Yet another Wannsee thread (with Brayard)

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Re: Yet another Wannsee thread (with Brayard)

Postby Jeff_36 » Thu Jul 09, 2015 3:58 am

in his memoir, Lösener states that, as to the FS, “Stuckart found out more details at the notorious ‘Wannsee Conference in January 1942 at the latest” but that Lösener himself did not learn details until after the war


And therin lies the problem: how possibly could Losener have known about Stuckart's knowledge of the FS if he had none himself?

All that being said, I now take the stance that Stuckart was fully aware of the Pre-FS actions against Jews in the east, and was likely one of the more loudmouthed and aggressive advocates of a "terminal" solution at the Wannasee conference. His defenses were just as you said they were.

However, I still do not believe that the FS as it came to be carried out was what was on the table at Wannasee, see my above post on my Improvised Final Solution theory.

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Re: Yet another Wannsee thread (with Brayard)

Postby Statistical Mechanic » Thu Jul 09, 2015 10:12 am

Jeff_36 wrote:
in his memoir, Lösener states that, as to the FS, “Stuckart found out more details at the notorious ‘Wannsee Conference in January 1942 at the latest” but that Lösener himself did not learn details until after the war


And therin lies the problem: how possibly could Losener have known about Stuckart's knowledge of the FS if he had none himself?

Did you read my post? There's no problem; in fact, what Sandkühler shows is extremely damaging to Brayard's reliance on the postwar testimony. Lösener, as Sandkühler noted, was unreliable in postwar testimony (which includes his memoir) about what he understood to be going on; this judgment is proven by the note in Lösener's files from December 1941 concerning his meeting that month with Stuckart about the shooting of German Jews in the Ostland.

In addition, as I explained in a footnote, despite his demurrals, Lösener at the Ministries trial admitted that at the time he was "pessimistic" about the fate of the German Jews. So this adds to Sandkühler's point by showing that Brayard was selective in his use of the postwar testimony itself, which was self-contradictory.

And Lösener also explained in that same testimony that the very phrase in the letter of 16 March 1942 to which he attributes such meaning (the Jews were to remain alive in the east) was a stock expression Stuckart had been using since 1935. Which shows that since the Ministries trial - Lösener's testimony was given in 1948 - the very point on which Brayard hangs so much, a very different interpretation has been available to us. As Sandkühler wrote, Brayard is giving us nothing new - and he is using evidence in a very selective manner.

The problem here is for anyone relying on Lösener's or Stuckart's exculpatory postwar testimony which omits what they were actually thinking, as recorded in Lösener's December 1941 note, during those fateful months, and as suggested by portions of Lösener's testimony apparently ignored by Brayard.

Jeff_36 wrote:All that being said, I now take the stance that Stuckart was fully aware of the Pre-FS actions against Jews in the east, and was likely one of the more loudmouthed and aggressive advocates of a "terminal" solution at the Wannasee conference. His defenses were just as you said they were.

Indeed, Sandkühler's argument, and my footnotes, don't prove my understanding of the Wannsee conference; the intent of my post was to summarize some reasons to reject Brayard's interpretation (with its reliance on unreliable witnesses) to make the point that the focus of the conference was on Mischlinge and that the genocide is best understood via a dichotomous east-west division, as though the murder of western, central, and southern European Jews was not somehow the real genocide.

Jeff_36 wrote:However, I still do not believe that the FS as it came to be carried out was what was on the table at Wannasee, see my above post on my Improvised Final Solution theory.

I couldn't really follow it - so, to get there, I'd asked you if (a) you are dismissing all that Gerlach has to say about "December 1941" and (b) you could explain one sentence, which I quoted, that really lost me. When we get over these hurdles, I will have to ask you your understanding of the passage which assumes the fate of the unfit and which uses what Nick Terry called the "whopping great conditional" bei Freilassung. As an aside, it seems to me that in your post you're still dating the consensus, if we are to call it that, by the dates when things could be implemented. I didn't see anything in your post that challenged this comment of Nick Terry's:
The protocol is pretty clear that all Jews in Europe would be caught up in the FS, The ensuing discussion indicates that Luther and the Foreign Office thought there would be few problems in western Europe.
Or this one:
From the perspective of the professional genocidaire, January to June 1942 must have been a depressing time.

But we can get to all that after I'm sure I understand what I asked about earlier . . .
Last edited by Statistical Mechanic on Thu Jul 09, 2015 10:16 am, edited 1 time in total.
Nazism conspired to create a sense of festival time. . . . Tragically for humanity, the party generating it was the type not associated with the coloured costumes of the Brazilian Carnival, but with the brown-shirted thuggery of the NSDAP. The contrast between the dance and the march, between the samba and the strains of the Horst Wessel Lied, points to the gulf separating a life-asserting community from a community which exists only by creating a demonized other. - RG '97

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Re: Yet another Wannsee thread (with Brayard)

Postby nickterry » Thu Jul 09, 2015 10:15 am

Jeff_36 wrote:
in his memoir, Lösener states that, as to the FS, “Stuckart found out more details at the notorious ‘Wannsee Conference in January 1942 at the latest” but that Lösener himself did not learn details until after the war


And therin lies the problem: how possibly could Losener have known about Stuckart's knowledge of the FS if he had none himself?

All that being said, I now take the stance that Stuckart was fully aware of the Pre-FS actions against Jews in the east, and was likely one of the more loudmouthed and aggressive advocates of a "terminal" solution at the Wannasee conference. His defenses were just as you said they were.

However, I still do not believe that the FS as it came to be carried out was what was on the table at Wannasee, see my above post on my Improvised Final Solution theory.


Jeff, "what was on the table" at Wannsee cannot be considered a plan; it was instead the communication of a basic decision taken shortly beforehand by Hitler, via Heydrich. Neither Hitler, nor Himmler, nor Heydrich, had a clear idea of how the basic intention would be achieved as of January 1942; Hitler because he had delegated the details to Himmler and Heydrich, the SS leaders because they were prisoners of contingency and real-world developments. Heydrich says as much in the protocol, AFTER the text outlines the ultimate fate of the Jews (underlining is mine):

The beginning of the individual larger evacuation actions will largely depend on military developments. Regarding the handling of the final solution in those European countries occupied and influenced by us, it was proposed that the appropriate expert of the Foreign Office discuss the matter with the responsible official of the Security Police and SD

A discussion of foreign countries then ensued, starting with Slovakia and Croatia before considering briefly Romania, Hungary, Italy, France, the Nordic countries and 'southeast ad western Europe'. This discussion rounds out Section III of the WP - the closest thing to a 'plan' in the document, but it obviously isn't a plan, and has become closer to a brainstorming session, since different officials volunteer opinions on the feasibility of extracting Jews from different countries so they can be contributed to the Final Solution.

Hitherto, we have semi-secure evidence prior to Wannsee of intentions regarding a mere four foreign (non-Reich, non-Eastern European) countries, with a fifth known from an unreliable source. The four countries are: Slovakia (Himmler's 1941 deal), Netherlands (officials talking of deportations to Poland), France (punitive reprisal transports to 'the east', coupled with a proposal to deport Jews to Rosenberg's territory and a rebuff from Rosenberg), and Serbia (vague idea of transporting Serbian Jewish women and children to the east by sea, never carried out). The unreliable reference is to the diary-notes of Gerhard Engel, Hitler's Army adjutant, who recorded a vague handwave about Salonika in Greece, again talking vaguely of the east. - the Jews of Salonika were not deported until March 1943.

These pre-Wannsee references come down almost as much on the side of 'Poland' (for Slovakia and the Netherlands) as they do for 'the east'.

Therefore, at the time of Wannsee there was no plan and nothing on the table regarding 'rest of Europe'.

Regarding Poland, while improvisation is a correct term to use for how the Nazis implemented the FS, the intent was already firm, the means were being established or actually being used. 10s of 1000s of Jews in the Warthegau were already dead by the time of Wannsee, and the program continued long afterwards. The decision not to deport eastwards had been taken in September/October 1941, despite 'the east' being the buzzword of the moment in Nazi thinking about the Jewish question. For the GG there was still talk of deporting 'to the east' until late October 1941, but this talk ended firmly by December 1941, as recorded in Frank's infamous speech of 16 December.

The fact that the means had not been fully established undercuts your point about the use of existing structures: Globocnik had to recall key officers from the SS-und-Polizeistuetzpunkte project in the occupied eastern territories, he had to receive personnel from T4 in increments, and two of three camps had to be built. 16.12.41 was not unlike Wannsee in that it announced an intention, with a lot of admin to be worked out, and with the added headache of waiting for the spring for the transport crisis to clear a bit so that local trains could run. From December 1941 onwards, there was never any intention to deport Polish Jews to 'the east', Buhler's dissembling after the war notwithstanding.

Regarding the Reich, there are multiple SS plans, hints as well as actual deportations indicating that as of January 1942, the Nazis intended to deport Reich Jews to the literal east. But what happened in 1942 turned out to be very different, because many of the plans and ideas were impracticable. Instead of being deported to DG IV, Reich Jews were sent to the Lublin district, with nothing indicating a firm decision for that until February 1942, after Wannsee. Reich Jews had the priority, but even they could not be deported to the east. Unsurprisingly, no one else was, either.

Once again: if there was a firm plan as of 20.1.1942, then Himmler destroyed it within the week, with his order to Gluecks to transfer 150,000 able bodied Reich Jews to concentration camps. Because there were no concentration camps in the 'east'.

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Re: Yet another Wannsee thread (with Brayard)

Postby Statistical Mechanic » Thu Jul 09, 2015 10:40 am

nickterry wrote:Jeff, "what was on the table" at Wannsee cannot be considered a plan; it was instead the communication of a basic decision taken shortly beforehand by Hitler, via Heydrich.

A month ago I posted, quoting Hilberg's dissertation (thanks to the person who sent that to me!), that the Nazis had a "pattern of action," not a plan. That is the framing I've tried keeping in place for this entire discussion. It is odd, Jeff, that you and Balsamo have offered arguments that ignore this basic point, which Nick Terry has underscored in almost every one of his recent posts, stating the concept more clearly than I ever could.

Frankly, to attack my conception of the Wannsee conference - or Hilberg's or Roseman's, or even Longerich's, e.g. - by arguing that because there wasn't a plan for dealing with the western European Jews on the table, therefore there was no basic decision about their fate, is to use a strawman. I don't think this is on purpose but rather because parts of the argument aren't being "heard" and internalized.

And, by the way, in December-January 1941/1942 there was no full plan regarding how to carry out the FS with regard to eastern Jews, either (e.g., Frank's comments from December or the shifting plans for Majdanek), to anticipate any more "Brayard" nonsense.

nickterry wrote:Neither Hitler, nor Himmler, nor Heydrich, had a clear idea of how the basic intention would be achieved as of January 1942; Hitler because he had delegated the details to Himmler and Heydrich, the SS leaders because they were prisoners of contingency and real-world developments. Heydrich says as much in the protocol, AFTER the text outlines the ultimate fate of the Jews (underlining is mine):

The beginning of the individual larger evacuation actions will largely depend on military developments. Regarding the handling of the final solution in those European countries occupied and influenced by us, it was proposed that the appropriate expert of the Foreign Office discuss the matter with the responsible official of the Security Police and SD

A discussion of foreign countries then ensued, starting with Slovakia and Croatia before considering briefly Romania, Hungary, Italy, France, the Nordic countries and 'southeast ad western Europe'. This discussion rounds out Section III of the WP - the closest thing to a 'plan' in the document, but it obviously isn't a plan, and has become closer to a brainstorming session, since different officials volunteer opinions on the feasibility of extracting Jews from different countries so they can be contributed to the Final Solution.

Brilliant. This underscores some key points I made against Balsamo's interpretation in my first two long posts, especially those about "ebb and flow" and the Foreign Office.

nickterry wrote:Hitherto, we have semi-secure evidence prior to Wannsee of intentions regarding a mere four foreign (non-Reich, non-Eastern European) countries, with a fifth known from an unreliable source. The four countries are: Slovakia (Himmler's 1941 deal), Netherlands (officials talking of deportations to Poland), France (punitive reprisal transports to 'the east', coupled with a proposal to deport Jews to Rosenberg's territory and a rebuff from Rosenberg), and Serbia (vague idea of transporting Serbian Jewish women and children to the east by sea, never carried out). The unreliable reference is to the diary-notes of Gerhard Engel, Hitler's Army adjutant, who recorded a vague handwave about Salonika in Greece, again talking vaguely of the east. - the Jews of Salonika were not deported until March 1943.

These pre-Wannsee references come down almost as much on the side of 'Poland' (for Slovakia and the Netherlands) as they do for 'the east'.

Therefore, at the time of Wannsee there was no plan and nothing on the table regarding 'rest of Europe'.

Good stuff.

nickterry wrote:Regarding Poland, while improvisation is a correct term to use for how the Nazis implemented the FS, the intent was already firm,

Agree 100%, thus my making the same distinction, over and over, using slightly different terms - between the general agreement on "policy" or "approach" on the one hand and the very open "implementation" course on the other. The implementation (exactly how, when and where Jews would meet their fate, so to speak), as Nick Terry and I have said repeatedly, was highly improvised.

nickterry wrote:the means were being established or actually being used. 10s of 1000s of Jews in the Warthegau were already dead by the time of Wannsee, and the program continued long afterwards. The decision not to deport eastwards had been taken in September/October 1941, despite 'the east' being the buzzword of the moment in Nazi thinking about the Jewish question. For the GG there was still talk of deporting 'to the east' until late October 1941, but this talk ended firmly by December 1941, as recorded in Frank's infamous speech of 16 December.

Thus, my question to you, Jeff, about Gerlach's argument.

nickterry wrote:The fact that the means had not been fully established undercuts your point about the use of existing structures: Globocnik had to recall key officers from the SS-und-Polizeistuetzpunkte project in the occupied eastern territories, he had to receive personnel from T4 in increments, and two of three camps had to be built. 16.12.41 was not unlike Wannsee in that it announced an intention, with a lot of admin to be worked out, and with the added headache of waiting for the spring for the transport crisis to clear a bit so that local trains could run. From December 1941 onwards, there was never any intention to deport Polish Jews to 'the east', Buhler's dissembling after the war notwithstanding.

Again, all this is very characteristic of putting such a large intention into operation. And, as I tried showing with 14f13, quite characteristic of the Nazi killing programs as well. None of what Nick Terry writes here is mysterious or ad hoc or unique (programs in general involve course corrections, invented solutions to impediments, re-visits and re-thinks, detail planning, etc): what Nick Terry writes here is absolutely necessary to understanding that which I've used the shorthand "reality" for. (My use of that term came about because Brayard's approach, at least as summarized by Balsamo, seems very theoretical and one-dimensional and thus lacking in the kind of effort that goes into real programs in the real world - Sandkühler characterized Brayard's approach as puzzle assembly using various texts.)

nickterry wrote:Regarding the Reich, there are multiple SS plans, hints as well as actual deportations indicating that as of January 1942, the Nazis intended to deport Reich Jews to the literal east. But what happened in 1942 turned out to be very different, because many of the plans and ideas were impracticable. Instead of being deported to DG IV, Reich Jews were sent to the Lublin district, with nothing indicating a firm decision for that until February 1942, after Wannsee. Reich Jews had the priority, but even they could not be deported to the east. Unsurprisingly, no one else was, either.

Once again: if there was a firm plan as of 20.1.1942, then Himmler destroyed it within the week, with his order to Gluecks to transfer 150,000 able bodied Reich Jews to concentration camps. Because there were no concentration camps in the 'east'.

Indeed. I'd only suggest, Jeff, that you re-visit the AHF Hotel Majestic thread to trace how this decision played out - which adds yet another layer of unrealistic intentions, course corrections, modifications, bootstrapping, etc to the discussion.
Nazism conspired to create a sense of festival time. . . . Tragically for humanity, the party generating it was the type not associated with the coloured costumes of the Brazilian Carnival, but with the brown-shirted thuggery of the NSDAP. The contrast between the dance and the march, between the samba and the strains of the Horst Wessel Lied, points to the gulf separating a life-asserting community from a community which exists only by creating a demonized other. - RG '97

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Re: Yet another Wannsee thread (with Brayard)

Postby Statistical Mechanic » Thu Jul 09, 2015 2:47 pm

Jeff_36 wrote:. . . I now take the stance that Stuckart was fully aware of the Pre-FS actions against Jews in the east. . .

The other difficulty for this position is that the Lösener note was about the subjection of German Jews to the same fate as Baltic Jews. If you mean that he was aware of what was happening to Jews in the east, fine; if you mean that he was only aware of what was happening to eastern Jews, big problem for your position.
Nazism conspired to create a sense of festival time. . . . Tragically for humanity, the party generating it was the type not associated with the coloured costumes of the Brazilian Carnival, but with the brown-shirted thuggery of the NSDAP. The contrast between the dance and the march, between the samba and the strains of the Horst Wessel Lied, points to the gulf separating a life-asserting community from a community which exists only by creating a demonized other. - RG '97

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Re: Yet another Wannsee thread (with Brayard)

Postby Statistical Mechanic » Thu Jul 09, 2015 4:05 pm

Jeff_36 wrote:The GG Jews were to be killed. H2 likely decided on this not long after the meeting. Buhler had made clear that they were a problem, and the incoming deportations indicated in Eichmanns circular would need empty space to be accommodated. Himmler already had an officer (Globocnik) in the GG working on a project to wipe out the Lublin Ghetto, conveniently placed to carry this measure out.

Thus began the first deportations to BST, as described in the Goebbles diary.

One thing: Goebbles indicates that the German Jews deported to the empty ghettos would suffer the same fate as the GG Jews at a later date. That seems to indicate that at some point between early February and March 27th the plan mentioned at Wannasee had been either scrapped or postponed due to the course of the war. The fate of the rest of Europes Jews was as of yet unknown.

In one way or another - if I understand you right - you, Balsamo, and Brayard make this kind of distinction between German (and western) Jews, on the one hand, and Polish (Soviet, Baltic, Ukrainian) Jews, on the other. And you make the distinction in terms of the perspectives that informed the Wannsee conference and events during the following months.

Point 1. The three of you are taking a position very different than Longerich's despite your sometimes citing him. The case you make on Wannsee is much closer actually to Bloxham's than it is to Longerich's. Above in this thread I've quoted Longerich - counter to Balsamo's view that Longerich puts "the decision" after the Wannsee conference:
The impending 'final solution' was envisaged as involving 11 million Jews. . . . Heydrich . . . clearly distinguished the programme of deportations that had already been set in motion from a far more comprehensive plan, whose execution he said was 'dependent on military developments' and could therefore only be fully realized after a German victory. . . . Heydrich thus developed the conception of a gigantic deportation programme which would only be fully realizable in the post-war period. Those Jews who were deported 'to the East' were to be worked to death through forced labour or, if they should survive these tribulations, they would be murdered. . . . Heydrich also made it clear what was understood by the phrase 'Final Solution': the Jews were to be annihilated by a combination of forced labour and mass murder."

