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Subject: The Myth of the Extermination of the Jews


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The Myth of the Extermination of the Jews: Part I

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1. 'Not a document remains, or perhaps ever existed.'


What strikes one most in the voluminous literature dedicated to the

"extermination" of the Jews is the disparity existing between so grave an accusation

and the fragility of the evidence furnished for its support.


The elaboration and realization of so gigantic an "extermination plan" would

have required a very complex organization, technically, economically, and

administratively, as noted by Enzo Collotti:


It is easy to understand that so horrifying a tragedy could not physically be

carried out by only a few hundred, or even by a few thousand, that it could

not be accomplished without a very extensive organization, benefiting by the

help and collaboration of the most diverse sectors of national life, practically

all branches of government, in other words, without the collusion of millions

of people who knew, who saw, who accepted, or who, in any case, even if they

did not agree, kept silent and, most often, worked without reacting in making

their contribution to the machinery of the persecution and the extermination.



Gerald Reitlinger underscores that:


Hitler Germany was a police state of the highest degree, that has left

hundreds of tons of documents and thousands of precious pieces of evidence.

So that, finally,


... there is, in truth, nothing that this adversary has not confided to

papers. [2]

At the end of the Second World War the Allies seized


... all the secret archives of the German government, including the documents

of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the Army and the Navy, of the National

Socialist Party, and of the Secret State Police [Gestapo] of Heinrich Himmler.



Those archives were sided by the victorious powers with a view toward the

Nuremberg trials:


Hundreds of thousands of seized German documents were assembled in all haste

at Nuremberg in order to be used as evidence against the principal Nazi war

criminals. [4]

The Americans alone examined 1,100 tons of documents [5] from which they

selected 2,500 documents. [6]


One would expect, then, to be submerged by a flood of documents establishing

the reality of the "extermination" of the Jews, but matters presented

themselves in a very different manner, as is recognized by Léon Poliakov:


The archives torn from the bowels of the Third Reich, the depositions and

accounts of its chiefs permit us to reconstruct in their least detail the birth

and the development of its plans for aggression, its military campaigns, and

the whole range of processes by which the Nazis intended to reshape the world to

their pattern. Only the campaign to exterminate the Jews, as concerns its

completion, as well as in many other essential aspects, remains steeped in fog.

Psychological inferences and considerations, third- or fourth-hand accounts,

allow us to reconstruct the developments with a considerable verisimilitude.

Certain details, nevertheless, will remain unknown forever. As concerns the

concept proper of the plan for total extermination, the three or four principal

actors are dead. No document remains, and has perhaps never existed. That is the

secret of the masters of the Third Reich. As boastful and cynical as they were

on other occasions, they covered up their major crimes. [7]


Since the first version of Léon Poliakov's work [8] the situation has not


Despite the great harvest of Nazi documents captured by the Allies at the end

of the war, it is precisely the documents concerning the process of the

formation of the idea of the final solution of the "Jewish question" that are

missing, to the point that up until the present it is difficult to say how, when,

and exactly by whom the order to exterminate the Jews was given. [9]


The "plan for total extermination" still remains a mystery, even from the

technical, economic, and administrative viewpoint:


The technical genius of the Germans allowed them to mount, within a few

months, an efficient, rationalized death industry. Like every industry it comprised

research and development, and administrative services, accounting, and

records. Many aspects of these activities remain unknown to us, and remain hidden by

a secret incomparably more opaque than that of the German war industries. The

German rocket and torpedo technicians, the economic planners of the Reich

have survived, and have given up their plans and their processes to the victors;

almost all the technicians of death have disappeared, after having destroyed

their records.


Extermination camps had sprung up at first with rudimentarv installations,

which were then perfected; who perfected them? A veritable mastery of crowd

psychology was manifested, to the end of assuring the perfect docility of the men

intended for death who were the promoters? There are so many questions to

which, at the moment, [10] we can find only fragmentary, and sometimes

hypothetical, replies. [11]

Fragmentary information allows us to have an imperfect notion of the part

played by the technicians of euthanasia in the extermination of the Polish Jews.

But many points still remain in darkness; in general the history of the Polish

camps is very imperfectly known [12]


But a systematic "extermination plan" evidently presupposes a specific order

that, by force of circumstance, can be imputed only to the Führer. Now one

must set down that this phantom-like Führerbefehl (command of the Führer) is

submerged in the most impenetrable blackness.


Walter Laqueur acknowledges:


To the present day a written order by Hitler regarding the destruction of the

European Jewish community has not been found, and, in all probability, this

order was never given. [13]


Colin Cross admits:


There does not exist then, anything like a written order signed by him for

the extermination of the Jews in Europe. [14]


Christian Zentner acknowledges:


One cannot fix the exact moment when Hitler gave the order ... without doubt

never drawn up in writing ... to exterminate the Jews. [15]


Saul Friedländer admits:


It is not known precisely when the idea of the physical extermination of the

Jews imposed itself on Hitler's spirit. [16]


Joachim Fest acknowledged:


To the present day the question of knowing when Hitler made the decision for

the Final Solution of the Jewish question is in abeyance, and for the simple

reason that not a single document on the subject exists. [17]


The total absence of evidence permits the official historians to give free

rein to the most diverse speculations.


