Yet another Wannsee thread (with Brayard)

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Re: Yet another Wannsee thread (with Brayard)

Postby nickterry » Sun Dec 27, 2015 10:35 pm

Balsamo wrote:Hi Nick, and thank you for that.
Is there a way to get those articles online? Or anyway to be delivered copies in central America.

I am planing to start a new thread about Brayard - the fact that Deniers have left the forum should not prevent some healthy debate - so Van Pelt opinion would be very welcomed.


YVS isn't available online as a whole, selected articles are on the YV website, but this review essay wasn't one of them. That's why I got an interlibrary photocopy.

No need to start a new thread on Brayard when we have this one. However, I cannot guarantee I will respond to things in the next few weeks, so it might be StatMech and you.

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Re: Yet another Wannsee thread (with Brayard)

Postby Balsamo » Sun Dec 27, 2015 10:51 pm

I have not plenty of time myself...Hence i have not posted anything yet....

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Re: Yet another Wannsee thread (with Brayard)

Postby Balsamo » Sun Dec 27, 2015 10:57 pm

It is just that i reach this page
http://secure.yadvashem.org/store/produ ... ductid=647

I would gladly pay 18$ if the delivery is through pdf. It is quite difficult and very expensive for me to get physical deliveries.

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Re: Yet another Wannsee thread (with Brayard)

Postby Statistical Mechanic » Sun Dec 27, 2015 11:16 pm

Balsamo wrote:Hi Nick, and thank you for that.
Is there a way to get those articles online? Or anyway to be delivered copies in central America.

I am planing to start a new thread about Brayard - the fact that Deniers have left the forum should not prevent some healthy debate - so Van Pelt opinion would be very welcomed.

There are some issues related to Brayard's thesis that have been raised in this thread and elsewhere (e.g., related stuff in France thread and some other recent discussion points IIRC in the Posen thread, probably others too) but which have yet to be answered; I would prefer that before we move on we get answers to these open issues.
"World peace is certainly an ideal worth striving for; in Hitler's opinion it will be realizable only when one power, the racially best one, has attained complete and uncontested supremacy. That can then provide a sort of world police, seeing to it at the same time that the most valuable race is guaranteed the necessary living space. And if no other way is open to them, the lower races will have to restrict themselves accordingly."

- Rudolf Hess, letter, 1927

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Re: Yet another Wannsee thread (with Brayard)

Postby Statistical Mechanic » Tue Mar 15, 2016 8:04 pm

Without trying to reopen this thread (!), I wanted to summarize what Cesarani's recent book says about the Wannsee conference. Cesarani (pp 445-459) follows mainly Gerlach and Roseman for his discussion of both the November-December 1941 policy turn and the Wannsee conference itself. Cesarani btw doesn’t cite Brayard. Here are some highlights – points I found interesting.

Cesarani believes that the policy reached an impasse at year’s end 1941, tied up with the stalled invasion of the USSR and food/raw materials issues, and that, as will be seen, logistical and resource planning was never up to the at first vague, then increasingly clear ambitions of the Third Reich with regard to the ”Jewish question.” As to the end-of-year policy turn, Cesarani writes of Judenpolitik that “In the autumn of 1941 the anti-Jewish policy of the Third Reich was in confusion.” The deportation policy was not based on “thought as to where they [deported Jews] would go. Nor was there any firm policy about what would happen to them once they got there, wherever it was. . . . The deportations triggered a new wave of massacres and experiments with new techniques of mass killing, but these were hurriedly improvised local solutions. . . . The leading figures in the regime had no ideas for dealing with [Jews in the east] beyond the vague notion that they would all be transported to the interior of the Soviet Union after the war was over. Not a single concrete step had been taken to organize such a massive deportation programme.”

At the same time, in the east the Germans faced a “security crisis”: “reflex thinking was to see Jews behind the communists, who were, in turn, blamed for every manifestation of dissent, sabotage and violent resistance. Reprisals acted as a deterrent, but according to their perverse logic the massacres in the Soviet Union provided the Jews with even more reason to bring down the Reich. Hence Operation Barbarossa had transformed the entire Jewish population of Europe into a merciless cunning adversary.” This situation gave Himmler and Heydrich an opening to expand their power: “Anti-Jewish policy fused with security policy, with the SS in the driving seat.”

Further, the entry of the US into the war had a significant impact on Hitler’s thinking about the Jews: “Germany was now involved in a global conflict engineered by the Jews, fighting a war against Jewish-Bolshevism in Russia, against the Jewish-communist fifth column across Europe, and Jewish plutocracy in the USA and Britain. The Jewish population of the Reich and German-occupied Europe, who the Nazis had held hostage against such a prospect, no longer served that purpose. Instead they would pay the price, as Hitler had prophesied.”

In this context, Cesarani’s discussion of the mid-December meetings of Reich leaders in Berlin with the Führer aligns well with what Nick Terry and I have argued in this thread. I can’t recall if it was in this thread or in the thread on Rosenberg, but Cesarani brings in that fact that on 18 December 1941 Otto Bräutigam (Ostministerium) wrote to Lohse (head of Ostland administration) that “clarity on the Jewish question has been achieved through oral discussion: economic interests are to be disregarded on principle in the settlement of this question.” He notes that Lohse thereafter got on board; Bräutigam’s note followed a meeting between Rosenberg and Hitler at which Rosenberg had raised the Jewish question. Rosenberg noted after this meeting that Hitler had said that the Jews quote “had burdened us with this war. . . . It should come as no surprise when they above all suffered the consequences.” And, as we know, on the same day Himmler met with Hitler – Himmler’s calendar entry: “Jewish question/to be exterminated as partisans”: in an interesting gloss, Cesarani comments, since Jews were already being exterminated in this way, “this suggests [Himmler] was consulting with the Führer about his plans to widen his murderous security operation to the Jewish communities across the rest of German-controlled Europe. The fate of the Jews had been decided.”

Following Roseman, Cesarani sets up his interpretation of the January meeting at to 56-58 Am Grossen Wannsee (misspelling the location as “Wansee”) with a discussion of the initial plans for Heydrich’s meeting: he notes that Heydrich sent out invitations on 29 November 1941 for the meeting, to be convened 9 December 1941 in Berlin. The plan was for “a number of senior civil servants, representatives of Nazi Party agencies, and leading lights of the RSHA” “to discuss implementation of the mandate Göring gave [Heydrich] in July to deliver a ‘comprehensive solution to the Jewish Question.” Heydrich wanted participants to reach “a common view.” Cesarani stresses an important point which IIRC I didn’t significantly address in the preceding discussion in this thread: “The request to attend referred explicitly to the circumstances created by the transportation of Jews from the Reich and Protectorate since mid-October.” The importance of this point is that the January meeting, in Cesarani’s narrative, mashed up the original meeting purpose (deportations from the Reich) with the new purposes (arising from the December meetings in Berlin, which represented a shift in scope – to Europe as a whole – and meaning of the Final Solution – extermination of the Jews).

Back to Cesarani’s text: “the declaration of war on the USA compelled Heydrich to postpone [the meeting] to 20 January”. At the same time, the guest list was altered “slightly but significantly”; the revised list included Hans Frank and HSSPF Krüger from the General Gouvernement (both men, as we know, would send deputies). Here Cesarani delves into the shifting purpose for the Wannsee meeting: “this was a noteworthy alteration. In December Heydrich seemed to be concerned mainly with the deportation of Jews from the Reich and Protectorate to the Reichskommissariet Ostland, which was to be represented at the meeting by Herbert [s/b Rudolf] Lange. By 9 January, when the revised invitations were sent out, the inclusion of men responsible for the General Government suggests either an oversight or a broadening of his purposes [Gerlach].”

In discussing Heydrich’s remarks at the opening of the January meeting, Cesarani makes a point that should be familiar to readers of this thread: he and Himmler assumed responsibility for the Final Solution “without regard to geographic boundaries.” Here was a key shift from the initial focus of the meeting and a shift reflecting December’s events.

Continuing in this vein, Cesarani says of Heydrich’s remarks that at times “It was as if he went back to reading from a script that had been composed only about Jews in the Reich.” An example of this was Heydrich’s exposition on forced emigration as a “provisional solution” to the Jewish question, one managed by Sipo-SD central emigration offices.

Again, as we know, Heydrich used the meeting to announce that the emigration policy was now “to be replaced by ‘evacuation of the Jews to the East, as a further possible solution, with the appropriate prior authorization by the Führer’.” Significantly, IMO, Cesarani further stresses discontinuity between the fall deportations and what was being discussed at Wannsee with this insight: “Heydrich described the forced emigration from the Reich as a ‘provisional solution’ that was ‘supplying practical experience’ in view of the coming ‘final solution.’ This was at best an ex post facto rationalization for the removal of the Jews. The deportations had never been conceived in such terms and were, on the contrary, depicted at the time (September-October 1941) as an end in themselves. Now they were being retrospectively transformed into a rehearsal for something bigger.”

And that “something bigger” which Heydrich was announcing was “The ‘final solution’ [which] would apply to eleven million Jews in countries that fell into two categories.” First: Germany, Axis countries, and client states, plus occupied territories. Second: UK, parts of USSR not yet conquered, neutral and non-belligerent states. In short, all of Europe. Cesarani, invoking the labor columns, road building, and natural diminution, says that “although the evacuation was not intended to deliver the Jews to their deaths immediately, it would ultimately eventuate in the destruction of the Jewish people.”

As I read this, Cesarani is proposing an implicit phasing like so: a) forced emigration prior to October 1941, b) Reich deportation phase October-December 1941, and c) European-wide deportation/evacuation phase post-December 1941. At Wannsee, Cesarani sees remnants of b) surviving into the verbiage even as a shift to c) has taken place.

Cesarani reminds us that “The plan was for Europe to be ‘combed from West to East,’ but starting with the Reich and the Protectorate” to address housing, food, and other domestic issues. Cesarani doesn’t say this but it is interesting that the West-to-East formulation, which in Cesarani’s view is the b) part of the mash-up, was used precisely in Himmler’s 18 September 1941 Himmler to Greiser ordering 20,000 Jews to Łódź. West-to-East reflected the previous policy, the initial deportations.

Cesarani stresses a number of logistical issues, as we have in this thread. About the continued deportations, he writes, “Yet none of this could happen until the military situation was stabilized. Nor could it begin until appropriate arrangements were made in the countries occupied by or under the influence of Germany. . . .” In this, Cesarani highlights deficiencies in the organizational, logistical, and resource planning: he notes Heyrich’s “skipping any of the troublesome aspects that he anticipated in the Reich . . . blasé approach . . . [Heydrich] breezily declared that ‘With regard to the handling of the final solution in European areas occupied by us and under our influence, it was proposed that the officials dealing with this subject in the Foreign Ministry should confer with the appropriate experts in the Security Police and SD.’ Heydrich did not foresee problems in Slovakia or Croatia, where the first steps had been taken. The Romanians had appointed a plenipotentiary for Jewish affairs, but it would be necessary to ‘impose an adviser for Jewish questions on the Hungarians.’ Nor could he see any difficulties rounding up Jews in either the occupied or the unoccupied zones of France. . . . [T]he evacuations might prove ticklish in the Scandinavian countries. By contrast, south-east and western Europe posed no challenge. Luther’s reminder that the Foreign Office had a stake in the matter prompted a similar, lame objection by Otto Hoffman of the Head Office for Race and Resettlement.”

Cesarani considers Heydrich’s presentation on Mischlinge and mixed marriages as a return to phase b): “mainly pertinent to Germany rather than a European-wide ‘final solution’”; he reviews Heydrich’s thinking and Stuckart’s response, without speculating on Stuckart’s motives.

The meeting outcomes, included, in Cesarani’s description:

“Over subsequent weeks Eichmann engaged in numerous meetings concerning the definition of Mischlinge and the question of their fate; neither was ever resolved. There was constant tension and argument over the retention of Jews for labour” with the WVHA and “tussling with the RSHA” over Jews in camps and ghettos.

“Contrary to the scheme as laid out, the mass murder of Jews intensified first in the annexed territories, then the General Gouvernement, and after that in the occupied areas of the Soviet Union. The ‘combing out’ in the west did not get under way until the summer, and in France it did not get the sort of cooperation that Heydrich had lazily assumed.” (Cesarani explains the proposals of Bühler and Meyer in this regard.)

Returning to Heydrich’s planning deficiencies and logistics, Cesarani says that “Above all, the scale of the task baulked even the fanatical agents of Eichmann’s office IVB4, which was responsible for coordinating the deportations and driving them on. . . . They would need more resources and more time . . .”

In a proposal I want to think about more, Cesarani rigorously decouples the extermination underway at Chełmno (using gas vans) and the construction of Vernichtungslager with fixed gas chambers at Bełzec from what was considered at Wannsee: “Heydrich did not connect his plan with [these] operations – not even by means of cautious euphemisms.” Cesarani then returns to the logistical themes we discussed at such length in this thread: “Then again, these murderous facilities could barely have handled the deportations coming from all over Europe for ‘special treatment.’ In actuality, none of the killing sites that took shape over the following months was suited to the purposes laid out by the man directing the ‘final solution.’ Nor were many resources devoted to preparing for such a gargantuan enterprise. The mass murder facilities that were being developed were cheap, jerry-built affairs that soon proved hopelessly inadequate to the task expected of them. Once again, the centrality of the ‘Jewish question’ was not matched by resource allocations. . . . [I]n material terms the war against the Jews was . . . was ill-planned, under-funded, and carried through haphazardly at breakneck speed.”

(Final note: Evans served as the posthumous editor for Cesarani’s mss; either Evans or Macmillan editors might have read the mss more closely – in addition to the misspelling of “Wansee” and naming Rudolf Lange “Herbert,” this section has a discussion of the term “special treatment” in the Wannsee protocol: the text explains that the remnant of fittest Jews were to be subject to “special treatment” and adds that in KLs Sonderbehandlung was “already a euphemism for execution.” But the protocol has different wording to this: “The possible final remnant will, since it will undoubtedly consist of the most resistant portion, have to be treated accordingly, because it is the product of natural selection and would, if released, act as a the seed of a new Jewish revival (see the experience of history.)” The phrase in the German is “entsprechend behandelt” – not Sonderbehandlung.)
"World peace is certainly an ideal worth striving for; in Hitler's opinion it will be realizable only when one power, the racially best one, has attained complete and uncontested supremacy. That can then provide a sort of world police, seeing to it at the same time that the most valuable race is guaranteed the necessary living space. And if no other way is open to them, the lower races will have to restrict themselves accordingly."

- Rudolf Hess, letter, 1927

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Re: Yet another Wannsee thread (with Brayard)

Postby Balsamo » Tue Mar 15, 2016 10:31 pm

StatMec:

Without trying to reopen this thread (!


Well, my friend, this thread has never really been closed. What happened is that i had a multi pages answer to Nick last input and i lost it, deleted, gone, and i never had to time to get all over it again. Especially since i have much less time to dedicate to Historical issues due to professional priorities.

Had this thread been closed, you would definitely have reopened it... :lol:

Is this Cesarini last work from 2015?

I have not read it, and i am unease issuing critics on a book i have not read. But i sense nice new approaches here.
As you may have guessed, i have some remarks.
So i will try to find the time to address your very good summary.

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Re: Yet another Wannsee thread (with Brayard)

Postby Statistical Mechanic » Tue Mar 15, 2016 10:46 pm

Balsamo wrote:StatMec:

Without trying to reopen this thread (!


Well, my friend, this thread has never really been closed. What happened is that i had a multi pages answer to Nick last input and i lost it, deleted, gone, and i never had to time to get all over it again. Especially since i have much less time to dedicate to Historical issues due to professional priorities.

