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Homework. Read Background to Auschwitz Answer 6 questions on a separate piece of paper. Restate question in your answer This is due NEXT WEEK!!!!!!!!!!!. The Final Solution. Final Solution. The “Final Solution" was the annihilation of the Jews.

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  • Read Background to Auschwitz

  • Answer 6 questions on a separate piece of paper.

  • Restate question in your answer

  • This is due NEXT WEEK!!!!!!!!!!!

The final solution

The Final Solution

Final solution

Final Solution

  • The “Final Solution" was the annihilation of the Jews.

  • It began to take form with the invasion of Poland in 1939 and the institution of ghettos in 1940.

  • Its last stage began in June 1941, when Germany broke the Nazi-Soviet Pact and invaded the Soviet Union, establishing six death camps in Poland

Inefficient methods einsatzgruppen

Inefficient MethodsEinsatzgruppen

  • Mobile killing units

    • Part of SS

    • 500-1000 men

  • Responsible only to Himmler

  • Secret Directive (order)

    • The order to the army that established the Einsatzgruppen made no mention of killing.

      • “The Special Units are allowed to carry out executive measures against the civilian population.”

      • In the code language of the SS, “carry out executive measures” meant kill.

Inefficient methods gas vans

Inefficient MethodsGas Vans

  • 40 to 50 Jews were herded from their towns and villages, told they were being taken to do work and then forced into sealed vans.

  • Carbon monoxide from the exhaust was funneled back into the van

Inefficient methods gas vans problems

Inefficient MethodsGas Vans: Problems

  • Unloading the bodies was difficult and upsetting to some of the SS men.

  • Some of the killers were also disturbed by the screams that came from the vans while people were dying.

Inefficient methods mass shootings problems

Inefficient MethodsMass Shootings: Problems

  • Shooting proved to be a traumatic experience for some of the killers.

  • The financial cost of killing by shooting was too high.

    • bullets aren’t free

  • As word spread about the murders, too many Jews were escaping from their towns before the Einsatzgruppen arrived.

Babi yar


"All Jews living in the city of Kiev and its vicinity must come to the corner of Melnikova and Dokhturova Streets (near the cemeteries) by 8 o'clock on the morning of Monday, September 29th 1941. They are to bring with them documents, money, valuables, as well as warm clothes, underwear etc. Any Jews not carrying out this instruction and who are found elsewhere will be shot. Any civilian entering apartments left by the Jews and stealing property will be shot."

Lithuanians cheer german troops entering kovno lithuania

Lithuanians Cheer German Troops Entering Kovno, Lithuania

Lithuanians in kovno beating jews with iron bars

Lithuanians in Kovno beating Jews with Iron Bars

A man posing with bodies

A Man Posing with bodies

Results of the secret directive and the einsatzgruppen

Results of the Secret Directive and the Einsatzgruppen

By November 1942, when their special tasks stopped, 1.4 million Jews had been murdered along with thousands of Gypsies, Communist officials and partisan fighters.

Efficient methods decisive order

Efficient MethodsDecisive Order

  • Just after the invasion of the Soviet Union, Hitler ordered the “Final Solution to the Jewish Question.”

Efficient methods decisive order1

Efficient MethodsDecisive Order

  • On July 31, 1941, six weeks after the Einsatzgruppen had begun their killing, Hermann Goering sent the following order to Reinhard Heydrich:

    “I hereby charge you with making all necessary preparations with regard to organizational and financial matters for bringing about a complete solution to the Jewish question in the German sphere of influence in Europe. Wherever other government agencies are involved, they are to cooperate with you.”

Efficient methods decisive order2

Efficient MethodsDecisive Order

  • Importance: This was a turning point in history. All government agencies, all military forces, all the branches of the state were to participate in the pursuit of the annihilation of a specific group.

The perpetrators

The Perpetrators

Perpetrators refers to those who participated in the process of destruction that was the “Final Solution.”

The perpetrators bureaucrats

The Perpetrators: Bureaucrats

  • Civil servants, lawyers, accountants, SS officers, businessmen and others, each using his own expertise, developed plans to help carry out different aspects of the “Final Solution.” This included devising techniques for removing, relocating, concentrating (ghettoizing) and then killing Jews.

  • Each bureaucrat had a specific task and did not follow the process beyond his prescribed duty. For example,

The perpetrators bureaucrats1

The Perpetrators: Bureaucrats

  • Civil servants: gathered information and kept records on Jews.

  • Lawyers: drafted laws like the Nuremburg Laws and others for removing civil rights from Jews.

  • Accountants: calculated costs of feeding, transporting or killing Jews so that these actions were profitable.

  • Businessmen: took Jewish businesses and used Jews for slave labor in industrial projects for their own profit.

  • SS officers: supervised the deportations.



The aim of the efficiency experts and bureaucrats was to get the victims to the killers as quickly as possible and with the least number of difficulties.