After having insinuated that "it is Adolf Hider in person who undoubtedly

signed the death sentence of the Jews of Europe," [18] Léon Poliakov continues:


All that we can affirm with certainty is that the genocidal decision was made

by Hitler at a time that may be set between the end of the campaign in the

west, in June 1940, and the aggression against Russia, a year later. Contrary to

the account of Dr. Kersten, it seems to us more probable to set it some

months later [the autumn of 1940], that is to say, at the beginning of 1941.


Here we get into the game of psychological deductions, to which we are

obliged to appeal in order to provide a response to the second and throbbing

question: what could have been the factors that weighed in the Hitlerian resolution?


Poliakov affirms, consequently, "with certainty" that the "extermination"

decision was made in the space of a year (June 1940 -- June 1941)!


That he brings into play here largely "the game of psychological deductions

is demonstrated by the fact that in another work, he moves forward

imperturbably by a year and a half the fateful decision of the Führer (September 1939

instead of June 1941).


The program of the National Socialist Party called for the elimination of

Jews from the German community; between 1933 and 1939 they were methodically

bullied, plundered, forced to emigrate; the decision to kill them to the last man

also dated from the beginning of the war. [20]


Arthur Eisenbach declares on this subject:


It is today verified that the plans for the massive extermination of the

Jewish population of Europe had been prepared by the Nazi government before the

outbreak of the Second World war, and were thereupon carried out gradually,

according to the European political and military situations. [21]


According to Helmut Krausnick, Hitler gave the secret order to exterminate

the Jews "at the latest in March l941." [22]


Item 79 of the judgment in the Eichmann trial in Jerusalem, on the contrary,

maintains that the extermination order "was given by Hitler himself shortly

before the invasion of Russia," [23] while the judgment of the Nuremberg trial



The plan for the extermination of the Jews was formulated immediately after

the aggression against the Soviet Union. [24]


In a report drawn up in Bratislava November 18, 1944, Dieter Wisliceny,

former Hauptsturmführer and Eichmann's representative in Slovakia, affirmed that to

his knowledge "the decision of Hitler that ordered the biological

extermination of European Judaism [sic]" must be dated back to "after the beginning of

the war with the United States," [25] that is, it would have been after 11

December 1941.


This is why all that the official historians can affirm "with certainty," to

use Poliakov's expression, is that the supposed "decision of the Führer and

the alleged "extermination order" were given over a time lapse of nearly two



Just as fanciful is the sham order of Himmler that would have put an end to

the extermination of the Jews.


Olga Wormser-Migot asserts on the subject:


No more than there exists a written order in clear text for extermination by

gas at Auschwitz does there exist a written order to stop it in November 1944.



She adds more precisely:


Last remark on the gas chambers: Neither at the Nuremberg trial, nor in the

course of the different [occupation] zone trials, nor at the trial of Hoss at

Cracow, of Eichmann in Israel, nor at the trials of the camp commanders, nor

from November 1964 to August 1965 at the Frankfurt trial [Auschwitz "second

echelon" accused] was there ever produced the famous order signed by Himmler 22

November 1944 ending the extermination of the Jews by gas and putting a finish

to the Final Solution. [27]


Kurt Becher, former SS Standartenführer, affirmed that Himmler gave this

order "between mid-September and mid-October 1944," [28] which contradicts the

testimony of Reszö Kastner, according to whom Kurt Becher had told him that

Himmler on 25 [29] or on 26 [30] November 1944 had ordered the crematories and the

"gas chambers" to be destroyed and to suspend the "extermination" of the Jews.


Strangely, this phantom order that even the Auschwitz Kalendarium puts at 26

November 1944 [31] is deemed to have gotten into the Auschwitz crematories on

17 November, or nine days before the order itself was delivered! [32]


According to other testimony reported in Het doedenboek van Auschwitz, the

order came from Berlin even sooner, on 2 November 1944. [33]


At-Nuremberg Wisliceny declared that Himmler's counterorder was sent in

October 1944. [34]


In conclusion there exists no document establishing the reality of the "plan

to exterminate" the Jews, so that "it is difficult to say how, when, and

exactly by whom the order to exterminate the Jews was given."


Such is the most recent conclusion of Exterminationist historiography.

From 29 June to 2 July 1982, the School of Higher Studies in Social Sciences

and the Sorbonne organized, in Paris, an important international conference on

the theme: "Nazi Germany and the Extermination of the Jews."


In the introductory report, titled "The historiographical debate on Nazi

anti-Semitism and the extermination of the Jews," Saul Friedländer adduced in

evidence the presence of two fundamental tendencies of the most recent

historiography in regard to the genesis and development of the Extermination" of the

Jews. [35]


The first is the thesis of the continuity "that established right from the

start a cause-and-effect relationship between Nazi ideology since its origins,

in particular, that of Hitler and the annihilation of the Jews." [36] The other

is the idea of discontinuity that implies "a certain anarchy at the level of

the decision-making centers, that restores to certain responsible subalterns

of the Nazi hierarchy their importance and eliminates, in part, the idea of one

supremely responsible man, Hitler, in that which concerns the Jewish policy."

