Reich. Hitler was to publicly follow up this
resolution in his speech of January 30, 1942. Public opinion was free to take
his declarations literally or to interpret them as exaggerations due to his
oratory style. As for the decision, it was, so to speak, already being tested
as of autumn 1941. |
On January 31, 1941, Heydrich on Hitler's order
received a new mission from Goering. It extended that of January 24, 1939, in
two ways (110):
"to obtain the best possible solution by
emigration or evacuation, in conformity with the situation at a given time" and
this for "the global solution of the Jewish question in all the regions under
German influence in Europe..." (PS 710). The principle of
emigration was still applicable and even mentioned first of all, but "the
situation at a given time" was to eliminate it in practice in favour of only
the "evacuation" which Heydrich intended to direct towards the occupied Soviet
territories, where the Jews deported would automatically fall under the Order
of the Führer to suppress all Jews present in these regions.
November 1941, Heydrich was ready to inform the representatives of all the
authorities of the Reich concerned by the anti-Jewish operation of Hitler's
agreement that the Jewish populations of the German vital space be deported
"far to the East," in order to there disappear from the face of the earth. He
was to make this announcement before these high ranking civil servants at the
Conference of Wannsee planned for December 7, 1941, but which had to be
postponed until January 20, 1942.
We shall see that "far to the East"
meant "occupied Soviet territories" (officially designated as "territories
occupied in the East") where the Einsatzgruppen operated. Such was to be the
official presentation of the "final solution" by extermination. In reality the
process imagined in the summer of 1941 to arrive at it was double; and the
variant which was to be the most important as of the summer of 1942, the
extermination by gassing in the internment camps in Polish territory, was not
to be that which Heydrich explicitly announced: deportation "far to the East."
Because of this, the massacre perfected by the means of gas chambers has
remained a foot note of the consecration that Heydrich in the name of the
Führer was to bring to the "final solution" by extermination.
Hitler was kept perfectly informed of the means employed for the liquidation of
the Jews in the concentration camps. This fact appears in the political
testament that he drew up a few hours before his suicide. He alluded to this
means which he considered "more humanitarian" than the death of civilians
caused by the bombings (111).
his trial, Eichmann testified concerning Heydrich's order
"...let us suppose that the war began in
July; it was probably two or three months later. It was certainly towards the
end of the summer... when Heydrich called me in. I introduced myself, and he
said to me: "The Führer has ordered the physical extermination of the
Jews. Eichmann, go therefore to see Globocnik in Lublin. The Reichsführer
has already given