heydrich, the chief of the


Reich Security Main Office (RSHA)

(assassinated in May 1942 by British trained Czechoslovakian resistance


fighters. 1,300 Czech men women and children were murdered by the Nazis
in retaliation.)

SS Major General Heinrich Mller, chief of RSHA


Department IV (Gestapo)

(Last seen in the Fhrers bunker at


the end of April 1945, and was
reported missing without trace a
month later.)

SS Lieutenant Colonel Adolf Eichmann chief of the


RSHA Department IV B 4 (Jewish Affairs)

(Escaped to Argentina after the war under false identity, until


captured by Mossad agents, and tried and executed in Israel
in 1962)

SS Colonel Eberhard Schngarth, commander of the RSHA


field office for the Government General in Krakow, Poland

Executed in 1946 by a British military


tribunal after personally ordering the
shooting of a British prisoner of war)

SS Major Rudolf Lange, commander of RSHA


Einsatzkommando 2, deployed in Latvia in the autumn of 1941

Responsible for the extermination of


Latvias Jewish population - 250,000
people killed in little less than six
months. Killed in action or committed
suicide on the eastern front in
February 1945

SS Major General Otto Hofmann, the chief of SS Race and Settlement Main Office.

(Sentenced to 25 years in prison at


Nuremberg, he was pardoned in 1954
and worked as a clerk in Wurttemberg
until 1982, when he died aged 84.)

Representing the agencies of the State


were

State Secretary Roland Freisler


(Ministry of Justice)

(killed during a wartime air raid in February 1945)

Ministerial Director Wilhelm


Kritzinger (Reich Cabinet)

(Possibly opposed the final solution.


During the Nuremberg Trials, he
stated he was ashamed of Nazis
atrocities. Released, he died of ill

State Secretary Alfred Meyer (Reich Ministry for the


Occupied Eastern Territories-German-occupied USSR)

(committed suicide in April 1945 when Germany was facing defeat)

Ministerial Director Georg Leibrandt (Reich Ministry for


the Occupied Eastern Territories)

Interned until 1949 and a year later


all charges dropped. Died in 1987

Undersecretary of State Martin


Luther (Foreign Office)

(Died in a Berlin hospital in May 1945)

State Secretary Wilhelm Stuckart


(Ministry of the Interior)

(Despite drafting anti-Jewish laws a German de-Nazification court simply fined him 500 deutschmarks in 1952. He
was killed in a car accident a year later at the age of 51. There is much speculation it was arranged by Mossad)

State Secretary Erich


Naumann

Interned by the allies after the war


but released due to ill health. He died
in 1948

State Secretary Josef


Bhler

(Executed in Kracow, Poland in 1948 for


crimes against humanity.)

Ministerial Director Gerhard Klopfer (Nazi Party Chancellery).

Arrested for war crimes after the war


but released due to lack of evidence.
Worked as a lawyer and died in 1987,
the last surviving participant of the
Wannsee Conference.

The Aim
To further the coordination of a policy
aimed at the physical annihilation
of the European Jews.

THE PURPOSE
At some still undetermined time in 1941,
Hitler authorized this European-wide
scheme for mass murder.
Heydrich convened the Wannsee Conference
to:
(1) inform and secure support from
government ministries and other interested
agencies relevant to the implementation of the
Final Solution,
(2) disclose to the participants that Hitler
himself had tasked Heydrich and the RSHA with
coordinating the operation

The Discussion
The men at the table did not
deliberate whether such a plan
should be undertaken, but instead
discussed the implementation of a
policy decision that had already been
made at the highest level of the Nazi
regime.

Who Knew What?


At the time of the Wannsee Conference, most
participants were already aware that the National
Socialist regime had engaged in mass murder of
Jews and other civilians in the German-occupied
areas of the Soviet Union and in Serbia.
Some had learned of the actions of the
Einsatzgruppen and other police and military
units, which were already slaughtering tens of
thousands of Jews in the German-occupied Soviet
Union.

Heydrich indicated that approximately


11,000,000 Jews in Europe would fall under
the provisions of the "Final Solution." In this
figure, he included not only Jews residing in
Axis-controlled Europe, but also the Jewish
populations of the United Kingdom, and
the neutral nations (Switzerland, Ireland,
Sweden, Spain, Portugal, and European
Turkey).

The Plan

Heydrich announced that during the course of the Final


Solution, the Jews will be deployed under appropriate
supervision at a suitable form of labor deployment in the
East. In large labor columns, separated by gender, ablebodied Jews will be brought to those regions to build roads,
whereby a large number will doubtlessly be lost through
natural reduction.
Any final remnant that survives will doubtless consist of the
elements most capable of resistance. They must be dealt
with appropriately, since, representing the fruit of
natural selection, they are to be regarded as the core of a
new Jewish revival.

The Significance
The Wannsee Conference did not mark the beginning of
the "Final Solution." The mobile killing squads were
already carrying out mass killings of Jews in the occupied
Soviet Union.
Rather, the Wannsee Conference was the place where
the "final solution" was formally revealed to non-Nazi
leaders who would help arrange for Jews to be
transported from all over German-occupied Europe to SSoperated "extermination" camps in Poland.
Not one of the men present at Wannsee objected to the
announced policy.
Never before had a modern state committed itself to the
murder of an entire people.

The Outcome
The final protocol of the Wannsee Conference
never explicitly mentioned extermination, but
within a few months after the meeting, the first
gas chambers were installed in some of the
extermination camps in Poland.
These six camps, Belzec, Birkenau, Chelmno,
Majdanek, Sobibor, and Treblinka were in
operation in Poland.

Kenneth Branagh as Reinhard Heydrich


Stanley Tucci as Adolf Eichmann
Colin Firth as Dr. Wilhelm Stuckart