30 copies, 16th
Minutes of discussion.
The following persons took part in the discussion about the final
solution of the Jewish question which took place in Berlin, am
Grossen Wannsee No. 56/58 on 20 January 1942.
Meyer (1891 - 1945) State
Secretary (Staatssekretär) Reich Ministry for the
Occupied Eastern Territories
Neumann (1892 - 1948) State Secretary (Staatssekretär)
Office of the Plenipotentiary for the Four Year Plan
Bühler (1904 - 1948) State Secretary (Staatssekretär)
Government of the Governor General in Cracow
Gerhard Klopfer (1905 - 1987) Nazi Party Chancellery
Permanent Secretary (Ministerialdirektor)
Eichmann (1906 - 1962) Reich Security Main Office
Director of Section IV B 4
Lange (1910 - 1945) Commander of the Security Police
and Security Service (KdS)
Luther (1895 - 1945) Undersecretary of State (Unterstaatssekretär)
German Foreign Office
- Dr. Georg Leibbrandt
(1899 - 1982) Reich Ministry for the Occupied Eastern
Territories Permanent Secretary (Ministerialdirektor)
- Dr. Wilhelm Stuckart
(1902 - 1953) State Secretary (Staatssekretär) Reich
Ministry of the Interior
- Dr. Roland Freisler
(1893 - 1945) State Secretary (Staatssekretär) Reich
Ministry of Justice
- Reinhard Heydrich (1904
- 1942) Head of the Security Police and Security
Service (SD) Deputy Reich Protector of Bohemia and
- Wilhelm Kritzinger (1890
- 1947) Reich Chancellery
Permanent Secretary (Ministerialdirektor)
- Otto Hofmann (1896 -
1982) Head of the SS Race- and Settlement Main Office
- Dr. Eberhard Schöngarth
(1903 - 1946) Commander in Chief of Security Police
and Security Service (BdS)
- Heinrich Müller (1900 -
?) Reich Security Main Office Head of Department (Amt)
At the beginning of the discussion Chief of the Security Police
and of the SD, SS-Obergruppenführer Heydrich, reported that the
Reich Marshal had appointed him delegate for the preparations for
the final solution of the Jewish question in Europe and pointed
out that this discussion had been called for the purpose of
clarifying fundamental questions. The wish of the Reich Marshal to
have a draft sent to him concerning organizational, factual and
material interests in relation to the final solution of the Jewish
question in Europe makes necessary an initial common action of all
central offices immediately concerned with these questions in
order to bring their general activities into line. The Reichsführer-SS
and the Chief of the German Police (Chief of the Security Police
and the SD) was entrusted with the official central handling of
the final solution of the Jewish question without regard to
geographic borders. The Chief of the Security Police and the SD
then gave a short report of the struggle which has been carried on
thus far against this enemy, the essential points being the
a) the expulsion of the Jews from every sphere of life of the
b) the expulsion of the Jews from the living space of the German
In carrying out these efforts, an increased and planned
acceleration of the emigration of the Jews from Reich territory
was started, as the only possible present solution.
By order of the Reich Marshal, a Reich Central Office for Jewish
Emigration was set up in January 1939 and the Chief of the
Security Police and SD was entrusted with the management. Its most
important tasks were
a) to make all necessary arrangements for the preparation for an
increased emigration of the Jews,
b) to direct the flow of emigration,
c) to speed the procedure of emigration in each individual case.
The aim of all this was to cleanse German living space of Jews in
a legal manner.
All the offices realized the drawbacks of such enforced
accelerated emigration. For the time being they had, however,
tolerated it on account of the lack of other possible solutions of
The work concerned with emigration was, later on, not only a
German problem, but also a problem with which the authorities of
the countries to which the flow of emigrants was being directed
would have to deal. Financial difficulties, such as the demand by
various foreign governments for increasing sums of money to be
presented at the time of the landing, the lack of shipping space,
increasing restriction of entry permits, or the cancelling of
such, increased extraordinarily the difficulties of emigration. In
spite of these difficulties, 537,000 Jews were sent out of the
country between the takeover of power and the deadline of 31
October 1941. Of these
approximately 360,000 were in Germany proper on 30 January 1933
approximately 147,000 were in Austria (Ostmark) on 15 March 1939
approximately 30,000 were in the Protectorate of Bohemia and
Moravia on 15 March 1939.
The Jews themselves, or their Jewish political organizations,
financed the emigration. In order to avoid impoverished Jews'
remaining behind, the principle was followed that wealthy Jews
have to finance the emigration of poor Jews; this was arranged by
imposing a suitable tax, i.e., an emigration tax, which was used
for financial arrangements in connection with the emigration of
poor Jews and was imposed according to income.