Had this thread been closed, you would definitely have reopened it... :lol:

LOL

Balsamo wrote:Is this Cesarini last work from 2015?

No, from this year, 2016, a 1000-page synthesis of the Final Solution, an integrated approach with a strong slant toward the Jewish response and experience.

Balsamo wrote:I have not read it, and i am unease issuing critics on a book i have not read. But i sense nice new approaches here.

Some interesting insights, I think.

Balsamo wrote:As you may have guessed, i have some remarks.
So i will try to find the time to address your very good summary.

Good!
"World peace is certainly an ideal worth striving for; in Hitler's opinion it will be realizable only when one power, the racially best one, has attained complete and uncontested supremacy. That can then provide a sort of world police, seeing to it at the same time that the most valuable race is guaranteed the necessary living space. And if no other way is open to them, the lower races will have to restrict themselves accordingly."

- Rudolf Hess, letter, 1927

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Re: Yet another Wannsee thread (with Brayard)

Postby Balsamo » Wed Mar 16, 2016 11:07 pm

Ok, here it is, please take into consideration that i have been far from those issues for a couple of months.

So here are just my first impressions on your rendition of Cesarini's book.

“Cesarani believes that the policy reached an impasse at year’s end 1941, tied up with the stalled invasion of the USSR and food/raw materials issues, and that, as will be seen, logistical and resource planning was never up to the at first vague, then increasingly clear ambitions of the Third Reich with regard to the ”Jewish question.”


There is a good point here and that is the Food/raw materials issues (especially the food situation), has somewhat been overlooked. As I have explained in my posts on “Barbarossa”, this was a crucial factor, especially since Germany occupied western European countries (all were not self-sufficient in food but France). But the situation was already dire the year before, hence the policies of starvation in the Ghettos, the Jew was to be the last to be fed.
I also agree that the official “Juden-politiek” – allusion to my two final solutions – not only for the reasons mentioned by Cesarini, but also in more political aspects as the Final Solution was in some ways depending on a multitude of authorities which had to agree to get things done. Granted, a “legal” solution required a German military victory. By December 1941, it was clear that the Final Solution could not be resolved by the “legal” approach, that the official “Jewish offices” among all the ministries had reached their limits.
Well, up to that point, I mostly agree.

Where I disagree is when Cesarini seems to try to turn the first massacres in the East as a consequence of a “security crisis”. I fail to see the basis of that assertion. First because massacres already took place in Poland the year before, in Serbia as well; second they followed almost immediately the conquest of the Baltic States, without real “security motives”, and third because the tools which made those massacres possible were already in place, that is Himmler and Heydrich already had the necessary powers to act in the Eastern territories thanks to two “Fuhrer’s Befehl” and competences already given to them.

So I stand to my position which is that the decision to kill as many Eastern Jews as possible (those perceived as the most dangerous because of their “association” with Bolshevism was already taken before any “security crisis”, unless one speaks of preemptive security measures.
Well, it won’t be not new to you, but the obvious disagreement we have on that issue, is that I don’t consider nor the 12 December meeting nor the Wannsee conference as any kind of decision to exterminate physically (through direct murder) every single Jews in Europe, although it is tempting to see them that way as this is as closed we can get of a real decision. Wannsee has been debated, but personally the idea that Hitler who took so much care not to be directly involved in the Holocaust would have proclaimed such a decision in front of about 50 guests…well I don’t buy it.

The same goes with the entry of war of the USA and its eventual influences on the switch in the Judenpolitiek…pure speculations.

Again, but I may be ignorant, I see no elements which would comfort that the German Jews were held as hostages. Discussions about their removals were going one since a long time and the removals had already started, and some local killings of them had already taken place.

Therefore, I cannot agree with the additional proves brought by Cesarini like the Brautigam’s letter to Lohse or even Himmler’s note “shoot as partisans”. I see those letters as much more circumstantial, and only reflects on how the Jews were killed in the East. Again, Western European Jews will only rarely be killed that way, as a matter of fact, they were not “killed as partisans” at all, but just “Sonderbehandelt as Jews”.

“Cesarani considers Heydrich’s presentation on Mischlinge and mixed marriages as a return to phase b): “mainly pertinent to Germany rather than a European-wide ‘final solution’”; he reviews Heydrich’s thinking and Stuckart’s response, without speculating on Stuckart’s motives.”


Well, of course, as Stuckart had no authority on Jews and Mischlinge issues outside the borders of the Greater Reich, as we have talked about. Nevertheless, it is to be noticed that the definition of who was to be a Jews in the Western occupied countries were more or less the same as the norms within the Reich, while it had been decided that no such distinction should be taken into consideration in the Eastern territories.

“Contrary to the scheme as laid out, the mass murder of Jews intensified first in the annexed territories, then the General Gouvernement, and after that in the occupied areas of the Soviet Union. The ‘combing out’ in the west did not get under way until the summer, and in France it did not get the sort of cooperation that Heydrich had lazily assumed.”


Well, I don’t really understand what he is saying here. Does he consider Ukraine as “annexed territories” not being part of the Soviet Union, or what?
Now, as i said, Heydrich saying his "West to the East" gambit was just to make sure his civilian audience understood that from now on the Jewish problem was the matter of his boss Himmler only on an international basis. Of course, he was bluffing a bit as there were no representatives of the Wehrmacht present at the meeting, and countries like France and Belgium were indeed under their authority.
In the same perspective, we now know that Luther was not a representative of the Foreign Minister during the meeting, but was basically representing himself, and that he was completely sold to the RSHA. It is just that Heydrich chose to deal with one problem at a time.

“In a proposal I want to think about more, Cesarani rigorously decouples the extermination underway at Chełmno (using gas vans) and the construction of Vernichtungslager with fixed gas chambers at Bełzec from what was considered at Wannsee: “Heydrich did not connect his plan with [these] operations – not even by means of cautious euphemisms


I completely agree with that! The AR was the first massive “Sonder Operation”, in this case the term Sonder means “exceptional” that is “outside the box” (have difficulties to express in English) or “outside the book” with “special” selected staffs (SonderKommandos), and secrecy. And as you know, I contest the assertion that “plain and direct murder” as a mean to solve the Jewish question was mentioned at Wannsee (contrary to what Eichmann told). Of course, I have never denied that what was exposed at Wannsee was in itself “murderous” and aimed at some forms of extinction.

“Then again, these murderous facilities could barely have handled the deportations coming from all over Europe for ‘special treatment.’ In actuality, none of the killing sites that took shape over the following months was suited to the purposes laid out by the man directing the ‘final solution.’ Nor were many resources devoted to preparing for such a gargantuan enterprise. The mass murder facilities that were being developed were cheap, jerry-built affairs that soon proved hopelessly inadequate to the task expected of them. Once again, the centrality of the ‘Jewish question’ was not matched by resource allocations. . . . [I]n material terms the war against the Jews was . . . was ill-planned, under-funded, and carried through haphazardly at breakneck speed.”


I am not sure I am following this. Cheap or not, those camps were quite effective in annihilating most of the Polish Jews, as well as some western Jews. But again, as part of a Sonder Aktion, they were not meant to be permanent in the first place, because of their very nature, IMHO. But I fail to see why they could not have “handled” the western Jews if that was part of the plan. If those installations could handle over a million “eastern Jews”, they theoretically could have handled a few hundred thousands more. So, I guess that the reasons of the abandon of those killing tools are to be searched elsewhere.

I do agree with the second assertion, though. Yes the whole operation may looked like underfunded, but in my very humble opinion, it yet another proof that it was not an official State policy decided by a assembly of Nazis (government) gathered around the Fuhrer some day in December 41. Actually, the whole criminal operation was not that ill funded at all. Trains were rented or requisitioned to transport the Jews without disturbing the necessities of the war. But the whole thing was obviously, not State-funded, so to speak, but paid by the loots and the return on investments by the Slave labor activities…hence the apparent tensions between the WVHA and the RSHA…But these tensions, IMHO, were just apparent in the sense that there was no fundamental disagreement on the finality, but just about the timing and circumstantial priorities. That Himmler had ideas and projects which greatly exceeded the capacities of his organization is nothing new, but had his project been official State policies, more bodies would have been involved in solving the problems and efficiency would have been there.

I am not saying that other bodies were not involved indirectly, but each had a specific job to do: example: the French police and the SD to gather Jews at Drancy, Vichy authorities as well as Wehrmacht to make train available, but those were limited tasks only possible as long as not too much question were asked about what would happened to the Jews AFTER. Hence the official BS given by the RSHA to all those various bodies along the way.

Again, it seems to comfort the way Brayard (and your humble servant) apprehend things, that for the most part of it, it was not a State policy, but a “SS-backed duty” assumed by Himmler. Keeping this in mind, after the secret had been shared, and all hypocrisies teared down, the RSHA will be able to handle things much more quickly as shown during the “Hungarian Action” which given the circumstances was an astonishing “success” (am I the only one uncomfortable for having to use this kind of words?).

My conclusion is that I am going to buy this book and read it, as all my remarks are to be considered provisional. It seems there is a bunch of good new perspectives, but again, somehow prevented to be explored by the obligation to take into consideration such or such turning points (December 41 or Wannsee, not to mention them) and to integrate those hypothetical points into the narrative.

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Re: Yet another Wannsee thread (with Brayard)

Postby Statistical Mechanic » Thu Mar 17, 2016 12:37 am

Balsamo wrote:. . . a good point here and that is the Food/raw materials issues (especially the food situation), has somewhat been overlooked. As I have explained in my posts on “Barbarossa”, this was a crucial factor, especially since Germany occupied western European countries (all were not self-sufficient in food but France). But the situation was already dire the year before, hence the policies of starvation in the Ghettos, the Jew was to be the last to be fed.

Agree - this isn't really a Cesarani innovation - in fact, he cites recent secondary literature for this argument, along with his argument about security.

Balsamo wrote:I also agree that the official “Juden-politiek” – allusion to my two final solutions – not only for the reasons mentioned by Cesarini, but also in more political aspects as the Final Solution was in some ways depending on a multitude of authorities which had to agree to get things done. Granted, a “legal” solution required a German military victory.

I may have misstated something if it sounded like "two final solutions" or if it sounded as though there was a legal solution dependent on the war ending. He mentioned the military situation stabilizing and logistical challengesin the context of 1) overly optimistic and poor planning of the FS by the authorities and 2) the new approach, not a previous so-called legal approach.

Balsamo wrote:By December 1941, it was clear that the Final Solution could not be resolved by the “legal” approach, that the official “Jewish offices” among all the ministries had reached their limits.
Well, up to that point, I mostly agree.

You're imposing a different framework on Cesarani's discussion than the one he uses - he doesn't contrast a legal to a non-legal approach. I don't think you agree as much as you think: Cesarani is simply making the very standard point that the authorities had reached an impasse because of the course of the war and on account of self-made problems their policy was creating for them. These things came to a head as the deportation policy ran afoul of the war effort.

Balsamo wrote:Where I disagree is when Cesarini seems to try to turn the first massacres in the East as a consequence of a “security crisis”. I fail to see the basis of that assertion. First because massacres already took place in Poland the year before, in Serbia as well;

Cesarani discusses these things at length; I didn't. He sees strong continuity in Jewish policy between the Polish occupation and the early part of Barbarossa - escalation and widening of a fairly consistent policy.

Balsamo wrote:second they followed almost immediately the conquest of the Baltic States, without real “security motives”,

I must be explaining this poorly: Cesarani's point isn't that the Reich had legitimate security concerns but that the Nazis' view of the Jews, as the world enemy, coupled with the Nazi occupation of the East, which brought with it the beginnings of partisan activity, led the authorities to fuse two concepts ideas in keeping with their world-view. Cesarani isn't arguing that the Jews were a security threat: in fact, as you read - Cesarani doesn't say this explicitly - you get the idea that the Nazis damaged themselves by fighting a fictional enemy. (I've already posted on Cesarani's explanation of the expansion of the killing of Jews in the occupied USSR beyond its initial scope, again a very "traditional" account but one he doesn't IMO account for very successfully.)

Balsamo wrote:and third because the tools which made those massacres possible were already in place, that is Himmler and Heydrich already had the necessary powers to act in the Eastern territories thanks to two “Fuhrer’s Befehl” and competences already given to them.

Cesarani devotes a lot of attention to the conflicts among the Wehrmacht, the Ostministerium and civil authorities, and the police apparatus. He would probably say something to the effect that during the summer and fall of 1941 Himmler and Heydrich were asserting, implementing, defining, and extending the paper mandate.

Balsamo wrote:So I stand to my position which is that the decision to kill as many Eastern Jews as possible (those perceived as the most dangerous because of their “association” with Bolshevism was already taken before any “security crisis”, unless one speaks of preemptive security measures.

I know, but Cesarani disagrees - and I still don't see any evidence against his view.

Balsamo wrote:Well, it won’t be not new to you, but the obvious disagreement we have on that issue, is that I don’t consider nor the 12 December meeting nor the Wannsee conference as any kind of decision to exterminate physically (through direct murder) every single Jews in Europe, although it is tempting to see them that way as this is as closed we can get of a real decision. Wannsee has been debated, but personally the idea that Hitler who took so much care not to be directly involved in the Holocaust would have proclaimed such a decision in front of about 50 guests…well I don’t buy it.

I don't think Cesarani would say that in December 1941 a decision was taken to kill every Jew in Europe. At least he doesn't put it that way. He talks in terms of a decision taken to make the extermination of Jews European-wide. The difference may be semantic. Anyway, Cesarani sticks closely to Gerlach and Roseman, also using Longerich quite a bit. So, again, round and round we go.

Balsamo wrote:The same goes with the entry of war of the USA and its eventual influences on the switch in the Judenpolitiek…pure speculations.

Not, again, a Cesarani innovation: this ties to the view that the earlier policy envisaged the Reich "holding European Jews as hostages" for the "good behavior" of the US. With Pearl Harbor and the German declaration of war against the US, this policy was no longer relevant. And the Jews became more "expendable."

Balsamo wrote:Again, but I may be ignorant, I see no elements which would comfort that the German Jews were held as hostages. Discussions about their removals were going one since a long time and the removals had already started, and some local killings of them had already taken place.

I will look it up another time - I think there are Hitler quotations on this. Cesarani quotes from Goebbels' diary on Hitler's determination to make a "clean sweep" of the Jews with the outbreak of the world war, with US entry into the conflict.

Balsamo wrote:Therefore, I cannot agree with the additional proves brought by Cesarini like the Brautigam’s letter to Lohse or even Himmler’s note “shoot as partisans”. I see those letters as much more circumstantial, and only reflects on how the Jews were killed in the East. Again, Western European Jews will only rarely be killed that way, as a matter of fact, they were not “killed as partisans” at all, but just “Sonderbehandelt as Jews”.

Just to state Cesarani's argument right, though: Cesarani, following others, sees a number of "pieces falling into place" (my phrase) following the December 1941 meetings in Berlin - Goebbels' diary entry, Frank's speech to his administration in the General Gouvernement, Bräutigam's note, Lohse's capitulation, the widely discussed Rosenberg-Hitler meeting, Himmler's calendar note - and (you will not agree) the Wannsee meeting.

Balsamo wrote:
“Contrary to the scheme as laid out, the mass murder of Jews intensified first in the annexed territories, then the General Gouvernement, and after that in the occupied areas of the Soviet Union. The ‘combing out’ in the west did not get under way until the summer, and in France it did not get the sort of cooperation that Heydrich had lazily assumed.”

Well, I don’t really understand what he is saying here. Does he consider Ukraine as “annexed territories” not being part of the Soviet Union, or what?