[37] Not only are these two interpretations contradictory, but indeed both

are without foundation. [36]


Neither the thesis of inexorable continuity and of planning the total

extermination of the Jews before the attack on the USSR, nor that of discontinuity

and improvisation can be demonstrated in reality, in view of the present state

of the sources; such is the condusion reached by Krausnick and Wilhelm at the

end of their monumental study of the Einsatzgruppen. [39]


At the end of his report Saul Friedländer traces a "framework of the

acquisitions of [Exterminationist] historiography" in which, regarding the

extermination of the Jews, he admits:


The question of the date on which the total physical extermination of the

Jews was decided, as well as the elaboration of the plan for the "final solution"

remain unresolved. [40]


These "acquisitions" have been fully confirmed in the presentations of two

other historians.


Uwe Dietrich Adam in his account "Nazi measures regarding the Jews from the

start of the Second World War up to the German attack against the USSR,"



However, the precise date at which this "final solutions was ordained

constitutes a problem not yet resolved for German and for world history. [41]

And again:


Insofar as no one has yet discovered a written trace of this order [to

liquidate the Jews under German control] in the sources which have been exploited up

to the present, and insofar as that seems unlikely, it is incumbent on the

historian to date it as precisely as possible by appealing to interpretation.

Since the methods and the hypotheses on this subject are very numerous, we find

ourselves confronted with very diverse opinions. [42]


In his account "The decision concerning the final solutions" Christopher R.

Browning spoke of "essential divergences" among Exterminationist historians:


The decision concerning the final solution has been the object of a large

number of historical interpretations. The essential divergences seem to involve

two connected questions: on the one hand, the nature of the decision process

and, more particularly, the role of Hitler and his ideology; on the other hand,

the moment when the decision was made. As Martin Broszat rightly remarked, so

great a variety of interpretations warns us that every theory on the origin of

the final solution is in the domain of probability rather than of certitude.



Browning then presents a survey recapitulating these "essential divergences":


For Lucy Dawidowicz, the conception of the final solution preceded its

accomplishment by twenty years; for Martin Broszat, the idea emerged from praxis --

the sporadic murder of groups of Jews gave birth to the idea of killing the

Jews systematically.


Between these two polar extremes, one finds a large variety of

interpretations. Thus Eberhard Jäckel maintains that the idea of killing the Jews formed in

Hitler's mind around 1924. Stressing Hitler's threatening declarations at the

end of the thirties, Karl Dietrich Bracher supposes that the intention existed

from this period. Andreas Hillgruber and Klaus Hildebrand affirm the primacy

of ideological factors but propose no precise date. Others, not all

functionalists, place the turning point in 1941; however, several dates are proposed for

that year. Léon Poliakov judges that the beginning of 1941 is the most likely

date, and Robert Kempner and Helmut Krausnick maintain that Hitler made the

decision in the spring, in connection with the preparations for the invasion of

Russia. Raul Hilberg thinks that the decision was made during the summer,

when the massacres carried out in Russia fostered the belief that this solution

was possible for a victorious Germany throughout Europe. Uwe Dietrich Adam

states that it was made in autumn, at the time when the military offensive

faltered and a Territorial solution" for a massive expulsion to Russia proved

impossible. Finally Sebastian Haffner, who is certainly not a functionalist, defends

a still later date, at the beginning of December, when first presentiment of

defeat pushed Hitler to seek an irreversible victory over the Jews. [44]


At this point, Browning asks:


How to explain such a diversity of interpretations regarding the character

and the date.of the decision on the final solution?


This diversity is explained, according to Browning, by a subjective ground --

the different vantage points occupied by the "intentionalists" and the

"functionalists" -- and an objective ground which is in reality the real reason, "by

the lack of documentation." [45] Browning continues:


There are no written archives in which Hitler, Himmler, and Heydrich discuss

the subject of the final solution, and none of the three survived to testify

after the war. That is why the historian must himself reconstruct the decision

process at the top by extrapolating from events, documents, and external

testimony. Just like Plato's man in the cave, he only sees reflections and shadows,

not reality. This risky process of extrapolation and reconstruction leads

inevitably to a large variety of conclusions. [46]

Browning insists many times on the nearly total absence of documents

concerning the "extermination plan" for the Jews:


Nevertheless, in spite of everything known about the German invasion of

Russia, there is no specific documentation on the destiny reserved for the Russian

Jews. In order to obtain an answer to this question it is necessary to have

recourse to postwar testimony, to indirect proofs and to scattered references in

the later documents. [47]


If the decision to kill the Jews in Russia indeed was taken before the

invasion, on the other hand the circumstances and the exact moment of this decision

remain obscure. It is impossible to determine if the initiative came from

Hitler or from someone else, from Heydrich for example. Moreover, it is not known

whether Hitler had already made his decision in March, when he announced

clearly to the military that the Russian war would not be a conventional war, or if

the complaisance of the military pushed them in the end to widen the circle

of intended victims beyond the "Judeo-Bolshevik intelligentsia." Insufficient

documentation does not permit a definite response to these questions, allowing

only informed hypotheses. [48]


It is not known, and doubtless will never be known when and how Heydrich and

his immediate superior, Himmler, became aware of their new mission. [49]



There was no written order for the final solution, and we have not a single

reference to a verbal order, outside of that furnished by Himmler and Heydrich,

who stated they acted in accord with the Führer. [50]


To conclude, the "acquisitions" of Exterminationist historiography, up to the

present, are still: "Not a document remains, or perhaps ever existed."


