Minutes of Wannsee Conference

Discussions on the Holocaust and 20th Century War Crimes. Note that Holocaust denial is not allowed. Hosted by David Thompson.
uberjude
Member
Posts: 678
Joined: 19 Oct 2009 02:51

Re: Minutes of Wannsee Conference

Post by uberjude » 10 Oct 2010 13:23

Sorry, I miswrote. they didn't "come up with a plan at Wansee" that ignored most of the Jews; they were informed of such a plan. The minutes at Wansee, of course, don't just relate that the Jews will be deported; they relate that the Jews will be deported to the East, and those "fit for labor" will be worked to death/murdered.

That still leaves us with the same mystery of the majority of Jews. According to your logic, at Wansee, at this discussion of the Final Solution, no plan was enacted for the majority of Jews. And not only a majority, but the next generation. So, according to you, under authorization from Hitler, Heydrich issued a plan that would leave deport all the Jews, kill a minority of Jews, and then leave the next generation of Jews to grow up, safe and sound, fed and housed by the Nazis, raised by their grandparents, knowing that the Nazis were responsible for the deaths of their fathers and mothers.

Alternatively, as attested to by the most important witness at Wansee, and as most experts agree, part of the discussion of Wansee included mass murder.

this group of experts includes Longerich, who you've cited frequently to support your thesis. Longerich doesn't believe that Wansee represented the final decision, but he certainly states -explicitly--that the topic of mass murder was presented. (
In the most serious crisis of the war thus far, the participants at the conference were given the impression that the RSHA was planning to have the mass murders started in the various occupied areas, leading to a 'total solution' ('Gesamtlösung') that was to be developed over the long term.
). thus, even Longerich, while he says that neither the time frame nor scope had been decided upon by Wansee, agrees that mass murder was part of the discussion process at Wansee, and was, ultimately, the Solution adopted. And in fact, Longerich makes it clear that mass murder was viewed as at least part of the participants as part of the "the Final Solution." Here's what was in the minutes:
State Secretary Dr. Buhler stated that the General Government would welcome it if the final solution of this problem could be begun in the General Government, since on the one hand transportation does not play such a large role here nor would problems of labor supply hamper this action. Jews must be removed from the territory of the General Government as quickly as possible, since it is especially here that the Jew as an epidemic carrier represents an extreme danger and on the other hand he is causing permanent chaos in the economic structure of the country through continued black market dealings. Moreover, of the approximately 2 1/2 million Jews concerned, the majority is unfit for work.

State Secretary Dr. Buhler stated further that the solution to the Jewish question in the General Government is the responsibility of the Chief of the Security Police and the SD and that his efforts would be supported by the officials of the General Government. He had only one request, to solve the Jewish question in this area as quickly as possible.

In conclusion the different types of possible solutions were discussed, during which discussion both Gauleiter Dr. Meyer and State Secretary Dr. Buhler took the position that certain preparatory activities for the final solution should be carried out immediately in the territories in question, in which process alarming the populace must be avoided.
According to you, this would simply be referring to evacuation. According to Longerich, however:
It can also be seen from the Wannsee minutes that the murder of the Jews living in the Generalgouvernement and in the occupied Soviet areas had already been derived from the larger 'final solution'. While Generalgouvernement State Secretary Bühler conveyed to the conference his government’s desire to start 'with the final solution… in the General-gouvernement' because 'the transport problem [did] not play a major role' and because 'any manpower exploitation grounds would not delay the course of this action' (given that few Jews there were 'fit for work'), he nevertheless expressed the view that any Jews 'unfit for work' should be murdered on the spot, just as they had been in the USSR and in the Warthegau. Gauleiter Meyer of the Eastern Ministry took the same view: namely that 'certain preparatory work in the course of the final solution could be carried out at the same time in the areas affected themselves'. ('Kill them yourselves', as Frank had so aptly characterized the answer from Berlin). However, the time schedule for these annihilation measures remained an open matter
italics added

So even Longerich agrees that at Wansee, mass murder was a topic of discussion, even in the minutes, which, as Eichmann testifies, were cleaned up by Heydrich. So the question is not "was mass murder discussed at Wansee as part of the final solution at Wansee," but only "was mass murder decided upon as part of the final solution at Wansee." Most scholars say yes, Longerich says no, but recognized that it was discussed as part of the final solution, and that, in the next stage of decision making, was formally adopted.

michael mills
Member
Posts: 8988
Joined: 11 Mar 2002 12:42
Location: Sydney, Australia

Re: Minutes of Wannsee Conference

Post by michael mills » 11 Oct 2010 06:56

And not only a majority, but the next generation. So, according to you, under authorization from Hitler, Heydrich issued a plan that would leave deport all the Jews, kill a minority of Jews, and then leave the next generation of Jews to grow up, safe and sound, fed and housed by the Nazis, raised by their grandparents, knowing that the Nazis were responsible for the deaths of their fathers and mothers.
For Moses' sake, Uberjude, just read the minutes.

