The Trial of Adolf Eichmann: Judgment
(Part 18 of 70)

The Madagascar Plan

76. This was a plan for the total deportation of the Jews from German-ruled territory, which occupied the Accused considerably sometime later in the year 1940. The idea of deporting European Jewry to this far-off island and isolating them there was not a brainchild of the Accused. This idea had already been floating around in the world of anti-Semitic thought for a number of years. Already when he was in Department II 112 at the SD Head Office, in March 1938, the Accused was commissioned to examine the possibilities latent in this idea (T/111).

When the armistice was signed with France, the idea received a new impetus towards realization, for here the chance offered itself of obtaining Madagascar for this purpose from the French in the peace treaty which was to be drawn up. Until this idea was shelved, the Madagascar Plan was sometimes referred to by the German rulers as the "Final Solution" of the Jewish Question.

In a memorandum written by Luther of the German Ministry for Foreign Affairs, in August 1942 (T/196), we read that the first initiative for the preparation of the actual plan originated there in July 1940. Luther continues (p. 2, supra):

"The Madagascar Plan was received by the Head Office for Reich Security with enthusiasm. The Foreign Ministry is of the opinion that this is the only office capable, because of its experience and technically, to implement the evacuation of the Jews on a large scale and to guarantee control of the evacuees. Therefore, the competent department worked out a detailed plan for the evacuation of the Jews to Madagascar and their settlement there, and the plan was approved by the Reichsfuhrer-SS."
The "competent department" mentioned here was that of the Accused. His assistant, Dannecker, worked out, together with him, the detailed plan which is before us (T/174). In his Statement, T/37, and in his testimony before us, the Accused described the plan in rosy colours, as if the main purpose was only to put "solid ground under the feet of the Jews," by the setting up of a state of their own. This, he claimed, was his own aspiration no less than that of the Jews themselves, and for its fulfilment he spared himself no trouble, until he finally succeeded in obtaining the consent of all the authorities concerned to the implementation of the plan. Had the plan materialized, everything would have been in perfect order to the satisfaction of the Germans and the Jews; hence, his great disappointment when a change in political circumstances caused the plan to be shelved.

Here, too, the Accused's version is far from the truth. Of course, even deportation to Madagascar would have been preferable to the physical extermination which later befell European Jewry. But here again, the Madagascar Plan must be viewed in terms of the pre-extermination period. It is sufficient to glance through the details of the written plan, in order to discover its true significance: The deportation of four million Jews - the whole of Jewry at that time under the rule of the Hitler regime - within four years into exile, and their complete isolation from the outer world.

It is stated there explicitly that organizing Jews as an independent state is out of the question, but that this would be a "police state," supervised by the RSHA (ibid., p. 5). A Council of Jewish Elders would be set up, attached to the German Resettlement Head Office, and would have to fulfil orders given to it, "because this system of work proved to be the most efficient in the operation of the Central Offices for Jewish Emigration, and shifts most of the work on to the Jews themselves" (p. 12).

Apparently, economic means of livelihood for millions of Jews in their new place of residence did not worry the authors of the plan particularly. They had in mind employing them for many years on public works, such as the draining of swamps and building roads for communication - that is to say, on forced labour under the supervision of the German masters of the island.

Moreover, the control authorities would not have to worry about the health of these forced labourers in the difficult climate of the island, for "the Jewish authorities must see to the correct posting of all the doctors they have, in the various districts, in order to ensure hygienic conditions to a certain extent (einigermassen) (p. 13). As for finance, this would in part come from the property of the Jews themselves, which would be confiscated when they left their places of residence and would be transferred to "a central settlement fund," while the rest would be raised by imposing a tax on Jewish citizens in the countries of the Western Powers, payment to be guaranteed by the peace treaty (p. 13). The Jews of the West would also pay for the transport of the deportees to Madagascar, as "reparations for damage caused to the German nation by the Jews economically and otherwise as a result of the Versailles Treaty" (p. 11).

This was the RSHA version of the "Jewish State" plan, the very same plan which the Accused dared mention in one and the same breath with the name of Herzl from whom, so he says, he drew his inspiration. In fact, there is a direct line leading from the forced emigration organized by the Central Office for Emigration set up by the Accused, via the Nisko Plan, to this plan for isolating the Jews in a slave state - a line of increasing severity.

[ Previous | Index | Next ]