2. The National Socialist Policy for Jewish Emigration

The alleged "extermination plan" for the Jews, aside from not being

corroborated by any document, is refuted decisively by National Socialist policy in the

matter of Jewish emigration, a policy which we can trace here only in its

essential lines.


In a letter to his friend Gemlich of 16 September 1919, considered to be "the

first written document of Hitler's political career" [1] he states on the

subject of the Jewish question:


Rational anti-Semitism must, however, lead to the struggle against the

privileges of the Jew that he alone possesses, in contrast to the other foreigners

who dwell among us (legislation relative to foreigners), and to their legal and

systematic suppression. But its ultimate goal must be, immutably and above

all else, the removal of the Jews. [2]


On 13 August 1920 in Munich Hitler gave a speech, "Why Are We Anti-Semites?,"

in which he repeated that a scientific knowledge of anti-Semitism must

translate into action ending in "the removal of the Jews from among our people." [3]


The solution of the Jewish question became the principal inspiration of the

National Socialist political program[4] and of the racial doctrine. Indeed, as

Poliakov notes:


... that there had to be exterminations is not apparent, furthermore, from

any of the National Socialist dogmas, or their principal writings. Mein Kampf,

where the word "Jew" appears on almost every page, is mute on the fate that

will befall them in the National Socialist state.


The official party programs declares that "a Jew cannot be a compatriot" nor,

consequently, a citizen, while the commentaries on the program call more

explicitly for "the expulsion of the Jews and undesirable foreigners." [5]


The removal of the Jews from the Reich was the focal point of Hitler's policy

toward the Jews from his accession to power. On 28 August 1933 the Reich

Economics Ministry and the Jewish Agency for Palestine agreed to what was called

the Haavara Abkommen, which was an accord (Abkommen) to facilitate the transfer

(Haavara) [6] of German Jews to Palestine. [7]


A note of the Foreign Affairs Ministry dated 19 March 1938 presaged the

breaking of the accord because, as may be read in point 3, it was not in the

interest of Germany to organize the emigration of rich Jews with their capital,

which [German] interest rested rather "on a mass emigration of Jews." [8]


The Nuremberg laws of 15 September 1935 [9] reaffirmed, by legislation,

Articles 4 and 5 of the party program formulated in Munich 24 February 1920. The

goal of the law on Reich citizenship, and of that for the defense of German

blood and honor, was to separate and isolate the Jewish foreign body from the

German organism in view of the approaching expulsion, as underscored by Reitlinger:


In 1938, shortly before the Munich "agreement," when the Fifth Supplementary

Decree had just finished ousting the Jews from the last of the free

professions, Wilhelm Stuckart, who not only drafted, but was in large part the promoter

of the Nuremberg laws, wrote that from here on the objective of the racial

laws was attained. A great number of decisions carried out thanks to the

Nuremberg laws "lose importance as one nears the final solution of the Jewish

problem." The phrase, as is evident, was not yet a mask for the concept of the

extermination of the race; on the contrary, it alluded clearly to the fact that the

laws did not intend to perpetrate the Jewish problem, but rather to eliminate

the reasons for it. The Jews had to leave the Reich, once and for all. [10]

In fact at the end of 1936 a service for Jewish questions was constituted as

part of the SS Security Service. "The essential goal of the new agency was the

study of all questions preparatory to a mass emigration of the Jews." [11]


In 1938 there was instituted in Vienna the Central Office for Jewish

Emigration (Zentralstelle für jüdische Auswanderung), the direction of which was

entrusted to Adolf Eichmann by Heydrich. [12]


On 12 November 1938, some days after what was called "Crystal Night" (the

night of broken glass) Göring convened the Council of Ministers to face the

difficult situation thereby created.


The attitude of the National Socialist chiefs appears unequivocally as one

goes through the stenographic record of the meeting. Heydrich declared that the

ejection of the Jews from German economic life did not resolve "the

fundamental problem of the end objective: the removal of the Jews from Germany." At

Vienna, by order of the Reichskommissar, a central office for Jewish emigration

had been set up, by whose intervention at least 50,000 Jews had left Austria,

while in the same period only 19,000 had left the Old Reich. That is why he

proposed to establish, in the Reich as well, a central service similar to that of

Vienna, and to establish an emigration operation to be completed in 8 to 10

years. Finance Minister von Krosigk approved Heydrich's proposal: he agreed to

make every effort toward the evacuation abroad of the Jews.