They quite clearly say that the Jews would be deported, separated by sex (unter Trennung der Geschlechter). In other words, males and females would be kept separate, so that there could be no production of children.

Thus, there would be no new generation. The deported Jews would progressively die off, leaving no descendants.

At the time of their deportation, the deported Jews would range in age from new-borns to 65-year-olds (since those older than 65 were to be sent to Theresienstadt). The older ones and the younger children would no doubt rapidly die off, due to the harsh conditions.

Thus 10 years after deportation, there would be a Jewish prisoner population ranging in age from, say, 15 to around 50-55, kept in separate men's and women's penal colonies. After 20 years there would be a prisoner population ranging in age from 25 to around 50-55. Almost all those who were aged between 35 and 65 at the time of deportation would have died off due to old age exacerbated by harsh conditions of life.

That is what is meant by "natural decrease" (natuerliche Verminderung). As individuals die, they are not replaced by new births, and the population declines progressively, eventually becoming extinct.

kiseli
Member
Posts: 273
Joined: 03 Dec 2007 14:00

Re: Minutes of Wannsee Conference

Post by kiseli » 11 Oct 2010 11:59

As for the 20,000 young, fit Slovakian Jews, Uberjude is correct in saying that their transportation from Slovakia was not a part of the mass deportation plan outlined by heydrich as Wannsee. In fact, they did not go East, but rather north to Auschwitz, to be used for labour there.
Affidavit of Dieter Wisliceny
Source: Nazi Conspiracy and Aggression. Volume VIII. USGPO, Washington, 1946/pp.606-619
In March and April 1942, 17,000 specially selected Jews were sent to Lubin and Auschwitz, Poland, as construction workers and in May and June 1942, approximately 35,000 members of their families were sent to Auschwitz, at the request of the Slovak government since no provision had been made to support these families. At the request of the Slovak government, I went to Berlin in late July or August 1942, to obtain permission for a Slovak commission to visit these Jews in the area of Lublin. Eichmann speaking of the 35,000 in the second group, told me that such a mission would be, impossible and that "The Slovaks won't be able to see their Jews any more because they are no longer alive".
now, about "final solution" from same affidavit
I was sent to Berlin in July or August 1942 in connection with the status of Jews from Slovakia, which mission is referred to more fully hereinafter. I was talking to Eichmann in his office in Berlin when he said that on written order of Himmler all Jews were to be exterminated. I requested to be shown the order. He took a file from the safe and showed me a top secret document with a red border, indicating immediate action. It was addressed jointly to the Chief of the Security Police and SD and to the Inspector of Concentration Camps. The letter read substantially as follows :

"The Fuehrer has decided that the final solution of the Jewish question is to start immediately. I designate the Chief of the Security Police and SD and the Inspector of Concentration Camps as responsible for the execution of this order. The particulars of the program are to be agreed upon by the Chief of the Security Police and SD and the Inspector of Concentration Camps. I am to be informed currently as to the execution of this order".

The order was signed by Himmler and was dated some time in April 1942. Eichmann told me that the words "final solution" meant the biological extermination of the Jewish race, but that for the time being able-bodied Jews were to be spared and employed in industry to meet current requirements. I was so much impressed with this document which gave Eichmann authority to kill millions of people that I said at the time : "May God forbid that our enemies should ever do anything similar to the German people". He replied : "Don't be sentimental-this is a Fuehrer order". I realized at that time. that the order was a death warrant for millions of people and that the power to execute this order was in Eichmann's hands subject to approval of Heydrich and later Kaltenbrunner. The program of extermination was already under way and continued until late 1944. There was no change in the program during Kaltenbrunner's administration.
and we have Hitler's speech from September 30, 1942
In my Reichstag speech of September 1, 1939, I have spoken of two things: first, that now that the war has been forced upon us, no array of weapons and no passage of time will bring us to defeat, and second, that if Jewry should plot another world war in order to exterminate the Aryan peoples of Europe, it would not be the Aryan peoples which would be exterminated, but Jewry. . . .

