Minutes of the Wannsee Conference on the “Final Solution to the Jewish Question” (USEAAR, #19)

 

This post is part of a mostly fictitious after-action report of Unconditional Surrender! (Salvatore Vasta, GMT Games) . The document in question, however, is authentic. Government and SS officials met on January 20, 1942 to coordinate the implementation of the genocide of the Jewish people of Europe. The translation from the German original is mine.

Classified Reich Matter!

Minutes of the Meeting

I. Attendees of the meeting held in Berlin, Am Großen Wannsee no. 56/58 on January 20, 1942, on the final solution to the Jewish question:

  • Gauleiter [regional party leader] Dr. Meyer and Head of Reichsamt Dr. Leibbrandt, Reich Ministry for the Occupied Eastern Territories
  • Permanent Secretary Dr. Stuckart, Reich Ministry of the Interior
  • Permanent Secretary Neumann, Commissioner for the Four Year Plan
  • Permanent Secretary Dr. Freisler, Reich Ministry of Justice
  • Permanent Secretary Dr. Bühler, Office of the General Government [of occupied Poland]
  • Undersecretary Luther, Foreign Office
  • SS-Oberführer [Brigadier] Klopfer, Chancellery of the Party
  • Undersecretary Kritzinger, Reich Chancellery
  • SS-Gruppenführer [Major-General] Hofmann, SS Race and Settlement Main Office
  • SS-Gruppenführer Müller and SS-Obersturmbannführer [Lieutenant Colonel] Eichmann, Reich Main Security Office
  • SS-Oberführer Dr. Schöngarth, Commander of the Security Police and the Security Service of the Reichsführer-SS in the General Government [of occupied Poland]
  • […]

II. At the outset, the Head of the Security Police and the Security Service of the Reichsführer-SS, SS-Obergruppenführer [Lieutenant General] Heydrich, reported his appointment as Commissioner for the Preparation of the Final Solution to the Jewish Question by the Reich Marshal [Hermann Göring], and conveyed that the goal of the meeting was to gain clarity on fundamental questions. The request of the Reich Marshal to be sent a draft on the organizational and material aspects regarding the final solution to the European Jewish question required the previous concerted treatment by all concerned central institutions regarding the synchronization of implementation.
The Reichsführer-SS and Head of German Police (Head of Security Police and Security Service of the Reichsführer-SS) [Heinrich Himmler] is to be in charge for the implementation of the final solution to the Jewish question regardless of geographical boundaries.
The Head of the Security Police and the Security Service of the Reichsführer-SS then gave a review of the struggle against this opponent so far. The essential elements are

  • pushing the Jews out of the individual areas in which the German people live
  • pushing the Jews out of the Lebensraum of the German people [i.e. the conquered or to-be-conquered areas in the East]

Implementing these efforts, the accelerated emigration of the Jews from the Reich was undertaken as the only method of solution for the time being.
[…]
The emigration has been paid for by the Jews or the Jewish organizations themselves. To avoid that the proletarian Jews would remain, the principle to have their emigration funded by the wealthy Jews was used […]
By now, the Reichsführer-SS and Head of German Police has prohibited the emigration of Jews with regard to the dangers of emigration during the war and the potential of the east.

III. The deportation of the Jews to the east has by now been added as a method of solution instead of emigration as previously approved by the Führer.
These activities, however, are only a backup, yet here practical experience is gained which will be crucial for the final solution to the Jewish question yet to come.
In the course of this final solution, 11 million Jews are to be considered, which are dispersed over the individual countries as follows:

  • Old Reich: 131,800
  • Austria: 43,700
  • Areas annexed from Poland: 420,000
  • General Government [of occupied Poland]: 2,284,000
  • […]
  • Bulgaria: 48,000
  • England[sic]: 330,000
  • Finland: 2,300
  • Ireland: 4,000
  • […]
  • Slovakia: 88,000
  • Spain: 6,000
  • Turkey (europ. part): 55,500
  • Hungary: 742,800
  • USSR: 5,000,000
  • In total: over 11,000,000

