Final Solution

By Nicholas Dessanti

Wannsee Conference

The meeting took place in the Berlin suburb of Grossen-Wannsee on January 20, 1942 involving the planning of the final solution by 15 Nazi Party members. The Wannsee Conference signified the beginning of a comprehensive plan that brought in rank and Nazi Party members to help carry out the extermination of all European Jews. The work and living conditions at the camps would be sufficiently hard as to fell large numbers by "natural diminution"; those who survived would be "treated accordingly." Although the final protocol of the Wannsee Conference never explicitly mentioned extermination, it hinted that all measures would be taken in order to promote death from "natural causes," and barring that success, more aggressive measures would be taken.

On 20 January 1942 one of the most infamous meetings in history was held on the outskirts of Berlin at an elegant villa at 56–58 Am Grossen Wannsee. The meeting had been called by the second most important figure in the SS, Reinhard Heydrich, to discuss issues arising from the Nazis’ treatment of the Jewish question.

At a villa owned by the Schutzstaffel (SS), mid-level party members met during World War II in response to a call from Reinhard Heydrich, the chief of the Reich Central Security Office. Heydrich was second only to Heinrich Himmler as head of the SS, and both men were in the process of formulating the final solution to the perceived Jewish problem. The man seen in this picture is SS General Reinhard Heydrich.

Die Wannseekonferenz (1984)

A real time recreation of the 1942 Wannsee Conference, in which leading SS and Nazi Party officials led by SS-General Reinhard Heydrich gathered to discuss the "Final Solution to the Jewish Question".

"Wannsee Conference." World History: The Modern Era. ABC-CLIO, 2014. Web. 12 Dec. 2014.

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