The Final Solution

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  • The Final Solution
    • The decision taken in summer 1941 to mass exterminate Jews
    • Hitler instigated Himmler and Heydrich
    • Mainly the idea of Himmler as he went to Hitler with the idea - Hitler instigated it
    • The Wannsee Conference was where everything was finalised
    • Ghettos
      • 3 million people lived in Poland - put into Ghettos
      • Parts of towns shut off for Jews to live in
      • Often 2 families shared 1 room
      • Most stayed inside, some came out to work for Nazis
      • Warsaw and Lodz (most famous)
      • Some lived on 181 calories per day
      • 1941, 4000-5000 dying each month
      • Walls 3.5m high and topped with broken glass
    • Einsatzgruppen
      • Large numbers of Jews now under Nazi control
      • New army units set up to deal with Jews
      • Orders were to round up Jews and shoot them into mass graves
      • Graves in forests and remote locations and Jews were driven or forced to walk there
      • Jews were shot in rows and layers of bodies were created in graves
      • About 1.5 million Jews killed by the Einsatzgrupen
    • Extermination Camps
      • Purpose built extermination camps were constructed
        • Treblinka
        • Sobinor
        • Chelmo
        • Majdanek
        • Auschwitz
        • Belzec
      • Camps contained gassing facilities
        • Thousands of Jews could be gassed in minutes
      • Crematoria where bodies could be burned afterwards
      • 6 million Jews were killed through the camp system between 1941-5
      • At Auschwitz, victims were brought by train and dropped off very close to gas chambers
    • Death Marches
      • By 1944, the SS running camps knew they'd be discovered
      • Decided to destroy as much evidence as possible
      • Gas chambers blown up and prisoners unlikely to die in the next day were rounded up to be marched back to Germany
      • Jews expected to walk quickly with no rests
      • Those who couldn't keep up were shot on the side of the road
      • Many dropped dead and survivors were placed in work camps


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