At one time, the Jews of Germany laughed about my prophecies. I do not know whether they are still laughing or whether they have already lost all desire to laugh. But right now I can only repeat: they will stop laughing everywhere, and I shall be right also in that prophecy

uberjude
Member
Posts: 678
Joined: 19 Oct 2009 02:51

Re: Minutes of Wannsee Conference

Post by uberjude » 11 Oct 2010 15:29

So even in your best case scenario, those working would be worked to death and murdered, those not working would all die from the conditions. Is it really a stretch to imagine that at some point, while contemplating this process (which sees all the Jews dying anyway), somebody said "Why don't we just speed up the process?," which is, of course, what the primary witness and virtually all the experts (including Longerich) agree happened to some extent? After all, according to your speculation, there might still be Jews living in these camps for years and years, who still need to be fed and housed. They aren't working, since according to this account, only those "fit for labor" will work. So while they might be hungry, they won't be worked to death. They need to be fed, housed, guarded--and this could go on for a long time. And yet, when confronted with that possibility, at a time when Jews were already being gassed at Chelmno, you argue that the Nazis wouldn't even contemplate the solution which they actually adopted and put in place soon after Wansee.

it should also be noted that your thesis regarding the death of the children and elderly in the "labor camps" in the East is not specified in the minutes either, so as long as we're speculating, it seems reasonable to speculate based on the evidence (Eichmann's testimony and subsequent events) rather than our own whims.

michael mills
Member
Posts: 8988
Joined: 11 Mar 2002 12:42
Location: Sydney, Australia

Re: Minutes of Wannsee Conference

Post by michael mills » 12 Oct 2010 05:26

Uberjude,

I will now give you an example of how the demographic term "natuerliche Verminderung", the term that appears in the Wannsee minutes, was used in official German documents.

This example is on page 117 of the book "Juden in Boehmen", by Rudolf M Wlaschek. You can find it here:

http://books.google.com.au/books?id=bLm ... &q&f=false

Wlaschek is quoting from a German document with the title "Die Juden im Protektorat Boehmen und Maehren zum 31. Maerz 1942". He writes:
Eine weitere Statistik in diesem Dokument weist fuer das Protektorat vom Beginn bis zum 31. Maerz 1942 folgende Kategorien und Zahlen aus:

Auswanderung......................................................25 506 Personen
Abwanderung.........................................................6 000 Personen
Einweisung ins Getto..............................................19 608 Personen
Natuerliche Verminderung..........................................5 576 Personen

Insgesamt..........................................................56 990 Personen

...................................................................................................

Die 5576 Personen, die unter dem Stichwort "natuerliche Verminderung" genannt werden, setzten sich dabei wie folgt zusammen:

Sterbefaelle.........................................................5954
Geburten.............................................................378

Auf 100 Todesfaelle entfielen somit nur 6,35 Geburten!

Translation:

A further statistic in this document shows the following categories and figures for the Protectorate from its beginning until 31 March 1942:

Emigration.......................................................25 506 persons
"Exodus" (= deportation)........................................6 000 persons
Assignment to the ghetto [Theresienstadt].................19 608 persons
Natural decrease.................................................5 576 persons


In total..........................................................56 990 persons

The 5576 persons who are named under the rubric "natural decrease" are composed as follows:

Deaths............................................................5954
Births..............................................................378

For every 100 deaths there were only 6.35 births!
There you have it, Uberjude. The term "natuerliche Verminderung" denotes natural decrease due to deaths exceeding births. In this context, it denoted the decrease in the number of Jews remaining in the Protectorate that was not caused by Jews moving out of the area, either through emigration, deportation or incarceration in Theresienstadt (although the latter was actually situated within the Protectorate, quite near Prague, the Jews imprisoned there were considered to be no longer resident in the Protectorate).

In case you are wondering Uberjude, why the number of deaths of Jews in the Protectorate during the three years from the date of its foundation in March 1939 until 31March 1942 was so high compared to the number of deaths in the same period, the answer is provided by the table on the previous page of the book, showing the Jewish population at various dates disaggregated into age-groups.

Thus, as at 15 March 1939, out of a total Jewish population of 118,310 persons, 67,515 were aged 45 and under (57% of the total), while only 21,924 were aged over 60 (18.5%).

As at 31 March 1942, out of a total Jewish population of 61,320 persons, 28,711 were aged 45 or under, their share of the total having fallen to 46.8%, while those aged over 60 numbered 15,914, their share having risen to 26%.

Thus, the decrease in the Jewish population was much greater among those aged 45 and under than among those aged over 60. The total decrease of 38,804 in the first group, a decline of 57%, may be compared with the total emigration over the period 1939-42 of 25,506 persons; in other words, over half the younger Jews had either emigrated or been sent to the Theresienstadt Ghetto. That is the main reason why there were only 378 Jewish births in this period; such a large number of jews of child-bearing age had emigrated, while those that remained were either imprisoned in Theresienstadt, where birthsd were prohibited, or if free were limiting births due to the wartime conditions.

