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Last-Modified: 1999/05/27



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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