Apart from the necessary Reichsmark exchange, foreign currency had
to presented at the time of landing. In order to save foreign
exchange held by Germany, the foreign Jewish financial
organizations were - with the help of Jewish organizations in
Germany - made responsible for arranging an adequate amount of
foreign currency. Up to 30 October 1941, these foreign Jews
donated a total of around 9,500,000 dollars.
In the meantime the Reichsführer-SS and Chief of the German
Police had prohibited emigration of Jews due to the dangers of an
emigration in wartime and due to the possibilities of the East.
Another possible solution of the problem has now taken the place
of emigration, i.e. the evacuation of the Jews to the East,
provided that the Führer gives the appropriate approval in
These actions are, however, only to be considered provisional, but
practical experience is already being collected which is of the
greatest importance in relation to the future final solution of
the Jewish question.
Approximately 11 million Jews will be involved in the final
solution of the European Jewish question, distributed as follows
among the individual countries:
A. Germany proper 131,800
Eastern territories 420,000
General Government 2,284,000
Protectorate Bohemia and Moravia 74,200
Estonia - free of Jews -
France / occupied territory 165,000
unoccupied territory 700,000
B. Bulgaria 48,000
Italy including Sardinia 58,000
Rumania including Bessarabia 342,000
Turkey (European portion) 55,500
excluding Bialystok 446,484
Total over 11,000,000
The number of Jews given here for foreign countries includes,
however, only those Jews who still adhere to the Jewish faith,
since some countries still do not have a definition of the term
"Jew" according to racial principles.
The handling of the problem in the individual countries will meet
with difficulties due to the attitude and outlook of the people
there, especially in Hungary and Rumania. Thus, for example, even
today the Jew can buy documents in Rumania that will officially
prove his foreign citizenship.
The influence of the Jews in all walks of life in the USSR is well
known. Approximately five million Jews live in the European part
of the USSR, in the Asian part scarcely 1/4 million.
The breakdown of Jews residing in the European part of the USSR
according to trades was approximately as follows:
Agriculture 9.1 %
Urban workers 14.8 %
In trade 20.0 %
Employed by the state 23.4 %
In private occupations such as
medical profession, press, theater, etc. 32. 7%
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
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.)
In the course of the practical execution of the final solution,
Europe will be combed through from west to east. Germany proper,
including the Protectorate of Bohemia and Moravia, will have to be
handled first due to the housing problem and additional social and
The evacuated Jews will first be sent, group by group, to
so-called transit ghettos, from which they will be transported to
SS-Obergruppenführer Heydrich went on to say that an important
prerequisite for the evacuation as such is the exact definition of
the persons involved.
It is not intended to evacuate Jews over 65 years old, but to send
them to an old-age ghetto - Theresienstadt is being considered for
In addition to these age groups - of the approximately 280,000
Jews in Germany proper and Austria on 31 October 1941,
approximately 30% are over 65 years old - severely wounded
veterans and Jews with war decorations (Iron Cross I) will be
accepted in the old-age ghettos. With this expedient solution, in
one fell swoop many interventions will be prevented.
The beginning of the individual larger evacuation actions will
largely depend on military developments. Regarding the handling of
the final solution in those European countries occupied and
influenced by us, it was proposed that the appropriate expert of
the Foreign Office discuss the matter with the responsible
official of the Security Police and SD.
In Slovakia and Croatia the matter is no longer so difficult,
since the most substantial problems in this respect have already
been brought near a solution. In Rumania the government has in the
meantime also appointed a commissioner for Jewish affairs. In
order to settle the question in Hungary, it will soon be necessary
to force an adviser for Jewish questions onto the Hungarian
With regard to taking up preparations for dealing with the problem
in Italy, SS-Obergruppenführer Heydrich considers it opportune to
contact the chief of police with a view to these problems.
In occupied and unoccupied France, the registration of Jews for
evacuation will in all probability proceed without great
Under Secretary of State Luther calls attention in this matter to
the fact that in some countries, such as the Scandinavian states,
difficulties will arise if this problem is dealt with thoroughly
and that it will therefore be advisable to defer actions in these
countries. Besides, in view of the small numbers of Jews affected,
this deferral will not cause any substantial limitation.
The Foreign Office sees no great difficulties for southeast and
SS-Gruppenführer Hofmann plans to send an expert to Hungary from
the Race and Settlement Main Office for general orientation at the
time when the Chief of the Security Police and SD takes up the
matter there. It was decided to assign this expert from the Race
and Settlement Main Office, who will not work actively, as an
assistant to the police attaché.