I assumed by "annexed territories" he was referring to the Warthegau. Ukraine would be covered by "after that in the occupied areas of the Soviet Union." I may not be understanding your question.

Balsamo wrote:Now, as i said, Heydrich saying his "West to the East" gambit was just to make sure his civilian audience understood that from now on the Jewish problem was the matter of his boss Himmler only on an international basis.

I disagree, and so does Cesarani: Cesarani's point is that the West-to-East formulation was how the deportations were conceived to be carried out. I don't see how that wording or thinking supports your conclusion about what Heydrich was trying to convey to the meeting attendees about his authority or Himmler's. Not on this point.

Balsamo wrote:Of course, he was bluffing a bit as there were no representatives of the Wehrmacht present at the meeting, and countries like France and Belgium were indeed under their authority.

So what? Are you arguing against the view that the Wannsee meeting "claimed" authority over the Jewish question across Europe?

Balsamo wrote:In the same perspective, we now know that Luther was not a representative of the Foreign Minister during the meeting, but was basically representing himself, and that he was completely sold to the RSHA. It is just that Heydrich chose to deal with one problem at a time.

How do we know this? But, more importantly, why does it matter? Luther was in a running battle with his boss, the police would need the ministry to work the Jewish policy in various countries (those allied with Germany or neutral), Heydrich outlined some considerations of this at the meeting, and Luther worked these issues, as did others in the ministry, subsequently.

Balsamo wrote:I completely agree with that! The AR was the first massive “Sonder Operation”, in this case the term Sonder means “exceptional” that is “outside the box” (have difficulties to express in English) or “outside the book” with “special” selected staffs (SonderKommandos), and secrecy.

No, T-4 would qualify. But I amnot saying I think Cesarani is wrong. Bełzec and Chełmno were operations that began before the December 1941 "turn," so Cesarani's point makes sense: the question is what happened with these programs (and with the other Einsatz Reinhard camps) during the spring of 1942. In other words, how did Heydrich (through May) and Himmler conceive these installations as the Final Solution developed? That's what I want to give more consideration to.

Balsamo wrote:
“Then again, these murderous facilities could barely have handled the deportations coming from all over Europe for ‘special treatment.’ In actuality, none of the killing sites that took shape over the following months was suited to the purposes laid out by the man directing the ‘final solution.’ Nor were many resources devoted to preparing for such a gargantuan enterprise. The mass murder facilities that were being developed were cheap, jerry-built affairs that soon proved hopelessly inadequate to the task expected of them. Once again, the centrality of the ‘Jewish question’ was not matched by resource allocations. . . . [I]n material terms the war against the Jews was . . . was ill-planned, under-funded, and carried through haphazardly at breakneck speed.”

I am not sure I am following this. Cheap or not, those camps were quite effective in annihilating most of the Polish Jews, as well as some western Jews.

That is what I took to be Cesarani's point: that the camps were built for the extermination of Polish Jews and more - and were sufficient for that. But that these camps were not, logistically or operationally, suitable to the "11 million" continent-wide extermination. I don't know - large numbers of potential Jewish victims were in as yet unconquered Russia, in Ukraine, in Romania. Cesarani's argument is precisely that the scope and mechanics weren't thought out; whether those camps could have sufficed, in context that's not his main point.

Balsamo wrote:But I fail to see why they could not have “handled” the western Jews if that was part of the plan. If those installations could handle over a million “eastern Jews”, they theoretically could have handled a few hundred thousands more. So, I guess that the reasons of the abandon of those killing tools are to be searched elsewhere.

I don't know, frankly, but again Cesarani's focus is more on the thinking and planning - and lack thereof. Auschwitz was certainly better located for the murder of 100s of 1000s of European Jews. But, again, Cesarani is really making the point that these early camps weren't built to handle "all of Europe." I've not gotten to Auschwitz yet - perhaps he will argue that as the AR camps completed their work of exterminating Polish Jews whilst Auschwitz was eventually was built up to focus on the rest of Europe, more or less.

Balsamo wrote:Yes the whole operation may looked like underfunded, but in my very humble opinion, it yet another proof that it was not an official State policy decided by a assembly of Nazis (government) gathered around the Fuhrer some day in December 41. Actually, the whole criminal operation was not that ill funded at all.

Trains were rented or requisitioned to transport the Jews without disturbing the necessities of the war. But the whole thing was obviously, not State-funded, so to speak, but paid by the loots and the return on investments by the Slave labor activities…hence the apparent tensions between the WVHA and the RSHA…But these tensions, IMHO, were just apparent in the sense that there was no fundamental disagreement on the finality, but just about the timing and circumstantial priorities. That Himmler had ideas and projects which greatly exceeded the capacities of his organization is nothing new, but had his project been official State policies, more bodies would have been involved in solving the problems and efficiency would have been there.

Cesarani shows over and over that official policies - to take but one example, the resettlement of the Poles and ethnic Germans before Barbarossa - were handled in just this way. Poor planning, overreach, chaotic lines of administration, lack of clear goals, mismatch between means and ambitions. These were hallmarks not only of the FS - {!#%@}, Cesarani makes similar observations about planning and conduct of the war itself - so, in his terms, you are actually confirming the "December turn."

Balsamo wrote:I am not saying that other bodies were not involved indirectly, but each had a specific job to do: example: the French police and the SD to gather Jews at Drancy, Vichy authorities as well as Wehrmacht to make train available, but those were limited tasks only possible as long as not too much question were asked about what would happened to the Jews AFTER. Hence the official BS given by the RSHA to all those various bodies along the way.

Again, it seems to comfort the way Brayard (and your humble servant) apprehend things, that for the most part of it, it was not a State policy, but a “SS-backed duty” assumed by Himmler. Keeping this in mind, after the secret had been shared, and all hypocrisies teared down, the RSHA will be able to handle things much more quickly as shown during the “Hungarian Action” which given the circumstances was an astonishing “success” (am I the only one uncomfortable for having to use this kind of words?).

Frankly, there's not a hint of this argument in Cesarani's treatment.
"World peace is certainly an ideal worth striving for; in Hitler's opinion it will be realizable only when one power, the racially best one, has attained complete and uncontested supremacy. That can then provide a sort of world police, seeing to it at the same time that the most valuable race is guaranteed the necessary living space. And if no other way is open to them, the lower races will have to restrict themselves accordingly."

- Rudolf Hess, letter, 1927

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Re: Yet another Wannsee thread (with Brayard)

Postby Statistical Mechanic » Thu Mar 17, 2016 1:32 am

Statistical Mechanic wrote:
Balsamo wrote:The same goes with the entry of war of the USA and its eventual influences on the switch in the Judenpolitiek…pure speculations.

Not, again, a Cesarani innovation: this ties to the view that the earlier policy envisaged the Reich "holding European Jews as hostages" for the "good behavior" of the US. With Pearl Harbor and the German declaration of war against the US, this policy was no longer relevant. And the Jews became more "expendable."

Balsamo wrote:Again, but I may be ignorant, I see no elements which would comfort that the German Jews were held as hostages. Discussions about their removals were going one since a long time and the removals had already started, and some local killings of them had already taken place.

I will look it up another time - I think there are Hitler quotations on this. Cesarani quotes from Goebbels' diary on Hitler's determination to make a "clean sweep" of the Jews with the outbreak of the world war, with US entry into the conflict.

For example:
Asserting that 8,000,000 Jews have now come under Hitler’s control, the Nazi radio in Prague today announced that “they will be regarded as hostages for the anti-German war-mongering activity of the other half of world Jewry in Britain, the United States and elsewhere.”

The announcer, Col. Emanuel Moravac, declared that more severe measures against Jews are to be expected soon not only in the Reich and in Nazi-occupied territories, but also in Nazi-controlled countries such as Hungary, Rumania, Slovakia, Bulgaria and France.

Predicting that “the Jews will vanish from Europe like wolves,” the Nazi colonel expressed the hope that the entire world will follow Germany’s policy with regard to the Jews. “When the Fuehrer assumed power he only had to deal with 800,000 Jews as compared with the 8,000,000 who are now under his control; this will, however, not weaken his determination to eliminate all Jews from Europe,” the announcer stated.

Also: Gerlach's Wannsee article, p 786, which Cesarani's account echoes; McHale, Hitler's Shadow War p 119 (citing article in Das Schwarze Korps, 1938), p 175; Kershaw, Nemesis, p 321 (Radmacher's Madagascar plan proposing Lublin Jews as hostages to paralyze USA), p 349 (arguing that hostage idea was behind the famous Hitler prophecy); Lukacs, The Last European War: September 1939 - December 1941, p 449; like you, Browning criticizes the idea (Nazi Policy pp 34-37). I can't find a direct Hitler statement on this. I missed on first reading of your post where you restricted your comment to German Jews only being thought of as hostages; that's not what Cesarani argued, however.
"World peace is certainly an ideal worth striving for; in Hitler's opinion it will be realizable only when one power, the racially best one, has attained complete and uncontested supremacy. That can then provide a sort of world police, seeing to it at the same time that the most valuable race is guaranteed the necessary living space. And if no other way is open to them, the lower races will have to restrict themselves accordingly."

- Rudolf Hess, letter, 1927

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Re: Yet another Wannsee thread (with Brayard)

Postby Statistical Mechanic » Thu Mar 17, 2016 6:16 pm

Balsamo wrote:
Statistical Mechanic wrote:
“Then again, these murderous facilities could barely have handled the deportations coming from all over Europe for ‘special treatment.’ In actuality, none of the killing sites that took shape over the following months was suited to the purposes laid out by the man directing the ‘final solution.’ Nor were many resources devoted to preparing for such a gargantuan enterprise. The mass murder facilities that were being developed were cheap, jerry-built affairs that soon proved hopelessly inadequate to the task expected of them. Once again, the centrality of the ‘Jewish question’ was not matched by resource allocations. . . . [I]n material terms the war against the Jews was . . . was ill-planned, under-funded, and carried through haphazardly at breakneck speed.”

I am not sure I am following this. Cheap or not, those camps were quite effective in annihilating most of the Polish Jews, as well as some western Jews.

That is what I took to be Cesarani's point: that the camps were built for the extermination of Polish Jews and more - and were sufficient for that. But that these camps were not, logistically or operationally, suitable to the "11 million" continent-wide extermination. I don't know - large numbers of potential Jewish victims were in as yet unconquered Russia, in Ukraine, in Romania. Cesarani's argument is precisely that the scope and mechanics weren't thought out; whether those camps could have sufficed, in context that's not his main point.

Balsamo wrote:But I fail to see why they could not have “handled” the western Jews if that was part of the plan. If those installations could handle over a million “eastern Jews”, they theoretically could have handled a few hundred thousands more. So, I guess that the reasons of the abandon of those killing tools are to be searched elsewhere.

I don't know, frankly, but again Cesarani's focus is more on the thinking and planning - and lack thereof. Auschwitz was certainly better located for the murder of 100s of 1000s of European Jews. But, again, Cesarani is really making the point that these early camps weren't built to handle "all of Europe." I've not gotten to Auschwitz yet - perhaps he will argue that as the AR camps completed their work of exterminating Polish Jews whilst Auschwitz was eventually was built up to focus on the rest of Europe, more or less.

I should have commented also that the Einsatz Reinhard camps experienced, as is well known, breakdowns after being put into use, underscoring Cesarani's point about their bare sufficiency for the job at hand, that is, murder of the Jews of the General Gouvernement. These breakdowns included transportation problems, capacity constraints, and administrative/processing crises - and, as documented, the breakdowns led to temporary camp closures, new construction and expansion of killing installations, and personnel and organizational shifts.

I should stress again that competition among "projects" for state funding, and shortages in some arenas, is not only theoretically expected for official programs but also 1) common experience in practice (as any review of federal and local spending by governments in the US would reveal) and 2) documented in the case of the Reich, and especially with the claims of the regime's war priorities coming first. Thus, underfunding of a policy or set of projects is far from evidence that the policy is not official; rather, it speaks to (shifting) priorities and bureaucratic infighting, of the sort well ventilated in the Third Reich.
"World peace is certainly an ideal worth striving for; in Hitler's opinion it will be realizable only when one power, the racially best one, has attained complete and uncontested supremacy. That can then provide a sort of world police, seeing to it at the same time that the most valuable race is guaranteed the necessary living space. And if no other way is open to them, the lower races will have to restrict themselves accordingly."

- Rudolf Hess, letter, 1927

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Re: Yet another Wannsee thread (with Brayard)

Postby Statistical Mechanic » Thu Mar 17, 2016 7:33 pm

Statistical Mechanic wrote:
Balsamo wrote:. . . I don’t consider nor the 12 December meeting nor the Wannsee conference as any kind of decision to exterminate physically (through direct murder) every single Jews in Europe, although it is tempting to see them that way as this is as closed we can get of a real decision. Wannsee has been debated, but personally the idea that Hitler who took so much care not to be directly involved in the Holocaust would have proclaimed such a decision in front of about 50 guests…well I don’t buy it.

I don't think Cesarani would say that in December 1941 a decision was taken to kill every Jew in Europe. At least he doesn't put it that way. He talks in terms of a decision taken to make the extermination of Jews European-wide. The difference may be semantic. Anyway, Cesarani sticks closely to Gerlach and Roseman, also using Longerich quite a bit. So, again, round and round we go.

I have to clarify my reply here. Even in the east, by early 1942, there was no decision immediately "to exterminate physically (through direct murder) every single Jews." The course of the extermination program, during those early months, in the East included provision for labor - selection occurring in the ghettos more than in camps (as later with the Auschwitz model). I've detailed this for Łódź, the Lublin district, and the Baltics quite a few times in this subforum. One could do the same for Galicia and so on. The program included, thus, direct murder of unfit Jews, forced labor and temporary maintenance of Jews fit for labor (here the food and security crises, as well as the war's progress, become critical, and so-called "elimination by natural causes," that is, overwork, starvation and malnutrition, etc. Here the Wannsee protocol speaks, if a bit elliptically, fairly well to the early 1942 policy. Goebbels' famous March 1942 diary entry is practically a programmatic statement on the kill-now/maintain ratio for "Globocnik's Jews" in the east.

As I read Cesarani, he's in alignment with this: that's why I replied that he wouldn't put it as you did, but that goes for the extermination in the East as well as across Europe. I am explicitly rejecting a formulation of early complete extermination of eastern Jews, 2nd final solution for western Jews in favor of looking at the progression, as the Wannsee protocol outlined, from a continental standpoint, with component pieces, after December 1942. In any event, attritional labor was a component of the Germans' thinking in the east as well as for western Europe, with some 100s of 1000s of eastern Jews not murdered immediately and directly, and the policy implementation provided for, and reflected, the conflicts among SS, Wehrmacht, and civil authorities over labor needs. The balance of "selected for labor"/immediate direct murder would shift over time. But I just want to make sure that I am being clear about what Cesarani argues, which I happen to agree with. I will start reading again this evening, as I've been busy with some other things, and update you on how Cesarani plays this out and whether I'm understanding him correctly.
"World peace is certainly an ideal worth striving for; in Hitler's opinion it will be realizable only when one power, the racially best one, has attained complete and uncontested supremacy. That can then provide a sort of world police, seeing to it at the same time that the most valuable race is guaranteed the necessary living space. And if no other way is open to them, the lower races will have to restrict themselves accordingly."

- Rudolf Hess, letter, 1927

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Re: Yet another Wannsee thread (with Brayard)

Postby Balsamo » Thu Mar 17, 2016 9:19 pm

Thank you for all those precision.
Not always easy to comment on a rendition of a book one has not read.

