A report on Final Solution

Follow-up letter from Reinhard Heydrich to the German diplomat Martin Luther asking for administrative assistance in the implementation of the Final Solution, 26 February 1942
Hitler's prophecy speech in the Reichstag, 30 January 1939
The villa at 56–58 Am Großen Wannsee, where the Wannsee Conference was held, is now a memorial and museum.
Himmler note 18 December 1941: als Partisanen auszurotten
Nazi extermination camps marked with black and white skulls. General Government territory: centre, Distrikt Galizien: lower–right. Death camp at Auschwitz: lower–left (in Provinz Oberschlesien), Nazi-Soviet line in red
Berlin, Reichstag session of 11 December 1941: Adolf Hitler declares war on the United States of America

Nazi plan for the genocide of Jews during World War II.

- Final Solution
Follow-up letter from Reinhard Heydrich to the German diplomat Martin Luther asking for administrative assistance in the implementation of the Final Solution, 26 February 1942

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From the Auschwitz Album: Hungarian Jews arriving at Auschwitz II in German-occupied Poland, May 1944. Most were "selected" to go to the gas chambers. Camp prisoners are visible in their striped uniforms.

The Holocaust

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The genocide of European Jews during World War II.

The genocide of European Jews during World War II.

From the Auschwitz Album: Hungarian Jews arriving at Auschwitz II in German-occupied Poland, May 1944. Most were "selected" to go to the gas chambers. Camp prisoners are visible in their striped uniforms.
German-occupied Europe, 1942
The 23 defendants during the Doctors' trial, Nuremberg, 9 December 1946 – 20 August 1947
Antisemitic Christian Social Party placard from the 1920 Austrian legislative election: "Vote Social Christian. German Christians Save Austria!"
Nazi boycott of Jewish businesses: SA troopers urge a boycott outside Israel's Department Store, Berlin, 1 April 1933. All signs read: "Germans! Defend yourselves! Don't buy from Jews!"
The poster (c. 1937) reads: "60,000 RM is what this person with hereditary illness costs the community in his lifetime. Fellow citizen, that is your money too. Read Neues Volk, the monthly magazine of the Office of Racial Policy of the Nazi Party."
Czechoslovakian Jews at Croydon airport, England, 31 March 1939, before deportation
March or April 1938: Jews are forced to scrub the pavement in Vienna, Austria.
Potsdamer Straße 26, Berlin, the day after Kristallnacht, November 1938
Jewish women were stripped, beaten and raped in Lwów, occupied eastern Poland (later Lviv, Ukraine), during the Lviv pogroms, July 1941.
Jews arrive with their belongings at the Auschwitz II extermination camp, summer 1944, thinking they were being resettled.
Jewish women wearing yellow badges in occupied Paris, June 1942
Greek Jews from Saloniki are forced to exercise or dance, July 1942.
SS-Gruppenführer Otto Ohlendorf, commander of Einsatzgruppe D, pleads not guilty during the Einsatzgruppen trial, Nuremberg, 15 September 1947. He was executed in 1951.
Ivanhorod Einsatzgruppen photograph: Einsatzgruppe shooting a woman and child, near Ivangorod, Ukraine, 1942
The "stairs of death" at the Weiner Graben quarry, Mauthausen concentration camp, Austria, 1942
Bodies being pulled out of a train carrying Romanian Jews from the Iași pogrom, July 1941
11 December 1941: Adolf Hitler speaking at the Kroll Opera House to Reichstag members about war in the Pacific.
Am Großen Wannsee 56–58, Berlin
Captain Witold Pilecki
Jews from Carpathian Ruthenia on the selection ramp at Auschwitz II, c. May 1944. Women and children are lined up on one side, men on the other, waiting for the SS to determine who was fit for work. About 20 percent at Auschwitz were selected for work and the rest gassed.
A mass grave at Bergen-Belsen after the camp's liberation, April 1945
Heinrich Himmler inspects a POW camp in Russia, c. 1941.
Romani people being deported from Asperg, Germany, 22 May 1940
Defendants in the dock at the Nuremberg trials, 1945–1946
Memorial to the Murdered Jews of Europe in Berlin, 2016
Stolpersteine, Berlin-Mitte, 2011

The segregation of Jews in ghettos culminated in the policy of extermination the Nazis called the Final Solution to the Jewish Question, discussed by senior government officials at the Wannsee Conference in Berlin in January 1942.