What Longerich says occurred after Wannsee, then, is the acceleration of the FS based on war developments, not what the FS was to entail, in his view, the annihilation of 11 million European Jews by a combination of decimating labor and mass murder, which was clear in Heydrich's mind as early as January 1942.

In Longerich's view, as of the Wannsee meeting, the FS wouldn't be complete until 1) all Europe's Jews were dealt with and 2) after the war. What changed in May, in his view, was the "after the war" part.

Point 2. Let's turn this around and look at the Wannsee protocol in terms of the dichotomous framework you guys use.

You are making an affirmative case that Heydrich in particular at the time of Wannsee took a differential approach to "eastern" and "western" Jews, and specifically excluded "western" Jews at this time from the fate decided for eastern Jews. (You are actually going further than this and arguing, despite the note in the protocol on Bühler, that the decision on GG Jews came after the Wannsee meeting, only, as I read your comment, Lublin having been clear before Wannsee - but I want to leave this aside for a moment.)

The differential approach comes through, in your arguments, on two levels: ultimate fate and treatment. Further, the three of you seem to argue that this "difference for western Jews" persisted at least through the winter and spring. (I believe the three of you see the persistence ending at different times and in different ways, with things Balsamo has written somehow, IMO, positioning western Jews as not suffering the real Holocaust throughout this period - but, again, I want to leave this aside for now.)

My focus here is on where the three of you seem to agree - albeit with differing results and implications: the position that western/German Jews were not, at the time of the Wannsee conference, to be subject to the same fate as Lublin/GG/Soviet/eastern Jews.

Point 3. Since you're making this case, and making it in terms of understanding the Wannsee conference, what would move this forward would be for you and Balsamo to explain, using the protocol and other relevant documents, how this distinction played out at the conference. If the western/German vs eastern/Polish/Russian dichotomy were a core part of Heyrich's thinking at this time, the protocol and related documents should echo this thinking and lay out this dichotomy and its implications.

Point 4. So that's not only my request to you but what I will answer as well. My answer is that the protocol has no echo of the thinking you argue is core. I've been through the text over and over and just don't see this dichotomy.

We don't have to wait til May 1942 or Posen in late 1943 to see "convergence" (Balsamo's term) but encounter it throughout the Wannsee protocol, in the way that Heydrich framed and discussed his remit and the nature of the FS being decided and plotted out.

The official conference notes, in fact, stated that:

- Heydrich had been given authority to make "the preparations for the final solution of the Jewish question in Europe and [had called the conference] for the purpose of clarifying fundamental questions" about the FS in Europe

- the FS would require "common action of all central offices immediately concerned" and Heydrich intended to gain that level of cooperation and alignment "in relation to the final solution of the Jewish question in Europe"

- the earlier policy of emigration of Jews from the Greater Reich had been prohibited due to war conditions and "due to the possibilities of the East"

- a new policy, made possible by the war and through practical steps already taken, had been decided, namely, "the evacuation of the Jews to the East, provided that the Fuehrer gives the appropriate approval in advance"

- "11 million Jews will be involved in the final solution of the European Jewish question" - countries across Europe, whether occupied by Germany, allied to Germany, or outside of German control, were listed

- "The handling of the problem in the individual countries will meet with difficulties due to the attitude and outlook of the people there"

- "In the course of the practical execution of the final solution, Europe will be combed through from west to east. Germany proper, including the Protectorate of Bohemia and Moravia, will have to be handled first due to the housing problem and additional social and political necessities"

- as groups of Jews were evacuated from across Europe, they would "first be sent . . . to so-called transit ghettos, from which they will be transported to the East"

- "The beginning of the individual larger evacuation actions will largely depend on military developments"

- "Regarding the handling of the final solution in those European countries occupied and influenced by us, it was proposed that the appropriate expert of the Foreign Office discuss the matter with the responsible official of the Security Police and SD"

- in discussion it was clarified that Jews necessary to war industries were not to be evacuated at once; there were various ideas about how to treat Jews in mixed marriages and Mischlinge - and the role of sterilization; and "the General Government would welcome it if the final solution of this problem could be begun in the General Government" at once

Thus:

- the official notes insist on a European-wide frame and purpose for the FS (there's no trace of Stuckart/Balsamo/Brayard's narrowing of focus to just the Mischlinge or Nuremberg laws when it comes to the purpose of the meeting or the intent of the conference or the scope of the FS)

- the new "possibilities in the East" were not explicitly stated but we can infer that they involved things like successful expulsions of Reich Jews to the Ostland and Lodz; use of ghettos to imprison Jews; the mass shootings of Jews to make territory judenrein and clandestine extermination like what was being pioneered at Chelmno - and the absence of political considerations of the kind that existed in the Reich; the "possibilities in the East" do not refer exclusively to eastern Jews but to the former program of Reich emigration and, by inference, what was happening to eastern Jews - so these are "possibilities in the East" for "the final solution of the Jewish question in Europe"

- the protocol said that Jews were to be evacuated to the East under the new approach; what territory this was to involve was not stated - but clearly the scope of this approach was the Jews of Europe with affected countries named

- despite the subjection of Jews from across Europe to the FS (intent, fate, basic decision), the protocol recognizes that how the FS would be handled in each country (implementation, detail plans, improvisation, course correction, etc) would have to take into account the political situations ("attitude and outlook") in the various countries

- Germany and the Protectorate were to be included in the "practical execution of the final solution" as urgent cases due to housing and other considerations; all of Europe would be "combed through from west to east" to evacuate Jews to the East as part of implementing the FS - thus, according to the protocol, at the level of implementation, Reich Jews needed to be part of the FS fast

- some sort of collection process involving ghettos was foreseen to gather up evacuated Jews before they were sent to whatever/wherever it was that was the East

- Heydrich said explicitly that the evacuation of the affected Jews, and thus the execution of the FS, would not necessarily be speedy but would depend in part on the military situation

- according to the protocol, another contingency was coordination with individual European countries either occupied or in alliance with Germany - evacuations of the Jews from these countries would depend on the work of the Foreign Office, in collaboration with the German police, with their governments

- the discussion of the Nuremberg laws and the relatively small number of Jews affected by decisions about their applicability did not reach a resolution

- tactical give and take would be used where necessary, e.g., Jews already in war work

- along with urgency regarding Germany and the Protectorate, the GG was discussed as "ready to go"

My question for you and Balsamo: where in the protocol do you see Heydrich employing a core dichotomy - as to which Jews are to be included in the FS - that is, a dichotomy between so-called eastern and western Jews as to their ultimate fate?

My follow-up: if you don't see this dichotomy in the text of the protocol, but still maintain its validity, why did the official conference notes ignore what you, Balsamo, and Brayard deem core?
Nazism conspired to create a sense of festival time. . . . Tragically for humanity, the party generating it was the type not associated with the coloured costumes of the Brazilian Carnival, but with the brown-shirted thuggery of the NSDAP. The contrast between the dance and the march, between the samba and the strains of the Horst Wessel Lied, points to the gulf separating a life-asserting community from a community which exists only by creating a demonized other. - RG '97

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Re: Yet another Wannsee thread (with Brayard)

Postby Balsamo » Thu Jul 09, 2015 6:02 pm

Hi StatMec, and sorry for having interrupted your well-deserved break.
Somewhere in your longest post so far you have asked:
“and he specifically disagrees with the idea that the conference had any significance at all. Do you agree with Jeff on that?”

Not really, as I answered to him.

"That was the first part of the meeting was for: making clear that it was the RSHA that was in charge of the Final Solution, making clear that it was a European program - that is that Heydrich was responsible for all the Jews wherever they were, without territorial consideration. He then present the Final Solution I think using the exact words that are in the Minutes.
How those words were understood by the attendees is the issue.
They can be no doubt that everyone did understand the extinction finality of the Final Solution as well as its European scope.

My disagreements are that those important elements were NOT the result of the meeting, and were NOT the result of any discussion. In this logic, I downgrade the importance of the meeting. Those important changes were backed with enough authorities – Goering, the Fuhrer that those topics were just announced to the State Secretaries who had just to accept this new deal, insofar that it concerned the already legally defined Jews.

Because the importance of the change regarding the Final Solution and its now openly declared extermination finality, Heydrich offered some bogus concessions:
- Jews working in the Armament industries, of course. But this one had already been agreed upon before Wannsee, it was not the result of a discussion at Wannsee.
The other concessions are harder to explain, in my view, if one takes for granted that the real nature of the Final Solution had been exposed clearly to the attendees.
- The Jews over 65
- And of course, those highly decorated during ww1.
In a context of extermination through mass murder, the exception of those over 65 makes no real sense. To let them die away in their old-age Ghetto was already in another time frame, that is their eventual death could not be determined. Too old to be able to reproduce themselves, the idea was just to let them die away without schedule.
The exception granted to decorated Vets might be linked to the consequences of the first massacres of German Jews in 1941, but let’s not derail).

Because of the description of the Final Solution, its extermination finality having been explained, I don’t think that the taking over of responsibilities was the result of fierce discussions neither.

StatMec:
The entire discussion of so-called exemptions, including sterilization (described at Wannsee as the price for Mischlinge being not being evacuated), took place in the context of general agreement on the overall ”evacuation" policy - that is, the concept and extent of the FS
.

Yes, but his is where I make a distinction, between what regards the Jews which were agreed – not that was many ways to disagree, but that was not the case anyway. And a second discussion which was rejected.
I don’t think I have ignore this point at all.
So I don’t disagree with Evans when he says:

Heydrich informed the high-ranking party and government officials present, that Hitler had approved of the 'evacuation of the Jews to the east' as a solution to the 'Jewish question'. Heydrich left no doubt about the murderous fate which awaited the Jews. . . . The meeting voiced no opposition to the plans outlined by Heydrich.


But I do disagree with Gerlach when he sum up:
Heydrich outlined “his plan for a final solution involving the mass murder of Jews from all countries of Europe”


I see a major difference between the two statements. It might seem subtle or even futile, but in my views it makes a huge difference. Sterilization is somehow also a way that leads to extinction and extermination, but it is not mass murder, to gather Jews in awful condition and let them die slowly from “natural cause” is indeed a murderous fate, but again it is not mass murder.
Again, I don’t contest the “murderous fate” or the “extermination finality” of the Final Solution as was proposed by Heydrich, I contest that the modalities – mass murder (as was going on the East) – were presented at the State Secretaries.

StatMec:
The Wannsee conference was misunderstood decades ago as "the decision”


Indeed, but it is still present as the meeting during which the real nature of the Final Solution – as it will took place - was shared to the State apparatus. And that is, also in Brayard’s view, not obvious.

StatMec:
To be clear, Longerich's position is that, "The representatives of the ministerial bureaucracy had made it plain that they had no concerns about the principle of deportation per se. This was indeed the crucial result of the meeting and the main reason why Heydrich had detailed minutes prepared and widely circulated. (…)"The impending 'final solution' was envisaged as involving 11 million Jews. . . . Heydrich . . . clearly distinguished the programme of deportations that had already been set in motion from a far more comprehensive plan, whose execution he said was 'dependent on military developments' and could therefore only be fully realized after a German victory."


I admit that I probably failed to sum up Longerich positions clearly enough. Thanks for for your precisions. At this stage of my post, I was essentially trying to show the different possible interpretation, depending on when one considers the “decision”. Again, the schedule forecasted for the extermination is the issue. Where Gerlach sees a “mass murder”, Longerich has a longer time frame, and I tend to agree with that. IIRC, he do not assumed that the “unable to work” which are not mentioned at all, were to be killed as an obvious consequences of the presented plan.

StatMec:
I don't think that this is true. What part of the minutes did Roseman neglect in his book-length treatment, Gerlach in his long article, or Longerich in his articles and book coverage of the conference?


What I was trying to explain was that besides the consensual acceptance of what the Minutes of the meetings say, depending on what part you focus on, the conclusions would differ. To take the example of Gerlach – whose article is excellent even if one don’t share his conclusions and some of his premises – his views that Hitler had taken the decision of the extermination of the Jews influence the way he read and analyze them. For example, he takes for granted that the fate of those Jews who are not mentioned, the unable to work, was clearly presented as to be killed.
It is a position that one would not adopt if one does not agree with his timing of the Decision. If the decision to accelerate the destruction process by mass murder had been taken after Wannsee, there is no reason to assume that those “not mentioned Jews” were to be killed right away, and even less that this was obvious to ALL the attendees, and through them, to all the Nazi power structure.

So no one has really neglect any points, the Minutes are too short, but the main focus depends on initial intuition.

StatMec :
Longerich is quite specific (survivors of decimating labor were to be put to death), as are other scholars. I don't know of any definitional debate over the term "murder" here.


And I agree, as I said, this part belongs to the consensual reading, even if the term murder is not specified, that “to be treated accordingly” meant death by murder is not something I contest.
Again, the issue is the “time frame”, the “schedule”, how long would be needed to make this “natural selection” through work?
The murder actions were delayed until then.

As pointed out by Jeff, or even maybe by me, the General Plan Ost also implied the extermination of tens of million, but over a period of one or two generations, that is a method where those who takes the first decision would not be the same as those who concludes the “operation”. This form of extermination relieves those responsible for having initiated it from a part of their personal guilt, so to speak.
I don’t challenge the prospect of extermination, in this case, but I challenge the methods envisaged and presented. In my view mass murder is a method to reach extermination, but extermination can also be reached by other methods which are less transgressive and therefore more acceptable for those who take the decision.

“Because everything isn't done at once. Nor everywhere at once. The protocol, for all its silences, is quite loud on coordinating with foreign governments and on the delicate topics of mixed marriages and Mischlinge - as was stated explicitly at the 2nd FS conference in March for crissakes.”


I understand that, but again considering that we are dealing with two different matters – Jews and Mischlinge – I don’t see where it hurts my perception, or Brayard’s one, as none of us are challenging the finality of the operation, but only how it was presented. Indeed, negotiations with allied government, or even Vichy, will start, according to opportunities, but of those negotiations ever mentioned the real nature of the deportation/evacuation. Negotiations with the Slovakian government was based on the use of Jewish Labor, not mass murder, and things by the way will be complicated when leaks about the real nature of those evacuations will spread across Europe, by the second half of 1942.

StatMec:
Again, 1) the issue of Mischlinge. That's where the issues of reproduction and sterilization come first and foremost. There's a tangential reference to dividing the labor gangs by sex - which makes perfect sense, the prevention of births among a doomed population (see comment below). 2) Because, in Longerich's view, there would obviously be survivors of annihilating labor by the time Germany won the war - or, in my view, annihilating labor wouldn't kill off all its victims in the short term. Managing these Jews to be kept alive for much of the war was an issue that the architects of the FS had to deal with. A general policy didn’t by implication answer all such issues.

As an aside, note this from the protocol: ”SS-Gruppenfuehrer Hofmann advocates the opinion that sterilization will have to be widely used, since the person of mixed blood who is given the choice whether he will be evacuated or sterilized would rather undergo sterilization." Here is another indication of what "evacuation" meant to the attendees - something over which sterilization would be preferable to victims. This reinforces the interpretation that the main question - a policy of evacuation for Jews - was settled but not the definition, at the margins, of who was to be dealt with as a Jew. This doesn’t need to be as complicated as you’re making it.


Well we agree that it the concern about those Jews and Half-Jews not to be allowed to reproduce themselves was common for both categories. But depending on how one understand the Final Solution as presented, those concerns were relevant for the Mischlinge, but not for a people who was to be destroyed by mass murder. (again the definition of mass murder).
Indeed, Sterilization might be seen as preferable to a life of Slave labor with no other hope than death, it does not have to be compared to murder and immediate death to seem preferable. By 1942, they were all aware of how the Polish Jews were treated, and more specifically, they were all aware of the policy adopted in the eastern conquest territories.

StatMec:
Longerich's argument is that the decision for extermination had been made by Wannsee - but implementation of the full program of mass murder was postponed until a "more favorable" time.


And this is were I disagree, the decision for extermination was presented at Wannsee (but not decided at the meeting) and agreed by the attendees, and the explanation of how it was to be implemented was not corresponding to the truth. And if that was the truth at time, it only shows that nothing was really decided regarding implementation. Again my issue is how the Final Solution was presented and how the extermination program had been understood.
I of course don't contest that by January 20, while the Red Army counter offensive was still going on, times were not favorable to massive transport of population.

StatMec:
I find Bloxham's argument as convincing (that is, not at all) as his treatment of the emigration stop: it is crafted to support an untenable thesis about the imperial cone, the scope of the FS, and its completion in the East.


Well, it has some merits, even though I agree with you about the emigration stop about which his arguments make no sense at all.
But as far as his reading of Wannsee is concerned, his arguments make sense. Now I mentioned him only to show again that various readings existed and were possible – as it was the one thing Deniers on rodoh could not understand. His allusion to the “pie” has some merits as the Final Solution had also as economic aspect involving huge profits from exploitation, along with traditional competition between bureaucracies and administrations. But let’s not be dragged down on Bloxham perception of the Final Solution.

This loses me. At the Wannsee conference were Leibbrandt and Meyer (Eastern Ministry), Hofmann (RuSHA), Schöngarth (Sipo and SD in the G-G), and Bühler (G-G), not to mention Lange (RKO, EK-2).


Precisely, this gathering of people from various territorial competence can only been explained by the focus on the first point, that this that the authority over the Jewish Question would from now one be extra-territorial. As a matter of fact, Stuckart had no authority or competence about the eastern Jews in the Baltic, although until Wannsee, he could pretend to having a word to say about the fate of German Jews sent to the Baltic. The same way, Buhler had no authority to decide if a German Mischlinge were to be treated as a Jew or not.
And this is why another meeting would be call to debate about the Mischlinge in the East, and indeed a representative of the ministry of the interior will attend this meeting (29th of January) but without any real influence on the decisions.
But it had to be clear to all offices that the Jewish Question was now in the hands of Himmler.

The presence of those various territorial authorities, and State Secretaries, can also be explained by the fact that this methodology – that is with the participation of all those offices - was mentioned explicitly in Göring’s letter to Heydrich, for the form as we say in French. Nevertheless, that did not gave those participants powers they did not have. What they had to do is to give up the powers they thought they had, or they pretended to have.

StatMec
“Yet they did so. No one from the Propaganda Ministry was there (Gutterer unable to attend), either. Nor the military from the East. Nor from the transport ministry. Nor the Reichsbank, which would process stolen valuables. Nor Globocnik. Again, other officials would be brought in as the policy was turned into concrete plans. The right people to get the results down the road were (mostly) in attendance. Good enough”.



