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The Wannsee Conference - Pre-conference

Last update 1 June 2006


Göring’s Letter

On 31 July 1941, Reinhardt Heydrich, head of the Reich Main Security Office, was tasked by Reichsmarschall Hermann Göring to prepare a plan for the "Final Solution of the Jewish question", within the sphere of German influence in Europe.
The various components of the German governing apparatus, the SS, the NSDAP, the ministries with their bureaucratic machinery, and the army were all to co-ordinate their various roles to accomplish the “Final Solution”.
A conference was convened by Heydrich on 29 November 1941, but postponed due to the USA entering the war.


Hans Frank, the Governor General of the Generalgouvernement, met with his top officials in Krakow on 16 December 1941, and briefed them on the forthcoming conference:
I want to say to you quite frankly that we shall have to finish with the Jews one way or another. The Führer once spoke these words: ‘If united Jewry should again succeed in causing another world war, the peoples who have been hounded into this war will not be the only ones to shed their blood; the Jew of Europe will also find his end’.
About the Jews of Europe I have only one point of view- the Jews have to disappear. They must go. I have begun negotiations to send them to the east. In January a big conference will be held in Berlin, Director General Bühler will attend it. This conference will be held in the Reich Security Main Office and will be presided over by Oberführer Heydrich.
A major migration is about to start. But what is to happen to the Jews?Do you think they will actually be resettled in Ostland villages? We were told in Berlin: Why all this trouble?We cant use them either, liquidate them yourselves.

On 19 January 1942, Adam Czerniakow, the chairman of the Warsaw Ghetto Judenrat, wrote in his diary:
I have heard that Auerswald (Heinz Auerswald, Kommissar of the Jewish quarter in Warsaw) had been summoned to Berlin. I cannot shake of this fearful suspicion that the Jews of Warsaw may be threatened by mass resettlement.

On 23 January 1942, Czerniakow noted in his diary:
I went to see Auerswald and asked him whether he had received any new instructions from Berlin. He answered that his trip to Berlin was private.


Special thanks to the House of The Wannsee Konferenz (Berlin):
Gerald Reitlinger. The Final Solution, Vallentine, Mitchell and Co ltd., 1953
Arad, Yitzhak. Belzec, Sobibor, Treblinka - The Operation Reinhard Death Camps, Indiana University Press, Bloomington and Indianapolis, 1987
Wikipedia: The Wannsee Conference

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