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Re: Yet another Wannsee thread (with Brayard)

Postby Statistical Mechanic » Thu Mar 17, 2016 9:25 pm

Balsamo wrote:Thank you for all those precision.
Not always easy to comment on a rendition of a book one has not read.

Lol - not even easy sometimes when you've read it! I will keep posting about spring and summer 1942, I've just gotten into that period this afternoon. Fire away - that way I can clarify remarks/summaries I've left unclear . . .
"World peace is certainly an ideal worth striving for; in Hitler's opinion it will be realizable only when one power, the racially best one, has attained complete and uncontested supremacy. That can then provide a sort of world police, seeing to it at the same time that the most valuable race is guaranteed the necessary living space. And if no other way is open to them, the lower races will have to restrict themselves accordingly."

- Rudolf Hess, letter, 1927

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Re: Yet another Wannsee thread (with Brayard)

Postby Balsamo » Thu Mar 17, 2016 11:36 pm

“I may have misstated something if it sounded like "two final solutions" or if it sounded as though there was a legal solution dependent on the war ending. He mentioned the military situation stabilizing and logistical challengesin the context of 1) overly optimistic and poor planning of the FS by the authorities and 2) the new approach, not a previous so-called legal approach.”


No, you did not. :lol:

The parallel two final solutions” is-or so it seems - my baby. And I am quite aware of the difficulties to explain it properly.

You also wrote:
“You're imposing a different framework on Cesarani's discussion than the one he uses - he doesn't contrast a legal to a non-legal approach. I don't think you agree as much as you think: Cesarani is simply making the very standard point that the authorities had reached an impasse because of the course of the war and on account of self-made problems their policy was creating for them. These things came to a head as the deportation policy ran afoul of the war effort.”


I do agree that the solution as planned as soon as 1939 was in a dead-end. You cannot deport easily deport Jews into territories already filled with Jews, and the problem was mainly what to do with those million eastern Jews inherited in 1939. So, as the Reich expanded into heavily Jews populated areas, what I call the “legal approach” – that is the one that was thought through officially in various ministries – which was about the removal of the Jews through a “territorial solution”, that is the real resettlement of those population from various territories into a “Jewish reservation” somewhere as far from Germany as possible, was dependent of a German victory, plain and simple, otherwise it was in a dead end.

Now, given those circumstances, and to please Hitler as well as the Gauleiters who all wanted their Reich and Gau “free of Jews” other solutions had to be thought and will give birth to the Final Solution as we know it. But by December 1941, I also agree that there was not much room for maneuver. The Nazi local authorities in the newly acquired eastern territories were more than reluctant to see their “kingdom” becoming a bin for all the Jews. So I also agree that the situation was in quite a dead end as well. Although in this perspectives, room was being made in the Baltics, but not enough to absorb the Jews to be expelled from the Reich. So, it will be this perspective – killing Jews – which will impose itself as the Solution.

Where I differ is that officially, the first solution proposing a “territorial Solution” was never officially recalled, and was on the contrary promoted in order to convince the various local authorities to cooperate ( Slovakia, Belgium or France), and this fundamental lie would survive at least until the end of 1943, and in some cases, even longer.
That at no time, there was a meeting whatsoever with the participation of dozens of Nazis that officially declared to everyone that the Final Solution as thought in 1939 was to be replaced by a more radical one based on plain murder, at least not until the end of 1943.

Nevertheless, first in Poland, then in Serbia, then in the Baltic States and the Ukraine, massacres took place, very disorganized at first in Poland, better thought in Serbia (mostly killed as hostages in order not to alienate the Serbian population too much, in the Baltic and the Ukraine even more easily given the attitude of the local population. This could very well be the “practical experiences” Heydrich was alluding to while I doubt he dared to be specific to his audience at Wannsee.

Anyway, by the end of 1941, Heydrich spread the EG reports so everyone that matters would know.

This is why agree with Cesarini when he says that the Final Solutions were in some dead end by the end of 1941, but I also do think that the murderous solution must have come to Himmler and Heydrich minds well before he could really go on with their project. It is just that they lacked the authorities to act as they wanted. This was and would be a long process.


“Cesarani discusses these things at length; I didn't. He sees strong continuity in Jewish policy between the Polish occupation and the early part of Barbarossa - escalation and widening of a fairly consistent policy.”


As I have just explained, I would agree as long as we are talking about “eastern Jews”, which were twice “sub-human”. But “our” (that is Brayard and me, lol) point is that at this stage even Hitler would not have dared to declare that doctor Lowenstein from Berlin had to be treated the same way as one those “hairy hooked-nosed contagious “beasts” Jews from the East shown in Goebbels documentaries.


This is a must read for me, as you know, I give a very special place to the “power struggles” between the Nazi authorities.

“I know, but Cesarani disagrees - and I still don't see any evidence against his view.”

I know most disagree! :lol:

But evidences are there: legal definition of Jews West vs East, legal definition of Mischlinge West vs East, the scale of killing: EG in the Baltics, the Ukraine and Russia, with the help of militia and sometimes the Army killed over half a million Jews (how many among them would have been considered able to work?) in about 6 months vs no such things in the west, systematic “ghettoiziation” or concentration camp in the East vs not even the obligation to wear a yellow star in Paris or Brussels.
If that is not double standard, what is? There were reasons for those discrepancies! Why?

Ok, we agreed and still agree on the opportunity/possibility dynamic that was in place, but there is still no explanation of why there was such a difference in opportunities/possibilities. Again, i am not contesting the intend, i am wondering about the differences of implementations and about the reasons behind those differences.

“I don't think Cesarani would say that in December 1941 a decision was taken to kill every Jew in Europe. At least he doesn't put it that way. He talks in terms of a decision taken to make the extermination of Jews European-wide. The difference may be semantic. Anyway, Cesarani sticks closely to Gerlach and Roseman, also using Longerich quite a bit. So, again, round and round we go.”


We don’t have to get back to Gerlach and Roseman, it is all up there somewhere.

But this is quite the main issue. What do they mean by extermination decided officially in front of 50 guests? Were specifics (murder?), timeframes (before 1943 or 44), plans and methods proposed or discussed? We just don’t know what had been said during this meeting, and of course, I don’t deny the right to elaborate thesis on that. I just do not agree with the reasoning.

“Just to state Cesarani's argument right, though: Cesarani, following others, sees a number of "pieces falling into place" (my phrase) following the December 1941 meetings in Berlin - Goebbels' diary entry, Frank's speech to his administration in the General Gouvernement, Bräutigam's note, Lohse's capitulation, the widely discussed Rosenberg-Hitler meeting, Himmler's calendar note - and (you will not agree) the Wannsee meeting.”


I am fully aware that Historical sciences are able to build thesis. But as I said, when the very foundation is weak, or at least disputable, the thesis has to be submitted to refutations. As we have no clue, but quite a typical Hitler’s rants in Goebbels diary – which by the way is proven not to be definitive by other later passages of his diary – we just don’t know if there is a clear and undisputable link between all those elements.

Not that I blame you to see it that way, I just do not. It is just a matter of perspectives, really.

“So what? Are you arguing against the view that the Wannsee meeting "claimed" authority over the Jewish question across Europe?”


Of course not!
As a matter of fact, he “claimed” authority over the Jewish question. But we are forced to take into consideration that some important authorities were not at the meeting, in the case the Wehrmacht who de facto was responsible for those issues in various part of Europe: In France and in Belgium, for example. Given that the RSHA authority in those regions could not be considered as “granted”, Heydrich was kind of bluffing. Not that the audience really cared, as they did not have any authority in those region neither. But in case of Himmler and Heydrich, and the RSHA, at that time, there were still obstacles that had to be lifted before the “claim” becomes a reality.

“How do we know this? But, more importantly, why does it matter? Luther was in a running battle with his boss, the police would need the ministry to work the Jewish policy in various countries (those allied with Germany or neutral), Heydrich outlined some considerations of this at the meeting, and Luther worked these issues, as did others in the ministry, subsequently. “


I’ll reserve the first part for later.

But it does matter because the other civilian participants really believed that the foreign ministry was deeply involved in the meeting, while Luther was basically representing his personal service which was completely submitted to Heydrich. Ribbentrop, the minister, was not even aware that such a meeting did take place.

“No, T-4 would qualify. But I amnot saying I think Cesarani is wrong. Bełzec and Chełmno were operations that began before the December 1941 "turn," so Cesarani's point makes sense: the question is what happened with these programs (and with the other Einsatz Reinhard camps) during the spring of 1942. In other words, how did Heydrich (through May) and Himmler conceive these installations as the Final Solution developed? That's what I want to give more consideration to.”


I agree, my mistake, T-4 was a good example of “Sonder Aktion”. But this just confirm what I was saying, as those “Sonder” stuff were to be hidden, and had to be officially called off once the secret was broken. They were “exceptional measure” to deal with specific problems. This is a problem as “Sonder and Besonder” in German can be understood in a various ways depending in its context, or to be more precise, it means barely anything without a context.
As for your last question, it is one of those “million dollars ones”.

But, as you and I think everyone agree, it was a “Sonder Aktion” and in this perspective, indeed, meant to deal with a present problem – in this case the “removal” from the Polish Jews to the “Russian East” without any border crossing, of course. The whole operation was surrounded with deep secrecy, it is documented, but secrecy never last. And my view is that at some point, there was a need to shut down and relocate the process. Or just to review how things should be continued, I you understand what I mean. Basically, you cannot not conduct a “secret operation” at the same places for too long. But speaking or practical experiences, it had good results.
And I agree, those installations were cheap, so there was no reason to worry about the opportunities to do it again.

“That is what I took to be Cesarani's point: that the camps were built for the extermination of Polish Jews and more - and were sufficient for that. But that these camps were not, logistically or operationally, suitable to the "11 million" continent-wide extermination.”


Well here is where I “tilt” like a flipper.
What it is about those 11 million? Most were not even available at this stage, and bless God, most will never be. Again, this is where I see a logic going out of its rails. It makes no sense at all unless one assumes that every part of governmental and occupation bodies had only one SHARED idea in mind: how to kill 11 million Jews!

Well maybe, had Germany won the war, conquered Russia up to Vladivostok, and Japan ruling over the Asian seas, and might Italy entering Cap Town in South Africa, Germany would have at hand the fate of those 11 million Jews. Even the Nazis were not so sure of such an outcome at the beginning of 1942…again pure speculation which should not serve as a basis for a theory.

I end it here for tonight…

:D

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Re: Yet another Wannsee thread (with Brayard)

Postby Statistical Mechanic » Thu Mar 17, 2016 11:41 pm

I'll re-read later, but, on first quick reading, it sounds like we're pretty much repeating and rehashing earlier arguments. As I said, I didn't want to reopen the same discussion - just update everyone on a 2016 viewpoint. But I'll read again and see if I find anything new to pick up on.
"World peace is certainly an ideal worth striving for; in Hitler's opinion it will be realizable only when one power, the racially best one, has attained complete and uncontested supremacy. That can then provide a sort of world police, seeing to it at the same time that the most valuable race is guaranteed the necessary living space. And if no other way is open to them, the lower races will have to restrict themselves accordingly."

- Rudolf Hess, letter, 1927

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Re: Yet another Wannsee thread (with Brayard)

Postby Statistical Mechanic » Fri Mar 18, 2016 1:36 pm

Ok, replying to your comment point by point would really mean basically "replaying" debates already argued in this thread. But one point of clarification:
What do they mean by extermination decided officially in front of 50 guests? Were specifics (murder?), timeframes (before 1943 or 44), plans and methods proposed or discussed? We just don’t know what had been said during this meeting, and of course, I don’t deny the right to elaborate thesis on that. I just do not agree with the reasoning.

50 guests? Where/when?

Anyway, Cesarani does not say that extermination was officially decided at Wannsee. I've already summarized his thoughts about December 1941 and the focus for the Wannsee meeting. Decisions, communication, and planning were well underway by the time of the conference. And - this is crucial to Cesarani's summary - he is emphatic that plans, methods, logistics, etc were through this period at all points left very loose, remained poorly thought out and haphazard (Cesarani uses the word "lazily"), and were subject to revisions, improvements, zig-zags and changes, and shifting priorities. This character of the enterprise, in his telling, was true throughout pretty much every phase of the final solution during this period - up through mid-1942 (where I have read to now).
"World peace is certainly an ideal worth striving for; in Hitler's opinion it will be realizable only when one power, the racially best one, has attained complete and uncontested supremacy. That can then provide a sort of world police, seeing to it at the same time that the most valuable race is guaranteed the necessary living space. And if no other way is open to them, the lower races will have to restrict themselves accordingly."

- Rudolf Hess, letter, 1927

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Re: Yet another Wannsee thread (with Brayard)

Postby Balsamo » Fri Mar 18, 2016 8:17 pm

Ok, replying to your comment point by point would really mean basically "replaying" debates already argued in this thread. But one point of clarification:


:lol: :lol:

I am aware of that, and it was not my intention, but just a small reminder for eventual readers so that they would not have to search through those quite heavy discussions.

50 guests? Where/when?


On the wiki page dedicated on the December 12 meeting, quoting Gotz Aly.
Here is the original quote anyway:

Christian Gerlach claims and proves that Adolf Hitler made known his fundamental decision for the complete annihilation of the European Jews on December 12, 1941. On this day, Hitler spoke in his private rooms of the Reich Chancellery to around 50 Reich and Gau leaders, the supreme leadership of the NSDAP [Nazi party]. Almost all occupied offices of the State as well.


There would have no need for any secrecy after that, at least among the bodies of the State, all ministries and local authorities. And the main problem in my humble opinion because they are just too many elements and even documents who shows that all those bodies were not in the know.
Later, when i have more time, i will share some of those elements to be found in Brayard.

Anyway, Cesarani does not say that extermination was officially decided at Wannsee. I've already summarized his thoughts about December 1941 and the focus for the Wannsee meeting. Decisions, communication, and planning were well underway by the time of the conference. And - this is crucial to Cesarani's summary - he is emphatic that plans, methods, logistics, etc were through this period at all points left very loose, remained poorly thought out and haphazard (Cesarani uses the word "lazily"), and were subject to revisions, improvements, zig-zags and changes, and shifting priorities. This character of the enterprise, in his telling, was true throughout pretty much every phase of the final solution during this period - up through mid-1942 (where I have read to now).


And this is one part i agree with, but for other reasons apparently. It was indeed improvised, and The RSHA offices in charge were of course not prepared for such a task. And reciprocally, it proves that those offices were the only one in charge, and trying to find "new ideas". My point being that the idea of murder - once proposed by Hoeppner much earlier in 41 - made its way step by step to impose itself as an obligatory and substancial part of any "feasible solution". What i contest is that it made its way all through the "global Nazi leadership!" . Whatever the timing of the evolution, the small RSHA offices were still the only one to be in charge. Hence the apparent "laziness, zig-zags and changes".

PS: I am also reading the memoir of a French fascist collaborator which seems to point out quite interesting things.

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Re: Yet another Wannsee thread (with Brayard)

Postby Statistical Mechanic » Fri Mar 18, 2016 9:34 pm

Balsamo wrote:
Ok, replying to your comment point by point would really mean basically "replaying" debates already argued in this thread. But one point of clarification:


:lol: :lol:

I am aware of that, and it was not my intention, but just a small reminder for eventual readers so that they would not have to search through those quite heavy discussions.

LOL and I know I am guilty of repeating it too, because Cesarani develops many of the same themes.

Balsamo wrote:
50 guests? Where/when?