The numbers of Jews in the various foreign countries as given are, however, only those of Jews by faith, as the definitions of Jews by racial principles are not yet provided. […]
The influence of the Jews on all domains in the USSR is well known.[…]
In the course of the final solution, the Jews are to be put to work under appropriate direction and in suitable ways in the east. The Jews are to be led into these areas in large work gangs segregated by sex to build roads, which will doubtless lead to the elimination of a large part of them by means of natural diminution.
The possible remainder [of Jews] will have to be treated accordingly, as it is doubtless the most resilient part, and would, by means of natural selection, be the origin of a new Jewish community if set free. (See the lessons of history.)
In the course of the practical implementation of the final solution, Europe is to be scoured from west to east. The Reich including the Protectorate of Bohemia and Moravia is to be scoured first, if only for the reasons of the housing shortage and other social-political necessities.
The deported Jews are first brought step by step to so-called transit ghettos, from where they will be transported further east.
[…]
The start of the individual larger deportations will be largely dependent on the military developments. For the implementation of the final solution in the areas of Europe occupied or influenced by us, it was suggested [by Heydrich] that the responsible officials of the Foreign Office are to talk to the respective officer in charge of the Security Police and the Security Service of the Reichsführer-SS.
[…]
It is necessary to force an Adviser for Jewish Affairs on the Hungarian government shortly to take care of the matter.
[…]
The registration of the Jews for deportation in both the occupied and not occupied parts of France will in all likelihood pose no great difficulty.
Undersecretary Luther conveyed that difficulties will arise when seriously tackling this problem in some countries like the Nordic countries. Therefore he recommended to put these countries on hold. This postponement does not constitute a significant restriction considering the low number of Jews in question.
SS-Gruppenführer Hofmann intends to send an official of the SS Race and Settlement Main Office along to Hungary for general orientation when the Head of Security Police and the Security Service of the Reichsführer-SS tackles the matter. It has been determined to temporarily second this official who is not to become active himself to the police attaché for official purposes.

IV. The Nuremberg Laws [defining whom to consider Jewish] are to be the basis for the final solution projects. The solution of the questions of intermarriages and mixed-bloods is also a precondition for the root-and-stem clearing up of the problem.
1) Treatment of first-degree mixed-bloods
First-degree mixed-bloods are to be treated like Jews in regard to the final solution to the Jewish question.
Exceptions to this treatment apply for
a) First-degree mixed-bloods who are married to people of German blood, if children (second-degree mixed-bloods) have sprung from this marriage. These second-degree mixed-bloods are essentially to be treated like Germans.
b) First-degree mixed-bloods for whom exceptions have been granted by the highest institutions of the party and the state. Every individual case must be checked, and it cannot be ruled out that the decision is made to the disadvantage of the mixed-blood.
The preconditions for an exception always have to be the fundamental merits of the mixed-blood themselves. (Not the merits of their German-blooded parent or spouse.)
The first-degree mixed-blood excepted from deportation is to be sterilized to rule out any progeny and solve the mixed-blood problem conclusively. The sterilization is voluntary. It is, however, a prerequisite for staying in the Reich. The sterilized „mixed-blood“ are subsequently freed of all limitations to which are concurrently subjected.

2) Treatment of second-degree mixed-bloods
Second-degree mixed-bloods are in principle counted as being of German blood, except in the following cases in which they are counted as Jews:
a) Provenance of the second-degree mixed-blood from a bastard marriage (both parts mixed-bloods).
b) Especially unfavorable racial appearance of the second-degree mixed blood which identifies them physically among the Jews.
c) Especially unfavorable assessment of the second-degree mixed blood by police and political institutions which identifies them as feeling and behaving as Jews.

3) Marriages between full Jews and people of German blood
The decision is to be made for each individual case if the Jewish part is to be deported or, considering the effects of such action on the German-blooded relatives of this intermarriage, is to be transferred to a ghetto for the elderly.

[…]

Permanent Secretary Dr. Stuckart states that the practical implementations of the methods of clearing up the intermarriage and mixed-blood questions as reported before would result in infinite administrative work. He suggests – just as well to take the biological facts into consideration – to implement forced sterilization. Furthermore, options should be considered to simplify the problem of intermarriages like the declaration of the legislative authorities that these marriages are divorced.
[…]
Permanent Secretary Dr. Bühler asserts that the General Government [of occupied Poland] would appreciate it if the final solution was to be begun there, as the transport problem is insignificant there and no reasons of employment [of Jews in industries important to the war effort] hinder the implementation. Jews had to be removed as quickly as possible from the General Government because the Jew as a carrier of epidemics posed an eminent danger there, and furthermore the Jew brought disorder to the economic structure of the country by perpetuated illicit trade. […]
In conclusion, the various methods of solution were discussed. Both Gauleiter Dr. Meyer and Permanent Secretary Dr. Bühler took the view that certain preparatory efforts should be conducted in the respective regions themselves while avoiding to disturb the population.
The meeting was concluded with the request of the Head of Security Police and the Security Service of the Reichsführer-SS to the attendees to support him in the execution of the solution efforts.

You can see the current state of affairs in the game in the Twitter thread:

1 thought on “Minutes of the Wannsee Conference on the “Final Solution to the Jewish Question” (USEAAR, #19)

  1. Pingback: Documents from Dresden and Auschwitz (USEAAR, #24) | Clio's Board Games

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