View of Sobibor extermination camp, 1943
WW2-Holocaust-Poland.PNG
The Holocaust map: The six Nazi extermination camps set up by the SS in occupied Poland, are marked with white skulls in black squares.

Extermination camp

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Nazi Germany used six extermination camps (Vernichtungslager), also called death camps (Todeslager), or killing centers (Tötungszentren), in Central Europe during World War II to systematically murder over 2.7 million people – mostly Jews – in the Holocaust.

Nazi Germany used six extermination camps (Vernichtungslager), also called death camps (Todeslager), or killing centers (Tötungszentren), in Central Europe during World War II to systematically murder over 2.7 million people – mostly Jews – in the Holocaust.

View of Sobibor extermination camp, 1943
WW2-Holocaust-Poland.PNG
The Holocaust map: The six Nazi extermination camps set up by the SS in occupied Poland, are marked with white skulls in black squares.
View of Sobibor extermination camp, 1943
WW2-Holocaust-Poland.PNG
The Holocaust map: The six Nazi extermination camps set up by the SS in occupied Poland, are marked with white skulls in black squares.
Members of the Sonderkommando burned the bodies of victims in the fire pits at Auschwitz II-Birkenau, when the crematoria were overloaded. (August 1944)
Mass deportations: the pan-European routes to the extermination camps
Jewish children during deportation to the Chełmno extermination camp
March to the gas chambers, one of Sonderkommando photographs taken secretly at Auschwitz II in August 1944
Carpathian Ruthenian Jews arrive at Auschwitz–Birkenau, May 1944. Without being registered to the camp system, most were killed in gas chambers hours after arriving. (Photograph from the Auschwitz Album)
March of new arrivals along the SS barracks at Birkenau toward the gas chambers near crematoria II and III, 27 May 1944. (Photograph from the Auschwitz Album)
Former slave laborers stand next to a bone crushing machine at the Janowska concentration camp (photo taken in August 1944, after camp's liberation)
Documentary evidence: A Reichsbahn consignment note for delivering prisoners (Häftlinge) to Sobibór in November 1943

The genocide of the Jews of Europe was the Nazi Germany's "Final Solution to the Jewish question".

Eichmann in 1942

Adolf Eichmann

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Eichmann in 1942
Adolf Eichmann's Lebenslauf (résumé) attached to his application for promotion from SS-Hauptscharführer to SS-Untersturmführer in 1937
Map showing the location of the General Government, 1941–1945
Memorial at a bus stop near the site of Eichmann's office, Referat IV B4 (Office of Jewish Affairs) at Kurfürstenstraße 115/116, Berlin, now occupied by a hotel
Hungarian woman and children arrive at Auschwitz-Birkenau, May or June 1944 (photo from the Auschwitz Album)
Red Cross passport for "Ricardo Klement", used by Eichmann to enter Argentina in 1950
The teleprinter that was used to send messages regarding the capture of Eichmann to Israel's diplomatic missions around the world
Eichmann on trial in 1961
Eichmann's trial judges Benjamin Halevy, Moshe Landau, and Yitzhak Raveh
Eichmann in the yard of Ayalon Prison in Israel, 1961

Otto Adolf Eichmann (, ; 19 March 1906 – 1 June 1962) was a German-Austrian SS-Obersturmbannführer and one of the major organisers of the Holocaust – the so-called "Final Solution to the Jewish Question" in Nazi terminology.

Heydrich in 1940

Reinhard Heydrich

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High-ranking German SS and police official during the Nazi era and a principal architect of the Holocaust.

High-ranking German SS and police official during the Nazi era and a principal architect of the Holocaust.

