On January 20 1942 SS-Obergruppenführer Reinhard Heydrich convened & directed the Wannseekonferenz, a meeting of senior officials of Nazi Germany, held in the Berlin suburb of Wannsee. Heydrich was the director of the SS-Reichssicherheitshauptamt (Reich Main Security Office; RSHA), and the purpose of that meeting was to cause such a concentration of skilled & practised evil that annihilation of the Jews was certain to be successful.
I've just finished watching The Eichmann Show (iPlayer, available for 29 days from 20 Jan 2015), which was a drama of the 1961 trial in Israel of Adolf Eichmann (one of the executors of the Holocaust, and present at the Wannseekonferenz). As the programme description says:
(this was) the first time the horror of the camps (was) heard directly from the mouths of its victims. Edited daily and broadcast in Germany, America, Israel and 34 other countries, people fainted when they saw it on TV.
After The Eichmann Show finished (a very good drama) I realised the significance of the date it was originally shown, and decided to write you this email.
Wanseek Conference attendees included representatives from several government ministries, including state secretaries from the Foreign Office, the justice, interior, and state ministries, and representatives from the Schutzstaffel (SS). In the course of the meeting, Heydrich outlined how European Jews would be rounded up from west to east and sent to extermination camps in the General Government (the part of Poland occupied by the Germans), where they would be killed. With typical Germanic administrative dedication, the Conference was fully documented, and such documentation survived the end of WW2.
A good deal of preparatory work had been conducted prior to the Conference. Once nearby countries had been conquered, extensive trials had been conducted into the most efficient ways to liquidate all Jews, Gypsies & others. Estonia, as just one example, was already Judenfrei (4,500 Jews killed). However, small local actions was one thing, but liquidating 11 million men, women & children from across the whole of Europe, Scandinavia, The Balkans & Russia was something else. It was going to take a mighty effort of organisational genius to pull off The Final Solution.
--------- Alex Kemp