The decrease of 6,010 among Jews aged over 60 may be compared to total deaths during the period of 5,954; in other words, the reduction among this group was almost entirely due to old people dying, a natural process.

That in turn means that almost all of the Jews from the Protectorate who had been sent to Theresienstadt by 31 march 1942 were aged under 60, despite the fact that the ghetto was intended for old people.

Now let us apply the term "natuerliche Verminderung", as used in the above official German document, to the process outlined by Heydrich at the Wannsee Conference. It is obvious he meant that, once the European Jews had been deported to destinations in occupied Soviet territory, deaths would exceed births, and over time the Jewish population would decline. Since the sexes were to be separated, there would be no further births, so the excess of deaths over births would in fact equal total deaths per unit of time, so the process of natural decrease could be relatively rapid. It is clear that the deaths contributing to natural decrease would be natural deaths resulting from old age, disease etc.

michael mills
Member
Posts: 8988
Joined: 11 Mar 2002 12:42
Location: Sydney, Australia

Re: Minutes of Wannsee Conference

Post by michael mills » 12 Oct 2010 06:06

After all, according to your speculation, there might still be Jews living in these camps for years and years, who still need to be fed and housed. They aren't working, since according to this account, only those "fit for labor" will work. So while they might be hungry, they won't be worked to death. They need to be fed, housed, guarded--and this could go on for a long time.
There is no reason why that could not be the case.

Just think of the Soviet GULag camps and penal settlements, which existed for several decades, and held millions of prisoners. While large numers of prisoners died, large numbers also survived in the camps and penal colonies for a long time, 20 years or more. The Soviet Government saw no problem in feeding, hpusing and guarding millions of prisoners over several decades, so there is no reason why the German Government should not also have been able to do so.

Remember that the proposed deportation of the millions of European Jews deep into former Soviet territory was soemthing that was intended to happen after the war, once Germany had achieved final victory over all its enemies. When the deportation took place, the restraints that existed in wartime, the shortage of food etc, would no longer be a problem, and Germany would be able to feedm house and guard its Jewish prisoners, just as the Soviet Union was able to do.
Is it really a stretch to imagine that at some point, while contemplating this process (which sees all the Jews dying anyway), somebody said "Why don't we just speed up the process?," which is, of course, what the primary witness and virtually all the experts (including Longerich) agree happened to some extent?
No, it is not a stretch at all, and in fact it is what I have always said did happen. The question is when that question was answered positively, and why.

In fact, as early as July 1941, soon after the invasion of the Soviet Union, the representative of Eichmann's office at the German Security Police HQ in Posen, a certain Rolf Hoeppner, made precisely that suggestion. He advised Eichmann of planning being undertaken by the German authorities in the Wartheland to concentrate all the Jews of that area into a large labour camp, and warned that due to looming food shortages there was a distinct danger that large numbers of the concentrated Jews could die of starvation during the coming winter. Hoeppner then asked rhetorically whehter it would not be more humane to kill off a proportion of the Jews with a "quick-acting means", rather than let them starve.

There is no record of Eichmann's response, but the sort of thinking displayed by Hoeppner no doubt laid the groundwork for Reichsstatthalter Greiser's request to Himmler and Heydrich for authorisation to apply Sonderbehandlung to 100,000 Jews of the Wartheland.

The question is when the sort of idea displayed by Hoeppner in July 1941 became generally accepted, and the use of the "quick-acting means" was authorised to application to all Jews. No doubt as long as the prospect of a quick and successful end to the war remained, there was no imperative to start killing non-Soviet Jews en masse, since solution of the problem by sending them fat to the East remained feasible. However, once the prospect of victory faded into the distant future, the logisitical problem posed by Jews sitting in ghettos became more acute, and many more german officials must have begun thinking along the same lines as Hoeppner.

But the crucial issue is whether, as at the time of the Wannsee Conference, the solution suggested by Hoeppner as an alternative to starvation had been accepted at the highest levels of the German Government for application to all or most deported Jews, and whether Heydrich explicitly informed the conference participants of that solution. The available evidence does not permit an unequivocal answer to those questions.

It could well be that Heydrich's insertion into the minutes of the reference to "appropriate treatment" was a suggestion, like that made by Hoeppner in the previous July, rather than advice of a firm decision by the German Government.

kiseli
Member
Posts: 273
Joined: 03 Dec 2007 14:00

Re: Minutes of Wannsee Conference

Post by kiseli » 12 Oct 2010 08:22

There you have it, Uberjude. The term "natuerliche Verminderung" denotes natural decrease due to deaths exceeding births.
yes................but starvation can make this natural decrease faster,isn't it ?
LESS: I'm going to quote from your record of Heydrich's speech: "Emigration has now, with the Fiihrer's approval, been replaced by another solution, the evacuation of the Jews to the East. The present actions, however, must be viewed as mere expedients, but they offer a source of practical experience of the utmost importance with a view to the final solution to come." What does all this mean?