Interior Minister Frick repeated that the objective had to be to make the

largest possible number of Jews emigrate. [13]


In order to overcome the economic difficulties entailed by Jewish emigration,

in December 1938 Hitler approved the Schacht plan.



The proposition discussed by Schacht with Lord Bearsted, Lord Winterton, and

Mr. Rublee in London in December was, in large outline, the following: The

German government would freeze the assets of the Jews to use them as a fund to

guarantee an international loan amortizable in 20-25 years. Supposing that the

Jewish assets were valued at 1.5 billion marks, there would have been a

sufficient amount of foreign exchange to finance the emigration of Jews from the

greater Reich over 3-5 years in the normal course of events.


After Schacht's return to Germany, he met with Hitler in Berchtesgaden on 2

January 1939 concerning the reception his proposals had recieved in London.

Hitler seemed to be impressed, as three days later he named Schacht special

delegate for the augmentation of Jewish emigration. [14]


In January 1939 Schacht and [George] Rublee, director of an

"intergovernmental" committee for the emigration of German Jews, agreed in London to a basic

plan forseeing the emigration of about 400,000 Jews in the space of 3 years. [15]


Reitlinger attributes the failure of the Schacht plan to the reaction aroused

in Hitler by Schacht's refusal to increase the circulation of paper money,

following which, on 20 January 1939, Schacht was dismissed from the presidency

of the Reichsbank. However, in an interview given Rolf Vogel in January 1970,

Schacht declared that the plan was checkmated by the opposition of Chaim

Weizmann. [16]


Meanwhile, National Socialist policy in the matter of Jewish emigration

forged ahead.

On 24 January 1939 Göring promulgated a decree authorizing the establishment

of a Reich Central [Office] for Jewish Emigration.


Göring summarized at the outset National Socialist policy toward the Jews in

lapidary fashion:


The emigration of the Jews from Germany is to be furthered by all means [Die

Auswanderung der Juden aus Deutschland ist mit allen Mitteln zu fördern].


It is precisely to that end that he established the Reich Central Office for

Jewish Emigration mentioned above,which had as its assignment "the adoption of

all measures to prepare for an intensified emigration of the Jews," and

lastly to facilitate the bureaucratic procedures for the emigration of each



The direction of the Reich Central Office for Jewish Emigration Göring

entrusted to Heydrich, Chief of the Security Police. [17]


In the course of the first meeting of the Committee of the Central Office for

Jewish Emigration (11 February 1939), Heydrich discussed, above all, the

Schacht-Rublee plan:


This plan evidently is destined to become the basis of a massive and

organized Jewish emigration, but its implementation seems not yet to be ensured; it

would be an error to count solely on it. We must therefore continue to encourage

emigration by all the means at our disposal, leaving the plan aside. [18]


A Foreign Affairs Ministry report 25 January 1939 titled The Jewish Question

as a Factor of Foreign Policy in 1938 unequivocally confirmed the animating

principle of National Socialist Jewish policy:


The end objective of German policy in regard to the Jews is the emigration of

all Jews living in the territory of the Reich [Das letzte Ziel der deutschen

Judenpolitik ist die Auswanderung aller im Reichsgebiet lebenden Juden). [19]


This report upheld "a radical solution of the Jewish question by emigration"

such as has been pursued here for years [eine radikale Lösung der Judenfrage

durch die Auswanderung-wie sie hier schon seit Jahren verfolgt wird],"

according to the commentary of SS-Obersturmführer Ehrlinger of the Reich Central

Security Department. [20]


After the creation of the Protectorate of Bohemia-Moravia, Eichmann received

an order from Heydrich to establish "a central office for Jewish emigration"

in Prague. [21] In the pertinent document, signed by Reich Protector von

Neurath on 15 July 1939, one reads this:


In compliance with Reich regulations, to the end of obviating hindrances and

delays it is necessary to group together the treatment of all questions

relating to Jewish emigration. In view of the accelerated increase and regulation of

the emigration of Jews from Bohemia-Moravia, the "Central Office for Jewish

Emigration" of Prague is therefore created. [22]


Despite growing difficulties, National Socialist policy in the matter of

Jewish emigration was pursued even during the war.


The major difficulty was undoubtedly the poorly dissimulated anti-Semitism of

the democratic countries, which on the one hand made an outcry against the

persecution of the Jews by the National Socialists, and on the other, refused to

accept the persecuted Jews, as appeared clearly in the course of the Evian

conference that unfolded from 6 to 15 June 1938.


This conference was organized at the initiative of President Roosevelt to the

end of facilitating the emigration of the victims of National Socialist

persecution and, first of all, the Jews. But the good intentions of the American

president appeared suspect from the beginning. Michel Mazor writes:


At his Warm Springs press conference President Roosevelt limited the

possibilities of Evian by saying that no revision or increase of immigration quotas

into the United States was envisioned because of it. In his invitation to that

conference, addressed to thirty three countries, Roosevelt emphasized that it

was not expected of any country that it would consent to receive more

immigrants than the norm stipulated by its legislation then in force.