It is understandable as far as the Propaganda ministry which had no specific competences over the Jewish Question is concerned. But it also shows the scope of the meeting. In the East, Himmler as I said, had already gained the authority over the Jewish Question, although negotiations were still going on with the ministry of the East (but that would be Himmler’s job at a higher level), the military in the East was also participating or at least accepted Himmler’s role in dealing with the Jews in the East, The Reichsbank had no real play concerning deportation whatsoever, Globo worked directly for Himmler. But then, indeed, the meeting could only have indirect effect on the SD effort in Belgium and France. Obviously, the fact that the State Secretaries recognized the primacy of Heydrich and the RSHA over the Jewish question was seen as a good point in further negotiation with the MBH in France and Belgium. One can also assume that if an agreement would have been reached about the change of the Nuremberg Laws, the MBH would have had to adapt the definition of Jews they or Vichy had adopted.
However, as we know, Wannsee would only have a limited impact on the relation between the SD and the Gestapo and the MBH, it helped but only until a certain point, though it reinforced the Gestapo position. But that is another subject.

StatMec:
Again, you're seeing Wannsee as an all-or-nothing session, not as a necessary step along the road.

I don’t feel I am doing that, I just point out the limits.
StatMec:
That is not “basically the most important topic”: it is a prickly, unresolved issue - that was never resolved. You're confusing text real estate with reality.


What I meant was it was the main topic which was to be debated.
The other points discussed at the meeting were not really meant to be debated, except on some details. The authority of the RSHA was not put on a table to be debated, it was a statement of a decision taken at the highest level. The European scope of the Final Solution, which was nothing really new – what was new was that they would bow be evacuated East, instead of waiting for a territorial solution- , as also not meant to be really debated, except about its feasibility, as the idea was also dictated from the highest level.

“The Reichsführer-SS and the Chief of the German Police (Chief of the Security Police and the SD) was entrusted with the official central handling of the final solution of the Jewish question without regard to geographic borders” is not a proposition, it is the announcement of a decision.
“Another possible solution of the problem has now taken the place of emigration, i.e. the evacuation of the Jews to the East, provided that the Führer gives the appropriate approval in advance.” Again this a statement, not a proposition.
“Approximately 11 million Jews will be involved in the final solution of the European Jewish question”…Again, Statement.

Real discussions and debates could and would only occur when Heydrich proposed something that was not presented as coming from the highest authority. And at this occasion only, rejections followed.

StatMec:
A baffling assertion you make here. But we will deal with this in part 3 - only to state for now what was achieved: 1) Heydrich's pre-eminence, 2) communication of and “signing up” for the concept and extent of the new policy, 3) reassurance on some concerns (wartime labor, acceleration of FS in G-G), 4) clarification of diplomatic concerns, and 5) framing of open issues with some exploration of alternatives (mixed marriages, Mischlinge - sterilization).


1) Yes but not subject to discussion as explained. 2) Yes, idem 3.) Yes, but again, most issues were already settled between before the meeting, especially with Göring regarding the Jews employed. Frank was begging to be freed of his millions of Jews, and refused to accept any more Jews until then. That was not of the concern of the State Secretaries. Initiatives were already taken, and the concerns addressed. 4) Yes Luther the special case, Ribbentrop was not even aware of the meeting, so he represented only himself, and again foreign affairs were of no concern for anyone but him. 5.) Heydrich rejected propositions.
To see any crucial influences of the meeting on point 3 to 5 is up to everyone, but I don’t see it.

StatMec:
Eichmann said that the purpose was a "tighter organization of the program.” (to Less) And “Not only did everybody willingly indicate agreement, but there was something else, entirely unexpected, when they outdid and outbid each other, as regards the demand for a Final Solution to the Jewish Question. The biggest surprise, as far as I remember, was not only Buehler, but above all Stuckart, who was always cautious and hesitant, but who suddenly behaved there with unaccustomed enthusiasm.”


I know, that is what Eichmann said at his trial. But considering his line of defense, one should take everything he said with much caution. I don’t mind the use of judicial testimonies when those are corroborated by Documents, but to give substance to a document using those testimonies is something else. This is what the movies is about, sorry, I don’t buy it. That does not mean I would be surprised to learn that Stuckart was indeed enthusiast about the Final Solution, but again his letter of March 16 does not confirm that at all.

That specific measures resulted from Wannsee is not contested, and I would say inevitable. I don’t know why you think I would contest that. As Eichmann service had gained leadership, through his service, in the Jewish affairs, it is normal that he takes the initiative to move forward.

The so-called concessions were really implementation tactics designed to deal with sensitive political and public opinion issues concerning some of the Jews “eligible” - or possibly “eligible” - for the FS.


I have no doubt about that.
The question is : mean Did the State Secretaries knew too well that the so called age Ghetto was bogus as soon as the 20th January?

Political considerations, as noted, concerning central European Jews and eventually Jews from western Europe - in the words of the Wannsee protocol “social and political necessities” - issues that required “cover”: the elderly (forced labor claims would be transparent lies for old folks), WWI medal holders and wounded - and eventually prominent Jews, Jews of potential exchange value.


That some Jews were treated differently than others (especially those who had some exchange value) is not something I would deny, but what I contest is that there were provision concerning the elderly in the West, at least not as a rule, if in France, due to Stupnagel, the first transport were for Jews between 16 and 45 (I don’t remember the exact number), it is the convocation of old people in Belgium that created the unrests by September 42. This is why I doubt that those exceptions were meant for all Europe.

Surely you know the size of Theresienstadt vs the population of the groups we’re talking about - and surely you realize the fate of Jews sent to Theresienstadt?


I know, and you know, but we are from the future. This is why I asked the question above, did the State Secretaries knew that the Theresienstadt ghetto was a joke?

Also, how does your interpretation of Theresienstadt and supposed concessions account for this? Heydrich, 10 October 1941 (!), conference with Eichmann in attendance on deportations of Jews from the Protectorate (T/294): “In considering the use of the fortress-town Terezin as an assembly depot for Czech Jews, the meeting notes say, ‘After further deportations to the East from this temporary camp, in which the Jews will in any case be heavily decimated, the whole area will be built up and developed into an exemplary German settlement.’”

Or this, Eichmann presiding over a police chiefs’ meeting (T/734) during this same time period and telling the officials that “for the sake of placating the elderly people they should be told that they would be moved in the course of the summer or autumn to Theresienstadt, which was earmarked as the ghetto for the aged. This is being done as a face-saving device for the outside.”


Well, first it would confirm the idea that some within the Reich had extended genocidal projects before the decision was even taken at the top. Second, that by October 41, Theresienstadt was seen as a deadly transit Ghetto for the Czech Jew before the decision to convert it into the so called “old age privileged Ghetto” for the German Jews.
I know very well this was meant to deceive, but did the State Secretaries knew, or were they duped into believing that those old and decorated Jews would be spared from deportation?
This cannot be answered through extracts from meeting gathering members of the Himmler’s gang.

LOL, you can’t just eliminate what Heydrich said about the European reach of the FS and declare that the focus of the meeting was on the Reich only. Come on. I am lost here, Balsamo: what are you trying to argue?


Indeed it sounds like a big laugh, but it is the number which a State Secretary like Stuckart was concerned with. Well concerned I don’t know, as he did oppose their deportation/evacuation.
Those were the Jews to be deported from the Reich, as the Reich had the priority – along with the GG.
But at the meantime, Himmler’s team was negotiating with Vichy regarding the Jews from France directly before and after Wannsee, in Belgium all the preliminary measures had already been taken, the same for the Netherlands. The Ministry of the interior had absolutely no competence concerning them. The only thing that changed was that a destination was imposed, and that would be the east. But as I said, this part was not subject to discussion really. So yes, I still assume that the meeting was theoretically on a European Solution, but practically focused on the Jews of the Greater Reich for which those State Secretaries were competent and busy with.

Again, I have to say you show not even the most basic understanding of how policies are implemented over time and space in the real world.


That might be a bit severe from you, but I don’t mind. Maybe I need some concrete examples.

Nor has any scholar whose work I've read claimed that the decisions about the FS made at the turn of 1941/1942 called for the immediate and total murder of all the Jews in Germany’s control.


I have only quoted Gerlach. Heydrich outlined the plan involving Mass murder of the European Jews.

I have only quoted Gerlach. Heydrich outlined the plan involving Mass murder of the European Jews.
This is the thing Brayard contest, and I do as well. I also contest that Wannsee was the occasion where the Final Solution, as we know it and as it really took place, became a form of State policy involving the participation with full knowledge of the entire Nazi State apparatus.
And thanks God, this is also the main topic of Brayard 500 pages work.
This why the way the Final Solution was explained to the attendees is so important.

So what? Since the conference was to ensure coordination and cooperation with the FS, and the Foreign Office was part of this effort, and since the police and occupation teams in various countries could function and follow the approach, your point is meaningless


Transports were already organized from Germany without this so called coordination and cooperation. I don’t see why this was more necessary than before. Before and after transports capacities depended from the military needs and the availability. For France, it was Vichy’s cooperation that was important, not the one of the ministry of the interior. The coorperration of the Reichsbahn was essential, otherwise I think the potential contributions of those State secretaries have been over rated, the most important was that there would be no interference, no administrative disputes, that is the acceptance of the new policy by the governmental officials. And as I said, in the East and in Poland, which held the two third of the Jews under German occupation, I am still waiting for a demonstration about any decisive role of the ministry of the interior in those eastern Jewish affairs.
On the other hand, the acceptance of the authority granted to Himmler and Heydrich of course help to reinforce their influence locally, as they were now acting with a kind of legal coat as far as deportation were concerned. The RSHA was after Wannsee the only decisive actor in the game. Of course, cooperation with the Foreign ministry was essential, but that is quite another chapter as the “representative” was not really “representative at all. Another story.

What other solutions are you talking about? Other solutions to the Jewish question were not discussed as far as we know - what was discussed was the meaning, scope, and implementation of the FS.


I speak of the measures taken in the East, and to some extend in Poland. I speak of the opportunistic shootings of Serbian Jews. Now one might not call that a Final Solution, but it was god damned efficient. Between July 41 and Wannsee, at least 450.000 eastern Jews had been killed, without the executions, and without the exact numbers, I am not wrong to say that additional tens of thousands of Jews died from starvation, and diseases in their Polish Ghettos. That was still going on, and the plans thoughts for the Polish Jews – Chelmno and Belzec – would greatly increase this number.
This can be argued of course, but I fail to see any points in common between what was going on in the East and the Final Solution as presented by Heydrich to his attendees.

Of course, if one take into consideration the description of Eichmann about all those guys proposing better methods of killing and all that crap, well then, all I say may seem BS.
It is not that I am focusing on the German Jews, not in a sense as only they were concerned by the Final Solution as presented by Heydrich, I just point out most of those official Jewish desks were primarily concerned by those German Jews. In consequence, their opinion would only be significant regarding them. Himmler already had more or less control over the eastern Jews (with some soon to be resolved conflicts with the Ministry for the East), but there is no doubts – in my mind – that the discussion about the Mischlinge were about the German ones, hence the meeting 9 days later to discuss the same question for the eastern Jews.

To take some examples, the emigration stop order was in effect throughout the west, and seized upon by authorities.


As I pointed out in another thread, this was not completely correct, while not being completely false, but the status of the Belgian Jewish councils created after the stop order still mentioned emigration among its duty. And there were still emigration organized in non-occupied France. There were still possibilities for the MBH to grant emigration permits. Anyway, I don’t see where you find a disagreement between us on that subject, as I don’t deny the international intent, and the international operation that were about to take place. I just don’t see any Wannsee effect beside the announcement that the RSHA would be the sole responsible for the Jewish Final Solution.

Bühler suggested not “combing from West to East” but accelerating the FS in the G-G. Why do you exclude that too? At the end of January, an Eastern Ministry meeting was held to tackle the question who was a Jew in the East (Himmler would rudely dismiss these exercises that summer) - why exclude this?


I don’t exclude those facts, but I treat them separately. Discussions about plans regarding the Polish Jews in the GG had begun before Wannsee with the concerned authorities – which were different than those responsible for the Greater Reich. And I have mentioned the 29th Janurary meeting to show that the discussion about the Mischlinge there was another topic that the one discussed at Wannsee, and as you say, the arguments proposed by Stuckart will not be held as valid in the case of the eastern Jews (there were no German blood concerned), while the subject will be left undecided for the German ones. This fact alone reduces the scope of what was at stake at Wannsee.

The only way to sustain whatever it is you’re trying to advocate is by ignoring 1) what we know about reality and 2) documents and evidence that are central to the fact base for the Holocaust.


I hope you’ll let me disagree with that. But I will address that in a next post, this one is confused enough.
Again, there is a persistent misunderstanding here. I am just not seeing the Final Solution as it took place through the Wannsee meeting. I do not contest the European scale of the Final Solution, just limit the impact of Wannsee on it. Because, as I said, more than half of the 11 million mentioned in the Protocols, were already being dealt with, even at different stages.

The comparison is not valid. In the Baltics etc, to commit mass murder, the Germans didn't need to transport Jews to far-away camps, with fixed murder installations; nor were there the same political issues and repercussions in the East as in the west.


How so?
A transport going from Koln to Riga covers more miles than a convoy from Amsterdam to Auschwitz, or to put it in other words, I don’t see that much additional difficulties between putting Jews in a Train at a point A or a point B, once in the train, the distance does not required that much additional efforts, not enough anyway to justify a full mobilization of the State administration versus none.

Trains meant to take Jews from the Greater Reich and from western Europe to the East were rolling in spring and summer 1942. Total targeted population: around 800,000. Larger than the Hungarian action. Not to mention the numbers of Polish Jews that would have to be “processed” through the same killing installations. Leaving aside Jews in allied countries. So, indeed, personnel had to be directed, political issues had to be addressed, transport organized, sorting and selection processes developed, reception processes put in place, trials completed, and murder/disposal installations put into operation.



Here I am lost!
I don’t see the point entering into details about things we seem to agree. So once again, I do not contest the scope of the Final Solution, but the scope of Wannsee. Again, once the decision for the evacuation of the European Jews was taken – that is before Wannsee – things would be carried through according to the possibilities, opportunities, etc. Where have you read that I contested that?
The only thing I am trying to explain is that to move a thousand Jews from Drancy to Auschwitz, it takes The cooperation of Vichy, the French police, collaboration from the MBH, the trains provided by the SNCF or the Reichsbahn to take them at their final destination. Not from the Reich Chancellery or the ministry of the interior, even less from the Four Years Plan. What you need above all to achieve it is the total control of the process which is what was achieved at Wannsee. But even without Wannsee, if it was clear for the MBH and Vichy that the RSHA was in command, those transports could have gone through with or without the collaboration obtained at Wannsee which is so promoted. One things is certain, at least to me, the last thing you want in order to succeed, is the spread of the knowledge about the true nature of those deportations.
The diffusion of this knowledge is THE issue, and sorry, but as I don’t trust Eichmann trial testimony, I doubt very much that the real nature of the FS was shared with everyone at Wannsee, which does not mean that the goal of extermination was not shared, but nothing like the true objectives and means that would be used.
You may feel upset, but I would say that you reacted like a volcano in eruption, addressing Jeff and I in one shot with I suspect some undeserved suspicions about what we were trying to say, or in my case, about the conclusion of a discussion that was worth having without Denier’s interferences.

No one "trusts" the notes (they are NOT minutes) as having fidelity to what happened during the conference. The notes reflected also the view of Heydrich and Müller, who IIRC helped edit them, about what they wanted to communicate, in 30 copies, about this meeting that Jeff and you seem to think not so important.


This is the kind of paragraph which makes me suspect you reacted line after line instead of reading the whole thing first.
I’ll leave it here for now, and I will explain Brayard approach – which as you may guest I kind of support – so we can move on.
I have not yet had the time to read Nick Terry post and what follows basically what I addressed here. That will be for later in the afternoon.

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Re: Yet another Wannsee thread (with Brayard)

Postby Statistical Mechanic » Thu Jul 09, 2015 10:35 pm

Statistical Mechanic wrote:
Balsamo wrote:Where Gerlach sees a “mass murder”, Longerich has a longer time frame, and I tend to agree with that. IIRC, he do not assumed that the “unable to work” which are not mentioned at all, were to be killed as an obvious consequences of the presented plan.

I don't have Longerich handy but will look this up - I think he does say that the unfit are to be killed, in fact, deniers jump all over his translation of the so-called "if released" passage for precisely this reason, that he interprets the whole passage as getting at outright murder. Pretty sure he does.

Yes, he says, of course, that the fate of unfit Jews "was not further elucidated" in the protocol but that "it is clear that they were to be killed . . ." Holocaust, p 307

For shits and grins, I also looked at Gerwarth, who follows Longerich's basic outline:

Gerwarth sees the language of the protocol as balancing labor needs and "a desire to eliminate all Jews" (Heydrich biography, p 213)

Some interesting observations he makes

- the phrase which Heydrich used - "irrespective of geographical borders" - was directed at Frank and Rosenberg - and Bühler (a late invitee but added because of the criticality of the GG and need to have the GG on board)

- Heydrich used the meeting to resolve "persistent problems" concerning deportations from the Reich and get to a "coherent approach" among agencies working along differing lines

- Heydrich kept the how of the implementation of his "murderous concept" vague - the specifics of how deportation + extermination + annihilation through labor

- "speed of the deportations" would depend on the course of the war

- Heydrich "suggested that concrete implementation plans would be discussed at a follow-up conference" of middle-level officials

- the most important point of discussion, by implication, was a radical change offered by Bühler and Meyer (focusing not on the deportation program but on expanding extermination in the GG); Heydrich approved and ran with the idea

- the numbers involved in the Mischlinge and mixed marriages discussion were "comparatively small"; Stuckart's discussion points were of minor concern - but no consensus was reached

- we should read "various types of solution possibilities" to mean "different means of mass murder"

Not much here of help for Balsamo and Brayard . . .
Last edited by Statistical Mechanic on Fri Jul 10, 2015 1:46 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Yet another Wannsee thread (with Brayard)

Postby Statistical Mechanic » Fri Jul 10, 2015 12:24 am

Sorry my long reply to Balsamo, which I quoted from above, seems to have disappeared?!?!?! so one more time (luckily for me, sadly for y'all I copied it . . . formatting may be screwy . . . ) . . .

- - - - - - - - -

This is getting more and more unpleasant. Part of the problem, I think, is that I truly can't figure out what you are advocating. I am trying. You're making a lot of points - some seem to contradict others, some seem not to be germane - but I can't really tell. I am replying to it all, which might be a mistake . . . but there are so many oddities and so many misleading, IMO, statements . . . oh well.
Balsamo wrote:The other concessions are harder to explain, in my view, if one takes for granted that the real nature of the Final Solution had been exposed clearly to the attendees.
- The Jews over 65
- And of course, those highly decorated during ww1.
In a context of extermination through mass murder, the exception of those over 65 makes no real sense.

Sure, it does. (I replied above on this, the topic of Theresienstadt . . . ) The Nazis were wary of domestic (within the Reich) discord, especially during war-time, so they treated sensitive groups (at least those whose treatment they worried might lead to another outcry a la T-4) with a combination of a cover story, Potemkin village, long-term attritive approach. To "give up" on a few like this to successfully "get" the many wasn't much of a compromise at all. What danger could a remnant aging population stuffed into Theresienstadt really be?
Balsamo wrote:To let them die away in their old-age Ghetto was already in another time frame, that is their eventual death could not be determined. Too old to be able to reproduce themselves, the idea was just to let them die away without schedule.
The exception granted to decorated Vets might be linked to the consequences of the first massacres of German Jews in 1941, but let’s not derail).