In the course of the final solution plans, the Nuremberg Laws
should provide a certain foundation, in which a prerequisite for
the absolute solution of the problem is also the solution to the
problem of mixed marriages and persons of mixed blood.
The Chief of the Security Police and the SD discusses the
following points, at first theoretically, in regard to a letter
from the chief of the Reich chancellery:
1) Treatment of Persons of Mixed Blood of the First Degree
Persons of mixed blood of the first degree will, as regards the
final solution of the Jewish question, be treated as Jews.
From this treatment the following exceptions will be made:
a) Persons of mixed blood of the first degree married to persons
of German blood if their marriage has resulted in children
(persons of mixed blood of the second degree). These persons of
mixed blood of the second degree are to be treated essentially as
b) Persons of mixed blood of the first degree, for whom the
highest offices of the Party and State have already issued
exemption permits in any sphere of life. Each individual case must
be examined, and it is not ruled out that the decision may be made
to the detriment of the person of mixed blood.
The prerequisite for any exemption must always be the personal
merit of the person of mixed blood. (Not the merit of the parent
or spouse of German blood.)
Persons of mixed blood of the first degree who are exempted from
evacuation will be sterilized in order to prevent any offspring
and to eliminate the problem of persons of mixed blood once and
for all. Such sterilization will be voluntary. But it is required
to remain in the Reich. The sterilized "person of mixed
blood" is thereafter free of all restrictions to which he was
2) Treatment of Persons of Mixed Blood of the Second Degree
Persons of mixed blood of the second degree will be treated
fundamentally as persons of German blood, with the exception of
the following cases, in which the persons of mixed blood of the
second degree will be considered as Jews:
a) The person of mixed blood of the second degree was born of a
marriage in which both parents are persons of mixed blood.
b) The person of mixed blood of the second degree has a racially
especially undesirable appearance that marks him outwardly as a
c) The person of mixed blood of the second degree has a
particularly bad police and political record that shows that he
feels and behaves like a Jew.
Also in these cases exemptions should not be made if the person of
mixed blood of the second degree has married a person of German
3) Marriages between Full Jews and Persons of German Blood.
Here it must be decided from case to case whether the Jewish
partner will be evacuated or whether, with regard to the effects
of such a step on the German relatives, [this mixed marriage]
should be sent to an old-age ghetto.
4) Marriages between Persons of Mixed Blood of the First Degree
and Persons of German Blood.
a) Without Children.
If no children have resulted from the marriage, the person of
mixed blood of the first degree will be evacuated or sent to an
old-age ghetto (same treatment as in the case of marriages between
full Jews and persons of German blood, point 3.)
b) With Children.
If children have resulted from the marriage (persons of mixed
blood of the second degree), they will, if they are to be treated
as Jews, be evacuated or sent to a ghetto along with the parent of
mixed blood of the first degree. If these children are to be
treated as Germans (regular cases), they are exempted from
evacuation as is therefore the parent of mixed blood of the first
5) Marriages between Persons of Mixed Blood of the First Degree
and Persons of Mixed Blood of the First Degree or Jews.
In these marriages (including the children) all members of the
family will be treated as Jews and therefore be evacuated or sent
to an old-age ghetto.
6) Marriages between Persons of Mixed Blood of the First Degree
and Persons of Mixed Blood of the Second Degree.
In these marriages both partners will be evacuated or sent to an
old-age ghetto without consideration of whether the marriage has
produced children, since possible children will as a rule have
stronger Jewish blood than the Jewish person of mixed blood of the
SS-Gruppenführer Hofmann advocates the opinion that sterilization
will have to be widely used, since the person of mixed blood who
is given the choice whether he will be evacuated or sterilized
would rather undergo sterilization.
State Secretary Dr. Stuckart maintains that carrying out in
practice of the just mentioned possibilities for solving the
problem of mixed marriages and persons of mixed blood will create
endless administrative work. In the second place, as the
biological facts cannot be disregarded in any case, State
Secretary Dr. Stuckart proposed proceeding to forced
Furthermore, to simplify the problem of mixed marriages
possibilities must be considered with the goal of the legislator
saying something like: "These marriages have been
With regard to the issue of the effect of the evacuation of Jews
on the economy, State Secretary Neumann stated that Jews who are
working in industries vital to the war effort, provided that no
replacements are available, cannot be evacuated.
SS-Obergruppenführer Heydrich indicated that these Jews would not
be evacuated according to the rules he had approved for carrying
out the evacuations then underway.
State Secretary Dr. Bühler 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
State Secretary Dr. Bühler 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. Bühler 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.
The meeting was closed with the request of the Chief of the
Security Police and the SD to the participants that they afford
him appropriate support during the carrying out of the tasks
involved in the solution.
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