What was the Final Solution?

USHMM CA132DJ2- 34752A- Hoecker album- SS officers relax Solahutte, Auschwitz- lRichard Baer, Josef Mengele, Josef Kramer, Rudolf Hoess, Anton Thumann.jpg
Monsters? These human beings, pictured relaxing and enjoying themselves at a place called Solahutte, near Auschwitz-Birkenau, are leading SS officers who administered monstrous acts, carried out against millions of innocent victims. The men are (from left to right) Richard Baer (Commandant of Auschwitz-Birkenau), Dr Josef Mengele (the Angel of Death), Josef Kramer (Commandant of Bergen-Belsen), Rudolf Hoess (first Camp Commandant of Auschwitz-Birkenau) and Anton Thumann (Commandant of Majdanek).
© 2011 United States Holocaust Memorial Museum.

“In completion of the task which was entrusted to you… …[on] January 24, 1939, of solving the Jewish question… …in the most convenient way possible… …I [now] charge you with making all necessary preparations… …for an overall solution of the Jewish question…

I further charge you with submitting to me promptly an overall plan… …for the execution of the intended final solution of the Jewish question.”

On 31 July 1941, Hermann Goering orders Reinhard Heydrich to prepare a plan for the ‘Final Solution to the Jewish Question'.


During the summer of 1941, in breach of Hitler’s agreement with Joseph Stalin, Germany invaded the Soviet Union. Following the German army into battle were the Einsatzgruppen. Local people supported these killing squads, one of the main tasks of which was to kill all Jewish men, women and children in the areas that were being conquered. By December 1941, over 500,000 Soviet Jews had been murdered.

However, for the Nazis leadership, conventional killing methods were insufficient and inefficient.

On 20 January 1942, 15 leading officials of the Nazi state met at a villa in Wannsee, a suburb of Berlin, to discuss the ’Final solution of the Jewish Question’.

The ’Final solution’ was a code name for the murder of all the Jews of Europe. The people present at the conference were to discuss how to make mass murder happen in an organised and methodical way.