EICHMANN: Since emigration was prohibited, they were to be deported to the East. This was the newer—conception in behalf of which the conference of state secretaries was called . . . The new conception that Himmler discussed with Göring, undoubtedly in Heydrich's presence.

LESS: What is meant by "practical experience"?

EICHMANN: The Wannsee Conference—we called it the Conference of State Secretaries—was held on January 20, 1942. Two months later, I was sent to see Globocnik. It is quite possible that the killing there had already begun.

LESS: I see. So you think "practical experience" refers to the killing of the Jews, which had already begun?
It's true that action teams were already at work at the time.

EICHMANN: They started in ... Of course, there was killing.

LESS: Here, on page 7 of your record, Heydrich says: "Under appropriate leadership, the Jews should be put to work in a suitable way within the framework of the final solution. In large labor columns, with separation of the sexes, the able-bodied Jews will be made to build roads as they are led into these territories. A large percentage of them will undoubtedly be eliminated by natural diminution." What is meant by "natural diminution"?

EICHMANN: That's perfectly normal dying. Of a heart attack or pneumonia, for instance. If I were to drop dead just now, that would be natural diminution.

LESS: If a man is forced to perform heavy physical labor and not given enough to eat—he grows weaker, he gets so weak that he has a heart attack . . .

EICHMANN: That would undoubtedly have been reported as natural diminution.

LESS: Heydrich goes on: "Since the ultimate survivors will undoubtedly constitute the most resistant group, they must be treated accordingly, since this natural elite, if released, must be viewed as the potential germ cell of a new Jewish order." What does "treated accordingly" mean?

EICHMANN: That . . . that . . . that comes from Himmler.
Natural selection—that's . . . that was his hobby.

LESS: Yes, but what does it mean here?

EICHMANN: Killed, killed. Undoubtedly.
From: “Eichmann Interrogated” (Transcripts from the Archives of the Israeli Police), p 91

kiseli
Member
Posts: 273
Joined: 03 Dec 2007 14:00

Re: Minutes of Wannsee Conference

Post by kiseli » 12 Oct 2010 11:10

In fact, as early as July 1941, soon after the invasion of the Soviet Union, the representative of Eichmann's office at the German Security Police HQ in Posen, a certain Rolf Hoeppner
16 july 1941,reprinted in lucjan dobroszycki ed.,"The Chronicle of Lodz Ghetto 1941-1944"
But the crucial issue is whether, as at the time of the Wannsee Conference, the solution suggested by Hoeppner as an alternative to starvation had been accepted at the highest levels of the German Government for application to all or most deported Jews, and whether Heydrich explicitly informed the conference participants of that solution. The available evidence does not permit an unequivocal answer to those questions.
Gassing of Jews from the Wartheland were first carried out on December 8, 1941.chelmno became, in effect, the first death camp in operation.
Heydrich didn't call Wannsee meeting to make fundamental new decisions on the Jewish question.Massive killings of Jews in the conquered territories in the S.U. and at Chelmno had continuied in the interim, and new extermination camps were in preparation.The Wannsee Conference was designed to give an official stamp of approval to a prior policy. Himmler/Heydrich original conception had been to kill all jews deported to extermination camps immediatelly.Himmler's decision to exempt temporarily those capable of hard labor represented concession to difficult circumstances (military set backs on the Russian front, death of russian POW , and shortage of labor)
Mass killing and experiments with gassing have already started before Wannsee,
EICHMANN: The final solution depends . . . it's mixed up with ... something that happened after the start of the German- Russian war.
At that time Reichsmarschall Göring issued a document conferring a special title on the head of the Security Police and the SD. I'm trying to remember the wording. Was it "Deputy Charged with the Final Solution," or was it "with the Solution of the Jewish Question"?

LESS: Wouldn't this document relate to the period prior to the
outbreak of the Second World War?

EICHMANN: We can only be sure that it relates to the period when emigration had ceased to be possible and the more radical solution was resorted to. The war with the Soviet Union began in June 1941, I think. And I believe it was two months later, or maybe three, that Heydrich sent for me. I reported. He said to me: "The Fiihrer, well, emigration is . . He began with a little speech. And then: "The Fiihrer has ordered physical extermination." These were his words. And as though wanting to test their effect on me, he made a long pause, which was not at all his way. I can still remember that. In the first moment, I didn't grasp the implications, because he chose his words so carefully. But then I understood. I didn't say anything, what could I say? Because I'd never thought of a ... of such a thing, of that sort of violent solution. And then he said to me: "Eichmann, go and see Globocnik in Lublin."

