The Wannsee Conference
On January 20, 1942, at a villa in a suburb of Berlin called Wannsee, 15 men, all high-ranking Nazi Party officials and members of the German government, met to discuss what they called the "Final Solution of the Jewish Question." The head of this conference was a man named SS General Reinhard Heydrich, the chief of the Reich Security Main Office (Reichssicherheitshauptamt-RSHA) and one of SS chief Heinrich Himmler's top deputies. (ushmm.org) Heydrich had two main goals in mind when calling this conference. First, he wanted to inform and gain support from government bureaus and other agencies that were involved in the implementation of the "final solution" (which was the code word for the systematic, pre determined, plan for the physical annihilation of the European Jews). His second goal was to inform all those present that he had gotten orders from Hitler himself to take full control of carrying out the "final solution." Heydrich also tried to ease tension between German Civil administers and SS leaders who were occupying the same areas in Poland and some other territories. Heydrichs solution for this was to announce that he himself had total control over all areas, no matter whom they were occupied by. (historyplace.com) Prior to the conference, SS guards and the German Police had already made agreements with those in high command in the German Army to murder Jews in the spring of 1941. It is estimated that hundreds of thousands of Jews had already been murdered and hundreds of thousands of other victims had also been annihilated prior to the implementation of the "final solution". The main difference was after the conference there was a system put in place to optimize the number of Jews killed and to ideally have a Jewish free society at some point. As said before, 15 men attended the conference. Representing the SS at the meeting were SS General Reinhard Heydrich, the chief of the RSHA and leader of the conference; SS Major General...
Cited: United States Holocaust Memorial Museum. “Wannsee Conference and the 'Final Solution '.” Holocaust Encyclopedia. http://www.ushmm.org/wlc/en/article.php?ModuleId=10005477. Accessed on September 20, 2010.
Kassenoff, Miriam and Meinbach, Anita Meyer. Studying the Holocaust Through Film and Literature. Norwood, MA: Christopher Gordon Publishers, Inc, 2004.
Berenbaum, Michael. The World Must Know. Washington, DC: United States Holocaust Memorial Museum, 2006.
The History Place. "The Wannsee Conference." http://www.historyplace.com/worldwar2/holocaust/h-wannsee.htm. Accessed on September 20, 2010.
Dr Kampe, Norbert. "House of the Wannsee Conference." http://www.ghwk.de/engl/wannsee_conference.htm. Accessed on September 19, 2010.
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