There's nothing that promotes better understanding in this sort of black-and-white, all-or-nothing schematic critique. . . the Nazis themselves didn't think that way but were tactical in their implementation . . . you seemed to fall into the same sort of confusion regarding the Mischlinge and Jews in mixed marriages earlier . . . why on Earth is there any difficulty with maintaining a very small number of Jews for some time in order to facilitate eliminating the vast majority? in Nazi terms? . . . see my earlier post on this and just above.
Balsamo wrote:Because of the description of the Final Solution, its extermination finality having been explained, I don’t think that the taking over of responsibilities was the result of fierce discussions neither.

Don't follow this . . .
Balsamo wrote:StatMec:
The entire discussion of so-called exemptions, including sterilization (described at Wannsee as the price for Mischlinge being not being evacuated), took place in the context of general agreement on the overall ”evacuation" policy - that is, the concept and extent of the FS

Yes, but his is where I make a distinction, between what regards the Jews which were agreed – not that was many ways to disagree, but that was not the case anyway. And a second discussion which was rejected.
I don’t think I have ignore this point at all.
So I don’t disagree with Evans when he says:
Heydrich informed the high-ranking party and government officials present, that Hitler had approved of the 'evacuation of the Jews to the east' as a solution to the 'Jewish question'. Heydrich left no doubt about the murderous fate which awaited the Jews. . . . The meeting voiced no opposition to the plans outlined by Heydrich.

But I do disagree with Gerlach when he sum up:
Heydrich outlined “his plan for a final solution involving the mass murder of Jews from all countries of Europe”

I see a major difference between the two statements.

See my post above asking two questions of Jeff and you.

I agree with both Evans and Gerlach, clearly, and with Longerich, Roseman, et al. On this limited point. For the reasons I stated. The Stuckart-Brayard apologetics/detour regarding the Mischlinge makes no difference to the main point: the focus on the conference was on the FS as a whole, the FS as a whole embraced the Jews of Europe. Details were to be ironed out. Just that.
Balsamo wrote:It might seem subtle or even futile, but in my views it makes a huge difference.

Misguided is more like it: missing the forest for a single sapling.
Balsamo wrote:Sterilization is somehow also a way that leads to extinction and extermination, but it is not mass murder, to gather Jews in awful condition and let them die slowly from “natural cause” is indeed a murderous fate, but again it is not mass murder.

You are ignoring two points: 1) the debate here was over marginal cases - to set this small number of sensitive cases aside meant nothing about 10.8 or so million others, the bulk of the so-called Jewish problem, 2) the tactical (slightly sensitive) approach to domestic public opinion, during war-time. Frank's December statement IIRC even makes a specific reference to this "PR" concern.
Balsamo wrote:Again, I don’t contest the “murderous fate” or the “extermination finality” of the Final Solution as was proposed by Heydrich, I contest that the modalities – mass murder (as was going on the East) – were presented at the State Secretaries.

I know you dispute this, I'm trying to understand why (I can't figure out what your comments heretofore on the east vs the west have to do with it, nor your overemphasis on the Mischlinge . . . ) I know Brayard disputes this - but every bit of your reasoning seems to break down. I'm not going to repeat how.
Balsamo wrote:StatMec:
The Wannsee conference was misunderstood decades ago as "the decision”


Indeed, but it is still present as the meeting during which the real nature of the Final Solution – as it will took place - was shared to the State apparatus. And that is, also in Brayard’s view, not obvious.

So what? I was arguing against strawman like the "meeting wasn't decisive." In this instance it was Jeff's claim that "the real decision" was made at another time. It was. IMO. That doesn't render the Wannsee conference a non-event or meaningless gathering.
Balsamo wrote:StatMec:
To be clear, Longerich's position is that, "The representatives of the ministerial bureaucracy had made it plain that they had no concerns about the principle of deportation per se. This was indeed the crucial result of the meeting and the main reason why Heydrich had detailed minutes prepared and widely circulated. (…)"The impending 'final solution' was envisaged as involving 11 million Jews. . . . Heydrich . . . clearly distinguished the programme of deportations that had already been set in motion from a far more comprehensive plan, whose execution he said was 'dependent on military developments' and could therefore only be fully realized after a German victory."

I admit that I probably failed to sum up Longerich positions clearly enough. Thanks for for your precisions. At this stage of my post, I was essentially trying to show the different possible interpretation, depending on when one considers the “decision”. Again, the schedule forecasted for the extermination is the issue.

Not really. As Nick Terry and I have argued - and read Frank's December speech again for a sense of how loose things were during this period - there wasn't a schedule forecasted at Wannsee, not according to the protocol, which hedged, arguing that the timetable and other implementation issues depended on the military situation. Bühler and Meyer advocated going as quickly as possible in the GG, but that's not a schedule.

I think here I can see a very big difference between our arguments, which subsequent posts made by Nick Terry and me zero in on. There was not a plan as to time, place, killing methods, etc put on the table at Wannsee but rather a general understanding of the scope and meaning of the FS and what needed addressing to get there.

I insist on more accuracy about the documents we're discussing. I know my long-winded posts are tedious but they're necessary in the face of so many gaps and distortions. Show me in the protocol where the implementation timetable was forecast . . . or don't post about forecasted timetable being considered.
Balsamo wrote:Where Gerlach sees a “mass murder”, Longerich has a longer time frame, and I tend to agree with that. IIRC, he do not assumed that the “unable to work” which are not mentioned at all, were to be killed as an obvious consequences of the presented plan.

I don't have Longerich handy but will look this up - I think he does say that the unfit are to be killed, in fact, deniers jump all over his translation of the so-called "if released" passage for precisely this reason, that he interprets the whole passage as getting at outright murder. Pretty sure he does.
Balsamo wrote:StatMec:
I don't think that this is true. What part of the minutes did Roseman neglect in his book-length treatment, Gerlach in his long article, or Longerich in his articles and book coverage of the conference?

What I was trying to explain was that besides the consensual acceptance of what the Minutes of the meetings say, depending on what part you focus on, the conclusions would differ.

So you agree that your charge was mistaken? I think of all the summaries I've read it is Brayard who is selective in using evidence to try and score a point. Yes, I bristled at your comment but that is why.
Balsamo wrote:To take the example of Gerlach – whose article is excellent even if one don’t share his conclusions and some of his premises – his views that Hitler had taken the decision of the extermination of the Jews influence the way he read and analyze them. For example, he takes for granted that the fate of those Jews who are not mentioned, the unable to work, was clearly presented as to be killed.
It is a position that one would not adopt if one does not agree with his timing of the Decision. If the decision to accelerate the destruction process by mass murder had been taken after Wannsee, there is no reason to assume that those “not mentioned Jews” were to be killed right away, and even less that this was obvious to ALL the attendees, and through them, to all the Nazi power structure.

So no one has really neglect any points, the Minutes are too short, but the main focus depends on initial intuition.

Yes. Put another way, no one should analyze the protocol as a literary text or in isolation. And one should work from the evidence, not vice versa. All the truisms go here.

But, and this is the key part of this, Gerlach has a persuasive case, Longerich has a reasonable case, I think even Browning has a reasonable case - Brayard - based on what you've shared - does not.
Balsamo wrote:StatMec :
Longerich is quite specific (survivors of decimating labor were to be put to death), as are other scholars. I don't know of any definitional debate over the term "murder" here.

Balsamo wrote:And I agree, as I said, this part belongs to the consensual reading, even if the term murder is not specified, that “to be treated accordingly” meant death by murder is not something I contest.
Again, the issue is the “time frame”, the “schedule”, how long would be needed to make this “natural selection” through work?
The murder actions were delayed until then.

No, that is not correct for Longerich. As an aside, since Longerich and Gerlach, for example, disagree on key points, it comes across as polemical of you to keep using the term the "consensual reading." As to Longerich, it isn't solely how long so-called natural diminution would take - as I read him, in January 1942 the FS is to be understood as attritive labor/forced diminution + killing unfit Jews (during the war) + killing all the Jews (after the war). He even says specifically forced labor + mass murder. Etc. This is where his May 1942 "acceleration" comes into play.
Balsamo wrote:As pointed out by Jeff, or even maybe by me, the General Plan Ost also implied the extermination of tens of million, but over a period of one or two generations, that is a method where those who takes the first decision would not be the same as those who concludes the “operation”. This form of extermination relieves those responsible for having initiated it from a part of their personal guilt, so to speak.

Jeff has written this a number of times; it just isn't that relevant. Not when 100s of 1000s of Jews are already being shot, 10s of 1000s gassed, etc. And not with the evidence (I won't repeat myself) surrounding Wannsee.

I just don't see the evidence for a strict use of this analogy: the unfit, according to the (gap in the) protocol, were to be murdered. We've not gone through that piece of the protocol, but I've never read an interpretation of that passage that successfully gives a different interpretation than that the so-called unfit were to be killed off, as Goebbels was writing already in March.
Balsamo wrote:I don’t challenge the prospect of extermination, in this case, but I challenge the methods envisaged and presented.

I don't know what these methods are . . . ?
Balsamo wrote:In my view mass murder is a method to reach extermination, but extermination can also be reached by other methods which are less transgressive and therefore more acceptable for those who take the decision.

For sure. But mass murder was already underway - "practical experience" - and the unfit were to go away quickly somehow . . .

Now, I am not saying that forced attrition wasn't part of the thinking - it was, and it was stated explicitly. Longerich captures this in an ok way - so did Frank's speech, so did what Bargatzky recorded Heydrich saying at the Hotel Majestic. The point, to paraphrase Frank, was to finish the Jews off, not how they'd be finished off. To be clear, that is my view of what was going on at Wannsee. Not methods planning.

And . . . into this discussion there is not a hint of Brayard's east-west dichotomy: this was about finding ways to finish the Jews of Europe off. As Heydrich told the meeting participants.
Balsamo wrote:
“Because everything isn't done at once. Nor everywhere at once. The protocol, for all its silences, is quite loud on coordinating with foreign governments and on the delicate topics of mixed marriages and Mischlinge - as was stated explicitly at the 2nd FS conference in March for crissakes.”


I understand that, but again considering that we are dealing with two different matters – Jews and Mischlinge – I don’t see where it hurts my perception, or Brayard’s one, as none of us are challenging the finality of the operation, but only how it was presented.

It hurts because of what you have been saying about eastern and western Jews, which distorts what was under consideration at the time and worked through afterwards. It hurts also simply because it renders the meeting unintelligible: the meeting was not on "the most important issue" or only discussion point being Mischlinge and mixed marriages. That "Mischlinge" discussion, as shown by the RFSS's waving it away in summer '42, was about implementation tactics within the frame of a general European FS - not about the FS conceived as finishing the Jews off.
Balsamo wrote:Indeed, negotiations with allied government, or even Vichy, will start, according to opportunities, but of those negotiations ever mentioned the real nature of the deportation/evacuation. Negotiations with the Slovakian government was based on the use of Jewish Labor, not mass murder, and things by the way will be complicated when leaks about the real nature of those evacuations will spread across Europe, by the second half of 1942.

Of course, if the goal of the negotiations was extracting Jews from these countries and getting them to the East, which it was, then what the allied authorities knew was beside the point. Tactically they needed to know what would get them to cooperate. But you're conceding my point: the initial negotiations, and the first transports from Slovakia, France, the Netherlands, were based on labor (in the Netherlands the Germans even told the Jewish Council the deportations were for labor in . . . Germany!), with enough "reality" to get the process going. And quite soon into the project - a few months - the positioning broke down in some countries (Slovakia, e.g.). What could prove my point more than your scenario? Keeping in mind that "reception" possibilities for extermination didn't even exist in the east for the earliest such transports . . .
Balsamo wrote:StatMec:
Again, 1) the issue of Mischlinge. That's where the issues of reproduction and sterilization come first and foremost. There's a tangential reference to dividing the labor gangs by sex - which makes perfect sense, the prevention of births among a doomed population (see comment below). 2) Because, in Longerich's view, there would obviously be survivors of annihilating labor by the time Germany won the war - or, in my view, annihilating labor wouldn't kill off all its victims in the short term. Managing these Jews to be kept alive for much of the war was an issue that the architects of the FS had to deal with. A general policy didn’t by implication answer all such issues.

As an aside, note this from the protocol: ”SS-Gruppenfuehrer Hofmann advocates the opinion that sterilization will have to be widely used, since the person of mixed blood who is given the choice whether he will be evacuated or sterilized would rather undergo sterilization." Here is another indication of what "evacuation" meant to the attendees - something over which sterilization would be preferable to victims. This reinforces the interpretation that the main question - a policy of evacuation for Jews - was settled but not the definition, at the margins, of who was to be dealt with as a Jew. This doesn’t need to be as complicated as you’re making it.

Well we agree that it the concern about those Jews and Half-Jews not to be allowed to reproduce themselves was common for both categories. But depending on how one understand the Final Solution as presented, those concerns were relevant for the Mischlinge, but not for a people who was to be destroyed by mass murder. (again the definition of mass murder).

Hunh? This sub-point was about Mischlinge and Jews in mixed marriages, not the bulk of the "evacuees." That is, once how to address the main "problem" was agreed, various ways to address fuzzy and marginal cases were put into play. I really don't understand what you keep saying about the Mischlinge.

I don't think you're grasping one of my points: Extermination, in whatever form, for most Jews was assumed in these discussions - only then does the lose-lose sterilization to remain in the Reich make sense.
Balsamo wrote:Indeed, Sterilization might be seen as preferable to a life of Slave labor with no other hope than death, it does not have to be compared to murder and immediate death to seem preferable. By 1942, they were all aware of how the Polish Jews were treated, and more specifically, they were all aware of the policy adopted in the eastern conquest territories.

You've got me so confused that I really don't know what you mean by "the policy adopted in the eastern conquest territories."
Balsamo wrote:StatMec:
Longerich's argument is that the decision for extermination had been made by Wannsee - but implementation of the full program of mass murder was postponed until a "more favorable" time.

And this is were I disagree, the decision for extermination was presented at Wannsee (but not decided at the meeting)

Again, Longerich doesn't say the FS was decided at Wannsee - he argues that the FS was agreed by the time of the meeting. That is what I meant by "by Wannsee."
Balsamo wrote:and agreed by the attendees, and the explanation of how it was to be implemented was not corresponding to the truth. And if that was the truth at time, it only shows that nothing was really decided regarding implementation. Again my issue is how the Final Solution was presented and how the extermination program had been understood.

I don't know what you mean.
Balsamo wrote:StatMec:
I find Bloxham's argument as convincing (that is, not at all) as his treatment of the emigration stop: it is crafted to support an untenable thesis about the imperial cone, the scope of the FS, and its completion in the East.

Well, it has some merits, even though I agree with you about the emigration stop about which his arguments make no sense at all.
But as far as his reading of Wannsee is concerned, his arguments make sense. Now I mentioned him only to show again that various readings existed and were possible – as it was the one thing Deniers on rodoh could not understand. His allusion to the “pie” has some merits as the Final Solution had also as economic aspect involving huge profits from exploitation, along with traditional competition between bureaucracies and administrations. But let’s not be dragged down on Bloxham perception of the Final Solution.

I explained why I don't think his reading of the conference makes sense (way too limited), nor his reading of FS (it was effectively complete when Polish Jewry was smashed). Not trivial points.
Balsamo wrote:
This loses me. At the Wannsee conference were Leibbrandt and Meyer (Eastern Ministry), Hofmann (RuSHA), Schöngarth (Sipo and SD in the G-G), and Bühler (G-G), not to mention Lange (RKO, EK-2).

Precisely, this gathering of people from various territorial competence can only been explained by the focus on the first point, that this that the authority over the Jewish Question would from now one be extra-territorial.

Ok, I am lost. Sometimes you seem to argue that the focus is Mischlinge and the Reich, now you seem to argue that the focus was extra-territorial (I don't really know what this means). But the Interior Ministry is not extra-territorial, nor was Freisler. Nor was the Propaganda Ministry (invited but unable to attend). Eichmann, the deportation man - Reich, west, south - was there. The Reich and Party chancelleries. My point is that the focus was not on the Mischlinge, not on extra-territorial questions, not on the east, not on the west - but on the Jews of Europe, the comprehensive program, with attention to the various parts and pieces. And then what came up in trying to digest this big intent. I've summarized this point, again, in a post just above yours.
Balsamo wrote:As a matter of fact, Stuckart had no authority or competence about the eastern Jews in the Baltic, although until Wannsee, he could pretend to having a word to say about the fate of German Jews sent to the Baltic. The same way, Buhler had no authority to decide if a German Mischlinge were to be treated as a Jew or not.
And this is why another meeting would be call to debate about the Mischlinge in the East, and indeed a representative of the ministry of the interior will attend this meeting (29th of January) but without any real influence on the decisions.

This seems beside the point. I can't follow what you are doing with the attendees - this wasn't a place where people were called to get assignments for their areas of responsibility, as though parts of a pre-set plan were to be assigned out. People with a range of competencies were in attendance to get the whole picture.

The reason a number of meetings would be called to discuss the Mischlinge and mixed marriages is because - and this really goes back to 1935 - there wasn't a consensus on this piece of the puzzle. As Nick Terry and I have shown you, there were many other follow-up actions and meetings to, to progress the large areas agreed, the main program.
Balsamo wrote:But it had to be clear to all offices that the Jewish Question was now in the hands of Himmler.

No one disagrees.
Balsamo wrote:The presence of those various territorial authorities, and State Secretaries, can also be explained by the fact that this methodology – that is with the participation of all those offices - was mentioned explicitly in Göring’s letter to Heydrich, for the form as we say in French. Nevertheless, that did not gave those participants powers they did not have. What they had to do is to give up the powers they thought they had, or they pretended to have.

I can't decipher this.
Balsamo wrote:StatMec
“Yet they did so. No one from the Propaganda Ministry was there (Gutterer unable to attend), either. Nor the military from the East. Nor from the transport ministry. Nor the Reichsbank, which would process stolen valuables. Nor Globocnik. Again, other officials would be brought in as the policy was turned into concrete plans. The right people to get the results down the road were (mostly) in attendance. Good enough”.

It is understandable as far as the Propaganda ministry which had no specific competences over the Jewish Question is concerned.

My point is different to what you think: Gutterer was invited, which doesn't fit your thinking. And, again, specific competencies were not the issue - the big picture was. In Nick Terry's phrase "the communication of a basic decision taken shortly beforehand by Hitler, via Heydrich."

