The Wannsee Conference and the “Final Solution”

The Wannsee Conference was a meeting of senior government officials of Nazi Germany and SS leaders, held in the Berlin suburb of Wannsee on January 20, 1942.

The purpose of the conference, called by director of the Reich Main Security Office SS-Obergruppenführer Reinhard Heydrich, was to ensure the cooperation 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 Poland and murdered.

Conference attendees included representatives from several government ministries, including state secretaries from the Foreign Office, the justice, interior, and state ministries, and representatives from the Schutzstaffel (SS).

In the course of the meeting, Heydrich outlined how European Jews would be rounded up from west to east and sent to extermination camps in the General Government (the occupied part of Poland), where they would be killed.

This policy of deliberate and systematic genocide across German-occupied Europe culminated in the Holocaust which saw the killing of 90 percent of Polish Jewry, and two-thirds of the Jewish population of Europe. Six million Jewish men, women, and children were killed during the so-called purge.

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