On the wiki page dedicated on the December 12 meeting, quoting Gotz Aly.
Here is the original quote anyway:

Christian Gerlach claims and proves that Adolf Hitler made known his fundamental decision for the complete annihilation of the European Jews on December 12, 1941. On this day, Hitler spoke in his private rooms of the Reich Chancellery to around 50 Reich and Gau leaders, the supreme leadership of the NSDAP [Nazi party]. Almost all occupied offices of the State as well.

Ah, thanks, I forgot the number fifty in December, perhaps because Cesarani, in contrast to Gerlach's account, presents the "turn" as a series of meetings around December 12th, not a single meeting and announcement. Here is how Gerlach puts it, so we all have it, in a careful formulation - that the extermination of the Jews was a party matter:
The context in which Hitler announced his decision is itself revealing. The announcement was made not in the most inner circle, not informally in a confidential conversation with Himmler, and not within the narrow confines of his close circle of advisers, Goring, Heydrich, and Bormann. Nor was it a meeting of government officials, though some of the men present did hold such posts. Rather, the announcement was made before an official body that included his oldest and closest political comrades; some fifty people were present. His message was this: the destruction of the Jews was first and foremost a party matter. Subsequent events would confirm the party's special role, in particular with regard to the extermination of German Jews. Some of those present at the announcement had already urged Hitler to take harsher steps against the Jews. These included such men as Joseph Goebbels; Karl Kaufmann; Baldur v. Schirach, who had been involved in the decision to deport the German Jews; and Martin Mutschmann, who had even urged, possibly in that very fall of 1941, that Jews be executed. . . . Lohse had himself been present at an execution two weeks earlier, as noted above. So there was no one in this audience who needed to be converted. Formally, Hitler was not giving an order; he was simply announcing a decision. One thing more about the meeting should be noted. Meetings of the Reichsleiter and the Gauleiter were normally held in the conference rooms of the New Chancellery or in one of the party buildings. For this meeting, however, despite the official occasion, the setting was a private one, in Hitlers residence.

In such a circle of listeners, the quoted passage from Hitlers address had the effect of a directive. . . .

Note that Cesarani's position seems to build off a footnote in Gerlach's article:
128 . . . One cannot rule out the possibility that there may have been one or more meetings on the subject. It would be very difficult to prove that there were not (see n. 144). But if it truly is the case that Heydrich first learned about the announcement of the decision from Himmler, then the occurrence of any such meetings is less likely.

Of course, it then depends on what being "in the know" meant at that time - in terms of particulars and details and what particulars and details were even thought through. Browning says that references to the extermination of the Jews are too frequent among party and state actors around the time for a decision of some sort not to have been reached.

Balsamo wrote:There would have no need for any secrecy after that, at least among the bodies of the State, all ministries and local authorities. And the main problem in my humble opinion because they are just too many elements and even documents who shows that all those bodies were not in the know.

And then we will go round and round on what knowledge meant, need to know at what level of detail, and all the rest throughout this thread.

Balsamo wrote:And this is one part i agree with, but for other reasons apparently.

Me too, but as you say, from a different pov, from the pov of typical Hitler-Himmler overreach and fuzzy planning and complex logistics in wartime.
"World peace is certainly an ideal worth striving for; in Hitler's opinion it will be realizable only when one power, the racially best one, has attained complete and uncontested supremacy. That can then provide a sort of world police, seeing to it at the same time that the most valuable race is guaranteed the necessary living space. And if no other way is open to them, the lower races will have to restrict themselves accordingly."

- Rudolf Hess, letter, 1927

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Re: Yet another Wannsee thread (with Brayard)

Postby Balsamo » Fri Mar 18, 2016 10:34 pm

Statmec:

And then we will go round and round on what knowledge meant, need to know at what level of detail, and all the rest throughout this thread.


Well i hope not this time, as i am planing to come with very specific cases never debated before. ;)

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Re: Yet another Wannsee thread (with Brayard)

Postby Jeff_36 » Sat Mar 19, 2016 5:10 pm

I maintain that Wannasee was not the final stage of planning, and that the FS, although generally intended by that point, did not fully crystallize in the form that it did until late spring-early summer 1942 as an improvised measure due to the transport difficulties noted by Dr. Terry last year.

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Re: Yet another Wannsee thread (with Brayard)

Postby nickterry » Sat Mar 19, 2016 6:34 pm

Jeff_36 wrote:I maintain that Wannasee was not the final stage of planning, and that the FS, although generally intended by that point, did not fully crystallize in the form that it did until late spring-early summer 1942 as an improvised measure due to the transport difficulties noted by Dr. Terry last year.


Jeff,

WANNSEE without the second 'a'.

It is possible to cure yourself of annoying spelling quirks...

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Re: Yet another Wannsee thread (with Brayard)

Postby Jeff_36 » Sat Mar 19, 2016 7:00 pm

nickterry wrote:
Jeff_36 wrote:I maintain that Wannsee was not the final stage of planning, and that the FS, although generally intended by that point, did not fully crystallize in the form that it did until late spring-early summer 1942 as an improvised measure due to the transport difficulties noted by Dr. Terry last year.


Jeff,

WANNSEE without the second 'a'.

It is possible to cure yourself of annoying spelling quirks...


It is not deliberate, I assure you. I get excited and type too quickly.

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Re: Yet another Wannsee thread (with Brayard)

Postby Statistical Mechanic » Sat Mar 19, 2016 8:51 pm

At a very high level, Cesarani wouldn't disagree with your post, Jeff, nor do I think many people would, although he would cite more than transport issues and like Nick he'd flinch at Wannassee (of course Cesarani spelled it Wansee!) - recall that earlier in this thread it was argued that Wannsee didn't involve a specific plan, not strictly speaking a plan at all. But after agreeing on general intent and later crystallization, the questions would arise: 1) what was intended around December-January 1941-1942 and at what level of thought, 2) what was communicated with whom and who was involved in carrying out the Final Solution, and 3) what crystallized and when/in what sequence during the first part of 1942. To be clear, Cesarani doesn't discuss eastern and western Jews as they've been discussed in this thread, or, indeed, an orderly, stepped process at all. I will be posting Cesarani's answer to these questions in the near future.
"World peace is certainly an ideal worth striving for; in Hitler's opinion it will be realizable only when one power, the racially best one, has attained complete and uncontested supremacy. That can then provide a sort of world police, seeing to it at the same time that the most valuable race is guaranteed the necessary living space. And if no other way is open to them, the lower races will have to restrict themselves accordingly."

- Rudolf Hess, letter, 1927

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Re: Yet another Wannsee thread (with Brayard)

Postby Balsamo » Sat Mar 19, 2016 10:37 pm

Jeff
It is not deliberate, I assure you. I get excited and type too quickly.


At least you had enough control not to convert the letter "s" with the letter "b" in your excitement. :D

Statmec:
2) what was communicated with whom and who was involved in carrying out the Final Solution,


Well that is the main issue, isn't it? ;)

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Re: Yet another Wannsee thread (with Brayard)

Postby Statistical Mechanic » Tue Apr 05, 2016 10:18 am

Balsamo wrote:Statmec:
2) what was communicated with whom and who was involved in carrying out the Final Solution,


Well that is the main issue, isn't it? ;)

Both what - remember that Gerlach writes of a December decision "in principle" and Cesarani seems to follow him - and whom (Gerlach and Cesarani both show the diversity of agencies involved in the mass murder - they also show that the mass murder unfolded in zig-zags, without any neat RSHA vs civil authorities/military opposition). Gerlach further explains what was discussed at the Wansee conference as follows:
At the Wannsee conference of January 1942, which provided a vision rather than a clear plan, Heydrich envisioned large-scale Jewish forced labor with a high mortality rate - and murder for those who would survive it.

The argument here is against popular notions of "extermination by labor" and in favor of a view toward decimation of masses of Jews during labor and mass murder of the "unfit" and eventually of those who survived the labor regime - as it was intended that significant numbers would do so for a time (in practice, the "keep alive" % would fluctuate based on labor needs, the food situation and food policy, and so on). Gerlach argues that as opposed to other groups, Jews came to lack a "survival through labor" possibility, as decimating labor + mass murder both intensified and Jewish losses were massive.

I think that keeping a key point - that the December 1941 was a decision in principle and not a plan - in mind - and that remembering that neither "the 12 December meeting nor the Wannsee conference [made] any kind of decision to exterminate physically (through direct murder) every single Jews in Europe" - are important to understanding 1942 in particular. It’s also critical to understand that a vision or principle – or even a plan – is not hatched and parachuted into being but is implemented only in the real world with organizations, events, blockages, opportunities, etc influencing realization. Thus, both Cesarani and Gerlach devote far more attention to the realization of the vision – and the alterations it underwent in practice – than to the decision in favor of the principle in the first place.

As I noted about Cesarani, he "rigorously decouples the extermination underway at Chełmno (using gas vans) and the construction of Vernichtungslager with fixed gas chambers at Bełzec from what was considered at Wannsee: 'Heydrich did not connect his plan with [these] operations – not even by means of cautious euphemisms.'" Gerlach takes the same approach, emphasizing the role of large labor deployments and forced attrition in Heydrich's thinking during winter 1941-1942. For both Cesarani and Gerlach, it was only later, not in the initial planning of what we know as the death camps but after their initial use, that the camps used in the final solution were adapted to the European-wide extermination and more settled processes/methods were established for doing away with non-working Jews and finally working Jews. For Gerlach, in reviewing labor and food policy, Jewish survival chances became minimal as Jews were taken into KLs (per Himmler's orders of summer and fall 1942, also of summer 1943), because the overall death rate for Jews in KLs was over 60% (and in Auschwitz, counting those killed on arrival, over 75%). But this is what followed Wannsee, not what was planned at the conference.

Much of this - especially the initial local orientations of the camps that became death camps - has long been clear, I think; also, the main point here, that the Germans did not have a plan with identified means for doing away with the Jews at the time of Wannsee, was argued in this thread. What Gerlach and Cesarani both do well is relate the early extermination actions and the decision in principle for the extermination of the European Jews to security and food issues. And what Gerlach does so successfully on top of that is trace out the labor-selection-murder nexus and detail out the food considerations. In the first instance, Gerlach attributes critical importance, for the escalation to direct murder of working Jews, to the 6 August meeting chaired by Göring, with its discussion of food and Göring's new demands on the General Gouvernement in this regard, as well as Frank and Naumann's follow-up on preservation of just 300,000 Jews for labor. He argues that these escalation decisions occurred nearly simultaneously to the transition to high %'s of Jews on transports from Western Europe being chosen for the gas chambers at Birkenau. And he shows that selection for labor actually spurred mass murder in that it left so many 1000s of Jews without, in Nazi thinking, a role in the economy or war regime ("useless eaters" at a time of urgent food needs for Germany and occupied Europe). Earlier practices - e.g., bumping off useless eaters - were brought together to "solve" this partly self-made, partly war-generated problem. Gerlach shows that the development of the final solution was also bound up with the evolution of selection criteria - and the expansion of the categories and numbers of Jews defined as eligible for immediate death (beyond unfit, sick, debilitated Jews) - within the context of a decision in principle to eliminate the Jews over time. Throughout 1942, in concert with the course of the war, food and other supply issues, foreign relations, manpower, and economic needs, according to Gerlach, decisions were made on the fly that accelerated the mass murder toward quicker complete destruction than envisaged in December 1941. As I am on holiday, I don't know when I can summarize more from Gerlach - but I plan to.
"World peace is certainly an ideal worth striving for; in Hitler's opinion it will be realizable only when one power, the racially best one, has attained complete and uncontested supremacy. That can then provide a sort of world police, seeing to it at the same time that the most valuable race is guaranteed the necessary living space. And if no other way is open to them, the lower races will have to restrict themselves accordingly."

- Rudolf Hess, letter, 1927

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Re: Yet another Wannsee thread (with Brayard)

Postby Statistical Mechanic » Sun Apr 24, 2016 2:58 pm

On 11 October 1942 Himmler met with Mussolini and explained the German deportation policy in a way paralleling important statements in the Wannsee protocol: Himmler "informed [Mussolini] that German Jews had been deported in part to 'old-age ghettos' and in part 'the the east to build roads: there the mortality is undoubtedly very high, since Jews have never worked in their entire lives.'" Himmler also explained during this meeting the German policy of shooting Jews in the occupied USSR.

In addition, as to the European-wide scope of German thinking, "On 18 January 1943, a high official in the [Italian] Ministry of Foreign Affairs took note that the previous day, Otto von Bismarck, secretary of the German embassy in Rome, communicated to him orally that 'in 1943 all the Jews of Europe must be eliminated.'" Further, on 3 February 1943 Italian foreign minister Ciano received a report from the Italian ambassador in Berlin, Dino Alfieri, "about the explicit Nazi affirmations 'of the will to full exterminate the Jewish race' and about the numerous episodes of mass killing carried out, adding that these also included children and that 'there cannot be many doubts' on the fate of the Jews deported from Germany or from its occupied territories." Alfieri's reports was "marked as 'Seen' by Mussolini." Alfieri's report also addresses the fate of Jewish children, as Himmler did in his speeches at Posen and Sonthofen.

source: Michele Sarfatti, The Jews in Mussolini's Italy: From Equality to Persecution, pp 358-359
"World peace is certainly an ideal worth striving for; in Hitler's opinion it will be realizable only when one power, the racially best one, has attained complete and uncontested supremacy. That can then provide a sort of world police, seeing to it at the same time that the most valuable race is guaranteed the necessary living space. And if no other way is open to them, the lower races will have to restrict themselves accordingly."

- Rudolf Hess, letter, 1927

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Re: Yet another Wannsee thread (with Brayard)

Postby Balsamo » Sun Apr 24, 2016 5:37 pm

Statistical Mechanic wrote:On 11 October 1942 Himmler met with Mussolini and explained the German deportation policy in a way paralleling important statements in the Wannsee protocol: Himmler "informed [Mussolini] that German Jews had been deported in part to 'old-age ghettos' and in part 'the the east to build roads: there the mortality is undoubtedly very high, since Jews have never worked in their entire lives.'" Himmler also explained during this meeting the German policy of shooting Jews in the occupied USSR.

In addition, as to the European-wide scope of German thinking, "On 18 January 1943, a high official in the [Italian] Ministry of Foreign Affairs took note that the previous day, Otto von Bismarck, secretary of the German embassy in Rome, communicated to him orally that 'in 1943 all the Jews of Europe must be eliminated.'" Further, on 3 February 1943 Italian foreign minister Ciano received a report from the Italian ambassador in Berlin, Dino Alfieri, "about the explicit Nazi affirmations 'of the will to full exterminate the Jewish race' and about the numerous episodes of mass killing carried out, adding that these also included children and that 'there cannot be many doubts' on the fate of the Jews deported from Germany or from its occupied territories." Alfieri's reports was "marked as 'Seen' by Mussolini." Alfieri's report also addresses the fate of Jewish children, as Himmler did in his speeches at Posen and Sonthofen.

source: Michele Sarfatti, The Jews in Mussolini's Italy: From Equality to Persecution, pp 358-359


It is a shame that i have so little time from now on to really participate in this discussion... Although i am still trying to put my thoughts together in those subjects, an hour here, and hour there.

Meanwhile, i will quickly comment this quote.
Brayard of course mentions the meeting between Himmler and Mussolini, which is available through the report made by Himmler to Ribbentrop. It is a bit longer that the quote above suggest. It is badly translated from the french.

while Himmler did not hide the fact that the Russian Jews were killed en masse, women and teenagers included:

" In Russia, we had to shot a substancial number of Jews, and to say the truth, men and women, because, over there, even the women and the teenagers as used as messengers for the partisans." According to Himmler's report, " The Duce confirmed, by himsef, that it was the only solution"

But when it came to the fate of the more western European Jews, Himmler clearly started to lie:

"The Jews will be withdrawn (deported) from Germany, the GG and all territories we are occupying because they are source of sabotage, espionage, and resistance, the same way, they are responsible for the creation of armed bands...I told the Duce that we would put the Jews who could pose political problems in concentration camps and that we would use the other Jews to the construction of roads, a high mortality would ensue because the Jew have never really work in their lives..."