I really don't know what to make of a number of your arguments as they seem so far beside the point.
Balsamo wrote:But it also shows the scope of the meeting. In the East, Himmler as I said, had already gained the authority over the Jewish Question, although negotiations were still going on with the ministry of the East (but that would be Himmler’s job at a higher level), the military in the East was also participating or at least accepted Himmler’s role in dealing with the Jews in the East, The Reichsbank had no real play concerning deportation whatsoever, Globo worked directly for Himmler. But then, indeed, the meeting could only have indirect effect on the SD effort in Belgium and France. Obviously, the fact that the State Secretaries recognized the primacy of Heydrich and the RSHA over the Jewish question was seen as a good point in further negotiation with the MBH in France and Belgium. One can also assume that if an agreement would have been reached about the change of the Nuremberg Laws, the MBH would have had to adapt the definition of Jews they or Vichy had adopted.
However, as we know, Wannsee would only have a limited impact on the relation between the SD and the Gestapo and the MBH, it helped but only until a certain point, though it reinforced the Gestapo position. But that is another subject.

We more or less agree on this - although I don't know what the implications are for your argument and except that I think one can over-interpret some of this.
Balsamo wrote:StatMec:
Again, you're seeing Wannsee as an all-or-nothing session, not as a necessary step along the road.

I don’t feel I am doing that, I just point out the limits.
StatMec:
That is not “basically the most important topic”: it is a prickly, unresolved issue - that was never resolved. You're confusing text real estate with reality.

What I meant was it was the main topic which was to be debated.

Ok, but I don't know why try making so much of this topic vs what the main purpose of the meeting was. It seems a way to downplay the FS aspect. I don't know that you mean this but rather that the over-attention to this point has this knock-on effect. It sidetracks discussion away from the main issue.
Balsamo wrote:The other points discussed at the meeting were not really meant to be debated, except on some details. The authority of the RSHA was not put on a table to be debated, it was a statement of a decision taken at the highest level. The European scope of the Final Solution, which was nothing really new – what was new was that they would bow be evacuated East, instead of waiting for a territorial solution- , as also not meant to be really debated, except about its feasibility, as the idea was also dictated from the highest level.

I doubt Heydrich wanted any of it to be debated. But he probably knew that the Mischlinge and mixed marriages were a thorny issue. So what? You can't pin your interpretation of the meeting on this, certainly. Brayard seems to want to, using Stuckart.

Later you will write that we agree on major aspects of the FS (I'm not sure because I've never signed on to 2 FS's, late 1943 convergence, east vs west) but not on Wannsee. True. But I've tried to keep those points in mind and show how the Brayard-Balsamo interpretation fails to account for what's in the protocol, what makes sense from the testimonies, and what the other evidence about the period says. All toward explaining what the meeting was for in the developing process. I can't lift it out of that context because that is why meetings take place - (this harkens back to my comment about reality).
Balsamo wrote:StatMec:
A baffling assertion you make here. But we will deal with this in part 3 - only to state for now what was achieved: 1) Heydrich's pre-eminence, 2) communication of and “signing up” for the concept and extent of the new policy, 3) reassurance on some concerns (wartime labor, acceleration of FS in G-G), 4) clarification of diplomatic concerns, and 5) framing of open issues with some exploration of alternatives (mixed marriages, Mischlinge - sterilization).

1) Yes but not subject to discussion as explained.

I didn't claim there was discussion of this point. Unlikely given that Frank had already in effect swallowed hard and signed on. But I don't see why you think this is important. No one has claimed that the meeting was an open forum - rather, I've said it was to communicate the basic decision, the big picture, the general framework - to keep the ball rolling - to surface what needed surfacing - to make sure people knew who was in charge - to get people working in concert. It was a point along the way.
Balsamo wrote:2) Yes, idem 3.) Yes, but again, most issues were already settled between before the meeting, especially with Göring regarding the Jews employed. Frank was begging to be freed of his millions of Jews, and refused to accept any more Jews until then. That was not of the concern of the State Secretaries. Initiatives were already taken, and the concerns addressed. 4) Yes Luther the special case, Ribbentrop was not even aware of the meeting, so he represented only himself, and again foreign affairs were of no concern for anyone but him.

I don't follow your asides but need to speak to what I think you're saying about foreign affairs - they were of critical importance and presented as such at the meeting.

Your whole discussion here betrays, IMO, your lack of appreciation for how work is done. I know that I sound like an {!#%@} - but part of my reaction to reading the initial posts in this thread was a feeling of weightlessness and detachment from reality. Whether there was to be debate on a topic at the meeting, or not, is beside the point. Heydrich needed the meeting to progress the FS and to ensure the right cooperation. What would come up would come up and be dealt with. End of story.
Balsamo wrote:To see any crucial influences of the meeting on point 3 to 5 is up to everyone, but I don’t see it.

Again, you miss the point of the meeting. It wasn't to influence policy - it was to launch policy, so to speak.
Balsamo wrote:StatMec:
Eichmann said that the purpose was a "tighter organization of the program.” (to Less) And “Not only did everybody willingly indicate agreement, but there was something else, entirely unexpected, when they outdid and outbid each other, as regards the demand for a Final Solution to the Jewish Question. The biggest surprise, as far as I remember, was not only Buehler, but above all Stuckart, who was always cautious and hesitant, but who suddenly behaved there with unaccustomed enthusiasm.”

I know, that is what Eichmann said at his trial. But considering his line of defense, one should take everything he said with much caution.

I do. His "tighter organization" comment well explains what was going on. That's why I used it (in fact, the way he said it was a bit goofy.)

Besides, you were the one citing Eichmann's testimony! I was just fleshing out what he actually said, which you'd presented in a different way - and IMO in a misleading way. He didn't just say everyone agreed, there was consensus, end of story. What he did say makes sense, in fact, given Stuckart's performance.
Balsamo wrote:I don’t mind the use of judicial testimonies when those are corroborated by Documents, but to give substance to a document using those testimonies is something else. This is what the movies is about, sorry, I don’t buy it. That does not mean I would be surprised to learn that Stuckart was indeed enthusiast about the Final Solution, but again his letter of March 16 does not confirm that at all.

Come on, I am not talking about movies, I am talking about documents in archives. Read my post on Sandkühler and on Lösener. Brayard doesn't fare well on one of his/your key points in the face of what's in the archives, not what's playing at the cinema.
Balsamo wrote:That specific measures resulted from Wannsee is not contested, and I would say inevitable. I don’t know why you think I would contest that.

Actually, I am struggling to understand what you are trying to argue - you have had something about the east vs the west, something about Mischlinge and mixed marriages, something about the RFSS, and something about timing. I honestly can't grasp it.
Balsamo wrote:As Eichmann service had gained leadership, through his service, in the Jewish affairs, it is normal that he takes the initiative to move forward.

I made a very different point - that Eichmann put into effect specific follow-ups from Wannsee in accord with the framework discussed there.
Balsamo wrote:
The so-called concessions were really implementation tactics designed to deal with sensitive political and public opinion issues concerning some of the Jews “eligible” - or possibly “eligible” - for the FS.

I have no doubt about that.
The question is : mean Did the State Secretaries knew too well that the so called age Ghetto was bogus as soon as the 20th January?

Theresienstadt had to have some validity to play its role in the extermination and as a cover story. So, in the sense that the FS meant that the Jews were to be finished off, yes. In the sense of the concrete particulars of how Theresienstadt would be used, no, I don't think all that was plotted out already. Nick Terry and I have explained this in a number of posts in this thread.
Balsamo wrote:That some Jews were treated differently than others (especially those who had some exchange value) is not something I would deny, but what I contest is that there were provision concerning the elderly in the West, at least not as a rule, if in France, due to Stupnagel, the first transport were for Jews between 16 and 45 (I don’t remember the exact number), it is the convocation of old people in Belgium that created the unrests by September 42. This is why I doubt that those exceptions were meant for all Europe.

Not all of them always - but prominent Dutch Jews late in the war were still being sent to Theresienstadt, that sort of thing is what I had in mind. Again, you're looking at this too black and white. Theresienstadt was a device to leverage in different ways, flexibly. In keeping with a general view of how to start using the ghetto there . . .
Balsamo wrote:
Surely you know the size of Theresienstadt vs the population of the groups we’re talking about - and surely you realize the fate of Jews sent to Theresienstadt?

I know, and you know, but we are from the future. This is why I asked the question above, did the State Secretaries knew that the Theresienstadt ghetto was a joke?

It wasn't a joke - but it could never have accommodated the full population discussed as going there. Thus, it was also a fig leaf, among its other purposes.
Balsamo wrote:
Also, how does your interpretation of Theresienstadt and supposed concessions account for this? Heydrich, 10 October 1941 (!), conference with Eichmann in attendance on deportations of Jews from the Protectorate (T/294): “In considering the use of the fortress-town Terezin as an assembly depot for Czech Jews, the meeting notes say, ‘After further deportations to the East from this temporary camp, in which the Jews will in any case be heavily decimated, the whole area will be built up and developed into an exemplary German settlement.’”

Or this, Eichmann presiding over a police chiefs’ meeting (T/734) during this same time period and telling the officials that “for the sake of placating the elderly people they should be told that they would be moved in the course of the summer or autumn to Theresienstadt, which was earmarked as the ghetto for the aged. This is being done as a face-saving device for the outside.”

Well, first it would confirm the idea that some within the Reich had extended genocidal projects before the decision was even taken at the top.

I'm confused on when you think this was . . . that the decision was taken at the top? What you write below doesn't really answer this . . .
Balsamo wrote:Second, that by October 41, Theresienstadt was seen as a deadly transit Ghetto for the Czech Jew before the decision to convert it into the so called “old age privileged Ghetto” for the German Jews.
I know very well this was meant to deceive, but did the State Secretaries knew, or were they duped into believing that those old and decorated Jews would be spared from deportation?
This cannot be answered through extracts from meeting gathering members of the Himmler’s gang.

I've told you above what I surmise. As Nick Terry has said, I don't think operational details were on the table at this meeting.
Balsamo wrote:
LOL, you can’t just eliminate what Heydrich said about the European reach of the FS and declare that the focus of the meeting was on the Reich only. Come on. I am lost here, Balsamo: what are you trying to argue?

Indeed it sounds like a big laugh, but it is the number which a State Secretary like Stuckart was concerned with. Well concerned I don’t know, as he did oppose their deportation/evacuation.

Again, I don't buy this competency/functional breakdown as the core thrust of the meeting. Sure, there was a "routine" needed for Reich Jews, but there were also routines needed for Jews in countries that were allies or under different forms of occupation, for the GG, for Russia, etc.
Balsamo wrote:Those were the Jews to be deported from the Reich, as the Reich had the priority – along with the GG.
But at the meantime, Himmler’s team was negotiating with Vichy regarding the Jews from France directly before and after Wannsee, in Belgium all the preliminary measures had already been taken, the same for the Netherlands.

We do need to return to the France thread; I don't agree with this time line, if I'm following you, for reasons stated in that thread.

Again, I am insisting that Heydrich announced a discussion of a FS for 11 million European Jews. Again, you need to explain what you make of this. I have only a jumble of ideas from you that I cannot make into something coherent for you. Sorry, I know, I know. But . . .
Balsamo wrote:The Ministry of the interior had absolutely no competence concerning them. The only thing that changed was that a destination was imposed, and that would be the east. But as I said, this part was not subject to discussion really.

Except the protocol notes show that there was discussion about it.
Balsamo wrote:So yes, I still assume that the meeting was theoretically on a European Solution, but practically focused on the Jews of the Greater Reich for which those State Secretaries were competent and busy with.

Phew, finally, but now I have to ask you how you get to this bizarre interpretation, when, for example, Bühler made a big point about Jews in the GG and a significant part of the meeting apparently concerned extracting Jews from allied countries. Not to mention the attendees - more below.
Balsamo wrote:
Again, I have to say you show not even the most basic understanding of how policies are implemented over time and space in the real world.

That might be a bit severe from you, but I don’t mind. Maybe I need some concrete examples.

See posts in this thread that follow my initial response. I don't think you appreciate the way large scale projects are implemented . . . not to be an ass, just sayin'. The comments seem too black and white and theoretical.
Balsamo wrote:
Nor has any scholar whose work I've read claimed that the decisions about the FS made at the turn of 1941/1942 called for the immediate and total murder of all the Jews in Germany’s control.

I have only quoted Gerlach. Heydrich outlined the plan involving Mass murder of the European Jews.

I don't know what quotation you mean. I think we must be interpreting the same words differently. My comment included Gerlach.
Balsamo wrote:This is the thing Brayard contest, and I do as well.

It is either a strawman or a basic misunderstanding. Again, I am not aware of a timetable set at Wannsee. Speedy or otherwise. Longerich reads some of the phrases to say that the full final solution will be executed in a later stage, presumably after the war. I certainly don't read the protocol to say that the FS will be speedy - in fact, again, it says that execution will be dependent on the course of the military campaigns. It postpones "evacuation" of war workers. Etc.
Balsamo wrote:I also contest that Wannsee was the occasion where the Final Solution, as we know it and as it really took place, became a form of State policy involving the participation with full knowledge of the entire Nazi State apparatus.
And thanks God, this is also the main topic of Brayard 500 pages work.
This why the way the Final Solution was explained to the attendees is so important.

This is very loaded. See Nick Terry's and my comments above and then we can return to this.
Balsamo wrote:
So what? Since the conference was to ensure coordination and cooperation with the FS, and the Foreign Office was part of this effort, and since the police and occupation teams in various countries could function and follow the approach, your point is meaningless

Transports were already organized from Germany without this so called coordination and cooperation. I don’t see why this was more necessary than before. Before and after transports capacities depended from the military needs and the availability. For France, it was Vichy’s cooperation that was important, not the one of the ministry of the interior.

Of course not, but the protocol frames the execution of the FS in allied and occupied countries as requiring collaborative efforts of the Foreign Office and police. That is my point: that the protocol only touches on the kinds of factors you were getting into - stating instead an orientation to bring the FS to these countries and a starting approach. And that it doesn't have the narrow focus (Reich Jews, Mischlinge?) you seem to be giving it. Sometimes.
Balsamo wrote:The coorperration of the Reichsbahn was essential, otherwise I think the potential contributions of those State secretaries have been over rated, the most important was that there would be no interference, no administrative disputes, that is the acceptance of the new policy by the governmental officials. And as I said, in the East and in Poland, which held the two third of the Jews under German occupation, I am still waiting for a demonstration about any decisive role of the ministry of the interior in those eastern Jewish affairs.

Why? I am totally lost by what you're going on about the state secretaries . . . this meeting wasn't an operational meeting assigning out to secretaries their piece of the action . . .
Balsamo wrote:On the other hand, the acceptance of the authority granted to Himmler and Heydrich of course help to reinforce their influence locally, as they were now acting with a kind of legal coat as far as deportation were concerned. The RSHA was after Wannsee the only decisive actor in the game. Of course, cooperation with the Foreign ministry was essential, but that is quite another chapter as the “representative” was not really “representative at all. Another story.

Re-read my Luther post and then let's re-visit this.
Balsamo wrote:
What other solutions are you talking about? Other solutions to the Jewish question were not discussed as far as we know - what was discussed was the meaning, scope, and implementation of the FS.

I speak of the measures taken in the East, and to some extend in Poland. I speak of the opportunistic shootings of Serbian Jews. Now one might not call that a Final Solution, but it was god damned efficient. Between July 41 and Wannsee, at least 450.000 eastern Jews had been killed, without the executions, and without the exact numbers, I am not wrong to say that additional tens of thousands of Jews died from starvation, and diseases in their Polish Ghettos. That was still going on, and the plans thoughts for the Polish Jews – Chelmno and Belzec – would greatly increase this number.
This can be argued of course, but I fail to see any points in common between what was going on in the East and the Final Solution as presented by Heydrich to his attendees.

I must have misunderstood your post, I think. You argued that the focus of the meeting/debate was on "210.000-300.000 people (depending if one included the Dutch Jews)" and that this could have been dealt with speedily - then you questioned why other solutions were proposed, as I read you. I am guessing you meant no other solution was needed. But, of course, we are talking, when we discuss the scope of the Wannsee discussion, about 3.5 million Jews in the GG (Frank's number, with the GG "debated" by Bühler at the conference), 1.5 million Jews in allied and occupied countries in the south and west, the sensitive question of Reich Jews, a couple million Jews still in the East . . . so your point is still very mysterious to me. Again, Heydrich announced, and the meeting went through, the 11 million Jews in Europe subject to the FS - and that is what the implementation would have to address, not just the grey areas at the margins as you seem to think.
Balsamo wrote:Of course, if one take into consideration the description of Eichmann about all those guys proposing better methods of killing and all that crap, well then, all I say may seem BS.

Ok. It was not just Eichmann - Frank said it in December, Heydrich is quoting saying much the same thing in May. And so on.
Balsamo wrote:It is not that I am focusing on the German Jews, not in a sense as only they were concerned by the Final Solution as presented by Heydrich, I just point out most of those official Jewish desks were primarily concerned by those German Jews. In consequence, their opinion would only be significant regarding them.

You are all over the map, friend. There were people at the conference besides the state secretaries - and the under secretary present was from the Foreign Office fss. (more below)
Balsamo wrote:Himmler already had more or less control over the eastern Jews (with some soon to be resolved conflicts with the Ministry for the East), but there is no doubts – in my mind – that the discussion about the Mischlinge were about the German ones, hence the meeting 9 days later to discuss the same question for the eastern Jews.

But you just said Himmler had control over the eastern Jews??!?!??!

Again, the shark hath been jumped. I truly have no idea what you are trying to say.

In any event, the western, southern, and central European Jews discussed at the conference were to be identified, rounded up, extracted, transported, and then dealt with in the east . . . so this isn't just Himmler having things in hand in the East. It is setting in motion how to finish off the continent's Jews in the east.
Balsamo wrote:
To take some examples, the emigration stop order was in effect throughout the west, and seized upon by authorities.

As I pointed out in another thread, this was not completely correct, while not being completely false, but the status of the Belgian Jewish councils created after the stop order still mentioned emigration among its duty. And there were still emigration organized in non-occupied France. There were still possibilities for the MBH to grant emigration permits. Anyway, I don’t see where you find a disagreement between us on that subject, as I don’t deny the international intent, and the international operation that were about to take place. I just don’t see any Wannsee effect beside the announcement that the RSHA would be the sole responsible for the Jewish Final Solution.

Again, you are focused on a trickle when the flood has been stopped. Your point here is not even worth discussing, IMO, as it is without major policy or implementation implications.
Balsamo wrote:
Bühler suggested not “combing from West to East” but accelerating the FS in the G-G. Why do you exclude that too? At the end of January, an Eastern Ministry meeting was held to tackle the question who was a Jew in the East (Himmler would rudely dismiss these exercises that summer) - why exclude this?

I don’t exclude those facts, but I treat them separately. Discussions about plans regarding the Polish Jews in the GG had begun before Wannsee with the concerned authorities – which were different than those responsible for the Greater Reich.

So what? So had discussions of Reich Jews and their deportation been going on for months.

And you do exclude Bühler's contribution . . . even here, when you keep repeating that the only discussion point was the Nuremberg laws - in fact, Bühler's suggestion, not focused on the Reich and deportations but on the extermination in the GG, seems to have caused a change in approach and significant consequences (acceleration in the GG in spring 1942).

