The Final Solution

The Nazis used coded language and euphemism to disguise acts of terror, brutality, destruction and murder. The term ‘Final Solution’ (Endlösung) referred to their plan to annihilate the Jewish people. It is clear from the Wannsee Conference in January 1942 that the Final Solution of the Jewish Question was planned in meticulous detail by Nazi officials from a large number of government departments. This could not have occurred without Hitler’s knowledge and approval. Many academics believe that the order for the killing of all Jews was never put into writing but was communicated verbally by Hitler to high-ranking Nazi leaders such as Hermann Göring. After the war, Göring gave evidence to that effect at his trial for war crimes and crimes against humanity. At the end of July 1941, Göring had authorised Reinhard Heydrich to plan the implementation of a ‘complete solution of the Jewish question’. The mass murder of the Jews was the culmination of a decade of intensified, state–sanctioned vilification and persecution.

In July 1941, a month after the invasion of the former Soviet Union, Hitler gave Heinrich Himmler the responsibility for overseeing all security measures in the newly conquered areas of the Soviet Union. This included the authority to eliminate, by whatever means he deemed necessary, any perceived threats to German rule. Himmler sent written reports to Hitler about the number of people executed by the SS as “enemies of the Reich”, including the number of Jewish civilians killed by mass shootings.