" Older Jews will be accommodated in Homes for elderly in Berlin, Munich and Vienna, other older Jews will be gathered in the small town of Theresienstadt, which would serve as a ghetto for old German Jews; They will be allowed to receive their pensions and salaries, and will be allowed to organize their lives as they please; in anyway, they are arguing there between them in the most lively way..."

" We have tried to push some of those Jews to the East, through the wholes in the eastern front toward the Russians, but with the result that the Russians shot many times at them, they did not want them neither..."

What is interesting here is the similarity of the lies with those that were addressed to the bunch of State secretaries at Wannsee. Jews were to be deported from every occupied territories, to be used at building roads, the more dangerous would be put in camps, and the elderly would be spared and would be allowed to enjoy a new life in a home or a special ghetto, with their pensions and emoluments... That is 10 months later after Wannsee!

Again, when it comes to European Jews, not a word of direct murder from Himmler himself, whether to Mussolini or the foreign ministry which this report was addressed.

The same BS can be found in the 9th of october 1942 address from the NSDAP mentioned in this metapedia article brought up by Monstrous.
It clearly shows that it was the policy to hide the real fate of those deported Jews, within the government, the party as well as in relations with the closest allies.
Basically, YES we do kill Russian Jews en Masse, but because of security and military reason, because they are Bolsheviks and partisans, and YES we do deport the Jews on a European scale to the East to be put to work (even if that will imply a high mortality.) for many reasons...But what is not said is that they are murdered upon arrival.
That is it for the official policy line, the public one!

What you mentioned in the second part of your post, well is more to be assimilated to rumors, hearsay, which by the end were flooding in Europe, with the help of the Allies. That is that, although that the doubt was less and less permitted, there was still a way to dismissed it at least officially.
Mussolini was not the only one receiving reports of the real nature of those deportation by the beginning of 1943, while i am bit personnly skeptic about the oral report by Otto von Bismark, for reasons i will explain later, it was far from the only report that reached Rome. In addition to Alfieri's, there was another one by the chief of the Carabinieri (the Italian police), Mario Pieche, who inquired about the fate of the Jews deported from Croatia: this report states that Jews were gazed in the train that were transporting them. And such reports were following each others. But most were incomplete, sometimes contradictory, and were officially dismissed as propaganda by some Nazi authorities.

Still by the end of february 1943, Ribbentrop will keep explaining the Duce that "the Jews were resettled in eastern reservations and that "if those measures were described, by the ennemy, as cruel, those measures were nevertheless essential if the war had to be won!"

We know that Mussolini pretended to agree with the deportation of Italian Jews, but that the deportations would ultimately start during the Duce fake Restoration at the head of the Republic of Salo, and the complete occupation of Italian territories by Germany.

More to come ( i guess that i am condemned to say that from now on...)

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Re: Yet another Wannsee thread (with Brayard)

Postby Statistical Mechanic » Sun Apr 24, 2016 9:14 pm

Balsamo wrote:while Himmler did not hide the fact that the Russian Jews were killed en masse, women and teenagers included:

" In Russia, we had to shot a substancial number of Jews, and to say the truth, men and women, because, over there, even the women and the teenagers as used as messengers for the partisans." According to Himmler's report, " The Duce confirmed, by himsef, that it was the only solution"

But when it came to the fate of the more western European Jews, Himmler clearly started to lie:

"The Jews will be withdrawn (deported) from Germany, the GG and all territories we are occupying because they are source of sabotage, espionage, and resistance, the same way, they are responsible for the creation of armed bands...I told the Duce that we would put the Jews who could pose political problems in concentration camps and that we would use the other Jews to the construction of roads, a high mortality would ensue because the Jew have never really work in their lives..."

" Older Jews will be accommodated in Homes for elderly in Berlin, Munich and Vienna, other older Jews will be gathered in the small town of Theresienstadt, which would serve as a ghetto for old German Jews; They will be allowed to receive their pensions and salaries, and will be allowed to organize their lives as they please; in anyway, they are arguing there between them in the most lively way..."

" We have tried to push some of those Jews to the East, through the wholes in the eastern front toward the Russians, but with the result that the Russians shot many times at them, they did not want them neither..."

What is interesting here is the similarity of the lies with those that were addressed to the bunch of State secretaries at Wannsee. Jews were to be deported from every occupied territories, to be used at building roads, the more dangerous would be put in camps, and the elderly would be spared and would be allowed to enjoy a new life in a home or a special ghetto, with their pensions and emoluments... That is 10 months later after Wannsee!

That Himmler was using the rhetoric of Wannsee, 10 months later, when the deportations and mass murder of Reich Jews were no longer up in the air, brought to my mind the continuity from the Wannsee proceeding through the period. Himmler was still talking about high mortality from forced labor even though policy details had become more fleshed out – this doesn’t surprise me, given the analysis I’ve shared in this thread - and the fact undermines the claims of those who want to argue that the protocol is a forgery or otherwise inauthentic. High mortality, enforced by German policy, is in fact, more or less, the key point here, not the details of the methods to achieve high mortality. Mussolini was thus clued in to the German policy of high mortality for the Jews, even Jews from the Reich and elsewhere in occupied Europe.

That said, Sarfatti has Mussolini writing to Hitler several months after the Himmler-Mussolini meeting, in early 1943, affirming his general support for the extermination policy noting of "the infirmities that the demoplutocracies and Judaism have inflicted on the human species [that] steel and fire will cure" them. (pp 160, 359) More specifically, Sarfatti has Mussolini aware of the extermination policy through events in 1942 in France, starting in July, and more explicitly in Croatia in August and southeastern France at year's end. (pp 159, 160) The dilatory behavior of Lospinoso in the Italian zone in France was a case of the Italian administration working against German requests to deport Jews (p 161, Lozowick pp 221-225, Marrus & Paxton p 318) as was, according to Sarfatti, Italy's policy of evacuating endangered Jews from France and Salonica to Italy (p 146). The "homeward" direction of this "migratory flow" was against fascist Italy's policy of removing Jews from Italy and undertaken, says Sarfatti, to protect these Jews from extermination.

On the other hand, by summer 1943, Sarfatti's argument goes, Mussolini had decided to acquiesce to Germany's demands regarding deportations to the east, again arguing that about the fate of Jews transported to the east, in the words of Alfieri, "there cannot be many doubts." Sarfatti cites an order of 15 August 1943 from chief of police of Rome, Renzo Chierici, directing the Italians in France finally to "Agree to the request of the German police for the surrender of the German Jews" from the southeastern zone of France. Following on this, the Italians decided on 25 July to transfer interned Jewish foreigners from a camp in southern Italy, Ferramonti, "to Bolzano in the north as a first step to their being handed over to the Germans." (p 161) In other words, on the day of Mussolini's removal from office, the Italian government had at last fallen in line with German demands for the turnover of Jews for removal to the east.

Balsamo wrote:Again, when it comes to European Jews, not a word of direct murder from Himmler himself, whether to Mussolini or the foreign ministry which this report was addressed.

The same BS can be found in the 9th of october 1942 address from the NSDAP mentioned in this metapedia article brought up by Monstrous.
It clearly shows that it was the policy to hide the real fate of those deported Jews, within the government, the party as well as in relations with the closest allies.
Basically, YES we do kill Russian Jews en Masse, but because of security and military reason, because they are Bolsheviks and partisans, and YES we do deport the Jews on a European scale to the East to be put to work (even if that will imply a high mortality.) for many reasons...But what is not said is that they are murdered upon arrival.
That is it for the official policy line, the public one!

Well, it doesn't "clearly" show this, at least not for Sarfatti, who sees things in Italy differently to what you're describing here.

Balsamo wrote:What you mentioned in the second part of your post, well is more to be assimilated to rumors, hearsay, which by the end were flooding in Europe, with the help of the Allies. That is that, although that the doubt was less and less permitted, there was still a way to dismissed it at least officially.

Which is in fact why I included mention of Alfieri's report - with whom he would have been in contact and from whom he would have "heard things," I surmised (with a note to dig into this further), would have been his contacts in Germany, that is German officials, not from the Allies. (I am trying to find my link to the report - I recall Alfieri specifically mentioning SS sources and his likening the fate of German Jews to that of the French and Dutch, which his report assumed to be well known IIRC.) It's possible, of course, that Sarfatti explained the report poorly or incorrectly (thus my wanting to dig further), but Sarfatti does mention "the explicit Nazi affirmations 'of the will to full exterminate the Jewish race'," not Allied propaganda or rumors. In any event, on reading Sarfatti, I couldn't help finding significant that the German's "will" regarding the FS reached the Italian foreign office. A conspiracy and a closely held secret that have become widespread rumor and "flooding" hearsay make for an interesting, albeit dissonant, situation.

Balsamo wrote:We know that Mussolini pretended to agree with the deportation of Italian Jews, but that the deportations would ultimately start during the Duce fake Restoration at the head of the Republic of Salo, and the complete occupation of Italian territories by Germany.

See above, Sarfatti's interpretation differs to yours. I should add that Sarfatti himself doesn't mention, let alone draw connections to, the Wannsee protocol but instead assesses Italian fascist Jewish policy and persecution. For now, given the depth of Sarfatti's research in the archives, I'm deferring to his conclusions a bit, for sure.
"World peace is certainly an ideal worth striving for; in Hitler's opinion it will be realizable only when one power, the racially best one, has attained complete and uncontested supremacy. That can then provide a sort of world police, seeing to it at the same time that the most valuable race is guaranteed the necessary living space. And if no other way is open to them, the lower races will have to restrict themselves accordingly."

- Rudolf Hess, letter, 1927

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Re: Yet another Wannsee thread (with Brayard)

Postby Balsamo » Mon Apr 25, 2016 12:36 am

Statmec:
That Himmler was using the rhetoric of Wannsee, 10 months later, when the deportations and mass murder of Reich Jews were no longer up in the air, brought to my mind the continuity from the Wannsee proceeding through the period. Himmler was still talking about high mortality from forced labor even though policy details had become more fleshed out – this doesn’t surprise me, given the analysis I’ve shared in this thread - and the fact undermines the claims of those who want to argue that the protocol is a forgery or otherwise inauthentic. High mortality, enforced by German policy, is in fact, more or less, the key point here, not the details of the methods to achieve high mortality. Mussolini was thus clued in to the German policy of high mortality for the Jews, even Jews from the Reich and elsewhere in occupied Europe.


You are right, but by the time the deportation of German Jews were no longer up in the air, it was the time of heavy deportation from the Netherlands, Belgium, and France, and Himmler mission through this meeting with Mussolini was to give a kick to the deportation of Jews from the Italian occupied territories (Greece, Croatia, part of southern France, and of course, Italy itself). Earlier in July 1942, there were efforts to give a boost in Jewish deportations from Romania and Slovakia (bypassing the foreign office), etc.
What matters is the language used in order to accomplish the established task, and this language does not mention direct and massive murder of the people to be deported. Again as I have said, there is one thing to know that the deportees would suffer heavy losses, another thing is to know that they are promised, for the majority of them, to a plain murder scheme.

Strange things, how the starting perspective may influence how one reads things.

In my perspective, there is a distinction between “reaching high mortality” (which is not what Himmler said to the Duce); Himmler in his report does not openly present it as a goal, but rather as a consequence - “because the Jews never really worked in their lives” - basically the high mortality would not have been the result of the German policy, but because of the “nature” of the Jewish parasite. Jews would die, but not as a result of the German policy, but because of the inability for Jews to sustain manual work.
Point is there is no mention s of the goal nor the method to kill them all! And this is the important aspect: in order to reach the goal of cooperation, the real objective had to be concealed.

“That said, Sarfatti has Mussolini writing to Hitler several months after the Himmler-Mussolini meeting, in early 1943, affirming his general support for the extermination policy noting of "the infirmities that the demoplutocracies and Judaism have inflicted on the human species [that] steel and fire will cure" them. (pp 160, 359)”


Well, I don’t know as I have not read Sarfatti’s work. But this is the kind of proposition that leaves me wondering. Why then would we have had the Ribbentrop meeting, again reassuring the Duce that the Jews were to be put in reservations in the East, in February 1943? And if he did agree with what he sent, why didn't order it straight away while still at the height of his power?

Again, I think we do agree that Mussolini through his own sources, although vague and maybe incorrect, knew the finality of all of it, but on the other hand- and maybe because of that, contrary to what this historian has concluded- he responded a generic response, and chose to temporize. As fact is, Jews from Italy won’t be deported until the full occupation of Italy by Germany.
In another way, the Slovakian government will react in another strange way, which is also rich in information. I’ll be back on that later.
But the main information in this report is the Nazi’s approach in order to get those Jews deported.

“More specifically, Sarfatti has Mussolini aware of the extermination policy through events in 1942 in France, starting in July, and more explicitly in Croatia in August and southeastern France at year's end. (pp 159, 160) The dilatory behavior of Lospinoso in the Italian zone in France was a case of the Italian administration working against German requests to deport Jews (p 161, Lozowick pp 221-225, Marrus & Paxton p 318) as was, according to Sarfatti, Italy's policy of evacuating endangered Jews from France and Salonica to Italy”


Possibly, but I still doubt it. I have been reading a book about the perception of the evacuation of the Jews from the city of Marseille, and again, there is nothing to let think that there was a knowledge that those evacuees were to be murdered. But everyone knew that what would happened to them would not be pretty, and indeed would be criminal. That could have been enough to try to prevent the deportation. What I mean is that the knowledge of extermination is not essential to explain the behavior of some actors, in this case the Italians, because the Nazis never exposed their real goal in the first place.
Again, suspicion is not certainty, especially when you have all those high German personality trying to convince that all those “atrocity noises” are just pure propaganda, while recognizing “necessary killings” on the eastern front.

But to consider that human beings, fully citizens (although what the propaganda is telling) might be gathered and sent to die working roads in "the east" could have been enough to motivate this non-cooperation.
( I have more on this, but sadly later)

“See above, Sarfatti's interpretation differs to yours. I should add that Sarfatti himself doesn't mention, let alone draw connections to, the Wannsee protocol but instead assesses Italian fascist Jewish policy and persecution. For now, given the depth of Sarfatti's research in the archives, I'm deferring to his conclusions a bit, for sure.”

Of course, the point is not to draw connections between Wannsee, which was a pure German matter, and the foreign policy regarding the Jews. And as a matter of fact, I don’t seem to agree with Sarfatti in his perspective. Now, I would need to read his book, of course.
But I must say that at this point, my interest is more on how the Nazis tried to achieved their goal, than to how the neutral and allied States reacted, unless those reactions enlighten my first interest.

“See above, Sarfatti's interpretation differs to yours. I should add that Sarfatti himself doesn't mention, let alone draw connections to, the Wannsee protocol but instead assesses Italian fascist Jewish policy and persecution. For now, given the depth of Sarfatti's research in the archives, I'm deferring to his conclusions a bit, for sure.”
[/quote]

Of course, the point is not to draw connections between Wannsee, which was a pure German matter, and the foreign policy regarding the Jews. And as a matter of fact, I don’t seem to agree with Sarfatti in his perspective. Now, I would need to read his book, of course.

