Resettlement in Documents

National-Socialist Germany wanted its Jews to leave the country. Great efforts were made both to put Jews under all kinds of social, legal and economic pressure, making life miserable for them in Germany, and to give them incentives in case they emigrated. But when the war broke out, there were less and less options to do so.

On 25 November 1939, German officials wrote the first draft of what was later called the “Generalplan Ost,” which aimed at Germanizing the territories annexed from Poland by resettling Poles living there in the remaining occupied Polish territories, and by resettling the Jews of Germany (including Austria, the Sudetenland, the Protectorate and annexed parts of western Poland) into those territories as well. The plan followed directives from two months earlier by Reinhardt Heydrich, chief of Germany’s Department of Homeland Security (Reichssicherheitshauptamt). One of them envisioned the creation of a Jewish reservation in eastern Poland, but that never materialized.

In early 1940, German officials proposed to their then-Soviet ally to deport the German and Polish Jews to western Ukraine and/or to the “Autonomous Jewish Region Birobidzhan” in eastern Siberia. The Soviets turned down that request.

On 24 June 1940, Heydrich asked the German minister of foreign affairs to be informed of any ministerial meetings concerning the “final solution of the Jewish question,” explaining that Hermann Göring had put him in charge in 1939 to carry out the Jewish emigration, but since the problem had now grown manifold due to the large amount of Polish Jews under German control, it could no longer be solved by emigration. He concluded:

“Thus, a final solution on a territorial basis will impose itself.”

This project of some kind of forced resettlement resulted in the foreign ministry developing the Madagascar Plan after the defeat of France, meaning the resettlement of all Jews under German control to the French colony Madagascar, rather than to Palestine. (See this entry for details.) However, since Britain never lost control of the high seas, and with the United States entering the war in late 1941, the prospects of creating and populating a Jewish colony overseas were eventually recognized as unrealistic.

With hopes for a peace treaty fading in the summer of 1940, plans were devised to concentrate the Jews in an area around the Polish town of Nisko. This Nisko Plan was massively opposed by Hans Frank, governor of the General Government, which was the official name of occupied Poland. Frank managed to talk Hitler into stopping the deportation of more Jews into the already overburdened General Government.

When the war against the Soviet Union resulted in huge initial territorial gains for Germany in the second half of 1941, new perspectives opened up with the option of deporting and resettling Europe’s Jews in the East instead. The first suggestion to that effect was proposed in late August 1941 by an employee at the German embassy in Paris, who suggested “moving the Jews into the eastern territories.” A month later, Goebbels noted in his diary, that the Jews in the East “would all be deported to the camps […] set up by the Bolsheviks,” and that he hoped for the Berlin Jews to be moved to the East as well.

On 28 September 1941, Hitler ordered the deportation of the remaining Jews in Germany and the Protectorate, first to the territories annexed from Poland, then “further east next spring.”

On 13 October 1941, Hans Frank and Alfred Rosenberg discussed deporting the Jewish population in Poland “into the occupied eastern territories,” but shelved the plan for the future.

On 23 October 1941, Himmler stopped all Jewish emigration, effective immediately, and the deportation of western Jews began, with the first batch slated to go to Minsk and Riga.

The new policy of deporting Jews to the east was announced during the infamous Wannsee Conference on 20 January 1942. In its protocol, we read:

“In the meantime, the Reichsführer-SS and Head of the German Police [i.e. Himmler] has forbidden any further emigration of Jews in view of the dangers posed by emigration in wartime and the looming possibilities in the East.

III. As a further possible solution, and with the appropriate prior authorization by the Führer, emigration has now been replaced by evacuation to the East. This operation should be regarded only as a provisional option, though in view of the coming final solution of the Jewish question it is already supplying practical experience of vital importance.”

Hence, on Hitler’s orders, emigration was replaced by evacuation/resettlement/​expulsion to the occupied territories in the East, but only as a temporary solution while awaiting a definitive solution of this issue after the war, something Hitler had asserted repeatedly.

The intention of the Third Reich leaders to “solve” the Jewish problem only after the war results also from many other documents, such as the so-called “Brown File” drafted by Rosenberg on 20 June 1941, which was later integrated into the “Green File” of September of 1942. We read there:

“All measures regarding to the Jewish question in the occupied territories in the East must be taken from the point of view that the Jewish question will be solved in a general way for the whole of Europe after the war. […] Any kind of purely vexatious actions [against Jews], being unworthy of a German, are to be abstained from.”

The Madagascar Plan was apparently abandoned on 10 February 1942, although Goebbels continued to speak of it in his diary as a viable option into March of that year. Instead, the Germans increasingly favored deportations to the German-occupied Soviet territories. Another important document, the Luther memorandum of August 1942, underscores that change, repeating with reference to the Wannsee Conference “that the Führer had now approved the evacuation of the Jews to the East,” with a step-by-step process of first deporting them to the General Government, then on to the occupied eastern territories as soon as this became possible.

On 23 November 1942, Himmler said in a speech that the Jews had been removed from Germany to the East, where they were working on roads, railways etc.

In a report of 14 December 1942, a German ministerial department head summarized the implemented policy toward the Jews by writing that a “gradual cleansing of Jews from the Reich by their deportation to the East” had been implemented.

After Stalingrad, the string of documents talking about resettlements in the East subsided. This was largely because of the necessity of using all hands on deck. For the Jews, this meant that they were soon no longer resettled, but primarily deported to slave-labor camps. As the fronts crept up to Germany’s borders, more and more Jews were deported back into Germany to work there.

(For more on this see Graf/Kues/Mattogno 2020, pp. 204-221.)

The Reality of Resettlements

There are no German wartime documents indicating that the Jews deported to the east were slated for mass murder, or were killed along the way in extermination camps. That doesn’t stop orthodox historians from asserting that these exterminations took place anyway, pointing to anecdotal evidence by former deportees and “confessions” by German officials mostly during show-trial proceedings toward the end and after the war. They also claim that there is no evidence supporting the claim that these resettlements actually took place.

But this is where they are wrong. Sifting systematically through a plethora of wartime sources, Swedish historian Thomas Kues managed to find a long string of documents and media reports from during the war, demonstrating that thousands upon thousands of Jews were indeed deported to the temporarily German-occupied eastern territories. These sources are neatly listed and explained in the following publications, freely accessible to anyone who cares to look:

You need to be a registered user, logged into your account, and your comment must comply with our Acceptable Use Policy, for your comment to get published. (Click here to log in or register.)

Leave a Comment