Heydrich in 1940
Heydrich as a Reichsmarine cadet in 1922
Gestapo headquarters on Prinz-Albrecht-Strasse in Berlin, 1933
SS-Brigadeführer Heydrich, head of the Bavarian police and SD, in Munich, 1934
Heydrich and other SS officers with their wives in 1937
Arthur Seyss-Inquart, Adolf Hitler, Heinrich Himmler, and Heydrich in Vienna, March 1938
Heydrich in 1940
Heydrich (left) with Karl Hermann Frank at Prague Castle in 1941
Rudolf Hess, Himmler, and Heydrich listening to Konrad Meyer at a Generalplan Ost exhibition, 20 March 1941.
The Mercedes-Benz 320 Convertible B in which Heydrich was mortally wounded
Bullet-scarred window to the crypt of Saints Cyril and Methodius Cathedral in Prague, where Kubiš and his compatriots were cornered

He served as president of the International Criminal Police Commission (ICPC, later known as Interpol) and chaired the January 1942 Wannsee Conference which formalised plans for the "Final Solution to the Jewish Question"—the deportation and genocide of all Jews in German-occupied Europe.

Concrete blocks marking the path of the former railway spur at Treblinka

Treblinka extermination camp

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Extermination camp, built and operated by Nazi Germany in occupied Poland during World War II.

Extermination camp, built and operated by Nazi Germany in occupied Poland during World War II.

Concrete blocks marking the path of the former railway spur at Treblinka
Treblinka in occupied Poland with Nazi extermination camps marked with black and white skulls. General Government territory: centre. District of Galicia: lower–right. Upper Silesia with Auschwitz: lower–left.
Official announcement of the founding of Treblinka I, the forced-labour camp
Memorial at Treblinka II, with 17,000 quarry stones symbolising gravestones. Inscriptions indicate places of Holocaust train departures, which carried at least 5,000 victims each, and selected ghettos from across Poland.
The 1944 aerial photo of Treblinka II after efforts at "clean-up", or disguising its role as a death camp. The new farmhouse and livestock building are visible to the lower left. The photograph is overlaid with outlines of already-dismantled structures (marked in red/orange). On the left are the SS and Hiwi (Trawniki) guards' living quarters (1), with barracks defined by the surrounding walkways. At the bottom (2) are the railway ramp and unloading platform (centre), marked with the red arrow. The "road to heaven" is marked with a dashed line. The undressing barracks for men and women, surrounded by a solid fence with no view of the outside, are marked with two rectangles. The location of the new, big gas chambers (3) is marked with a large X. The burial pits, dug with a crawler excavator, are marked in light yellow.
Page 7 from "Raczyński's Note" with Treblinka, Bełżec and Sobibór extermination camps identified- Part of the official note of the Polish government-in-exile to Anthony Eden, 10 December 1942.
Jews being loaded onto trains to Treblinka at the Warsaw Ghetto's Umschlagplatz, 1942
Standard Holocaust locomotive, DRB Class 52
The Höfle Telegram, a decoded telegram to Berlin from the deputy commander of Aktion Reinhard, Hermann Höfle, 15 January 1943, listing the number of arrivals in Aktion Reinhard extermination camps. In this document, the 1942 total for Treblinka of 71355 is considered to be a transcription error for 713,555, which would yield a total of 1,274,166, matching the total in the telegram.
Deportation of 10,000 Polish Jews to Treblinka during the liquidation of the ghetto in Siedlce beginning 23 August 1942
Stone memorial resembling one of the original cremation pits where the bodies were burned. It is a flat grave marker constructed of crushed and cemented black basalt symbolising burnt charcoal. The actual human ashes were mixed with sand and spread over an area of 2.2 ha.
Members of SS-Totenkopfverbände from Treblinka (from left): Paul Bredow, Willi Mentz, Max Möller and Josef Hirtreiter
Burning Treblinka II perimeter during the prisoner uprising, 2 August 1943. Barracks were set ablaze, including a tank of petrol which exploded setting fire to the surrounding structures. This clandestine photograph was taken by Franciszek Ząbecki.
Survivor Samuel Willenberg presenting his drawings of Treblinka II in the Museum of Struggle and Martyrdom at the site of the camp. On the right, the "Lazarett" killing station.
Irmfried Eberl, the first commandant of Treblinka II, removed because of his alleged incompetence in running the camp
Treblinka memorial in 2018. Plaque states never again in several languages.
The Holocaust "Güterwagen" wagon holding an average of 100 victims, occupied Poland
Daily deportations to Treblinka
One of the tiles found during the archaeological dig, providing the first physical evidence for the existence of the gas chambers at Treblinka