But I must say that at this point, my interest is more on how the Nazis tried to achieved their goal, than to how the neutral and allied States reacted, unless those reactions enlighten my first interest.

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Re: Yet another Wannsee thread (with Brayard)

Postby Statistical Mechanic » Mon Apr 25, 2016 5:25 am

Balsamo wrote:. . . Again as I have said, there is one thing to know that the deportees would suffer heavy losses, another thing is to know that they are promised, for the majority of them, to a plain murder scheme.

Correct, read more below.

Balsamo wrote:Strange things, how the starting perspective may influence how one reads things.

But that is why I relied on Sarfatti, who has no apparent "axe to grind" regarding Wannsee and is only focused on disentangling what the Italian policy was, what the Italians knew, and how/why the Italians reacted to German requests.

Balsamo wrote:In my perspective, there is a distinction between “reaching high mortality” (which is not what Himmler said to the Duce);

Sarfatti quotes Himmler as saying of where the Germans were deporting Jews "there the mortality is undoubtedly very high."

Balsamo wrote:Himmler in his report does not openly present it as a goal, but rather as a consequence - “because the Jews never really worked in their lives” - basically the high mortality would not have been the result of the German policy, but because of the “nature” of the Jewish parasite.

That's really a tortured reading. Himmler's statement uses a common anti-Jewish stereotype to inform Mussolini of - not the German's expectations but of what is occurring.

Balsamo wrote:Point is there is no mention s of the goal nor the method to kill them all!

As I've written many times, the method here is not the thing. But read below.

Balsamo wrote:And this is the important aspect: in order to reach the goal of cooperation, the real objective had to be concealed.

Himmler is explaining that high mortality will occur. Mussolini understood, later gave lip service to Hitler (according to Sarfatti and to Clark in his Mussolini biography - aware of the extermination policy, the Duce told officials to “invent every excuse you like so as not to hand over a single Jew” p 285, citing Alfieri's report), and allowed delaying and other stalling tactics by the Italians.

Balsamo wrote:Why then would we have had the Ribbentrop meeting, again reassuring the Duce that the Jews were to be put in reservations in the East, in February 1943? And if he did agree with what he sent, why didn't order it straight away while still at the height of his power?

Ribbentrop: Sarfatti doesn't address this but there's no reason to expect all arguments made to the Italians to be identical, especially when the Germans were trying every argument they could to get the Italians on board, nor given our knowledge of the German state would we expect messages from different parts of the bureaucracy to be well aligned.

Order straight away: Mussolini "affirmed" to the Germans his assent whilst pursuing a different policy to theirs under "cover" of general agreement.

Balsamo wrote:Again, I think we do agree that Mussolini through his own sources, although vague and maybe incorrect, knew the finality of all of it, but on the other hand- and maybe because of that, contrary to what this historian has concluded- he responded a generic response, and chose to temporize.

Sarfatti argues that Mussolini through his own sources, vague and probably mostly correct, and through his state apparatus (coming from the Germans to his officials) knew the policy and its finality - and chose to stall, hedge, refuse full implementation until July 1943. To give Sarfatti his due.

Balsamo wrote:As fact is, Jews from Italy won’t be deported until the full occupation of Italy by Germany.

There is the small matter of Mussolini's removal from office in July 1943 that, according to Sarfatti, disrupted Mussolini's eventual cooperation in July 1943 (I made a mistake above, Chierici's order was of course 15 July not August).

Balsamo wrote:
“More specifically, Sarfatti has Mussolini aware of the extermination policy through events in 1942 in France, starting in July, and more explicitly in Croatia in August and southeastern France at year's end. (pp 159, 160) The dilatory behavior of Lospinoso in the Italian zone in France was a case of the Italian administration working against German requests to deport Jews (p 161, Lozowick pp 221-225, Marrus & Paxton p 318) as was, according to Sarfatti, Italy's policy of evacuating endangered Jews from France and Salonica to Italy”


Possibly, but I still doubt it.

Well, the French thread is still open . . .

Balsamo wrote:I have been reading a book about the perception of the evacuation of the Jews from the city of Marseille, and again, there is nothing to let think that there was a knowledge that those evacuees were to be murdered.

Last week I read Donna Ryan's book on Marseille and agree that Vichy was probably not informed of the mass murder in Poland, officially. For sure, the information flow to the French differed to what flowed to the Italians. Ryan argues, in line with other writers, that Vichy authorities didn't probe "very vigorously" the Germans' "unknown destination" but still, by fall 1942, the authorities had enough unofficial information to know "what deportation actually meant." (p 208) Personnel operating on the ground likely didn't know the fate awaiting the Jews whom they helped ship east (p 215) - thus, despite the dissonance of official explanations vs the conduct of the roundups and deportations (labor somewhere in the east vs children, old, infirm deportees), the conclusion that something awful was happening did not equate to knowledge of, for example, Auschwitz. "Something awful" might be, or might not be, mass deaths of the Jews sent to Poland. (p 216)

Also, in this vein Lozowick says that the end point/result of deportation was "vague" among the Vichy authorities, whilst Bazyler & Tuerkheimer, shifting to 1943, argue that after the Allied statements of December 1942 (Eden in House of Commons, BBC broadcasts) Laval and others must have been aware of mass death; Laval's postwar prison notes admit that he knew conditions in camps were lethal (Laval's notes say "likely to suffer and die," p 325; also in Lozowick, p 198). Putting the French material together, however, I agree that Vichy remained "uninformed" but vaguely aware.

But here we are talking about the Italian fascists, not Vichy. And it is not hard to conceive of different communications to different allies, given differing needs and different relations of those allies to Germany. In fact, that is of course what the literature shows, that the Germans made arguments they felt would be persuasive and successful given the circumstances of each case.

As to the Italians, in Bankier & Gutman, eds, Nazi Europe and the Final Solution there is an essay by Liliana Picciotti which gives the following background, all supporting Sarfatti's interpretation of the fascist government's knowledge and the reasons for its tactics regarding the deportations (pp 502-512):
* the Italian army was aware in Croatia that turnover of the Jews to Germany meant their murder
* the Italians were aware of the Allied broadcasts about the FS in 1942, citing Luca Pietromarchi (head of Croatian Office of Ministry of Foreign Affairs) on the Warsaw deportations
* industrialist Alberto Pirelli in November 1942 told Mussolini that from western contacts about German “excesses” against Jews in occupied and allied countries; Mussolini: “They make them . . . migrate to the other world.”
* information from Curzio Malaparte’s reporting in the occupied east including accounts of slaughters and discussion with Hans Frank
* “Pietromarchi [in Croatia] made his own remarks about the genocide of Jews also during 1943: on 2 February he wrote in his diary: ‘[. . .] in spite of all the disasters falling on the Germans, they persist in demanding the handover of all Jews living in the territories we have occupied. They aim at killing every European Jew by the end of 1943. Evidently, they want to involve us in the brutality of their policy.” (I don’t know Pietromarchi’s sources for this particular conclusion but they do not appear to be rumors, Allied reports, or hearsay as his conclusion is a response to German requests and explicit goal statements.)
* 25 February 1943 - Ribbentrop’s diplomatic visit to Rome and his comment about eastern reservations as an attempt to gain Italian compliance
* 11 March 1943 Pietromarchi on more news from London on the slaughter in Poland - and the note that “Our embassy in Berlin has reported macabre details regarding the mass execution of Jews, who. coming from all occupied territories, have been concentrated in massacre localities [. . .].
* on 31 March Giuseppe Bastianni, deputy foreign affairs minister, according to Pietromarchi, asked for time with Mussolini further discuss “the latest news coming from Berlin concerning the horrible massacres of Jews”
* “The information concerning the genocide was confirmed in a report written by Dino Altieri, the Italian Ambassador in Berlin. In Alberto Pirelli’s notes dated 22-23 April 1943, it is clearly stated: ‘[. . .] According to one of Dino Altieri’s reports in Germany a lot of Jews would be ‘gassed.’ (!!).”

All this - a mix of information from official contacts, news reporting, and Allied statements - causes Picciotti to conclude that by early spring 1943 “the facts appeared to be common knowledge, at least in the diplomatic and government environments.” Picciotti also describes a spring 1943 visit by “a high-level delegation of the Italian Fascist Party” to Kube (Generalkommissar for Weissruthenien, headquartered in Minsk) where the Italians were shown looted Jewish goods and what the Italians described as a gas chamber (a gas van most likely) in Minsk, where Polish and German Jews were murdered. In May, Rademacher, in the Foreign Ministry of course, told his SS liaison official, von Thadden, that “[. . .] the fascists must be been deeply moved [. . .]” by what they’d been shown.

None of this is compatible with the conspiracy proposition.

Balsamo wrote:But everyone knew that what would happened to them would not be pretty, and indeed would be criminal. That could have been enough to try to prevent the deportation. What I mean is that the knowledge of extermination is not essential to explain the behavior of some actors, in this case the Italians, because the Nazis never exposed their real goal in the first place.
Again, suspicion is not certainty, especially when you have all those high German personality trying to convince that all those “atrocity noises” are just pure propaganda, while recognizing “necessary killings” on the eastern front.

Which is all well and good except for the obvious fact that Alfieri's reports don't fit this argument: he wrote about a policy of murder of Reich Jews in addition to Jews from the East and other occupied countries of Europe, which he knew about from German contacts. Nor does the totality of what Picciotti summarizes fit your argument.

Balsamo wrote:But I must say that at this point, my interest is more on how the Nazis tried to achieved their goal, than to how the neutral and allied States reacted, unless those reactions enlighten my first interest.

There are a number of reasons that the "reactions" of neutral and allied states are important. Some key reasons are understanding the nature of European anti-Semitism and the European right in this period, the degree to which states other than Germany (e.g., Romania, Croatia, Slovakia, Vichy, Italy, Hungary) persecuted Jews and the nature of that persecution, the extent to which such anti-Semitic policy was autochthonous vs German inspired or taken with an eye to Germany, and how the FS was to be implemented in a diverse environment across states (which goes to the nature of the FS as implemented as well as to key passages of the Wannsee protocol).
"World peace is certainly an ideal worth striving for; in Hitler's opinion it will be realizable only when one power, the racially best one, has attained complete and uncontested supremacy. That can then provide a sort of world police, seeing to it at the same time that the most valuable race is guaranteed the necessary living space. And if no other way is open to them, the lower races will have to restrict themselves accordingly."

- Rudolf Hess, letter, 1927

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Re: Yet another Wannsee thread (with Brayard)

Postby Balsamo » Mon Apr 25, 2016 11:10 pm

As an intro, which could/should have its place in the topic over the Rafle…
On the 25th of January 1943, commenting the Rafles in Marseille, Lucien Vidal-Naquet, father of the French historian, wrote in his diary:
“Days during which, sadly, the French Police, obeying orders from Berlin, proceeded massive requisitions, and arrests in order to satisfy the Nazi Moloch’s need of Human flesh which it quantified: workers, women, children have been arrested without discernment and thrown into sealed wagons, sent to hard labors (Slave labors) in Poland and in Russia…I had never understood as I do today the meaning of this tragic and simple word: “terror”.

Lucien Vidal Naquet, was what one would call a prominent, he worked for minister cabinet before the war and was a successful lawyer, well introduced, French Jew who joined the resistance as soon as 1940. He managed to reach Spain after the occupation of the free zone but eventually returned. He’ll be arrested in 1944, along with his wife and sent to Auschwitz.
This small bio to point out that he was in privileged position to “have known”. There is two things here: first that the convoys were thought to bring the Jews from France to slave labor and second that this prospect, of course, was horrible enough to be assimilated to “terror”, “human flesh served to the Moloch”, etc.

And most probably, this atrocious prospect of a citizen (even sub-one) to be deported to become a Slave in the East with no chance of return, might have been enough to provoke some reaction among Italian, even Fascist, as Fascism was not originally based on Racist and Anti-Semitic considerations; enough for them to consider this prospect the same way as Lucien Vidal Naquet, like "serving human flesh to the Nazi Moloch".

So back to my repsonse:
Statmec:

“None of this is compatible with the conspiracy proposition.”


Well, it all depends on how one understands the concept of conspiracy. In my view, the term is too vague and too subject to different understanding.
I prefer to turn to what it was not: The FS was not an officially adopted policy which clearly stated that the Jews would be exterminated “en masse” from the west down to the East. The whole Nazi State bureaucracy was not mobilized in order to put the FS – understood as the physical extermination of a people – in place.
The Nazi bureaucracy was mobilized to organize the deportation of the Jews.
The real nature of the destination, and the fate of those deportees, especially when it comes to German and western European Jews, was limited to a circle within the State, of course, with the increase of the criminal ambitions, the circle widened, and ultimately the real nature of the Final Solution leaked, more and more.

But it is obvious that despite those leaks, and the multiplication of rumors about what was really going on, the main actors still kept the same deceiving approach, used the same lies, and presented them as the real truth as long as they possibly could…up to the end of 1943 when Himmler finally declared the real nature of the whole Jewish policy openly to selected audiences.
If this is what you mean by the “conspiracy proposition”, I am afraid that I don’t understand your thinking, here.

Statmec:
As to the Italians, in Bankier & Gutman, eds, Nazi Europe and the Final Solution there is an essay by Liliana Picciotti which gives the following background, all supporting Sarfatti's interpretation of the fascist government's knowledge and the reasons for its tactics regarding the deportations (pp 502-512):
* the Italian army was aware in Croatia that turnover of the Jews to Germany meant their murder
* the Italians were aware of the Allied broadcasts about the FS in 1942, citing Luca Pietromarchi (head of Croatian Office of Ministry of Foreign Affairs) on the Warsaw deportations
* industrialist Alberto Pirelli in November 1942 told Mussolini that from western contacts about German “excesses” against Jews in occupied and allied countries; Mussolini: “They make them . . . migrate to the other world.”
* information from Curzio Malaparte’s reporting in the occupied east including accounts of slaughters and discussion with Hans Frank
* “Pietromarchi [in Croatia] made his own remarks about the genocide of Jews also during 1943: on 2 February he wrote in his diary: ‘[. . .] in spite of all the disasters falling on the Germans, they persist in demanding the handover of all Jews living in the territories we have occupied. They aim at killing every European Jew by the end of 1943. Evidently, they want to involve us in the brutality of their policy.” (I don’t know Pietromarchi’s sources for this particular conclusion but they do not appear to be rumors, Allied reports, or hearsay as his conclusion is a response to German requests and explicit goal statements.)
* 25 February 1943 - Ribbentrop’s diplomatic visit to Rome and his comment about eastern reservations as an attempt to gain Italian compliance
* 11 March 1943 Pietromarchi on more news from London on the slaughter in Poland - and the note that “Our embassy in Berlin has reported macabre details regarding the mass execution of Jews, who. coming from all occupied territories, have been concentrated in massacre localities [. . .].
* on 31 March Giuseppe Bastianni, deputy foreign affairs minister, according to Pietromarchi, asked for time with Mussolini further discuss “the latest news coming from Berlin concerning the horrible massacres of Jews”
* “The information concerning the genocide was confirmed in a report written by Dino Altieri, the Italian Ambassador in Berlin. In Alberto Pirelli’s notes dated 22-23 April 1943, it is clearly stated: ‘[. . .] According to one of Dino Altieri’s reports in Germany a lot of Jews would be ‘gassed.’ (!!).”