On such a basis, the Evian conference, from its inception, was doomed to

failure. In fact, its result was "that the free world abandoned the Jews of

Germany and of Austria to their pitiless fate." [23]


For her part, Rita Thalmann recalls:


Drawing a lesson from the conference, the Danziger Vorposten notes that "one

loves to pity the Jews as long as such pity heightens an evil intentioned

agitation against Germany, but that no state was disposed to fight the culture

damage to central Europe by taking some thousands of Jews.. The conference,"

concluded the newspaper, "therefore is a vindication of German policy toward the



At all events, the German leaders had the evidence that the thirty-two states

which took part in the Evian conference (the USSR and Czechoslovakia were not

represented; Italy had declined the invitation; Hungary, Romania, and Poland

had sent observers with the sole intent of asking that they be relieved of

their own Jews) had no intention of taking charge of the persecutees, or indeed

of concerning themselves seriously about their fate. [24]


Paradoxically, immediately after the Evian conference, beginning at the end

of 1938, one notes a diminution in emigration from the Reich, "because other

countries opposed themselves more and more to new immigrations of Jews." [25]

In March 1943 Goebbels could again remark sarcastically:


What will be the solution of the Jewish question, will a Jewish state be

created one day anywhere whatsoever? We'll know that later. But it is curious to

note that the countries whose public opinion is aroused in favor of the Jews

still refuse to receive them. They say these are the pioneers of civilization,

geniuses of philosophy and artistic creation, but when one wants them to accept

these geniuses, they close their frontiers: "No no, we don't want them!" This

is, it seems to me, a unique example in world history of one declining to

welcome genius! [26]


The rapid defeat of Poland suggested a provisional solution to the National

Socialist leaders. On 23 September 1939 Heydrich sent an express-leter [

Schnellbrief] to all chiefs of the Einsatzgruppen of the Security Police. In that

letter, which had as subject "The Jewish Question in the Occupied Territory," he

set forth the measures that were agreed on in Berlin at a meeting that same

day, which were summarized in two points: the final goal [Endziel] and the

stages of its achievement. In view of this final goal, the Jews were to be

concentrated in towns after the campaign. [27]


Poliakov comments:


It is a question of a "final end." What was it? Not at all extermination,

yet; we are only in 1939. A passage in the document gives us a key in the

territory flying to the east of Cracow" the Jews are not to be touched; and if in

other regions they are gathered together near the railroad stations, it is

evidently so they may be evacuated more easily. To what destination? Very certainly

to that "region to the east of Cracow." [28]

It is thus, always according to Poliakov, that there was designed:


The project to resolve the Jewish question by gathering all Jews under Nazi

domination into the region of Lublin, at the frontier of the USSR The plan for

the creation of a "Jewish reservation" was given a certain publicity in the

columns of the German press of the period. A territory was chosen, delimited, it

seems (the information is incomplete and contradictory) by the Vistula, the

San, and the USSR border, within which the Jews were to devote themselves to

works of colonization under surveillance of the SS. [29]


But, because of unfavorable circumstances the project was never completely


During this period the German government continued its traditional emigration

policy. In effect, as Poliakov remarks:


... parallel to these deportations to the east, the "Center [Central Office

-- Ed.] for Jewish Emigration" made efforts to expel the German Jews to other

destinations. Legal emigration had become almost impossible: a thin stream of

emigrants meanwhile continued to trickle out, from Austria in particular, via

Italy toward overseas countries. Some clandestine convoys, formed with the

cooperation of Eichman, attempted to go down the Danube by boat, with Palestine as

their destination but the British government refused to allow these travelers

without visas to enter the Jewish national homeland. We shall later on meet

again with this bitter paradox of the Gestapo pushing Jews to safety, while His

Majesty's democratic government bans access to the future victims of the

crematory ovens. [30]


The defeat of France furnished the occasion for carrying out the policy of

Jewish emigration on a large scale:


When, after the collapse of France, enormous prospects opened before the eyes

of the Nazis, a plan long cherished by certain persons among them returned to

the agenda with new topicality. They believed, in short, to have in hand the

key to "the definitive solution of the Jewish question." We have seen that in

the course of the astonishing meeting of 12 November 1938, Göring had

mentioned the "question of Madagascar." Himmler himself had dreamed of that since

1934, a witness assures us. Park all the Jews on a big island, that, moreover,

belongs to France -- that must have satisfied their love of symbolism. Whatever

the case, after the armistice of June 1940 the idea was propounded by the

Foreign Affairs Ministry, taken up enthusiastically by the RSHA and approved by

Himmler as well as by the Führer himself, it seems. [31]


During the meeting of 12 November 1938, Göring had in fact informed those

present that the Führer, according to what he had told Göring personally three

days before, was preparing a foreign policy gesture toward those powers which

had raised the Jewish question, in order to arrive at a solution to the

Madagascar question. "He will say to the other states: Why are you always talking

about the Jews? Take them!" [32]

Himmler was equally favorable to a massive Jewish emigration, as is seen by

the note "Some thoughts on the treatment of foreign population groups in the

East" of May 1940, in which he wrote:


