Judgment 25, Eichmann Adolf

The Wannsee Conference

86. Now we pass on, in chronological order, to the central
event in the history of the Final Solution which, on the one
hand, sums up the events of the period from the beginning of
the German-Russian war, and, on the other, serves as a
starting point for all the events which follow – that is the
Wannsee Conference.
On 29 November 1941, identically phrased, but personally
styled invitations went out from the Accused’s office,
signed by Heydrich, to a number of persons of the rank of
State Secretary, or holding similar ranks. Two such
invitations were submitted to us, exhibits T/180 and T/181,
sent to Under-Secretary of State Luther at the Foreign
Ministry, and to Gruppenfuehrer Hoffman at the Head Office
for Race and Resettlement. In this invitation, Heydrich
refers to Goering’s letter of appointment, dated 31 July
1941, (T/179) and attaches a photocopy of this letter, and
he continues:

“Considering the extraordinary significance which is to
be attached to these questions, and in order to reach
an understanding amongst all central authorities
concerned with the operations yet to be carried out in
connection with this final solution, I propose to bring
up these problems as a subject for joint discussion,
especially because of the fact that, since 15 October
1941, Jews are being evacuated in regular transports
from the Reich territory, including the Protectorate of
Bohemia and Moravia – to the East.”

The date set for the conference is 9 December 1941, and the
letter concludes with a list of the other persons to whom an
identical invitation was extended.

Special invitations were sent to Buehler (State Secretary in
the Generalgouvernement area) and to Krueger (Senior
Commanding Officer of the SS and the Police in the
Generalgouvernement). It transpires from document T/182,
that Heydrich instructed the Accused to invite them, too,
after learning from a conversation with Krueger that “from
measures taken in the area of the Generalgouvernement lately
in this sphere, it can be seen with increasing clarity that
the Governor General (Frank) aspires to take upon himself
the entire handling of the Jewish Question.”

At the last moment, the conference was deferred – perhaps
because of the outbreak of war with the United States – and
on 8 January 1942 new invitations were sent for 20 January

87. At this conference, State Secretaries and S.S. officers
and senior officials of the same rank, or near that rank,
participated, representing Reich and Party offices, the
official in charge of the Four-Year-Plan (Goering’s office),
the Foreign Ministry and of the Ministry of the Interior,
the Ministry of Justice, the Ministry for the Eastern
Occupied Territories and the Governor General in Poland.
Offices controlled by Himmler were represented by a
representative of the Race and Resettlement Head Office, and
by Heydrich, Mueller, and the Accused, as well as by the
Commander of the SD and the Security Police in the
Government General, and by the Commander of the Security
Police and the SD of the “Reich Ostland Administration” (the
latter five, naturally, were RSHA men). Only one amongst
all those present (the representative of the “Ostland”
Security Police Command) was of a rank lower than that of
the Accused, and all the others were of higher rank (see the
conference minutes, exhibit T/185).

Heydrich opened the conference with a speech, reviewing
achievements in the field of emigration. Summing up, he

“In the meantime, emigration was banned (by Himmler),
because of the dangers of emigration in wartime, and
taking into consideration the possibilities in the

And he continues:

“Instead of emigration, evacuation of the Jews to the
East now comes as an additional possible solution,
after prior appropriate approval by the Fuehrer. But
these operations are to be regarded only as passing
possibilities. The results of these practical
experiences are already being collected, since they are
invaluable in view of the approaching Final Solution of
the Jewish Question” (supra, p. 5).

A statistical survey follows, in which the number of Jews
throughout Europe (also including countries not under German
rule) is estimated at eleven million; and now come the
decisive sentences:

“Under suitable direction, the Jews should be brought to the
East in the course of the Final Solution, for use as labour.
In large labour gangs, with the sexes separated, the Jews
capable of work will be transported to those areas and set
to road-building, in the course of which, without doubt, a
large part of them (ein Grossteil) will fall away through
natural losses. The surviving remnant, surely those with
the greatest powers of resistance, will be given special
treatment, since, if freed, they would constitute the
germinal cell for the re-creation of Jewry, they being the
result of natural selection, as history has proved” (supra,
pp. 7-8).

The intention behind this convoluted language is clear and
simple: The Jews of Europe were to be expelled to the East
and put to hard labour; the weak would die from overwork and
the strong would be killed.

In connection with questions of implementation, Heydrich
gives the following information, inter alia:

(a) Europe will be combed from the West to the East,
giving priority to the Reich and the Protectorate.

(b) A “ghetto for the aged” will be set up in Terezin,
which will also take Jewish war invalids and those who
hold medals for distinguished service.

(c) “The `Central Authority’ (Federfuehrung) for the
handling of the Final Solution of the Jewish Question
will be in the hands of the Reichsfuehrer-SS and the
head of the German Police (the head of the Security
Police and the SD – viz. Heydrich himself), without
regard to geographical borders” (supra, p. 3).

(d) “In regard to the handling of the Final Solution in
the territories occupied by us and those under our
influence, it has been suggested that the officials
dealing with the matter at the Foreign Ministry contact
the authorized Referent of the Security Police and the
SD” (viz., the Accused) (supra at p.9).

88. Not one of those present expressed any reservations to
what Heydrich said. On the contrary, there was a complete
consensus of opinion. The contribution to the discussion
made by Buehler, representing the Generalgouvernement, is
worthy of mention:

“He (Buehler) stated that the Generalgouvernement would
be glad if the Final Solution of this Question were
launched in the area of the Generalgouvernement, since
transport was not a serious problem there and labour
considerations were not likely to disturb the smooth
running of such an action. Jews must be removed from
the Generalgouvernement area as quickly as possible,
since it was here that the Jew represented a blatant
danger as the carrier of diseases, and he was always
upsetting the country’s economy by continuous
profiteering. Moreover, out of the two and a half
million Jews to be handled, most were unfit for work”
(supra, p. 14).

And this is how the discussion ended:

“In conclusion, various types of possible solutions
were discussed, and the attitude taken (by
representatives of the Ministry for the Eastern
Occupied Territories and of the Generalgouvernement)
was that they themselves would immediately make certain
preparations to bring about the Final Solution in the
areas concerned. At the same time, the creation of
unrest amongst the population should be avoided”
(supra, p. 15).

When the Accused was asked in cross-examination in this
Court what was the meaning of the words
“various types of possible solutions” discussed towards the
end of the conference, he answered simply: “Various ways of
killing were discussed” (Session 106, Vol. IV, p. xxxx11).

According to the Accused, his role at the Wannsee Conference
was threefold: (a) sending invitations in accordance with
particulars given to him by Heydrich; (b) supplying Heydrich
with material for the preparation of his opening speech; (c)
taking the minutes.

When the conference was over, Heydrich, Mueller and the
Accused remained behind for a chat “by the fireside.” When
asked why he, too, was asked to join in this intimate
gathering, he replied that Heydrich gave him instructions in
connection with the preparation of the minutes.

But the Wannsee Conference carried a more important meaning
also for the Accused personally, for it was there that his
position as the authorized Referent of the RSHA in matters
connected with the Final Solution of the Jewish Question was
confirmed in the presence of representatives of all the
other authorities. This much we gather also from a letter
sent by Heydrich to Luther (T/186) at the end of February
1942. He notes there with satisfaction that the basic
policy for the practical implementation of the Final
Solution had now been laid down with the full consent of all
the authorities concerned, and he invites Luther to send his
representative to a discussion on details of implementation.
He requests that Luther’s representative contact “my
authorized Referent, SS Obersturmbannfuehrer Eichmann” for
this purpose.

Last-Modified: 1999/05/27