LESS: Who?

EICHMANN: Globocnik, the former Gauleiter of Vienna, was then head of the SS and the police in the Lublin district of the Government General. Anyway, Heydrich said: "Go and see Globocnik, the Fiihrer has already given him in¬structions. Take a look and see how he's getting on with his program. I believe he's using Russian anti-tank trenches for exterminating the Jews." As ordered, I went to Lublin, located the headquarters of SS and Police Commander Globocnik, and reported to the Gruppenfiihrer. I told him Heydrich had sent me, because the Fiihrer had ordered the physical extermination of the Jews.

LESS: The Gruppenfiihrer?

EICHMANN: I beg your pardon?

LESS: The Gruppenfiihrer?

EICHMANN: The Fiihrer. The Fiihrer was Hitler. Yes, the
Fiihrer was meant. I've only quoted Heydrich's .. .

LESS: Heydrich's.

EICHMANN: . . . Heydrich's words. He said: "The Fiihrer has ordered the . . . that is . . . Hitler has ordered the physical extermination of the Jews."

uberjude
Member
Posts: 678
Joined: 19 Oct 2009 02:51

Re: Minutes of Wannsee Conference

Post by uberjude » 12 Oct 2010 16:41

Actually, Michael, I believe you are reading some facts into the minutes that aren’t there. You wrote:

For Moses' sake, Uberjude, just read the minutes.

They quite clearly say that the Jews would be deported, separated by sex (unter Trennung der Geschlechter). In other words, males and females would be kept separate, so that there could be no production of children.

Thus, there would be no new generation. The deported Jews would progressively die off, leaving no descendants.
Actually, the document says nothing about separating the Jews who weren’t fit for labor. For the sake of whichever religious figure you’d like, just read the minutes:
Under proper guidance, in the course of the final solution the Jews are to be allocated for appropriate labor in the East. Able-bodied Jews, separated according to sex, will be taken in large work columns to these areas for work on roads, in the course of which action doubtless a large portion will be eliminated by natural causes.
The possible final remnant will, since it will undoubtedly consist of the most resistant portion, have to be treated accordingly, because it is the product of natural selection and would, if released, act as a the seed of a new Jewish revival (see the experience of history.)
italics added

In other words, the separation of sexes only refers to the Jews who are fit for labor, not for the Jews in the camps who aren’t working. And the “natural decrease” also only refers to the laboring Jews, not the majority.

So we’re back to the Nazis maintaining a population of millions of Jews (the majority) in non-labor camps, producing a next generation.


The comparison with the GULAG is not apt, precisely for the reasons you give. The Soviet regime was genocidal, but genocide was a means, not an end. They could keep prisoners in the GULAG for years (and keep in mind, many GULAG prisoners were performing labor, not just mouths to feed), and release them, because their death was not the original goal. In the case of the Nazis, the actual goal was the extermination of the Jews (as even the discussion of labor made clear). So the question becomes clearer—why, in planning this Final Solution, that was going to see all the Jews dead, would they keep them alive for decades?

Moreover, you wrote”
Remember that the proposed deportation of the millions of European Jews deep into former Soviet territory was soemthing that was intended to happen after the war, once Germany had achieved final victory over all its enemies. When the deportation took place, the restraints that existed in wartime, the shortage of food etc, would no longer be a problem, and Germany would be able to feedm house and guard its Jewish prisoners, just as the Soviet Union was able to do.
But of course, part of the whole point of Wansee was that the timetable was being moved up, that, given the reality of the war, this couldn’t wait until the war’s conclusion, but had to begin during the war. So all of those issues still apply.

So again, we’re back to where we were—according to you, the “final solution” only foresaw the deaths of a minority of the Jews, while the majority would be kept alive, in camps, without any apparent separation of the sexes, being cared for by the Nazis.

So again, we have a witness who testifies as to the genocidal intentions of the final solution as discussed at Wansee, and we have an agreement from all scholars that the topic was discussed. We have the logical deduction that, seeing as how gassing was already taking place in Chelmno, at a discussion of the “Final Solution,” some of the delegates would consider the methods being used at Chelmno (which is in fact what Longerich, who you’ve been citing, claims that Buhler did). And we have the fact that shortly after the Conference, the rest of the death camps began to operate.

