Hitler's Role in the Persuection of the Jews by the Nazi Regime: Electronic Version, by Heinz Peter Longerich

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16.1In the middle of September 1941 Hitler ordered the deportation of the Jews from the Greater German Reich into ghettos in Eastern Europe. He thereby set in process the deportation plans which he had pursued at the beginning of 1941, without waiting for the original precondition - the military victory over the Red Army. Only a month earlier, in the middle of August, Hitler had spoken against the "evacuation" of Jews from the Reich area.146
16.2On the 18 September 1941 Himmler nonetheless announced to the Gauleiter in Warthegau, Greiser, the following:
The Führer would like the Altreich and the Protectorate from the West to the East to be emptied and liberated of Jews as soon as possible. I am therefore trying - hopefully still in this year - to transport the Jews of the Altreich and those from the Protectorate - at least as a first stage - into the Eastern territories, which had been acquired two years earlier; this is in order to push them further East in the coming spring. I intend to place   about 60,000 Jews of the Altreich and the Protectorate in the Litzmannstadt ghetto, which I understand has enough room to accommodate them, for the winter.147
16.3In the following weeks Hitler repeatedly confirmed his determination to deport the Jews from Central Europe to the East. On 6 October he announced to his lunch guests as he expiated over the planned penalties against the Czechs, that all Jews from the Protectorate must be "removed" (entfernt), and not just sent to the Generalgouvernement but rather "directly further, to the East".148 This however, was not possible at the moment according to Hitler, due to the shortage of transport capacity. At the same time as the "Protectorate Jews", the Jews from Vienna and Berlin were also to "disappear" (verschwinden).
16.4On 25 October Hitler made the following remark at his table talk, after he had once again made mention of his "prophecy" of 30 January 1939:
This criminal race has the two million dead from the World War on its conscience, now again hundreds of thousands. No one can say to me: we can't send them in the morass! Who then cares about our people? It is good if the terror we are exterminating Jewry goes before us.149
16.5In fact the deportations from the Reich area began on 15 October 1941.150 Why did Hitler at this point make the decision to start deportations which he had begun to plan from the beginning of 1941 ? Leading functionaries of the regime demanded such measures: among others, the Reich Minister for the Occupied Eastern Territories, Rosenberg, had suggested deportations in September - as a   reaction to Stalin's decision to deport the Volga Germans to the East.151 Several Gauleiters demanded at this time that Jews be pushed out of their living areas in order to create housing for those affected by the bombing raids.152 For Hitler it seems that yet another motive played a role; he wanted to put out a warning to "world Jewry" by means of the deportation of Central European Jews - in the sense of his "prophesy" of 30 January 1939. In this way he intended to prevent the entry of the United States into the war (the leadership of the US in his opinion was a puppet of "world Jewry", a theme which was particularly conspicuous in German propaganda in the following few weeks).153
16.6Hitler`s motives become apparent from a memo written by the representative for the Eastern Ministry in Hitler`s headquarters, Koeppen, on 20 September. Koeppen wrote that the Envoy von Steengracht (representative of the Foreign Office in the headquarters of the Führer) had told him that Hitler was considering the question of postponing possible "Pressalien" (i.e Repressalien; reprisals) against the German Jews "for a eventuality of an American entry into the war".154 One of the elements behind the deportations of October 1941 which took place openly and which were registered by the international press was thus also the idea of using the Jews as hostages. This motive had also been involved in the projects of a "Jewish reservation" in Poland and a police government on Madagascar.
16.7These different motives for the implementation of the deportations appear secondary however, when one keeps in mind that Hitler, from the beginning of his political career, had intended to get rid of the Jews within the German "Lebensraum" in one way or another and had pressed forward with plans for mass deportation from the very beginning of the war: with the conquest of the enormous Soviet area it seemed to him for the first time that a practical possibility was available for the realisation of these plans.


146. Strauss (ed.), Reichsministerium, p. 303, Reproduction of a note for Frick on Eichmann's declarations in the Propagandaministerium on 15 August.
147. 'Der Führer wünscht, daß möglichst bald das Altreich und das Protektorat vom Westen nach dem Osten von Juden geleert und befreit werden. Ich bin daher bestrebt, möglichst noch in diesem Jahr die Juden des Altreichs und des Protektorats zunächst einmal als erste Stufe in die vor zwei Jahren neu zum Reich gekommenen Ostgebiete zu transportieren, um sie im nächsten Frühjahr noch weiter nach dem Osten abzuschieben. Ich beabsichtige, in das Litzmannstädter Getto, das, wie ich höre, an Raum aufnahmefähig ist, rund 60.000 Juden des Altreichs und des Protektorats für den Winter zu verbringen.' BAB, NS 19/2655, printed in Longerich (ed.). Ermordung, p. 157.
148. 'gleich weiter nach Osten'. BAB, R 6/34a, Report by Werner Koeppen, the representative of Rosenbergs to Hitler; cf. Vogt, Selbstbespiegelungen, pp. 641-651, (p. 649).
149. 'Diese Verbrecherrasse hat die zwei Millionen Toten des Weltkrieges auf dem Geweissen, jetzt wieder Hunderttausende. Sage mir keiner: Wir können sie doch nicht in den Morast schicken! Wer kümmert sich den um unsere Menschen. Es is gut, wenn uns der Schrecken vorangeht, daß wir das Judentum ausrotten.' Jochmann (ed.), Monologe, 25.10.41
150. Heydrich to Himmler, 19 October 1941, Eichmann-Prozeß, No. 1544.
151. Aus dem Kriegstagebuch des Diplomaten Otto Bräutigam. Eingeleitet u. kommmentiert v. H.D. Heilmann, in: Biedermann und Schreibtischtäter, Materialien zur deutschen Täter-Biographie, Berlin 1987, pp. 123-187, p. 144.
152. Longerich, Politik, 432f.
153. Ibid., 431f.
154. 'fur einen eventuellen Eintritt Amerikas in den Krieg aufzuheben'. BAB, R 6/34a, Koeppen-notes, 21.9.41.
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