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Section: What was the Final Solution?

What was the Final Solution?

The men pictured relaxing and enjoying themselves at a place called Solahutte, near Auschwitz-Birkenau, are leading SS officers who administered monstrous acts, carried out against millions of innocent victims. The men are (from left to right) Richard Baer (Commandant of Auschwitz-Birkenau), Dr Josef Mengele (the Angel of Death), Josef Kramer (Commandant of Bergen-Belsen), Rudolf Hoess (first Camp Commandant of Auschwitz-Birkenau) and Anton Thumann (Commandant of Majdanek).
The men pictured relaxing and enjoying themselves at a place called Solahutte, near Auschwitz-Birkenau, are leading SS officers who administered monstrous acts, carried out against millions of innocent victims. The men are (from left to right) Richard Baer (Commandant of Auschwitz-Birkenau), Dr Josef Mengele (the Angel of Death), Josef Kramer (Commandant of Bergen-Belsen), Rudolf Hoess (first Camp Commandant of Auschwitz-Birkenau) and Anton Thumann (Commandant of Majdanek). © 2011 United States Holocaust Memorial Museum.

On 31 July 1941, Hermann Goering ordered Reinhard Heydrich to prepare a plan for the ‘Final Solution to the Jewish Question’.

“In completion of the task which was entrusted to you… …[on] January 24, 1939, of solving the Jewish question… …in the most convenient way possible… …I [now] charge you with making all necessary preparations… …for an overall solution of the Jewish question…

I further charge you with submitting to me promptly an overall plan… …for the execution of the intended final solution of the Jewish question.”

Extracts from Goering’s order.

For the Nazis leadership, conventional killing methods were not effective in the mass murder of large numbers of people. On 20 January 1942, fifteen leading officials of the Nazi state met at a villa in Wannsee, a suburb of Berlin, to discuss the ‘Final Solution of the Jewish Question’.

The ‘Final Solution’ was a code name for the murder of all the Jews of Europe. The people present at the conference were to discuss how to make mass murder happen in an organised and methodical way.

Topics in this section

German expansionism
German expansionism
The Wannsee Conference
The Wannsee Conference
The death camps
The death camps
Auschwitz-Birkenau
Auschwitz-Birkenau
Who were the perpetrators?
Who were the perpetrators?
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Responses to the Holocaust

Responses to the Holocaust