Archive/File: people/e/eichmann.adolf/transcripts/Judgment/Judgment-021 Last-Modified: 1999/05/27 THE THIRD STAGE - THE FINAL SOLUTION FROM THE INVASION OF RUSSIA TO THE WANNSEE CONFERENCE 79. On 22 June 1941 Hitler began the war against the Soviet Union. At the same time, came the transition of the third and final stage in the persecution of the Jews within the area of German influence, namely the stage of total extermination. From then onwards, all German actions against Jews in their places of abode, and their deportation to the East, were aimed towards extermination, which was by now regarded by all German authorities dealing with Jewish affairs as the Final Solution of the Jewish Question. The order for extermination was given by Hitler himself at a time close to the date of the invasion of Russia. We do not know if the original order was ever put in writing. At the Wannsee Conference - upon which we shall dwell later - Heydrich speaks of the extermination order in disguised language ("the evacuation of the Jews to the East") as having been confirmed by the Fuehrer as a possible solution instead of emigration (T/186, p. 5). Also Luther, a Foreign Ministry official, states in a memorandum T/196, quoting Heydrich, that the order for "evacuation to the East" was Hitler's order. The first victims of the total extermination were the Jews, who were murdered en masse by shooting by the RSHA Operations Units. These Units were set up already before the invasion of Russia, and launched upon their murderous activities as soon as the invasion began, in the rear of the advancing German army. We shall come back later to the activities of these groups (paras. 120-121). At this stage, we shall first describe the actions taken against the Jews within the Reich itself and within other countries of Europe in the area of German influence, outside Eastern Europe. In general, no direct extermination actions were committed within those countries and on German soil, but their Jews were rounded up and deported to the East, there to find their death. 80. The implementation of the "Final Solution," in the sense of total extermination, is to a certain extent connected with the stoppage of emigration of Jews from territories under German influence. In his Statement T/37, the Accused says (on p. 171): "As soon as the war against Russia began, Himmler forbade all emigration, even when opportunities existed for it." (See also the Accused's Memoirs, T/44 at pp. 93, 101.) Mr. Max Plaut, in his affidavit, T/665, also puts the date of the prohibition of emigration at the outbreak of war against Russia (p. 4 supra). In fact, the final order for the cessation of emigration seems to have been given by Himmler only in October 1941 (see T/394; T/395). All emigration of Jews was prohibited as from that date, except in special, individual cases. But it is correct that from the outbreak of war with Russia, practical emigration possibilities for Jews from German-influenced territories were limited to such an extent that during the months until October 1941 emigration proceeded only in "a tiny trickle" (see T/683). From the evidence given by Mrs. Henschel, it appears that the last transport of emigrants from Germany left for Lisbon on 15 October 1941, or one day earlier (Session 37, Vol. II, p. 668).
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