And, again, the attendees at Wannsee were neither only eastern facing, only foreign facing, nor only Reich facing. In keeping with the topic, European Jewry. If the focus were truly Mischlinge and the Reich Jews, and if the meeting were really for "those responsible for the Greater Reich," why were Schöngrath, Lange, Hofmann, Bühler, Luther, Leibbrandt, and Meyer at the conference at all? No, the "practical experience" and the FS as discussed at Wannsee were much broader in scope than (I think) you're making out.
Balsamo wrote:And I have mentioned the 29th Janurary meeting to show that the discussion about the Mischlinge there was another topic that the one discussed at Wannsee, and as you say, the arguments proposed by Stuckart will not be held as valid in the case of the eastern Jews (there were no German blood concerned), while the subject will be left undecided for the German ones. This fact alone reduces the scope of what was at stake at Wannsee.

Total misunderstanding of the purpose of the conference and its follow-ups. Put another way: one follow up among many. You are verging now on cherry-picking.
Balsamo wrote:
The only way to sustain whatever it is you’re trying to advocate is by ignoring 1) what we know about reality and 2) documents and evidence that are central to the fact base for the Holocaust.

I hope you’ll let me disagree with that. But I will address that in a next post, this one is confused enough.

I hate to say it but it has added to my already very great challenge in grasping your argument.
Balsamo wrote:Again, there is a persistent misunderstanding here. I am just not seeing the Final Solution as it took place through the Wannsee meeting. I do not contest the European scale of the Final Solution, just limit the impact of Wannsee on it. Because, as I said, more than half of the 11 million mentioned in the Protocols, were already being dealt with, even at different stages.

You will have to flesh this out a LOT more to make it intelligible - and specifically explain why Heydrich spent such effort on making a case about the full scope of the program at a meeting you say was focused on something else . . . but what?
Balsamo wrote:
The comparison is not valid. In the Baltics etc, to commit mass murder, the Germans didn't need to transport Jews to far-away camps, with fixed murder installations; nor were there the same political issues and repercussions in the East as in the west.

How so?
A transport going from Koln to Riga . . .

You argued "the death rate in the Baltics and eastward" but now discuss a transport program of Reich Jews to the Baltics? Anyway, you keep making the same mistake. Let me explain it this way: 11 children need to get through a doorway. The monitor of the doorway says that it will take 11 minutes for all of them to go through, one by one. You come along and say, well, no, it takes 1 minute because, look, this German child can go through in exactly a minute. You've left out the other 10 children and the need to stage and sequence things when numbers grow. Sure we can zero in on the one child, let's call him or her a Mischlinge, but we need to think also about the other 10 children whom Heydrich told us need to be gotten, one way or another, sometime, through the doorway.
Balsamo wrote:So once again, I do not contest the scope of the Final Solution, but the scope of Wannsee.

Well, events surrounding Wannsee are relevant to understanding the conference. I thought we agreed on that.
Balsamo wrote:Again, once the decision for the evacuation of the European Jews was taken – that is before Wannsee – things would be carried through according to the possibilities, opportunities, etc. Where have you read that I contested that?
The only thing I am trying to explain is that to move a thousand Jews from Drancy to Auschwitz, it takes The cooperation of Vichy, the French police, collaboration from the MBH, the trains provided by the SNCF or the Reichsbahn to take them at their final destination. Not from the Reich Chancellery or the ministry of the interior, even less from the Four Years Plan. What you need above all to achieve it is the total control of the process which is what was achieved at Wannsee. But even without Wannsee, if it was clear for the MBH and Vichy that the RSHA was in command, those transports could have gone through with or without the collaboration obtained at Wannsee which is so promoted. One things is certain, at least to me, the last thing you want in order to succeed, is the spread of the knowledge about the true nature of those deportations.

We agree on this - but I have no idea (noise to signal) why you keep writing about the importance of Mischlinge, the focus on (I think) the Reich, etc.
Balsamo wrote:The diffusion of this knowledge is THE issue, and sorry, but as I don’t trust Eichmann trial testimony, I doubt very much that the real nature of the FS was shared with everyone at Wannsee, which does not mean that the goal of extermination was not shared, but nothing like the true objectives and means that would be used.
You may feel upset, but I would say that you reacted like a volcano in eruption, addressing Jeff and I in one shot with I suspect some undeserved suspicions about what we were trying to say, or in my case, about the conclusion of a discussion that was worth having without Denier’s interferences.

Well, you said you two basically agreed with each other - but, no, I separated my replies and replied to your claims separately. Reading where the two of you got was very confusing and still is. But I tried to respond to you both, individually and where I think you agree.

Sandkühler's review really shows the folly of this conspiracy idea you've been on. I can't really improve on what I've said before or what he wrote.
Balsamo wrote:
No one "trusts" the notes (they are NOT minutes) as having fidelity to what happened during the conference. The notes reflected also the view of Heydrich and Müller, who IIRC helped edit them, about what they wanted to communicate, in 30 copies, about this meeting that Jeff and you seem to think not so important.

This is the kind of paragraph which makes me suspect you reacted line after line instead of reading the whole thing first.
I’ll leave it here for now, and I will explain Brayard approach – which as you may guest I kind of support – so we can move on.
I have not yet had the time to read Nick Terry post and what follows basically what I addressed here. That will be for later in the afternoon.

No, I read the whole thing, a couple times, decided against replying, finally decided to reply, wrote out my reply, and then edited it once or twice. Not to be snarky - I'm a bit frustrated by the round and round - it is by reading the whole thread that I could keep writing "See below" because if I hadn't - duh! - how would I know what I would be including later . . . LOL

I am really struggling with Brayard's argument but also the opening of this thread. I still can't quite tell what you're arguing.

And I keep thinking all of us are trying to tackle too big a subject in the wrong forum and that is why I keep being a bit pissy no one will discuss something more focused, like France.

Anyway, to try to stop the round and round and for my own sanity . . .

1. I am curious about how you answer the questions I asked just above about the eastern-western dichotomy.

2. I want to list our most important areas of disagreement

- the timing of the basic decision for the FS (I don’t know when you think this was)

- the idea of conspiracy and diffusion of information, which extends to the attendees at the Wannsee conference

what was on the table at Wannsee and why (what you called “modalities” presented at the conference)

- the importance attributed to the Mischlinge, mixed marriages, and sterilization at Wannsee (IMO Stuckart, e.g., was being disingenuous in pleading that the conference focus was cleaning up the Nuremberg laws)

- the level of prescription and detail presented and discussed at Wannsee

- probably the interpretation of
Under proper guidance, in the course of the final solution the Jews are to be allocated for appropriate labor in the East. Able-bodied Jews, separated according to sex, will be taken in large work columns to these areas for work on roads, in the course of which action doubtless a large portion will be eliminated by natural causes.

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.)


- a “speedy time line”

- which follow-ups from Wannsee were significant - and even what were the follow-ups from Wannsee

- the two FS’s idea and the east-west dichotomy (eastern and western Jews, legalities, etc); late 1943 convergence

- the 16 March 1942 letter

- how interesting Brayard’s critique is (Sandkühler)

This shows very strong divergence and explains, I'm guessing, the somewhat confused discussion - we're really poles apart and close to thinking in very different terms.
Last edited by Statistical Mechanic on Fri Jul 10, 2015 5:13 pm, edited 3 times in total.
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Re: Yet another Wannsee thread (with Brayard)

Postby Xcalibur » Fri Jul 10, 2015 1:38 am

"Mango vodka". Try laying off the sauce before posting. As onerous a task as that may be.

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Re: Yet another Wannsee thread (with Brayard)

Postby Jeff_36 » Fri Jul 10, 2015 2:12 am

Exellent post Dr. Terry, I agree with a lot of what you have said. I do not believe that us four gentlemen are that far apart on this, a problem seems to be our choice of terms/expressions.

Keep in mind that a lot of this is new to me and I have altered my opinions a few times since the beginning of this thread, from a semi-Millsian position to something closer to you and SM.

Jeff, "what was on the table" at Wannsee cannot be considered a plan; it was instead the communication of a basic decision taken shortly beforehand by Hitler, via Heydrich.

Understood. "plan" was a bad choice of words. What it rather was (in my opinion) was a snapshot of H2's thinking on the solution to this "problem" at this time. Not the final product by any menas but a demonstration of their intent at the time.

Neither Hitler, nor Himmler, nor Heydrich, had a clear idea of how the basic intention would be achieved as of January 1942; Hitler because he had delegated the details to Himmler and Heydrich, the SS leaders because they were prisoners of contingency and real-world developments. Heydrich says as much in the protocol, AFTER the text outlines the ultimate fate of the Jews (underlining is mine):

The beginning of the individual larger evacuation actions will largely depend on military developments. Regarding the handling of the final solution in those European countries occupied and influenced by us, it was proposed that the appropriate expert of the Foreign Office discuss the matter with the responsible official of the Security Police and SD

A discussion of foreign countries then ensued, starting with Slovakia and Croatia before considering briefly Romania, Hungary, Italy, France, the Nordic countries and 'southeast ad western Europe'. This discussion rounds out Section III of the WP - the closest thing to a 'plan' in the document, but it obviously isn't a plan, and has become closer to a brainstorming session, since different officials volunteer opinions on the feasibility of extracting Jews from different countries so they can be contributed to the Final Solution.


I dispute none of that. I just think that the mechanics and nature of this decimatory solution were not yet known widely at the time.


Regarding Poland, while improvisation is a correct term to use for how the Nazis implemented the FS, the intent was already firm, the means were being established or actually being used. 10s of 1000s of Jews in the Warthegau were already dead by the time of Wannsee, and the program continued long afterwards. The decision not to deport eastwards had been taken in September/October 1941, despite 'the east' being the buzzword of the moment in Nazi thinking about the Jewish question. For the GG there was still talk of deporting 'to the east' until late October 1941, but this talk ended firmly by December 1941, as recorded in Frank's infamous speech of 16 December.


I dispute the bolded. The actions in place pre wannasee in Lodz and in Lublin under Globocnik were locally directed operations against certain populations, not any general action against the GG as a whole.

The fact that the means had not been fully established undercuts your point about the use of existing structures: Globocnik had to recall key officers from the SS-und-Polizeistuetzpunkte project in the occupied eastern territories, he had to receive personnel from T4 in increments, and two of three camps had to be built. 16.12.41 was not unlike Wannsee in that it announced an intention, with a lot of admin to be worked out, and with the added headache of waiting for the spring for the transport crisis to clear a bit so that local trains could run. From December 1941 onwards, there was never any intention to deport Polish Jews to 'the east', Buhler's dissembling after the war notwithstanding.


{!#%@}, I forgot about the strongpoints project. {!#%@}. That does not take away from the fact that Globocnik was convienently placed in the GG with a pre existing assingment that included mass killing. This made him the ideal man for the job (the killing of the nonworking GG Jews). The addition of personnel that you state is to me indicative of the expansion post wannasee of what had been his task (the killing of the lublin Jews) to his new assingment (the killing of the nonworking GG Jews).

Regarding the Reich, there are multiple SS plans, hints as well as actual deportations indicating that as of January 1942, the Nazis intended to deport Reich Jews to the literal east. But what happened in 1942 turned out to be very different, because many of the plans and ideas were impracticable. Instead of being deported to DG IV, Reich Jews were sent to the Lublin district, with nothing indicating a firm decision for that until February 1942, after Wannsee. Reich Jews had the priority, but even they could not be deported to the east. Unsurprisingly, no one else was, either.


The Goebbles diary indicates that by March of 1942 the German Jews deported to the GG Ghettos were expected to share the same fate of the GG Jews.

Once again: if there was a firm plan as of 20.1.1942, then Himmler destroyed it within the week, with his order to Gluecks to transfer 150,000 able bodied Reich Jews to concentration camps. Because there were no concentration camps in the 'east'.


Not a plan, but a basic intention that was changed by the course of the war, specifically the unavailability of the intended area of operations. Hence my theory on an Improvised Final Solution.

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Re: Yet another Wannsee thread (with Brayard)

Postby Jeff_36 » Fri Jul 10, 2015 2:37 am

Did you read my post? There's no problem; in fact, what Sandkühler shows is extremely damaging to Brayard's reliance on the postwar testimony. Lösener, as Sandkühler noted, was unreliable in postwar testimony (which includes his memoir) about what he understood to be going on; this judgment is proven by the note in Lösener's files from December 1941 concerning his meeting that month with Stuckart about the shooting of German Jews in the Ostland.

In addition, as I explained in a footnote, despite his demurrals, Lösener at the Ministries trial admitted that at the time he was "pessimistic" about the fate of the German Jews. So this adds to Sandkühler's point by showing that Brayard was selective in his use of the postwar testimony itself, which was self-contradictory.

And Lösener also explained in that same testimony that the very phrase in the letter of 16 March 1942 to which he attributes such meaning (the Jews were to remain alive in the east) was a stock expression Stuckart had been using since 1935. Which shows that since the Ministries trial - Lösener's testimony was given in 1948 - the very point on which Brayard hangs so much, a very different interpretation has been available to us. As Sandkühler wrote, Brayard is giving us nothing new - and he is using evidence in a very selective manner.


Ok, I understand now. There is little denying that both men had a lot to hide and were knee deep as pertains to knowlage of Pre-FS actions against Jews.

The problem here is for anyone relying on Lösener's or Stuckart's exculpatory postwar testimony which omits what they were actually thinking, as recorded in Lösener's December 1941 note, during those fateful months, and as suggested by portions of Lösener's testimony apparently ignored by Brayard.


Not particularly big on Brayard. I have basically attempted to present an opinion that bridges the gap between Balsamo and yourself.


I couldn't really follow it - so, to get there, I'd asked you if (a) you are dismissing all that Gerlach has to say about "December 1941"

yes and no. I think that a new direction was set by Hitler's remarks of December 1941. However, the decimation that he demanded was just a direction at that point, not a clear plan. It would take several months for the nature of the decimation to take shape. The Wannasee suggestions, the white sea bubble (nothing more than a half second of thought by Heydrich in the latter instance), all would be replaced by the use of Globocnik's extermination structure to wipe out the Jews unfit for work, first from the GG, then all Europe, as in holding with this new direction.

(b) you could explain one sentence, which I quoted, that really lost me.

Which sentence?

When we get over these hurdles, I will have to ask you your understanding of the passage which assumes the fate of the unfit and which uses what Nick Terry called the "whopping great conditional" bei Freilassung.

The speculation of "In the case of release" was just that: speculation. However, it is clear to me that the death of nonworking Jews was intended by the time of Wannasee and very likely by December 1941. It's the exact method/nature of the solution that I date much later.


I didn't see anything in your post that challenged this comment of Nick Terry's:
The protocol is pretty clear that all Jews in Europe would be caught up in the FS, The ensuing discussion indicates that Luther and the Foreign Office thought there would be few problems in western Europe.
Or this one:
From the perspective of the professional genocidaire, January to June 1942 must have been a depressing time.


I do not dispute any of the above. It is the real life difficulties and wartime setbacks that, IMO caused the Golobocnik method to be adopted.

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Re: Yet another Wannsee thread (with Brayard)

Postby Statistical Mechanic » Fri Jul 10, 2015 2:47 am

Jeff_36 wrote:Not particularly big on Brayard.

Ok, that was confusing to me.

Jeff_36 wrote:I have basically attempted to present an opinion that bridges the gap between Balsamo and yourself.

Could be like squaring a circle? I honestly don't think the gap is bridgeable, as I said upthread. We're thinking of this very differently - in Balsamo's terms I'm stuck in a consensus viewpoint, whilst he's thinking of Wannsee very differently, influenced by Brayard. I can't put what this new way is together - but I've ID'ed some areas of really serious disagreement. I think.

Jeff_36 wrote:a direction at that point, not a clear plan.

In the same terms which Nick Terry and I have tried to get at this? Again, not to be an ass, which I may be, no one is saying there was a clear plan by December or January. Check out what I summarized from Gerwarth, whose book on Heydrich is good.

Jeff_36 wrote:the white sea bubble (nothing more than a half second of thought by Heydrich in the latter instance)

I think of it as an after-dinner belch.

Jeff_36 wrote:
(b) you could explain one sentence, which I quoted, that really lost me.

Which sentence?

Whoopsie, it was 2 sentences. . . .
One would also expect a clear crystalization of actions and documaentry references to impending deportations for labour/special treatment soon afterwords. Instead we have the various ministries still {!#%@} around with old measures and no clear adaptation of a new focus.


Jeff_36 wrote:. . . it is clear to me that the death of nonworking Jews was intended by the time of Wannasee and very likely by December 1941.

Agreed.

Jeff_36 wrote:I do not dispute any of the above. It is the real life difficulties and wartime setbacks that, IMO caused the Golobocnik method to be adopted.

How do you see other extermination (especially Birkenau) and deportation efforts during this period?
Nazism conspired to create a sense of festival time. . . . Tragically for humanity, the party generating it was the type not associated with the coloured costumes of the Brazilian Carnival, but with the brown-shirted thuggery of the NSDAP. The contrast between the dance and the march, between the samba and the strains of the Horst Wessel Lied, points to the gulf separating a life-asserting community from a community which exists only by creating a demonized other. - RG '97

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Re: Yet another Wannsee thread (with Brayard)

Postby Jeff_36 » Fri Jul 10, 2015 3:03 am

Statistical Mechanic wrote:
Jeff_36 wrote:Not particularly big on Brayard.

Ok, that was confusing to me.

he dismisses Wannasee as advocating something else entirely. I think it is something in between, Not what eventually happened, but rather an early attempt at decision making.

In the same terms which Nick Terry and I have tried to get at this? Again, not to be an ass, which I may be, no one is saying there was a clear plan by December or January. Check out what I summarized from Gerwarth, whose book on Heydrich is good.

What I'm saying is that you and I are drawing closer in view as I become more familiar with the surrounding contexts.

I think of it as an after-dinner belch.

I see it as an indication that the method of decimation was not figured out. His mind was still racing and the White Sea option was in all likelyhood a frame of mind that he adopted for a few days at most and then abandoned.

Jeff_36 wrote:
(b) you could explain one sentence, which I quoted, that really lost me.

Which sentence?

Whoopsie, it was 2 sentences. . . .
One would also expect a clear crystalization of actions and documaentry references to impending deportations for labour/special treatment soon afterwords. Instead we have the various ministries still {!#%@} around with old measures and no clear adaptation of a new focus.

At the time I was still under the impression that y'all were arguing that Wannasee implemented the directions for what eventually happened, Globocnik, gassing et all.... That view is inconceivable to me. Dr. Terry has indicated rather forcefully that you two gentlemen do not hold that opinion at all. I have since changed my opinions and have moved closer to your camp (the Terry-Mechanic Faction, TMF for short) in my attempt to bridge the gap between Balsamo and yourself. I am somewhat less millsian than I was before. Granted I still think that the exact menthod and nature of mesure changed dramatically between January and May. May is what I view as the entry of the pattern of Nazi actions into "terminal velocity" and August as the "Final Form" so to speak.