I expect to see the idea "Jew" effaced definitively, thanks to the emigration

of all Jews to Africa, or to a colony. [33]


In the same note he rejected:


... the Bolshevik method of physically exterminating a people, with the

innermost conviction that that is unGerman and impossible. [34]


On 24 June 1940 Heydrich informed Foreign Affairs Minister Ribbentrop that

more than 200,000 Jews had emigrated from the territory of the Reich, but that



... the overall problem [Gesamtproblem]constituted by the 3,250,000 Jews who

found themselves under German rule could no longer be resolved by emigration [

durch Auswanderung - words underlined in the original]; which is why the

necessity of a "final territorial solution [eine territoriale Endlösung] becomes

apparent. [35]


Following that letter, the Foreign Affairs Ministry worked out the

"Madagascar project."

On 3 July 1940 Franz Rademacher, responsible for Jewish affairs at the

Foreign Affairs Ministry, drew up a report titled: "The Jewish Question in the Peace

Treaty" which opens with the following declaration:


The imminent victory gives Germany the possibility and, in my opinion, also

the duty, to resolve the Jewish question in Europe. The desirable solution is:

all the Jews out of Europe.


After having set forth the responsibilities of the Foreign Affairs Ministry

relative to that solution, Rademacher goes on "Section D II proposes as a

solution to the Jewish question in the peace treaty France should make Madagascar

available for the solution of the Jewish question and transfer and indemnify

the 25,000 French who live there. The island will come under German mandate."



It is precisely in this, just as Joseph Billig discerned, that "the

territorial solution of the Jewish question, as Heydrich designated it to Ribbentrop,"

consisted. [37]


Rademacher's report was approved by Ribbentrop and transmitted to the Reich

Central Security Department, which "elaborated a detailed plan for the

evacuation of the Jews to Madagascar and for their settlement there; this plan was

approved by the Reichsführer-SS " [38]


On 12 July 1940, upon returning from Berlin, where he had been received by

Hitler, Hans Frank, governor of Poland, made a speech in which he declared:


From the viewpoint of general policy, I would like to add that it was decided

to deport all the Jewish communities of Germany, of the General Government

[Poland], and of the Protectorate [Bohemia-Moravia] to an African or an American

colony as soon as possible after having made peace: Madagascar, which France

would have to abandon to that end, has been suggested. [39]


On 29 July Frank repeated that Hitler had decided that the Jews would be

completely evacuated as soon as overseas transport permitted. [40]


Otto Abetz, former German ambassador to Paris, declared, in return, that the

destination of the Jews would be the United States:


I have spoken just once, 3 August 1940, with the Führer about the Jewish

question. He told me that he wanted to resolve the Jewish question for Europe in

general, that is, by means of a clause in the peace treaty making it a

condition that the vanquished countries transfer their Jewish nationals out of Europe.

He wanted in the same way to influence the states with which he was allied.

On that occasion he mentioned the United States of America as a country that

had not long been overpopulated as was Europe, and therefore was able still to

take in some millions of Jews. [41]


In October 1940 Alfred Rosenberg wrote an article titled: "Jews to

Madagascar." As far back as 1927, he recalled, at the anti-Jewish congress in Budapest:


... the question of a future evacuation of Jews from Europe was taken up, and

on that occasion appeared for the first time the proposal to promote

precisely Madagascar as the future domicile of the Jews.


He reiterated that proposal, hoping that "the Jewish high finance" of the

United States and of England [42] would collaborate in the installation of a

Jewish reservations on Madagascar, a matter that he considered to be a "world



According to a communication, dated 3 November 1940, from Bormann to

Rosenberg, Hitler at that time opposed the publication of the article in question,

while not ruling out its possible publication in the following months. [43]


his was because the Germans at the time were in contact with the Vichy

government on the subject of the Madagascar project:


It was therefore natural that Hitler put off public notice of the project

until later. In his speech of 30 January 1941 (anniversary of the assumption of

power) he limited himself to proclaiming that "Judaism will cease to play its

role in Europe." That also was in harmony with the Madagascar plan. [44]


It seems, nevertheless, that Hitler did not thereafter authorize Rosenberg to

publicize the Madagascar project. In fact, at the conference on "The Jewish

Question as a World Problem" held by Rosenberg 28 March 1941, he declared, in

the name of all Europeans:


For Europe the Jewish question will not be resolved until the last Jew has

left the continent for a Jewish reservation.


On the subject of that reservation, Rosenberg limited himself to declaring:


In regard to the practical realization and the place of transfer, or

evacuation, many things naturally have been said over the years. It is not necessary

at present to deal with that question. Its solution will be left to a future

accord. [45]


Goebbels, in turn, according to the testimony of Morit von Schirmeister, a

former Propaganda Ministry official, spoke publicly and repeatedly of the

Madagascar project.


Dr. Fritz: Where were the Jews to be evacuated to according to the

declarations of Dr. Goebbels?


