Ich lese eine ausführliche Denkschrift des SD und der Polizei über die Endlösung der Judenfrage. Daraus ergibt sich eine Unmenge von neuen Gesichtspunkten. Die Judenfrage muß jetzt im gesamteuropäischen Rahmen gelöst werden. Es gibt in Europa noch über 11 Millionen Juden. Sie müssen später einmal zuerst im Osten konzentriert werden; eventuell kann man ihnen nach dem Krieg eine Insel, etwa Madagaskar, zuweisen. Jedenfalls wird es keine Ruhe in Europa geben, wenn nicht die Juden restlos aus dem europäischen Gebiet ausgeschaltet werden.
I am reading a detailed memorandum of the SD and Police about the Final Solution of the Jewish Question. A huge number of new points of view are gleaned from it. The Jewish Question must now be solved in the pan-European framework. There are still over 11 million Jews in Europe. Later they must first be concentrated in the East; after the war an island, maybe Madagascar, can possibly be assigned to them. In any case there will be no rest in Europe if the the Jews are not totally excluded from the European area.
The SD-Police memorandum that Goebbels read was probably circulated in the wake of the Wannsee Conference, and enumerated the policy which Heydrich considered had been accepted at that venue. The basic points made in the memorandum, as described by Goebbels, reflect the deportation plan outlined in the minutes of the Conference; all the Jews of Europe are to be deported to the East (= the conquered Soviet territories) and concentrated there. Even the grossly exaggerated estimate of the number of Jews in Europe (including the Soviet Union), 11 million, is repeated.
It is noteworthy that the memorandum made no mention of any plan to physically liquidate the Jews concentrated in the east, or even hint at it. Instead, it appears to have stated that the concentration in the East was to be a temporary stage until the end of the war, when, with an assumed German victory, the Jews were to be sent to a destination outside Europe. That replicates the policy stated in the Stahlecker letter to Lohse of August 1941, when a similar concentration of Soviet Jews pending their expulsion to an extra-European destination after the war was described.
It seems unlikely that a decision to exterminate the Jews concentrated in the East in whole or in part would have been concealed from a Government Minister like Goebbels, or why, if it had been revealed to him, he would have concealed it in his private diary.
The most likely interpretation is that as of the date of Goebbels' diary entry, while a decision to deport all Jews under actual and potential German control into conquered Soviet territory had been approved by Hitler, no decision to kill them had yet been made.
The diary entry of 7 March may be concentrated with the better-known entry of 27 March, three weeks later, in which Goebbels describes the commencement of the extermination of the Polish Jews unusable for labour, being carried out by Globocnik. That entry shows that Goebbels did not shy away from talking about extermination in his diary, which supports the interpetation that he was not concealing a policy of extermination in his entry of 7 March.
It may be inferred that between 7 and 27 March 1942, a decision was made to add an element of extermination to an existing policy of deportation, to the extent that Jews assessed as unusable for labour were no longer to deported into the occupied Soviet territory, but killed at points situated along the deportation routes. The background to that decision remains unclarified, but it is possible that it resulted from opposition by the German authorities in the occupied Soviet territories to having the entire Jewish population of German-occupied Europe dumped on them.
It is clear from what Goebbels says in his diary entry of 27 March that if a decision was made between 7 and 27 March, it was one for partial, not total, extermination; Goebbels states that 60% of the Polish Jews were to be liquidated as unusable for forced labour. What is unclear is whether the putative decision applied only to the Jews of the Generalgouvernement, or to all the Jews of German-occupied Europe.
If a decision was made in March 1942 to kill part of the Jewish population of the Generalgouvernement, it was preceded by an authorisation given some months previously by Heydrich and Himmler, possibly in October 1941, to Reichsstatthalter Greiser, on the latter's application, to kill 100,000 of the Jews of Reichsgau Wartheland, ie about one-third of the Jews of that area. Subsequent events show that the selection of the one-third to be killed was made on the basis of inability to be used for labour, so it is possible that the decision to kill similarly unusable Jews of the Generalgouvernement was prompted by that earlier authorisation.