All this - a mix of information from official contacts, news reporting, and Allied statements - causes Picciotti to conclude that by early spring 1943 “the facts appeared to be common knowledge, at least in the diplomatic and government environments.” Picciotti also describes a spring 1943 visit by “a high-level delegation of the Italian Fascist Party” to Kube (Generalkommissar for Weissruthenien, headquartered in Minsk) where the Italians were shown looted Jewish goods and what the Italians described as a gas chamber (a gas van most likely) in Minsk, where Polish and German Jews were murdered. In May, Rademacher, in the Foreign Ministry of course, told his SS liaison official, von Thadden, that “[. . .] the fascists must be been deeply moved [. . .]” by what they’d been shown.


What I note reading this summary:
- The dates: The rumors really started to spread when the Allies broadcasted what they knew about the Final Solution. This, of course, created some fuss everywhere, even among German officials, and of course, among neutral States and States allied to Germany, without of course, forgetting Germany and its population.
- The location of some the sources: Of course authorities in Croatia could not completely ignore what was going on in Serbia, where the small Jewish community was clearly designated to be destroyed, used as hostages and shot, and this knowledge could be dated as soon as 1941, even before the real Solution had been put in place.
- From there, the information will progressively being build up. From various sources, none of them really officially of course. The example of Malaparte, stroke me. Indeed, he was a very strange guy, opponent, fascist, but jailed more than any other fascist by the fascist regime, a very complex character. Anyway, he was indeed sent by his journal on the eastern Front, and in the Ukraine. Of course, over there, the mass killing of Jews was nothing really secret at all. Could he have been in the known of the full extent of the Final Solution, I guess not.
- Then of course, as I said, the leaks were building up, becoming a knowledge, but scarce on details, details becoming more precise report after report. But only at the end of 1942, and more clearly through 1943.

That is long after Wannsee, long after the “decision”, long after Chelmno, Belzec…a whole 6 month after Treblinka and Sobibor started their operation.
Leaks are clearly caused by the widening of the genocide to other European countries, with the aid of the Allies who started to receive their own reports.

But my whole point in this thread, if you remember, is that the German bureaucracy was NOT – contrary to what Eichmann alleged - shared the real nature of what the Final Solution was all about. Those State Secretaries had been served the same soup in January 1942 as Mussolini’s on the 11 october 42, the same lies. Why?

One more important point in my perspectives, is that in both cases, the State Secretaries or Mussolini, there were no denial of the massacres of Jews on the Eastern front, in the Baltic States, and in Serbia, in all those places where Jews could be easily assimilated to the Judeo-Bolshevik enemy.
Yes, confessed Himmler, we do kill Jews, men, women and teenagers in the East, and that is probably what Malaparte witnessed somehow, what the Italian Fascists delegation saw in Minsk, and as a side note what a similar French delegation will also witnessed in 1943, because they could be described as posing a threat, because there were “justifications”, as both French and Italian soldiers were fighting on the same front.
But Himmler and friends knew that justifications were more dubious when it came to much more assimilated Jews, Italian Jews, French Jews, etc…He probably knew that his great extermination designs would not have been understood (ouch I hate what I am writing here)… So back to the usual lies of transplantation, with some concession, “no, it won’t be pretty, and some will die…” But nothing that looks like a confession that they will be simply murdered for most of them.

Again the multiplication of leaks regarding the FS clearly shows the limits of secrecy. Had Heydrich explained the full nature of what would happen to the Jews once in the East at Wannsee, those leaks would have rushed much sooner.

Next I will address the case of Slovakian Jews, which is another example of the “farce gone mad”, where lies are not even only reserved for foreign diplomats and head of States, but clearly obvious within the German administration itself.

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Re: Yet another Wannsee thread (with Brayard)

Postby Statistical Mechanic » Tue Apr 26, 2016 11:41 am

Balsamo wrote:As an intro, which could/should have its place in the topic over the Rafle…
On the 25th of January 1943, commenting the Rafles in Marseille, Lucien Vidal-Naquet, father of the French historian, wrote in his diary:
“Days during which, sadly, the French Police, obeying orders from Berlin, proceeded massive requisitions, and arrests in order to satisfy the Nazi Moloch’s need of Human flesh which it quantified: workers, women, children have been arrested without discernment and thrown into sealed wagons, sent to hard labors (Slave labors) in Poland and in Russia…I had never understood as I do today the meaning of this tragic and simple word: “terror”.

Lucien Vidal Naquet, was what one would call a prominent, he worked for minister cabinet before the war and was a successful lawyer, well introduced, French Jew who joined the resistance as soon as 1940. He managed to reach Spain after the occupation of the free zone but eventually returned. He’ll be arrested in 1944, along with his wife and sent to Auschwitz.
This small bio to point out that he was in privileged position to “have known”. There is two things here: first that the convoys were thought to bring the Jews from France to slave labor and second that this prospect, of course, was horrible enough to be assimilated to “terror”, “human flesh served to the Moloch”, etc.

And most probably, this atrocious prospect of a citizen (even sub-one) to be deported to become a Slave in the East with no chance of return, might have been enough to provoke some reaction among Italian, even Fascist, as Fascism was not originally based on Racist and Anti-Semitic considerations; enough for them to consider this prospect the same way as Lucien Vidal Naquet, like "serving human flesh to the Nazi Moloch".

For sure. "Destination unknown" was truly unknown, if sometimes suspected - cover stories misled, some had inklings, but most people didn't know exactly what the bad thing was that awaited victims in Poland or wherever they were being taken - and many resisted belief when the Allies, using source material from Polish Jews, declared that large numbers of Jews were being deliberately killed. And Vichy officials most likely did not know of the extermination, certainly during summer 1942. No disagreement from me on this point.

Balsamo wrote:So back to my repsonse:
Statmec:

“None of this is compatible with the conspiracy proposition.”


Well, it all depends on how one understands the concept of conspiracy. In my view, the term is too vague and too subject to different understanding.

I'm at a disadvantage since I cannot read Brayard. I've struggled to make sense of how he means the term.

Balsamo wrote:I prefer to turn to what it was not: The FS was not an officially adopted policy which clearly stated that the Jews would be exterminated “en masse” from the west down to the East. The whole Nazi State bureaucracy was not mobilized in order to put the FS – understood as the physical extermination of a people – in place.
The Nazi bureaucracy was mobilized to organize the deportation of the Jews.
The real nature of the destination, and the fate of those deportees, especially when it comes to German and western European Jews, was limited to a circle within the State, of course, with the increase of the criminal ambitions, the circle widened, and ultimately the real nature of the Final Solution leaked, more and more.

Use of secrecy and bureaucratic methods, as discussed in this thread, is not a conspiracy, in any normal definition of the term. The way you wrote this makes it sound as though mobilizing the deportations is not part of mobilizing extermination. Of course, someone can participate in the murder process by performing a function without knowing its end result or connection, a point which has formed a tortured theme in post-war prosecutions, as a defense (sometimes made honestly and other times disingenuously), as a consideration of law (joint enterprises, individual culpability in a complex genocidal operation, etc), and in final judgments on guilt. We are here cycling back to "need to know" as a concept.

Balsamo wrote:If this is what you mean by the “conspiracy proposition”, I am afraid that I don’t understand your thinking, here.

I was simply going by what I thought, from this thread, Brayard meant.

Balsamo wrote:What I note reading this summary:
- The dates: The rumors really started to spread when the Allies broadcasted what they knew about the Final Solution. This, of course, created some fuss everywhere, even among German officials, and of course, among neutral States and States allied to Germany, without of course, forgetting Germany and its population.

I was careful to distinguish sources - "a mix of information from official contacts, news reporting, and Allied statements." Most of the sources cited by Picciotti were not rumors but rather contacts and officials. The information coming to the Italians from such contacts and from direct observation was, thus, not mainly a product or result of rumors and Allied statements (confusingly, I made an editorial slip regarding Pirelli, writing “western sources,” as Picciotti actually wrote, “In November 1942, Alberto Pirelli reported to Mussolini, as he used to do after every trip abroad, that Germany was pursuing a despicable policy against the occupied countries and Allies: ‘[. . . ] moreover, the inhuman excesses toward the Jews are to be added’” to which Mussolini replied as quoted; de Felice clarifies that his trip had been to Vichy, Belgium and Germany).

Balsamo wrote:- The location of some the sources: Of course authorities in Croatia could not completely ignore what was going on in Serbia, where the small Jewish community was clearly designated to be destroyed, used as hostages and shot, and this knowledge could be dated as soon as 1941, even before the real Solution had been put in place.

The source referred to by Sarfatti was a German deportation request dated August 1942 (p 160).

Balsamo wrote: - From there, the information will progressively being build up. From various sources, none of them really officially of course.

Officials in various ministries and state/party roles are official sources, I have to say.

Balsamo wrote:- Then of course, as I said, the leaks were building up, becoming a knowledge, but scarce on details, details becoming more precise report after report. But only at the end of 1942, and more clearly through 1943.

Well, the official deportation requests, and the surrounding "extraction" efforts, couldn't have really come earlier. I don't know of an argument made by anyone that, on the basis of the Wannsee conceptualization, efforts via the German Foreign Ministry or RSHA or other agencies were immediately made to gain full collaboration among allied and neutral states. Quite the opposite, in fact, especially when the argument has been made that the Germans themselves in January 1942 didn't envisage the death camps, etc at that point.

Balsamo wrote:nothing that looks like a confession that they will be simply murdered for most of them.

Some of it looks exactly like that, when we have archival traces, coming from Germans to Italian officials, such as 'in 1943 all the Jews of Europe must be eliminated" or "the will to fully exterminate the Jewish race." FSS, Kube was an official . . . and, well, Rademacher? Pffft?

Balsamo wrote:Again the multiplication of leaks regarding the FS clearly shows the limits of secrecy.

Circular logic: you are using your assumptions about the circle of actors and information flow - "leaks" here may signal the involvement beyond your proposed circle and may be purposeful - to characterize evidence that may not support your case at all as proving the assumption causing you to read it your way. Again, what's interesting about Sarfatti's reading is that his argument has nothing to do with the issues we're discussing but only with Italian agency.

To clarify one point, the reason I posted the bits from Sarfatti was to underscore how wayward are arguments made by deniers about forgery, not to prove a case against Brayard; that said, as I've argued, these bits don't either support the case you're making.

Ok, I am going to take a small break from this discussion in the hopes of being able to step back a bit - I've gotten a book of essays reviewing the bureaucratic and inter-organizational aspects of the Nazi persecution of the Jews and FS, which I want to read and think over before re-visiting the questions here. First, however, I'm going to read Alex Kay's Filbert biography.
"World peace is certainly an ideal worth striving for; in Hitler's opinion it will be realizable only when one power, the racially best one, has attained complete and uncontested supremacy. That can then provide a sort of world police, seeing to it at the same time that the most valuable race is guaranteed the necessary living space. And if no other way is open to them, the lower races will have to restrict themselves accordingly."

- Rudolf Hess, letter, 1927

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Re: Yet another Wannsee thread (with Brayard)

Postby Balsamo » Wed Apr 27, 2016 10:20 pm

Statmec:

I've gotten a book of essays reviewing the bureaucratic and inter-organizational aspects of the Nazi persecution of the Jews and FS, which I want to read


Great! WHat is this book's name and authors ?

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Re: Yet another Wannsee thread (with Brayard)

Postby Statistical Mechanic » Wed Apr 27, 2016 10:34 pm

Sorry, it is Gerald Feldman & Wolfgang Seibel, eds, Networks of Nazi Persecution: Bureaucracy, Business and the Organization of the Holocaust (2005) - so far, three (very interesting) papers in, not much on the Final Solution (both on the 1930s) - but the next paper is on 1940-1944 . . . papers by Gerlach, Dean, Bajohr, Lower, Michael Thad Allen, Gruner, Seibel and others . . . {!#%@} 2005 is over a decade ago!
"World peace is certainly an ideal worth striving for; in Hitler's opinion it will be realizable only when one power, the racially best one, has attained complete and uncontested supremacy. That can then provide a sort of world police, seeing to it at the same time that the most valuable race is guaranteed the necessary living space. And if no other way is open to them, the lower races will have to restrict themselves accordingly."

- Rudolf Hess, letter, 1927

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Re: Yet another Wannsee thread (with Brayard)

Postby Balsamo » Thu Apr 28, 2016 11:51 am

Just downloaded it on my kindle... thanks a lot...

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Re: Yet another Wannsee thread (with Brayard)

Postby Balsamo » Sun May 15, 2016 8:56 pm

Statistical Mechanic wrote:Sorry, it is Gerald Feldman & Wolfgang Seibel, eds, Networks of Nazi Persecution: Bureaucracy, Business and the Organization of the Holocaust (2005) - so far, three (very interesting) papers in, not much on the Final Solution (both on the 1930s) - but the next paper is on 1940-1944 . . . papers by Gerlach, Dean, Bajohr, Lower, Michael Thad Allen, Gruner, Seibel and others . . . {!#%@} 2005 is over a decade ago!


Hi Statmec,

Have you read it yet? :D

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Re: Yet another Wannsee thread (with Brayard)

Postby Statistical Mechanic » Sun May 15, 2016 9:15 pm

Yes, most of it is about pre-FS policy, plunder, Aryanization - very interesting stuff though, including concepts of networks and how they use division of labor. But not directly about FS, for the most part.
"World peace is certainly an ideal worth striving for; in Hitler's opinion it will be realizable only when one power, the racially best one, has attained complete and uncontested supremacy. That can then provide a sort of world police, seeing to it at the same time that the most valuable race is guaranteed the necessary living space. And if no other way is open to them, the lower races will have to restrict themselves accordingly."

- Rudolf Hess, letter, 1927

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Re: Yet another Wannsee thread (with Brayard)

Postby Balsamo » Sun May 15, 2016 9:45 pm

Statistical Mechanic wrote:Yes, most of it is about pre-FS policy, plunder, Aryanization - very interesting stuff though, including concepts of networks and how they use division of labor. But not directly about FS, for the most part.


Although the term "Final Solution" and "Holocaust" are widely used in some chapters.
I have read it too, but some chapters (one or two left), still there are many very interesting aspects i will use to reinforce my views (in the context of this thread), in a final attempt to explain my perspective, and the problem i have with others.
I was thinking about opening a new thread for this book, but then, it is maybe a bit too general and some chapters fit with existing threads, like Baruch's in the Raffle, etc, Gruner's and Lower's in this one, etc.

be back later on this ;)

PS. I took many notes, and really enjoyed the reading. In case anyone else would be interested...

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Re: Yet another Wannsee thread (with Brayard)

Postby Statistical Mechanic » Sun May 15, 2016 10:06 pm

Balsamo wrote:
Statistical Mechanic wrote:Yes, most of it is about pre-FS policy, plunder, Aryanization - very interesting stuff though, including concepts of networks and how they use division of labor. But not directly about FS, for the most part.


Although the term "Final Solution" and "Holocaust" are widely used in some chapters.
I have read it too, but some chapters (one or two left), still there are many very interesting aspects i will use to reinforce my views (in the context of this thread), in a final attempt to explain my perspective, and the problem i have with others.
I was thinking about opening a new thread for this book, but then, it is maybe a bit too general and some chapters fit with existing threads, like Baruch's in the Raffle, etc, Gruner's and Lower's in this one, etc.

be back later on this ;)

PS. I took many notes, and really enjoyed the reading. In case anyone else would be interested...

funny I thought that if anything it reinforced my views, with the concept of networks and the concept of division of labor - but, honestly, I'd say that it doesn't directly address debates in this thread!
"World peace is certainly an ideal worth striving for; in Hitler's opinion it will be realizable only when one power, the racially best one, has attained complete and uncontested supremacy. That can then provide a sort of world police, seeing to it at the same time that the most valuable race is guaranteed the necessary living space. And if no other way is open to them, the lower races will have to restrict themselves accordingly."

- Rudolf Hess, letter, 1927


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