Von Schirmeister: Up until the first year, including the Russian campaign,

Dr. Goebbels mentioned several times the Madagascar plan at conferences at which

he presided. Afterwards, he changed his mind and said it was necessary to set

up a new Jewish state in the east, to which the Jews then would be sent. [46]


Interrogated at Nuremberg about a document of 24 September 1943, Ribbentrop



The Führer then proposed the evacuation of the European Jews to North Africa

-- but Madagascar also came up. He ordered me to make contact with the various

governments to induce emigration of Jews, and their exclusion from important

organizations as far as possible. That order was then directed by me to the

Foreign Affairs Ministry and. as far as I can remember, contacts were made

repeatedly with several governments on the subject of emigration of Jews to North

Africa, which was anticipated. [47]


In the note, "Madagascar Project", 30 August 1940, Rademacher declared that

the establishment of the General Government of Poland and the annexation of the

new eastern districts had put a very great number of Jews under German rule.

That and other difficulties, such as the hardening immigration legislation on

the part of overseas countries, made it difficult to complete the "solution of

the Jewish question in the territory of the Reich, and including the

Protectorate of Bohemia-Moravia, by means of emigration," [48] on schedule, or for a

date not too far distant, whence, precisely, the Madagascar project.


Eichmann went to work with a will


He surrounded himself with maritime experts, to work out a transport plan;

this was to be carried out by a pool of the big German navigation companies.

Embarkation would be at the principal North Sea and Mediterranean ports. At the

same time, he strove to have all Jewish fortunes confiscated for the benefit of

the "Central Fund." He sent emissaries to the occupied or controlled

countries in order to gather statistics on the number, age, occupational distribution,

etc., of the Jews. These detailed statistics, we shall see, will serve

another end .


...Everything was in readiness so that the machinery could go into action

when peace was concluded. [49]


Indeed, in the note quoted from above, Rademacher, reckoning that the

transfer of four million Jews to Madagascar would take about four years, wrote:


After the conclusion of peace, the German merchant marine will no doubt be

thoroughly occupied in another fashion. It is therefore necessary to include in

the peace treaty that France and England put at our disposal the tonnage

required for the solution of the Jewish problem. [50]


The paragraph "Financing" in the "Madagascar Project" note opens with the

following phrase:


The realization of the proposed "final solution" requires considerable means.


The infamous "final solution of the Jewish question," then, reduces simply to

the transfer of the European Jews to Madagascar, as acknowledged in the

judgment of the Eichmann trial:


Until it was abandoned, the "Madagascar Plan" was sometimes referred to by

the German leaders as "the final solution of the Jewish question," [52]

As we know, that expression would later become, according to the official

historians, synonymous with the "extermination" of the Jews:


Final Solution of the Jewish question was one of the conventional phrases to

designate the Hitlerian plan to exterminate the European., Jews. German

functionaries employed it, beginning in the summer of 1941, in order to avoid having

to admit to each other the existence of this plan; however, even before then,

on diverse occasions, the expression had been used to designate, essentially,

the emigration of the Jews. [53]


In reality, this assertion is arbitrary, and entirely without foundation, not

only because no evidence supports it, but because existing documents refute

it categorically.

Here we must limit ourselves to some brief considerations. The investigators

at Nuremberg knew perfectly well that an "extermination plan" which, according

to the prosecution, brought about the death of "more than four and a half

million" [54] or of "six million" [55] Jews could not have been carried out

without leaving the least trace in the Nazi archives and, from the juridical

standpoint, they could not have recourse to the subterfuges of the official

historians, according to whom all the compromising documents were destroyed.


Thus they worked out an audacious method of exegesis, allowing one to say

whatever he wants, regardless of any document. The foundation of that exegetic

method rests on an arbitrary speculation according to which the supreme National

Socialist authorities adopted, even for their most private documents, a kind

of code language, to which the Nuremberg investigators pretended, naturally,

to have discovered the key. Whence the systematic distortion - to serve the

extermination thesis -- of completely harmless documents.


The most widely known example of this systematic travesty concerns precisely

the interpretation of the term Endlösung(final solution), which has been made

a synonym for "extermination of the Jews." [56] As we shall soon see, the

"final solutions by the transfer of European Jews to Madagascar was succeeded --

but only as an alternative -- by "the final territorial solution" of deporting

the European Jews to the eastern territories occupied by the Germans.


On 20 May 1941 Heydrich stopped Jewish emigration from France and from

Belgium, and the immigration of Jews into the occupied territories, in order to

reserve all emigration possibilities for the Jews of the Reich, and "in

consideration of the no doubt early final solution of the Jewish question." [57]


Uwe Dietrich Adam comments:


This document was later often, due to its formulation, poorly interpreted.

Göring ordered all authorities to facilitate the emigration of the Jews from the

Reich and the areas under its protectorate, insofar as possible, even during

the war. On the other hand, the emigration of Jews from France and from

Belgium was to be forbidden due to "the final solution which, without a doubt, draws

near." The deceptive term "final solution" was interpreted by generations of

historians as designating a physical destruction, whereas at that time it

signified only the emigration of the Jews to Madagascar. [57a]


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