Creation of death camps

Creation of Death Camps

  • In 1941-42, the construction of six death camps in Poland began.

  • The main purpose of these camps would be the killing of Europe’s Jews.

  • Chelmno, the first of the death camps was constructed in the Autumn of 1941 and began operating in December of that year.

  • The other camps were located at Treblinka, Maidanek, Sobibor, Belzec and Auschwitz.

The death camps

The Death Camps

  • The camps were designed by architects and built by technicians, plumbers, construction engineers and other civilians who placed bids with the SS to see who would get the government contracts.

  • The most difficult manual labor was done by concentration camp prisoners, usually Poles or Germans, and later, Jews.

Steps toward extermination

Steps toward Extermination

The technicians, administrators, efficiency experts and others devised step-by-step plans for the annihilation of the Jews.

Steps toward extermination1

Steps toward Extermination

  • Registration

    • Jews in the ghettos were required to register with Jewish Councils so that population records could be kept.

Steps toward extermination2

Steps toward Extermination

  • Deportation

    • As the quotas and timetables for death were set by German officials, the Jewish Councils were ordered to have large numbers of Jews report at specific times to the railroad stations in each ghetto.

      • Orders: Jews were ordered to take one suitcase and report to the train station.

      • Those ordered to report had lived in the ghettos under the horrendous conditions described earlier. Many dragged themselves to the stations hoping to be deported somewhere new where they could save their families and themselves.

      • Numbers per day ranged from 1,000 to 10,000.

Steps toward extermination3

Steps toward Extermination

  • No Jews knew about the death camps. In 1942, many Germans were also unaware of the program of murder the bureaucrats had devised.



  • The German National Railways were the key to the success or failure of the “Final Solution.” Without proper transportation, carefully organized and regulated, the deportation of millions of people would have been impossible.

Railroads scheduling

Railroads: Scheduling

  • In the middle of the war, the scheduling of trains was critical. Priorities had to be assigned; troop trains and war equipment had to receive top priority and were given first access to the rails.

    • Trains carrying Jews to death camps were given lowest priority. Thus, the death trains were often moved to side rails to wait for hours while higher priority trains passed by.

    • Each train passed through dozens of railroad stations before it reached its destination.

Railroads scheduling1

Railroads: Scheduling

  • This meant that signalmen and other railway officials at those stations had to make arrangements for each train.

  • Trained bureaucrats, often men with college degrees in engineering or physics, carefully plotted formulas for the speeds of trains and scheduled them - without the use of computers.

  • An estimated 100,000 railroad employees were involved in the scheduling and transporting of more than four million Jews to death camps.

Railroads scheduling2

Railroads: Scheduling

  • Auschwitz eventually became the “railroad capital” of Europe as all railroad tracks seemed to lead there—from Marseilles, Paris, Rome, Berlin, Amsterdam, Brussels, Budapest, Athens, Prague, Warsaw, Vilna and almost every other European city in which trains stopped





  • The German National Railways charged for every passenger over age four.

    • The SS was charged for each train that transported Jews. They used cattle cars because they were cheaper than regular passenger cars, which were needed to transport soldiers.

    • SS cost-accountants devised a plan to force the Jews to pay for their deportations to their deaths.



  • Sometimes the Jewish Councils were charged for the train costs. At other times, Jews were told to bring money to the train stations to pay for their journey.

  • Railroad officials kept a count of the numbers of Jews herded onto the cattle cars so the railway company could charge the SS the correct fee.



  • The SS was given excursion or group rates by the official state travel agency (the MITTEL-EUROPAEISCHE REISEBUERO or Middle-Europe Travel Bureau), which continued to handle tourist groups going to beaches in France or Greece while sending Jews to gas chambers in Poland.

  • All such “special trains”—the vacation trains as well as the death ones—received excursion rates and were directed by the same bureaucrats. Children under ten, on vacation trains or death trains, rode half-fare and children under four rode for free.



  • Deception was maintained at every step. The “Final Solution” was to be kept a state secret. Those among the German bureaucracy and SS who knew about the death camps were sworn to secrecy upon penalty of death. Yet, eventually, news of the train transports and Auschwitz, many knew that the camps were places where Jews were mistreated, poorly fed, worked to exhaustion and killed. The scope of the atrocities and death, however, was not even imagined—not by Jews, Poles or most Germans.

Business as usual

Business as Usual

  • almost all the railroad workers were aware of the “cargo” and destinations of the death trains. Yet, each focused solely on the narrow task of his job.

    • Train schedulers worked only on their formulas.

    • Signalmen took care that the trains were on time and moving efficiently.

    • Accountants kept careful records of the numbers of “passengers” on the cattle cars.

    • Clerks sent bills to the SS economic offices.

Business as usual1

Business as Usual

  • Millions of law-abiding citizens, concerned with their careers and the lives of their families, continued their routine jobs. Many of those jobs and those citizens were now in the service of the destruction process, the murder of the Jews of Europe. Business as usual made the Holocaust possible.

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