Thursday, January 20, 2005

Never to Forget

On January 20, 1942, the Nazi Gestapo head Reinhard Heydrich chaired a conference at Wannsee House on a lake outside Berlin. The now-infamous Wannsee Conference was not the origin of the Nazis' plans to annihilate European Jewry. Instead, as Stephen Lehrer writes in Wannsee House and the Holocaust, the Conference streamlined the operations of the Nazi death machine: "By the time of the Wannsee Conference...the Einsatz groups, operating behind the army frontlines, had murdered more than half a million people. Thus there was no need of a decision at the conference to commit mass murder. The Wannsee Conference facilitated the killing."

On 9 February, 1942, 20 days after Wannsee, Hitler, in a radio broadcast, said: "The Jews will be liquidated for at least a thousand years." (Sources: here, citing Cornwell, J., Hitler’s Pope).

The Wannsee minutes and protocols -- i.e., the description of the conference and its plan of action -- are here. Heydrich is the only Nazi leader that the Allies successfully targeted for assassination (bless the Czechs). Other participants at the conference included Heinrich Mueller (head of the Nazi Secret Political Police, never captured) and Adolf Eichmann (head of the Final Solution, captured by the Mossad in Buenos Aires and executed in Israel).

Never to Forget.

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