In opposition to that, you argue that at a conference laying out the “Final Solution,” Heydrich only discussed the deaths of those Jews who would labor, while the majority of Jews would be kept alive in camps. Since you misread the protocols regarding sex segregation, there’s no reason to conclude that sexes would be separated, and to do so would require you to argue that there were things discussed at Wansee which weren’t in the minutes, at which point, you’re not doing anything that I’m not doing, only without as much evidence to support it.

So to reiterate, according to you, the Final Solution proposed by heydrich would only exterminate the Jews fit for labor, while those unfit would be kept alive (and possibly able to produce a new generation), in camps (without sex segregation), to survive the war.

PeterOT
Member
Posts: 445
Joined: 07 Sep 2006 09:57
Location: Melbourne, Australia

Re: Minutes of Wannsee Conference

Post by PeterOT » 12 Oct 2010 23:57

Uberjude,

You follow these things more closely than I, so perhaps you can illuminate a point for me. I recall from another thread that one of our posters (very possibly Mills) claimed that the Nazis were 'impelled' to extermninate Jews by the Allied blockade, which it is claimed threatened to reproduce the traumas of the last few years of WW1. Do the Wannsee Minutes provide any evidence for this position?

uberjude
Member
Posts: 678
Joined: 19 Oct 2009 02:51

Re: Minutes of Wannsee Conference

Post by uberjude » 13 Oct 2010 00:39

No discussion of any thing like that; the closest the they come to discussing any wartime conditions is when one official (Buhler) suggests that the Final Solution begins in the GG because the Jews pose a risk of epidemic. But beside that there's no justification, and this is simply presented as a continuation of pre-war policy (making Europe Judenrein) by other means.

michael mills
Member
Posts: 8988
Joined: 11 Mar 2002 12:42
Location: Sydney, Australia

Re: Minutes of Wannsee Conference

Post by michael mills » 14 Oct 2010 01:02

The minutes were written in their final form by Heydrich, and therefore represent the message he was trying to convey.

Accordingly, the very formulations used by Heydrich strongly suggest that neither at the time when the conference was originally scheduled, in early December 194, nor at the time when it actually took place, late in January 1942, had Hitler given any authorisation for the extermination of the Jews of Europe.

Heydrich says in the minutes that at some unspecified time in the future, those of the deported Jews who are still alive will have to be "appropriately treated", rather than being released (whether he actually used that formulation at the meeting itself is unknown). More importantly, he gives a Darwinian justification for the necessity of "appropriate treatment" for those Jews; since they will be young and fit, it they were released they would be able to go on breeding and thereby create a new Jewish colony. Heydrich also appeals to an unspecified "lesson of history" that presumably was known to the participants in the conference; possibly he meant that history showed that if even Jews were allowed to strike root in a country, no matter how distant, they would eventually spread from there to other countries and eventually arrive in Germany, there to wreak the m ischief that was attributed to them in National Socialist ideology.

So Heydrich's message is that if the surviving Jews are released, deep in the Russian interior to which they have been deported, they will increase and begin to move, eventually coming back to Germany; therefore, they will need to be "appropriately treated", to prevent that grim future possibility.

But why did Heydrich feel that he needed to include such an explanation or justification in the edited minutes which he circulated to all the conference participants? If he had been in possession of an order by Hitler to exterminate the Jews of Europe ( as claimed by Eichmann in his post-war interrogations), he could simply have stated "the surviving Jews will be appropriately treated in accordance with the Fuehrer's order"; his citing of such an order would have immediately compelled all the representatives of the Ministries to subordinate themselves to him on all matters to do with the Jews.

However, nowhere does Heydrich cite any order by Hitler to justify the proposed future "appropriate treatment" of the Jews. The only Fuehrer order referred to by him is that for the deportation of the Jews as a solution to replace emigration.

Since Heydrich does not cite a Fuehrer order for extermination, it is reasonable to assume that no such order existed at the time of his writing the minutes. Heydrich does not say that a policy decision has been made to exterminate the deported Jews; he is suggesting that they will need to be exterminated, for the reasons he enumerates.

Furthermore, he is suggesting that "appropriate treatment" will be necessary because the alternative, releasing the surviving Jews at some time in the future, will be too dangerous. That suggests that the option of a future release (Freilassung), was still being considered within German Government circles, and Heydrich felt a need to argue against that option.

In short, the best interpretation of Heydrich's words about "appropriate treatment" is that he was making a suggestion, not revealing a policy decision by the German Government. In other words, what Heydrich said at Wannsee in January 1942 had the same status as what Hoeppner said at Posen in July 1941; he was making a proposal.

But why did Heydrich consider the surviving Jews so dangerous? Why would they constitute the nucleus of a future "Jewish revival"?

I have already demonstrated the meaning of the term "natuerliche Verminderung" in official German parlance; it simply meant an excess of deaths over births. It did not at all denote working prisoners to death.