Jeff_36 wrote:The speculation of "In the case of release" was just that: speculation. However, it is clear to me that the death of nonworking Jews was intended by the time of Wannasee and very likely by December 1941.

Agreed.


A positive development. :) :D :D :D :D

How do you see other extermination and deportation efforts during this period?
[/quote]
Pre 1942: Local and bottom-up in nature.
Auschwitz: indicative of the prevailing mentality most purely expressed in the Globocnik Camps but indicative nonetheless. A-B will not take the forefront until 1943, and will not achieve true notoriety until the Hungarian lunacy of 1944, which, IMO, is symptomatic of a deteriorating regime, See my Ted Bundy analogy.

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Re: Yet another Wannsee thread (with Brayard)

Postby Balsamo » Fri Jul 10, 2015 3:32 am

Statmec:

Sorry my long reply to Balsamo, which I quoted from above, seems to have disappeared?!?!?! so one more time (luckily for me, sadly for y'all I copied it . . . formatting may be screwy . . . ) . .


Well you were more lucky than i, as mine reply to you has disappeared for good, and i did not copied it. :oops:

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Re: Yet another Wannsee thread (with Brayard)

Postby Xcalibur » Fri Jul 10, 2015 4:14 am

"Well you were more lucky than i, as mine reply to you has disappeared for good, and i did not copied it. :oops:"

Best {!#%@} news I've read in 4 {!#%@} days of reading here. And hopefully you can shut Jeff up.

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Re: Yet another Wannsee thread (with Brayard)

Postby Jeff_36 » Fri Jul 10, 2015 4:28 am

Best {!#%@} news I've read in 4 {!#%@} days of reading here. And hopefully you can shut Jeff up.


Angry intentionalist? We are merely trying to clear up the picture to prevent denier attacks. At least that's my intention.

You will find that Balsamo and I differ on several points. Everyone here is more or less their own.

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Re: Yet another Wannsee thread (with Brayard)

Postby Xcalibur » Fri Jul 10, 2015 5:07 am

>"Angry intentionalist? We are merely trying to clear up the picture to prevent denier attacks. At least that's my intention."

Really? Ellard pegged me as a denier after one post. You decide.

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Re: Yet another Wannsee thread (with Brayard)

Postby nickterry » Fri Jul 10, 2015 8:29 am

Jeff_36 wrote:Exellent post Dr. Terry, I agree with a lot of what you have said. I do not believe that us four gentlemen are that far apart on this, a problem seems to be our choice of terms/expressions.

Keep in mind that a lot of this is new to me and I have altered my opinions a few times since the beginning of this thread, from a semi-Millsian position to something closer to you and SM.

Jeff, "what was on the table" at Wannsee cannot be considered a plan; it was instead the communication of a basic decision taken shortly beforehand by Hitler, via Heydrich.


Understood. "plan" was a bad choice of words. What it rather was (in my opinion) was a snapshot of H2's thinking on the solution to this "problem" at this time. Not the final product by any menas but a demonstration of their intent at the time.

Neither Hitler, nor Himmler, nor Heydrich, had a clear idea of how the basic intention would be achieved as of January 1942; Hitler because he had delegated the details to Himmler and Heydrich, the SS leaders because they were prisoners of contingency and real-world developments. Heydrich says as much in the protocol, AFTER the text outlines the ultimate fate of the Jews (underlining is mine):

The beginning of the individual larger evacuation actions will largely depend on military developments. Regarding the handling of the final solution in those European countries occupied and influenced by us, it was proposed that the appropriate expert of the Foreign Office discuss the matter with the responsible official of the Security Police and SD

A discussion of foreign countries then ensued, starting with Slovakia and Croatia before considering briefly Romania, Hungary, Italy, France, the Nordic countries and 'southeast ad western Europe'. This discussion rounds out Section III of the WP - the closest thing to a 'plan' in the document, but it obviously isn't a plan, and has become closer to a brainstorming session, since different officials volunteer opinions on the feasibility of extracting Jews from different countries so they can be contributed to the Final Solution.


I dispute none of that. I just think that the mechanics and nature of this decimatory solution were not yet known widely at the time.


Indeed they weren't. Hans Frank was decidedly clueless about the 'how' in his 16.12.41 speech.


Regarding Poland, while improvisation is a correct term to use for how the Nazis implemented the FS, the intent was already firm, the means were being established or actually being used. 10s of 1000s of Jews in the Warthegau were already dead by the time of Wannsee, and the program continued long afterwards. The decision not to deport eastwards had been taken in September/October 1941, despite 'the east' being the buzzword of the moment in Nazi thinking about the Jewish question. For the GG there was still talk of deporting 'to the east' until late October 1941, but this talk ended firmly by December 1941, as recorded in Frank's infamous speech of 16 December.


I dispute the bolded. The actions in place pre wannasee in Lodz and in Lublin under Globocnik were locally directed operations against certain populations, not any general action against the GG as a whole.


Um, no. See Frank's 16.12.41 speech. This was a firm statement of intent to destroy the Jews of the GG as a whole. Frank was not fully informed of the details, but knew the SS would be involved somehow. Wannsee was an important step in coordinating the interests of the SS and civil administration, which is why Buhler was invited. This was to underscore the point that the actions against GG Jews would be part of a larger whole.

The fact that the means had not been fully established undercuts your point about the use of existing structures: Globocnik had to recall key officers from the SS-und-Polizeistuetzpunkte project in the occupied eastern territories, he had to receive personnel from T4 in increments, and two of three camps had to be built. 16.12.41 was not unlike Wannsee in that it announced an intention, with a lot of admin to be worked out, and with the added headache of waiting for the spring for the transport crisis to clear a bit so that local trains could run. From December 1941 onwards, there was never any intention to deport Polish Jews to 'the east', Buhler's dissembling after the war notwithstanding.


{!#%@}, I forgot about the strongpoints project. {!#%@}. That does not take away from the fact that Globocnik was convienently placed in the GG with a pre existing assingment that included mass killing. This made him the ideal man for the job (the killing of the nonworking GG Jews). The addition of personnel that you state is to me indicative of the expansion post wannasee of what had been his task (the killing of the lublin Jews) to his new assingment (the killing of the nonworking GG Jews).


There's nothing to contradict the idea that Globocnik had a vision for the whole of the GG as of autumn 1941, which had to be cleared with Himmler, who in turn had to wait for an opportune moment to persuade the civil admin that expulsion wasn't on the cards, and which then had to be tested using one camp to see that it worked.

The notion that the Nazis couldn't foresee that killing operations would be extended is not very persuasive, especially not when the regime's rhetoric in late 1941 was screaming about the destruction and extirpation of 'the Jews' as a whole, across all of Europe, to get 'the Jews' out of Europe.

Rather, the evidence suggests that a whole host of practical problems had to be overcome, from concentrating and prepping the populations for deportation, to ensuring and testing that enough police and troops were available to do so, to waiting for transportation to become available, to finding out how much resistance might be put up by Jews in the process, and so on.

Remember:
16.12.41: Frank says the Jews must go and will be destroyed
spring 42, after the Lublin ghetto is cleared: reaction from civil authorities: it works! now we can extend this everywhere
early summer 42; it's extended everywhere in the GG

The notion that until April-June 1942, the Nazis only intended to kill the Jews of the Lublin and Galicia districts while sparing those in Warsaw, Radom and Krakau is risible.

Regarding the Reich, there are multiple SS plans, hints as well as actual deportations indicating that as of January 1942, the Nazis intended to deport Reich Jews to the literal east. But what happened in 1942 turned out to be very different, because many of the plans and ideas were impracticable. Instead of being deported to DG IV, Reich Jews were sent to the Lublin district, with nothing indicating a firm decision for that until February 1942, after Wannsee. Reich Jews had the priority, but even they could not be deported to the east. Unsurprisingly, no one else was, either.


The Goebbles diary indicates that by March of 1942 the German Jews deported to the GG Ghettos were expected to share the same fate of the GG Jews.

Once again: if there was a firm plan as of 20.1.1942, then Himmler destroyed it within the week, with his order to Gluecks to transfer 150,000 able bodied Reich Jews to concentration camps. Because there were no concentration camps in the 'east'.


Not a plan, but a basic intention that was changed by the course of the war, specifically the unavailability of the intended area of operations. Hence my theory on an Improvised Final Solution.


Once again: in late 1941 the civil admin of the GG still thought in terms of expulsion, because this was what had been promised repeatedly. By 16.12.41 Frank was told firmly, no we cannot expel your Jews to the east, therefore "liquidate them yourselves!".

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Re: Yet another Wannsee thread (with Brayard)

Postby Statistical Mechanic » Fri Jul 10, 2015 10:54 am

nickterry wrote:Um, no. See Frank's 16.12.41 speech. This was a firm statement of intent to destroy the Jews of the GG as a whole.

Nick Terry and I have both referred to this speech a few times. As noted, especially for a discussion as far ranging as this and where we're basically (except Nick Terry) out of our depth, we have to be accurate about what the sources say. So below I am going to post relevant excerpts from Frank's speech with a comment or two. Here I will add that Nick Terry's post comes at the false problems created by reading the implementation "happenings" as a close guide to decision-making, as I've explained above and tried getting at in my post asking Jeff and Balsamo to trace through the supposed east-west dichotomy.

nickterry wrote:Frank was not fully informed of the details, but knew the SS would be involved somehow. Wannsee was an important step in coordinating the interests of the SS and civil administration, which is why Buhler was invited. This was to underscore the point that the actions against GG Jews would be part of a larger whole.

I'm reminded here of Morgen, whose testimony we use with caution. Nonetheless, it is worth repeating something I wrote in the Morgen-Crackhead thread, I think:
. . . by 1944 Morgen could see that Auschwitz and Aktion Reinhard were different aspects of a single program . . . (Pauer-Studer and Velleman write that Morgen now understood that Auschwitz "was a mass murder operation ordered by Himmler and Hitler" and part of "a far larger complex, encompassing at least three other extermination centers," those under Globocnik in AR. All of this "was off-limits to prosecution," including Globocnik's having carried out the mass extermination action in the General-Gouvernement. So Morgen attacked, legally, related aspects of the Final Solution where he couldn't proceed frontally. (p 94)

In other words, by 1944 Morgen finally twigged what had been in play for two years.

nickterry wrote:There's nothing to contradict the idea that Globocnik had a vision for the whole of the GG as of autumn 1941, which had to be cleared with Himmler, who in turn had to wait for an opportune moment to persuade the civil admin that expulsion wasn't on the cards, and which then had to be tested using one camp to see that it worked.

The notion that the Nazis couldn't foresee that killing operations would be extended is not very persuasive, especially not when the regime's rhetoric in late 1941 was screaming about the destruction and extirpation of 'the Jews' as a whole, across all of Europe, to get 'the Jews' out of Europe.

Rather, the evidence suggests that a whole host of practical problems had to be overcome, from concentrating and prepping the populations for deportation, to ensuring and testing that enough police and troops were available to do so, to waiting for transportation to become available, to finding out how much resistance might be put up by Jews in the process, and so on.

Remember:
16.12.41: Frank says the Jews must go and will be destroyed
spring 42, after the Lublin ghetto is cleared: reaction from civil authorities: it works! now we can extend this everywhere
early summer 42; it's extended everywhere in the GG

I've boldfaced two phrases to call attention to a key point here. For Balsamo - what Nick Terry is getting at relates to what I said about how your argument minimizes "the real world"; managers of projects conceive > test > evaluate (then reject, revise, correct, improve, extend depending on results); this perspective is really lacking in your arguments. For Jeff - ditto, this is why I took the 14f13 detour, to show that the Nazis were real managers who really did project implementation:
28 March 1941: Himmler discussion with Brack, probably after final go-ahead from Führer for killing program

early April 1941: T-4 doctors Mennecke and Steinmeyer sent to Sachsenhausen for first run of program; 4 weeks later, following the selection of about 400 prisoners, the victims were transported to Sonnenstein and gassed

around same time: IKL draws up initial criteria (prisoners unable to work - cripples, incurables, TB patients and other infectious prisoners, debilitated prisoners, etc); selection process generally to be 2-step (camp doctor makes initial selection, T-4 doctor does final selection and completes forms); lining up of 12 euthanasia doctors; communication and transport protocols; secrecy oaths; orientation for doctors

May 1941: T-4 doctors to Auschwitz for 2nd run of program; instructions to camp SS to begin identifying prisoners for 14f13 program

The implication of what Nick Terry and I say here is decoupling of implementation sequences and steps from basic decisions. No one would argue, based on the implementation time line I laid out for 14f13, that that program first targeted Bavarian camps, then Polish camps, then Weimar area camps and so on. In the face of the documentary evidence Nick Terry's reminding you of, you can't do this either for the FS.

nickterry wrote:Once again: in late 1941 the civil admin of the GG still thought in terms of expulsion, because this was what had been promised repeatedly. By 16.12.41 Frank was told firmly, no we cannot expel your Jews to the east, therefore "liquidate them yourselves!".

And so in the next post, excerpts from Frank's speech.
Last edited by Statistical Mechanic on Fri Jul 10, 2015 11:40 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Yet another Wannsee thread (with Brayard)

Postby Statistical Mechanic » Fri Jul 10, 2015 11:27 am

From Frank's 16 December 1941 speech:
...One way or another - I will tell you that, quite openly - we must finish off the Jews. (1) The Fuhrer put it (2) into words once: "should united Jewry again succeed in setting off a world war: then the blood sacrifice shall not be made only by the peoples driven into war, but then the Jew of Europe will have met his end". I know that there is criticism of many of the measures now applied to the Jews in the Reich. There are always deliberate attempts to speak again and again of cruelty, harshness, etc.: this emerges from the reports on the popular mood. (3) I appeal to you: before now I continue speaking; first, agree with me on a formula: we will have pity, on principle, only for the German people, and for nobody else in the world. The others had no pity for us either. As an old National-Socialist, I must also say that if the pack of Jews were to survive the war in Europe while we sacrifice the best of our blood for the preservation of Europe, then this war would still be only a partial success. (4) I will therefore, on principle, approach Jewish affairs in the expectation that the Jews will disappear. (5) They must go. I have started negotiations for the purpose of having them pushed off to the East. In January there will be a major conference on this question in Berlin [Wannsee - Jan. 42] to which I shall send State Secretary Dr. Buhler. The conference is to be held in the office of SS Obergruppenfuhrer Heydrich at the Reich Security Main Office. A major Jewish migration will certainly begin. (6)

But what should be done with the Jews? Can you believe that they will be accommodated in settlements in the Ostland? (7) In Berlin we were told: why are you making all this trouble? We don't want them either - not in Ostland or in the Reichskommisariat; liquidate them yourselves! (8) Gentlemen, I must ask you to steel yourselves against all considerations of compassion. We must destroy the Jews wherever we find them and wherever it is at all possible, (9) in order to maintain the whole structure of the Reich...the views that were acceptable up to now cannot be applied to such gigantic, unique events. In any case, we must find a way that will lead us to our goal (10) and I have my own ideas on this.

The Jews are exceptionally harmful feeders for us. In the Government-General (Poland & surrounding occupied areas), we have approximately 2.5 million, and now perhaps 3.5 million together with persons who have Jewish kin and so on. We cannot shoot these 3.5 million Jews, we cannot poison them, but we will take measures that will somehow lead to successful destruction; and this in connection with large-scale procedures which are to be discussed in the Reich, the Government-General must become as free of Jews as the Reich. (11) Where and how this is to be done is the affair of bodies which we will have to appoint and create, (12) and on whose work I will report to you when the time comes.... .

Some comments

(1) Methods, during these months, are not yet set, but one way or another, the Jews - without distinction as to where they are from - are to be finished off (done away with, exterminated, etc).

(2) The Führer said . . . this is not a conspiracy, sorry Balsamo and Brayard. And note that the Führer connected the Jews to the heart of the rationale for the war, like Stuckart to Lösener, Goebbels, and so on and so on.

(3) The Jews in the Reich are included in what we have to do - but we have to overcome obstacles created by the popular mood and a certain softness among Germans.

(4) Reiteration of the connection of the Jewish question to the rationale for the war - again, no distinction among Jews; this is pure WUFery, that is, the conviction of a problem that international Jewry is responsible for.

(5) Success involves making the Jews disappear . . . totally disappear (finishing them off).

(6) The Wannsee conference is a "major" step in this - it isn't a triviality, it isn't about technical legal issues regarding the Nuremberg laws, it is to be a "major conference" after which a "major Jewish migration will certainly begin" as well as other actions yet to be pinned down specifically.

(7) Frank is explaining: When we say resettle the Jews, or migration of the Jews, or push the Jews to the East, we are really talking about making them disappear and finishing them off - you know and I know that we aren't putting up nice little settlements for them anywhere - to think we'd do this is unbelievable, so we need to toughen up.

(8) Back to the Führer ("In Berlin we were told") - who is by now a bit impatient with everyone - the liquidation of the Jews is the business of the leaders of the Reich, and they need to get on with it. Again, Brayard's conspiracy and Balsamo's secrecy within secrecy ideas fly in the face of core texts, like Frank's.

(9) The Jews will be destroyed, one way or another "wherever we find them and wherever it is at all possible," without Frank putting on any neat scheme like Jeff's Lublin, GG, East, Germany, west . . . from the outset, in Balsamo's term, there is "convergence"- there's nothing about the Nuremberg laws and Mischlinge, either.

(10 The exact mechanisms, "modalities," methods, techniques, sequences, etc have yet to be found. But a way will be found.

(11) What was yet to be worked out and settled on would destroy up to 3.5 million Jews in the GG alone! Again, no discussion of a Lublin focus at this time; Frank is thinking of the GG and its place in the larger scheme of things. The Reich was being made free of Jews, and so too would be the GG (in short, Jews as Jews, Jews in general, Jews wherever they are to be found - as useless feeders and as the cause of war and danger to the Reich).

(12) Further elaboration and organization will be needed, Frank will be dealing with that for the GG (ha) and will update his folks. Again, the conspiracy and secrecy within secrecy are out the window.

Damn, it is almost as though Nick Terry and I have been using sources like this one to make our case.

Side note: Frank's speech was well echoed by Goebbels on 13 December, in his diary the day after the critical session with the Führer:
Regarding the Jewish question, the Fuehrer is determined to clean the table. He prophesized that should the Jews once again bring about a world war, they would be annihilated. These were no empty words. The world war has come, therefore the annihilation of the Jews has to be its inevitable consequence. The question has to be examined without any sentimentality. We are not here to pity Jews, but to have pity for our own German people. If the German people have sacrificed about 160,000 dead in the battles in the east, the instigators of this bloody conflict will have to pay for it with their lives.

WUF - and the Jews will pay for it with their lives, a total cleaning of the table, the inevitable annihilation.

