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View all events 1942–1945

January 20, 1942

Wannsee Conference

Reinhard Heydrich, chief of the Reich Security Main Office (RSHA), convenes the Wannsee Conference in a villa outside Berlin. At this conference, he presents plans to coordinate a European-wide “Final Solution of the Jewish Question” to key officials from the German State and the Nazi Party.

The "Final Solution" was the code name for the systematic, deliberate, physical annihilation of the European Jews. At some still undetermined time in 1941, Hitler authorized this European-wide scheme for mass murder. Heydrich convened the Wannsee Conference

  • to inform and secure support from government ministries and other interested agencies relevant to the implementation of the “Final Solution,” and
  • to disclose to the participants that Hitler himself had tasked Heydrich and the RSHA with coordinating the operation.

The attendees did not deliberate whether such a plan should be undertaken, but instead discussed the implementation of a policy decision that had already been made at the highest level of the Nazi regime.

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