The camp operated between 23 July 1942 and 19 October 1943 as part of Operation Reinhard, the deadliest phase of the Final Solution.

Detailed map of Buna Werke, Monowitz, and nearby subcamps

Auschwitz concentration camp

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Complex of over 40 concentration and extermination camps operated by Nazi Germany in occupied Poland (in a portion annexed into Germany in 1939) during World War II and the Holocaust.

Complex of over 40 concentration and extermination camps operated by Nazi Germany in occupied Poland (in a portion annexed into Germany in 1939) during World War II and the Holocaust.

Detailed map of Buna Werke, Monowitz, and nearby subcamps
Heinrich Himmler (second left) visits the IG Farben plant in Auschwitz III, July 1942.
Auschwitz I, 2009
Auschwitz clothing
Freight car inside Auschwitz II-Birkenau, near the gatehouse, used to transport deportees, 2014
Latrine in the men's quarantine camp, sector BIIa, Auschwitz II, 2003
Block 10, Auschwitz I, where medical experiments were performed on women
Defendants during the Doctors' trial, Nuremberg, 1946–1947
Block 11 and (left) the "death wall", Auschwitz I, 2000
The "death wall" showing the death-camp flag, the blue-and-white stripes with a red triangle signifying the Auschwitz uniform of political prisoners.
Romani children, Mulfingen, Germany, 1943; the children were studied by Eva Justin and later sent to Auschwitz.
A reconstruction of crematorium I, Auschwitz I, 2014
Entrance to crematorium III, Auschwitz II, 2008
One of the Sonderkommando photographs: Women on their way to the gas chamber, Auschwitz II, August 1944
New arrivals, Auschwitz II-Birkenau, May/June 1944
Captain Witold Pilecki
The camp badge for non-Jewish Polish political prisoners
Telegram dated 8 April 1944 from KL Auschwitz reporting the escape of Rudolf Vrba and Alfréd Wetzler
Aerial view of Auschwitz II-Birkenau taken by the RAF on 23 August 1944
Sonderkommando member Zalmen Gradowski, pictured with his wife, Sonia, buried his notebooks near crematorium III. Sonia Gradowski was gassed on 8 December 1942.
Ruins of crematorium IV, Auschwitz II, blown up during the revolt
Gallows in Auschwitz I where Rudolf Höss was executed on 16 April 1947
Camp of Death pamphlet (1942) by Natalia Zarembina<ref>{{harvnb|Fleming|2014|p=194}}; {{harvnb|Zarembina|Harriman|1944}}.</ref>
Halina Krahelska report from Auschwitz Oświęcim, pamiętnik więźnia ("Auschwitz: Diary of a prisoner"), 1942.{{sfn|Krahelska|1985}}

The camps became a major site of the Nazis' final solution to the Jewish question.

General map of deportation routes and camps

Holocaust trains

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Holocaust trains were railway transports run by the Deutsche Reichsbahn national railway system under the control of Nazi Germany and its allies, for the purpose of forcible deportation of the Jews, as well as other victims of the Holocaust, to the Nazi concentration, forced labour, and extermination camps.

Holocaust trains were railway transports run by the Deutsche Reichsbahn national railway system under the control of Nazi Germany and its allies, for the purpose of forcible deportation of the Jews, as well as other victims of the Holocaust, to the Nazi concentration, forced labour, and extermination camps.

