The subject of my talk today is deportation from Western Europe. My outline will be at first I will talk about the Wannsee Conference, which took place in January 1942 >> At what conference? >> Wannsee. It's spelled. >> Peter, do you want to write that down? Do you want to write it down? >> You write it down, I won't write it down. And then I will be setting up parallels of between western European countries. Denmark and Norway, Belgium and Holland, and France and Italy. My primary interest is that, to what extent can we correlate preexisting antisemitism with the success of extermination. Why is that, that in some of these western European countries, it was a much larger percentage of Jews died than in other countries? Countries which were similar to one another, such as Denmark and Norway, and Belgium and Holland. Let me say once again, which I've said in a different context before, that Western Europe experienced a different Holocaust than the East. The great horrors which occurred in the East, such as taking people out of the city and slaughtering them, did not and could not have taken place in Western Europe. That's not good, no. The topic is dark enough. There is never no ghettos in Western Europe. The percentage of Jews which died in Western Europe was considerably lower than in the East. The Germans behaved differently in the West than in the East. That is, they did things in the East which somehow seemed not possible for them to do in the West. But let me take a step back and talk about this Wannsee Conference. There has been much talk about why is that that there is no Hitler order concerning the extermination of the Jews. And, indeed, some time ago this was discussed among historians, and historians believe that if we search, If we search diligently enough and long enough, we will find such an order. No such order was ever was found, and I have no doubt that no such order ever existed. This is not the way the Holocaust happened. The Holocaust happened step by step. Now the closest thing which we have to an order from above is what brought together the Wannsee Conference. From the summer in 1941, Goering sent a letter entrusting Heydrich to bring together representatives of various German organizations which had to do with the deportation and ultimately the murder of the Jews. And this really is the only instant. And this conference is very interesting for us. It's very interesting for us not because, but someone might say that this is the place and time that the decision was made to murder the Jews. This cannot be, because we know that the murder on large scale began in June 1941 with the invasion of the Soviet Union. And not even the question of setting up gas chambers. Al Chelmno was operating already in the fall of 1941. And the other three major extermination centers Belzec, Sobibor, Treblinka were already under construction in the fall of 1941. That is. Yes? >> What year was the conference again? >> January 1942. What's interesting, that Goering sent this letter. This is not exactly a letter, sent this document to Heydrich empowering him to bring together this conference in the summer of 1941. But the conference took place only in 1942, January. Why the delay is not perfectly clear. However, the conference is interesting. And the conference did do serious work. They spent quite a bit of time in discussing the order of deportations from various western European countries. And from this it is evident that the German plans, making Europe free of Jews, was just that. They included countries, such as England, which of course, first of all England would have to be defeated. And in 1942, this was, this was only a hope. But really they went through country by country and posing the question, what kind of difficulties we might encounter. And it came up saying that, well, in the Scandinavian countries there are very few. And indeed there were very few, in one good sized shtetl in Poland had more Jews than entire Scandinavia. So we don't have to be concerned about it in the beginning. It was assumed that Western European countries would not pose great obstacles. Oddly enough, they considered Hungary a difficult case. As I say its odd because Hungarian antisemitism was, I want to say say second to none. And yet, in the end indeed the Hungarians, because of their insistence on sovereignty, would give trouble to the Germans and I will be arguing next time when I talk about Hungary and Romania. The deportations from Hungary could start only after Hungary was occupied by the German army. Even though of course Hungary was an ally. Well, it's interesting how the Germans, that is the representatives of various institutions of the German state, and when I saw various institutions, this again reveals something about the nature of the Holocaust. Namely, practically every institution of the German state one way or another was involved. This is a complex matter, to bring all the Jews together and then deport them. And so, the railroad networks. Financial institutions, the economy, and of course the already occupied lands in the east. They were all represented in this conference. But what I find perhaps most interesting in this conference, is that these were all high ranking Nazi officers. And how they talk about the Jews. And what is striking here, is that you don't hear propaganda, it's no abuse of Jews. They just simply discuss it as a matter of fact that well, the Jews will be deported, there was really no need among them to deliver antisemitic speeches. And it's not only they did not deliver antisemitic speeches, they never called a spade a spade. There is simply nobody said, now we are going to murder the Jews. The relevant sentence from Heydrich was the most important sentence, it seems to me, from Heydrich was, We will deport the Jews from Europe to the east. In the process, many of them will die, and that will leave us with a kernel, which is the strongest, and these will be submitted to special handling. Now, this is very interesting, when Murray and I often talk about the use of euphemisms. That even in these circles, they don't discuss, well, we're going to murder the Jews. This is just not the way they talk. But everybody knows perfectly well that this is what they are talking about. Now, it seems to me this is a psychological issue which perhaps I, it's not for me to elaborate on it. But I find it very, very interesting. Well, the issue on which they spent an inordinate amount of time, was what shall we do with the half-breeds? Now, from a Nazi point of view, this is a very significant issue. Because if you think in racial terms, if you think in the blood, then you have a problem because if you kill somebody who is half German, then you kill the half-German. On the other hand, if you don't kill the half-German, then you are left with a half-Jew. And they agonized over this. And, in this conference, they could not come to an agreement, but this kept on bothering them. And so a year later, another conference on the lower level of representatives. This time the convener was Adolph Eichmann, whose name I'm sure you have all heard. Which, but the main purpose of that conference was, again, what to do with the half-breeds. And so they come up with various suggestions. One idea is that they will subject half-Jews to castration. That is, they would be given a choice whether they want to go to the extermination camp or be castrated. But nothing comes of this. Nothing comes of this because to subject really hundreds of thousands of people, well, tens of thousands of people, to such a treatment, would require hospitalization. And at the time of the war, they just did not come to the conclusion that this is the right thing to do. They think about how could it be done so repetitiously. That they were called into a room and they don't notice and then they would be subjected to some kind of radiation. And German scientists really work on such half-baked project. No solution. So half-Jews could not become party members. They could not rise in the hierarchy. On the other hand, they survived. They survived in western European countries, and they survived in Germany. And the reason for that, and this again, the same thing which we can say about the Jews who were married to Christians, is that the only way to deal with them is taking them out of German society. Because you see what was happening in the 1930s, not originally planned this way but this was the consequence, the Jews had been removed from German society. They lost their jobs, they lost their apartments, and consequently when they were deported quote nobody noticed it. That is, it was not your best friend who was deported because you already lost your best friend because you couldn't see him because they were already, the Jew was already isolated. However, you could not do this with half-breeds. You could not do this with Jews who were married to Christians. Well you see, well actually this happened. Also, there's a film about this. The so-called, the Rosenstrasse. Where what happened is that they incarcerated German men, I mean Jewish men who were married to Christians, and women came to demonstrate and this created a bad feeling, and so they let the men go. That is the larger point here is that the government very much cared about public opinion. Very cared, very much cared about morale. And this was different in Germany, this was different in Holland, it was very different in the east, where they did not care about it. It didn't bother them that the Polish women would be upset because the Jewish men were being killed. But in the west, it mattered. So, you could remove people who had already been removed from the body of society. That's the point which I'm trying to convey.