The aim of German policy was to prevent the reproduction of the Jews by keeping the sexes separate. That would imediately lead to "natural decrease", since the old and sick would contiune to die as normal, and they would not be replaced by new births.

10 years after the proposed deportation, it could be assumed that every person aged under 5 or over 50 at the time of deportation would have died off from normal causes. Accordingly, there would be a Jewish population held at the place of deportation aged between 15 and 50, ie in the age range suitable for reproduction. Heydrich was saying that, if they were released, almost all of them wopuld be able to start breeding immediately, leading to a rapid increase in the Jewish population.

uberjude
Member
Posts: 678
Joined: 19 Oct 2009 02:51

Re: Minutes of Wannsee Conference

Post by uberjude » 14 Oct 2010 01:35

Michael, again, please follow your own advice and read the minutes. All the comments you're making about the segregation of the sexes, natural decrease, and so on, all have to do with the Jews who are fit for labor. There is no discussion of the majority of Jews who are not fit for labor. If you have no explanation for why a document alleging to deal with the "Final Solution" of the Jewish question doesn't discuss the majority of Jews, fine. Say that, and let's move on to the other matters you've discussed. But it's a question I've asked in numerous posts, and so far, the only response you've had is to cite a passage that says nothing about them. To quote again:
Under proper guidance, in the course of the final solution the Jews are to be allocated for appropriate labor in the East. Able-bodied Jews, separated according to sex, will be taken in large work columns to these areas for work on roads, in the course of which action doubtless a large portion will be eliminated by natural causes.
The possible final remnant will, since it will undoubtedly consist of the most resistant portion, have to be treated accordingly, because it is the product of natural selection and would, if released, act as a the seed of a new Jewish revival (see the experience of history.)
So the Jews to be segregated are the "able-bodied" who will be taken to work. They will be the ones eliminated by natural causes or murdered. Nowhere in the passages you've discussed is there any reference to the majority of Jews who were not "able bodied," including the children. So can you please tell me where in this Final Solution to the Jewish Question, there is any plan to deal with the majority of Jews?

michael mills
Member
Posts: 8988
Joined: 11 Mar 2002 12:42
Location: Sydney, Australia

Re: Minutes of Wannsee Conference

Post by michael mills » 15 Oct 2010 02:41

This is the operative sentence, which summarises the deportation plan that the RSHA had been developing in the course of 1941:
Under proper direction the Jews should now in the course of the Final Solution [Endloesung] be brought to the East in a suitable way for use as labor.
In other words, all the Jews of Europe are to be evacuated to the East, ie into former Soviet territory. According to Buehler's testimony as a defence witness for Frank at the IMT, he was told by Heydrich before the conference that the destination of the deported European Jews was to be the White Sea area, and there is no reason to doubt that is indeed what he was told.

The only Jews who would not be deported were those who were aged over 65, and German and Austrian Jews who were exempt because of war service. They were to be kept in a special ghetto.

The planned deportation was to take place in two stages:
The evacuated Jews are brought first group by group into the so-called transit ghettos, in order to be transported from there farther to the East.
Examples of transit ghettos were Riga and Minsk, to which some thousands of German Jews had already been taken. The transports of the German Jews to Riga and Minsk were to serve as "practical experience" for the deportation of the remainder of the Jews of Europe.

Thus there were two categories of Jews envisaged:

1. Those who were to be deported and used for labour (road construction was the only example of labour utilisation given in the Wannsee Minutes, although other German documents mention forestry, agricultural work and swamp drainage). A sub-group of this category consisted of workers in defence industries, who were not be deported for as long as they were still needed.

2. Those who were to be exempt from deportation and kept in a special ghetto.

The only part of Heydrich's plan that he allowed discussion on was the definition of which Jews were to belong to the exempt group, and that was where some dispute seems to have arisen.

As for the timing of the proposed mass deportation, the key sentence is this one:
The beginning of the individual larger evacuation actions will be very much dependent on the military development.
In other words, the envisaged mass deportations could not begin until the military situation permitted it, probably meaning not until the Red Army had been finally defeated, which was expected to occur as a result of the 1942 summer offensive.

David Thompson
Forum Staff
Posts: 23720
Joined: 20 Jul 2002 19:52
Location: USA

Re: Minutes of Wannsee Conference

Post by David Thompson » 15 Oct 2010 04:26

For a previous discussion of Buehler's IMT testimony and the Wannsee Conference, see Michael Mills' post at http://forum.axishistory.com/viewtopic. ... 39#p639439 and the comments which follow. Buehler's testimony is posted immediately before the discussion.

Return to “Holocaust & 20th Century War Crimes”