General map of deportation routes and camps
Jews are deported from Würzburg, 25 April 1942. Deportation occurred in public and was witnessed by many Germans.
The "Gate of Death" at Auschwitz-Birkenau was built in 1943.
German-made DRB Class 52 steam locomotive used by the Deutsche Reichsbahn during World War II. Members of this class were used in the Holocaust.
Wagon on Siding - Oswiecim - Poland.
Jews from Carpatho-Ruthenia are "selected" on the Judenrampe, May–June 1944. To be sent to the right meant assignment to slave labour; to the left, the gas chambers.
Interior of a boxcar used to transport Jews and other Holocaust victims, the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington, D.C.
Train tickets of Greek Jews deported to Auschwitz-Birkenau for extermination displayed at the Auschwitz museum.
A cattle wagon used for the transport of Belgian Jews to camps in Eastern Europe. The openings were covered in barbed wire. This example is preserved at Fort Breendonk.
Original wagon used for transport of Macedonian Jews at the Holocaust Memorial Center for the Jews of Macedonia
Deportation of Jews from Ioannina in March 1944
Holocaust train from Hungary, exhibition
Jews are transferred to a narrow-gauge railway on the way to Kulmhof extermination camp
Corpses of Jews from the Warsaw Ghetto who died inside sealed boxcars before reaching Treblinka extermination camp, August 1942
Pulling dead Jews from the "death train" of Iași pogrom, July 1941.
Entrance to the Gotthard Tunnel
Memorial to the Murdered Jews of Europe, view from the south
Memorial to Holocaust trains at the Umschlagplatz of the Warsaw Ghetto

The speed at which people targeted in the "Final Solution" could be exterminated was dependent on two factors: the capacity of the death camps to gas the victims and quickly dispose of their bodies, as well as the capacity of the railways to transport the victims from Nazi ghettos to extermination camps.

The villa Am Großen Wannsee 56–58, where the Wannsee Conference was held, is now a memorial and museum.

Wannsee Conference

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Meeting of senior government officials of Nazi Germany and Schutzstaffel (SS) leaders, held in the Berlin suburb of Wannsee on 20 January 1942.

Meeting of senior government officials of Nazi Germany and Schutzstaffel (SS) leaders, held in the Berlin suburb of Wannsee on 20 January 1942.

The villa Am Großen Wannsee 56–58, where the Wannsee Conference was held, is now a memorial and museum.
1935 chart shows racial classifications under the Nuremberg Laws: German, Mischlinge, and Jew.
Letter from Heydrich to Martin Luther, Undersecretary at the Foreign Office, notifying him that the conference would be delayed.
The conference room at the Wannsee Conference House, 2003
Facsimiles of the minutes of the Wannsee Conference and Eichmann's list, presented under glass at the Wannsee Conference House Memorial
Eichmann's list
View of the Großer Wannsee lake from the villa at 56–58 Am Grossen Wannsee, where the conference was held
Reinhard Heydrich

The purpose of the conference, called by the director of the Reich Security Main Office SS-Obergruppenführer Reinhard Heydrich, was to ensure the co-operation of administrative leaders of various government departments in the implementation of the Final Solution to the Jewish question, whereby most of the Jews of German-occupied Europe would be deported to occupied Poland and murdered.

Schutzstaffel

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Major paramilitary organization under Adolf Hitler and the Nazi Party in Nazi Germany, and later throughout German-occupied Europe during World War II.

Major paramilitary organization under Adolf Hitler and the Nazi Party in Nazi Germany, and later throughout German-occupied Europe during World War II.

