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Wannsee conference

The Wannsee conference was the discussion by a group of Nazi officials about the "final solution of the Jewish question (Endlösung der Judenfrage); it took place in Berlin, am Grossen Wannsee on January 20, 1942 and would lead to the Holocaust.

Discussion centred on the aim of the expulsion of the Jews from every sphere of life of the German people and the expulsion of the Jews from the living space of the German people. Measures to date were discussed and the concept of the 'deportation' of the Jews to the East was introduced - for "appropriate labour... in the course of which action doubtless a large portion will be eliminated by natural causes", the "final remnant will... have to be treated accordingly, because it... would, if released, act as a the seed of a new Jewish revival". The number of Jews in Europe were enumerated (roughly 11 million) and the methods of evacuation were considered with regard to age and country of origin. The treatment of people with 'mixed blood' was also carefully discussed.

Dr. Josef Buhler pushed Heydrich to take off the final solution in the General Government. As far as he was concerned, the main problem of General Government was an overdeveloped black market that deorganises the work of the authorities. He saw a remedy in solving the Jewish question in the country as fast as possible. An additional point in favour was that there were no transportation problems here.

The meeting is noted as the first discussion of the 'final solution' and also because the records and minutes of the meeting were found intact by the Allies at the end of WW II and used during the Nuremberg Trials.

The protocol of the meeting was prepared by Adolf Eichmann aided by Reinhard Heydrich and does not explicitly mention mass murder; Eichmann later admitted at his trial that the actual language used during the conference was much more blunt and included terms such as "extermination" and "annihilation".

Present were:

This meeting is dramatized in the 1984 West German film, Wannseekonferenz, as well as a 2001 American remake, Conspiracy.

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