Nazi Party supporters and stormtroopers in Munich during the Beer Hall Putsch, 1923
Heinrich Himmler (with glasses, to the left of Adolf Hitler) was an early supporter of the Nazi Party.
The crypt at Wewelsburg was repurposed by Himmler as a place to memorialize dead SS members. Artwork commemorating the Holocaust hangs on the walls.
Reinhard Heydrich (right) was Himmler's protégé and a leading SS figure until his assassination in 1942.
Troop inspection in Berlin of Leibstandarte Adolf Hitler, 1938
Crematorium at Dachau concentration camp, May 1945 (photo taken after liberation)
Polish Jews arrested by the Sicherheitsdienst (SD) and police, September 1939
Einsatzgruppe shoot civilians in Kórnik, Poland (1939)
Himmler inspecting Sturmgeschütz III of the 1st SS Panzer Division Leibstandarte SS Adolf Hitler in Metz, France, September 1940
Einsatzgruppen murder Jews in Ivanhorod, Ukraine, 1942
Jews from Carpathian Ruthenia arriving at Auschwitz concentration camp, 1944
Extermination through labor. At Mauthausen-Gusen concentration camp, inmates were forced to carry heavy granite blocks out of the quarry on the "Stairs of Death".
Indian Legion troops of the Waffen-SS guard the Atlantic Wall in Bordeaux, 21 March 1944
German infantry travel on foot in the Ardennes, December 1944
American POWs murdered by SS forces led by Joachim Peiper in the Malmedy massacre during the Battle of the Bulge (December 1944)
SS murders in Zboriv, 1941. A teenage boy is brought to view his dead family before being shot himself.
Hungarian Jews on the Judenrampe (Jewish ramp) after disembarking from the transport trains. Photo from the Auschwitz Album (May 1944)
Grand Mufti of Jerusalem Haj Amin al-Husseini greeting Bosniak SS volunteers before their departure to the Eastern Front, 1943
Ernst Kaltenbrunner, Heinrich Himmler, August Eigruber, and other SS officials visit Mauthausen concentration camp, 1941
Remembrance day of the Latvian legionnaires, 16 March 2008
Ernst Kaltenbrunner after execution by hanging on 16 October 1946
Red Cross passport under the name of "Ricardo Klement" that Adolf Eichmann used to enter Argentina in 1950

Chosen to implement the Final Solution ordered by Hitler, the SS were the main group responsible for the institutional murder and democide of more than 20 million people during the Holocaust, including approximately 5.2 million to 6 million Jews and 10.5 million Slavs.

Einsatzgruppen

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Einsatzgruppen (, ; also 'task forces') were Schutzstaffel (SS) paramilitary death squads of Nazi Germany that were responsible for mass murder, primarily by shooting, during World War II (1939–1945) in German-occupied Europe.

Einsatzgruppen (, ; also 'task forces') were Schutzstaffel (SS) paramilitary death squads of Nazi Germany that were responsible for mass murder, primarily by shooting, during World War II (1939–1945) in German-occupied Europe.

Execution of Poles in Kórnik, 20 October 1939
Polish women led to mass execution in a forest near Palmiry
Naked Jewish women from the Mizocz ghetto wait in a line before their execution by the Order Police with the assistance of Ukrainian auxiliaries.
Members of the Order Police execute those who survived the initial shooting
Jews forced to dig their own graves in Zboriv, Ukraine, 5 July 1941
A teenage boy stands beside his murdered family shortly before his own murder. Zboriv, Ukraine, 5 July 1941
Massacre of Jews in Lietūkis garage on 27 June 1941 during the Kaunas pogrom
Pit where bodies were burned after the Ponary massacre
The Ivanhorod Einsatzgruppen photograph: the murdering of Jews in Ivanhorod, Ukraine, 1942. A woman is attempting to protect a child with her own body just before they are fired upon with rifles at close range.
A member of Einsatzgruppe D is about to shoot a man sitting by a mass grave in Winniza, Ukraine in 1942. Present in the background are members of the German Army, the German Labor Service, and former Hitler Youth. The back of the photograph is inscribed "The last Jew in Vinnitsa"
Magirus-Deutz van found near Chełmno extermination camp is the same type as those used as gas vans.
Page 6 of the Jäger Report shows the number of people murdered by Einsatzkommando III alone in the five-month period covered by the report as 137,346.
Otto Ohlendorf, 1943

The Einsatzgruppen had an integral role in the implementation of the so-called "Final Solution to the Jewish question" (Die Endlösung der Judenfrage) in territories conquered by Nazi Germany, and were involved in the murder of much of the intelligentsia and cultural elite of Poland, including members of the Catholic priesthood.