Where you guys find the sequences and limiters and Mischlinge and so on in all this is truly beyond me.
Nazism conspired to create a sense of festival time. . . . Tragically for humanity, the party generating it was the type not associated with the coloured costumes of the Brazilian Carnival, but with the brown-shirted thuggery of the NSDAP. The contrast between the dance and the march, between the samba and the strains of the Horst Wessel Lied, points to the gulf separating a life-asserting community from a community which exists only by creating a demonized other. - RG '97

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Re: Yet another Wannsee thread (with Brayard)

Postby Statistical Mechanic » Fri Jul 10, 2015 11:33 am

Xcalibur wrote:>"Angry intentionalist? We are merely trying to clear up the picture to prevent denier attacks. At least that's my intention."

Really? Ellard pegged me as a denier after one post. You decide.

Jeff, I believe Xcalibur is telling us that, like Mackayla Maroney, he's not impressed:

Image

That's to say that I'm afraid that the coherence and efficacy of the discussion is receiving a negative review - I take the comment to heart: tighten this up, stop with the tangents and unsubstantiated claims, get to the point and make the point relevant to what we know. Of course, I also wrote at the outset that I was a bit taken aback by the opening salvos . . . so maybe I am not the most disinterested party here (the misleading stuff is so prolific that replies are costing me hours to make . . . all to get bring us back to earth). Anyway, that is how I take Xcalibur's rather succinct and pointed "review": do better, guys.
Nazism conspired to create a sense of festival time. . . . Tragically for humanity, the party generating it was the type not associated with the coloured costumes of the Brazilian Carnival, but with the brown-shirted thuggery of the NSDAP. The contrast between the dance and the march, between the samba and the strains of the Horst Wessel Lied, points to the gulf separating a life-asserting community from a community which exists only by creating a demonized other. - RG '97

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Re: Yet another Wannsee thread (with Brayard)

Postby Xcalibur » Fri Jul 10, 2015 2:16 pm

Statistical Mechanic wrote:
Xcalibur wrote:>"Angry intentionalist? We are merely trying to clear up the picture to prevent denier attacks. At least that's my intention."

Really? Ellard pegged me as a denier after one post. You decide.

Jeff, I believe Xcalibur is telling us that, like Mackayla Maroney, he's not impressed:

Image

That's to say that I'm afraid that the coherence and efficacy of the discussion is receiving a negative review - I take the comment to heart: tighten this up, stop with the tangents and unsubstantiated claims, get to the point and make the point relevant to what we know. Of course, I also wrote at the outset that I was a bit taken aback by the opening salvos . . . so maybe I am not the most disinterested party here (the misleading stuff is so prolific that replies are costing me hours to make . . . all to get bring us back to earth). Anyway, that is how I take Xcalibur's rather succinct and pointed "review": do better, guys.



I think when it's got to the point where the evidence has been so over-thought, nit-picked and tortured into the unrecognizable, it's probably a good time to retire the subject.

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Re: Yet another Wannsee thread (with Brayard)

Postby Jeff_36 » Fri Jul 10, 2015 3:06 pm

nickterry wrote:Um, no. See Frank's 16.12.41 speech. This was a firm statement of intent to destroy the Jews of the GG as a whole. Frank was not fully informed of the details, but knew the SS would be involved somehow. Wannsee was an important step in coordinating the interests of the SS and civil administration, which is why Buhler was invited. This was to underscore the point that the actions against GG Jews would be part of a larger whole.

Frank's speech is an indication of his intent towards the GG Jews, and an indication of the agenda that his representative brought to Heydrich. This, IMO is what led to the decision to kill the nonworking GG Jews and use the others for slave labor.
We must bear in mind sir, that Globus had been setting up facilities since October-November. Those were directed oporations against the Lublin Ghetto, and were unsurprisingly picked up and expended after the more general decision on the GG (the results of which were indicated in Goebbles' diary) due to their convenient location and intention.

There's nothing to contradict the idea that Globocnik had a vision for the whole of the GG as of autumn 1941, which had to be cleared with Himmler, who in turn had to wait for an opportune moment to persuade the civil admin that expulsion wasn't on the cards, and which then had to be tested using one camp to see that it worked.

The notion that the Nazis couldn't foresee that killing operations would be extended is not very persuasive, especially not when the regime's rhetoric in late 1941 was screaming about the destruction and extirpation of 'the Jews' as a whole, across all of Europe, to get 'the Jews' out of Europe.

This is where I disagree. The rhetoric of late 1941 was deadly and the general intent for all of Europe's Jews was deadly as well, I admit that. However I don't think anyone could have foreseen that the Local operation in Lublin was to be expanded into a major focal point of genocide. The intentions at the time seemed to be "extermination by post-deportation deaths" so to speak. The GG Jews seem to have been earmarked for immediate killing/labour in Poland itself just after Wannasee, however the regime seemed to still hold out hope for an "extermination by deportation" directed at the rest of Europe's Jews.

It seems that as time dragged on, as the difficulties piled up, they turned to use the Globocnik operation against the non-working Jews of Europe. The intention had never changed but the difficulties that you mentioned, IMO, affected the location and method. Hence my term Improvised Final Solution


The notion that until April-June 1942, the Nazis only intended to kill the Jews of the Lublin and Galicia districts while sparing those in Warsaw, Radom and Krakau is risible.

I never said that. That's what Mills at AHF says and it is indeed risible. I think that the Jews of the GG as a whole were slated for killing shortly after Wannasee and the Jews of Europe around May-July.

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Re: Yet another Wannsee thread (with Brayard)

Postby Jeff_36 » Fri Jul 10, 2015 3:11 pm

Statistical Mechanic wrote:That's to say that I'm afraid that the coherence and efficacy of the discussion is receiving a negative review - I take the comment to heart: tighten this up, stop with the tangents and unsubstantiated claims, get to the point and make the point relevant to what we know. Of course, I also wrote at the outset that I was a bit taken aback by the opening salvos . . . so maybe I am not the most disinterested party here (the misleading stuff is so prolific that replies are costing me hours to make . . . all to get bring us back to earth). Anyway, that is how I take Xcalibur's rather succinct and pointed "review": do better, guys.


I respectfully disagree. I enjoy this thread and am using it to get to the bottom of things so to speak. I have changed my stance several times in light of new evidence presented here.

I think we all agree on a "deadly intent" for Jews as of December 1941.

Where we differ is the beginning of what I call the "chosen method". For me it's Febuary-March for the GG, April/May-July for the rest of Europe.

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Re: Yet another Wannsee thread (with Brayard)

Postby Statistical Mechanic » Fri Jul 10, 2015 3:42 pm

I don't want to get in the middle of your dialogue with Nick Terry on this, but, since I inserted Frank into the thread at some length, I want to weigh in on this:
Jeff_36 wrote:Frank's speech is an indication of his intent towards the GG Jews, and an indication of the agenda that his representative brought to Heydrich. This, IMO is what led to the decision to kill the nonworking GG Jews and use the others for slave labor.
We must bear in mind sir, that Globus had been setting up facilities since October-November. Those were directed oporations against the Lublin Ghetto, and were unsurprisingly picked up and expended after the more general decision on the GG (the results of which were indicated in Goebbles' diary) due to their convenient location and intention.

Not exactly - Frank's speech was reflecting the Führer's thinking, which in turn was very probably influenced by Himmler and Globocnik. The Führer's thinking was what Frank had heard in Berlin, almost certainly as Gerlach says when Hitler spoke on 12 December. Frank was thus initiated into the thinking in Berlin and communicating Berlin's thinking, exactly as Frank said, to his senior leadership - not the other way around. And, very problematic for the schematic progression you've laid out, the Führer's thinking and Frank's remarks came over a month before Wannsee - rather than "not long after the meeting."

Jeff_36 wrote:I never said that. That's what Mills at AHF says and it is indeed risible. I think that the Jews of the GG as a whole were slated for killing shortly after Wannasee and the Jews of Europe around May-July.

Not going to go back and re-read your time lines but they create the impression Nick Terry commented on - for me, too (I recall it as February or so when a decision re the GG Jews outside Lublin district was made, and, for all of Europe, following Heydrich's killing - and this is indeed the nub of a debate here about what was going on at Wannsee).

Anyway, again, in terms of interpreting the Wannsee meeting and the fate of the GG Jews, you have it backwards here too, in the way I interpret Frank's speech - and the protocol. Earlier I asked you to cite in the protocol and relevant documents where the distinction/sequence you're making (especially with regard to the western Jews) is touched on - and, if it isn't, tell us why it isn't.
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Re: Yet another Wannsee thread (with Brayard)

Postby Statistical Mechanic » Fri Jul 10, 2015 3:56 pm

Jeff_36 wrote:
Statistical Mechanic wrote:That's to say that I'm afraid that the coherence and efficacy of the discussion is receiving a negative review - I take the comment to heart: tighten this up, stop with the tangents and unsubstantiated claims, get to the point and make the point relevant to what we know. Of course, I also wrote at the outset that I was a bit taken aback by the opening salvos . . . so maybe I am not the most disinterested party here (the misleading stuff is so prolific that replies are costing me hours to make . . . all to get bring us back to earth). Anyway, that is how I take Xcalibur's rather succinct and pointed "review": do better, guys.


I respectfully disagree. I enjoy this thread and am using it to get to the bottom of things so to speak. I have changed my stance several times in light of new evidence presented here.

I think we all agree on a "deadly intent" for Jews as of December 1941.

Where we differ is the beginning of what I call the "chosen method". For me it's Febuary-March for the GG, April/May-July for the rest of Europe.

It is taking a hell of a lot of effort to separate wheat from chaff. Perhaps I just don't give much credence to Brayard's pov. I am not a document-literalist, either, but we need to do a better job tying what we speculate on to actual sources, IMO. This would go better if rather than try to invent a new theory we stuck closer to the basic documents and tried, helped by the available analyses, understanding them.
Nazism conspired to create a sense of festival time. . . . Tragically for humanity, the party generating it was the type not associated with the coloured costumes of the Brazilian Carnival, but with the brown-shirted thuggery of the NSDAP. The contrast between the dance and the march, between the samba and the strains of the Horst Wessel Lied, points to the gulf separating a life-asserting community from a community which exists only by creating a demonized other. - RG '97

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Re: Yet another Wannsee thread (with Brayard)

Postby Xcalibur » Fri Jul 10, 2015 4:38 pm

Gerlach, Krieg, Ernahrung, Volkermord, page 160 and following:

"The principle decision of December 1941 is a central missing link in the decision process for the murder of the European Jews. It put the planning for this crime against humanity on a new basis. It does not relieve anybody, however, for it only had the consequence that the many already existing ideas, suggestions and initiatives for extermination actions on a regional level were supported, legitimized, systematized and got a new impulse.

Characteristically the first extermination camp, Chelmno, had initiated its murder activity four days prior to the Führer’s decision and independently of it. Greiser had for this purpose literally obtained a special authorization from Himmler and Heydrich for the killing of 100 000 Jews. It does not seem very probable that Hitler was involved, given that Greiser, had he had the authorization of Hitler, would not have had to thank Himmler for it. This he did, however.

To make it clear: my exposition does not mean that I want to dismiss the results of the past more than twenty years of research on the bases, especially by the so-called Functionalist school. The extermination of the Jews was by no means based simply on this one decision of Hitler’s or only on his decisions, directives and initiatives as a whole, but we are talking about just one, though an important point within the scope of the process that led to the murder of the European Jews. The analysis of this impulse can contribute to also visualize more accurately the role of Hitler. It is surely difficult to understand that Hitler took a principle decision on the murder of all European Jews after the mass murder in a number of countries had already victimized almost a million Jewish people. It is difficult to comprehend that this decision was not taken all at once, but step by step, region by region. Yet especially the case of Chelmno indicates that this is how it was. The prevailing assumption that the basic decision already occurred between the spring and the autumn of 1941 is based on the belief that before crossing the border to mass murder of the Jews there need to have been something like an authorization by the state leadership. Yet for the National Socialists these extermination decisions were political, not moral decisions. They thus could be limited to certain territories or even groups of people (e.g. those “unfit to work”).

How are the contents and consequences of Hitler’s principle decision to be assessed? First of all, his utterances on 12. December were but a relatively short passage of a long speech, and at this time there were political questions that required the German leadership’s attention far more and seemed more urgent to it than the persecution of the Jews. This passage of the speech was already unequivocal, but by itself not yet concrete. The contents of Hitler’s separate meetings with Himmler, Bouhler, Frank, Rosenberg and others we must assume to have been much more concrete. The issue regarding the occurrences in December 1941 is not whether the actors used a more or less radical language (they also did that at other times), but the verifiable results. The three essential results of the speech on 12 December and the ensuing meetings can be summarized as follows:

1.) new principle guidelines for the murder of the Jews by the government of the General Government and the Eastern Ministry – the administrative entities with power of the greatest number of Jews within the German area of influence,
2.) the intensification of the planning and preparations for the murder of Jews in various areas by poison gas,
3.) by announcing the murder of all European Jews, Hitler had also decided on the fate of the German Jews. This is shown e.g. by Hans Frank’s utterance in Cracow on 16 December 1941 that in regard to the murder of the Jews in the General Government “what is happening in the Reich will at the very least have to happen here as well”. This decision contrasts clearly with Himmler’s telegram to Jeckeln fifteen days before. About the systematic murder of Jews in the German Reich only Hitler could decide, for it was he alone who according to the Nuremberg Laws had the right to exempt Jews and so-called half-breeds from the restrictions of these laws and had in 1941 vehemently pointed out that he was the only one to decide on an eventual worsening of the situation of the half-breeds.

Hitler’s decision was necessary for the authorities involved both in regard to the murder of the German Jews an in order to obtain the basis for a central planning of the genocide. Despite all use of camouflage language the indications in Frank’s speech on 16 December in Cracow and in Heydrich’s address after the writing of the protocol of the Wannsee Conference must be taken seriously in this respect, for we can see in them the first drafts of an overall planning of the crime. Such an overall planning for short-term murder had obviously not existed before. For the murderous proceeding against the Jews in the occupied Soviet territories the guideline of December 1941 represented only a small step further. The step was somewhat greater in the General Government, where the pressure by the police and parts of the civilian administration was in the direction of a large-scale extermination was already so great that it would have inevitably led to terrible consequences sooner or later.

This shows that with his possibly strongest intervention in the extermination process Hitler by no means decided or had to decide all, and that his intervention had clear-cut but in a certain sense limited consequences. The findings of research on the crucial responsibility of other instances, especially the authorities in the very areas of occupation, is hereby confirmed.

For the understanding of the decision process towards murder an approach via the term of the utopian seems useful. Of course ideas about the annihilation of the Jews and the respective preparedness had been there for many years prior to 1941, especially on the part of Hitler. Yet there was a difference between ideas, firm intentions to commit genocide and the implementation thereof. The first plans for a “final solution” contained strongly destructive aspects of slow decimation through horrible living conditions and impediment of reproduction, but also utopian aspects characterized by the impossibility of carrying out these seriously pursued solutions in practice. This applies to the plans of 1939/40 for the “pushing away” of the Jews to the Lublin district as well as to Madagascar. The destructive elements became stronger in the plan to deport Jews to the Soviet Union after a military victory over that country. The procedure of annihilation only became imaginable gradually – despite the widespread preparedness for it. The steps from utopian resettlement and extermination programs to actually executable murder programs were decisive for the execution of the mass murder. Thus the plan decided upon at the beginning of 1941 to force about 30 million people in the Soviet Union to starve to death in order to guarantee the feeding of German-dominated Europe turned out to be unfeasible. It was thereupon replaced in the autumn of 1941 by programs for the murder of certain segments of the populations, such as millions of Soviet prisoners of war “unfit to work”. For the intentions directed against the Jews the point-settings in December 1941 constituted a crucial step towards the realization, i.e. the implementation of the plans for genocide.

As little as this monstrous process was normal politics, as much as Hitler produced it – in this respect the decision about the lives of the European Jews were taken almost as in a “normal” political deliberation: the “Führer” did not take the decision all alone, but after a given time, in a given situation and on a given occasion he approved the initiatives from the state and party apparatus. Many insisted on the murder of all European Jews, but before they could begin with it systematically, there was the need in the National Socialist system for a decision taken by Hitler."
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Re: Yet another Wannsee thread (with Brayard)

Postby Statistical Mechanic » Fri Jul 10, 2015 4:53 pm

Very good, thank you. I call the attention of Jeff and Balsamo, with their Improvised/Ostplan-Like/Attritive FS reinterpretation, to this passage:
. . . there was a difference between ideas, firm intentions to commit genocide and the implementation thereof. The first plans for a “final solution” contained strongly destructive aspects of slow decimation through horrible living conditions and impediment of reproduction, but also utopian aspects characterized by the impossibility of carrying out these seriously pursued solutions in practice. This applies to the plans of 1939/40 for the “pushing away” of the Jews to the Lublin district as well as to Madagascar.

As Gerlach shows, what happened in 1941 and 1942 had to do with the negative experience of the leadership with this previous approach - thus what the participants were considering at Wannsee in January 1942 was no longer this by-December-1941-outdated approach.
Nazism conspired to create a sense of festival time. . . . Tragically for humanity, the party generating it was the type not associated with the coloured costumes of the Brazilian Carnival, but with the brown-shirted thuggery of the NSDAP. The contrast between the dance and the march, between the samba and the strains of the Horst Wessel Lied, points to the gulf separating a life-asserting community from a community which exists only by creating a demonized other. - RG '97

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Re: Yet another Wannsee thread (with Brayard)

Postby Balsamo » Fri Jul 10, 2015 8:46 pm

I am well behind your guys, as i have read and digest all those posts.

First, i hope you will allow me a little interruption.

I find it amazing all the critics toward Florent Brayard who is a respected Historian, and maybe one of the best French specialist of the Holocaust and Nazism. I doubt any of you have read his recent work, and to base the critics and judgements on one single rebuttal read and understood through Google translate, without even posting a link, and worse without posting Brayard's response to it, does not seem really ethical to me.

I am not going to comment this rebuttal here, it is clearly not the topic of this thread, and Brayard does it well enough, but to take for granted all Sandkuhler critics without any possibility to check if they are founded or not, this imply reading the book, and without giving any attention to Brayard's defense, is astonishing.

Now to end this parenthesis, here is Brayard defense, written in English, so no need for “Google translate”.

But for what i have read, the way Brayard's points and even his approach are reduced is almost a caricature. This happens when lacks of knowledge about his research is coupled with heavy preconceptions.
So please, behave yourselves. He is not David Irving.

So far, i have used only a tiny part of his argumentation, not enough to expose him to critics which are basically addressed to me. But to critic Brayard only through how I have integrated some of his points into my perception, that is through me, is absurd, as I did not even presented Brayard approach in such a way that you would know what you are criticizing. A rebuttal might seem enough for some, but to adopt an clear stance only on that basis does not make much sense.

So for everyone, here is Brayard defense:

It is somewhat rare for a critique to claim to have refuted a work so comprehensively that ultimately ‘almost nothing’ remains of it. This is nevertheless what Thomas Sandkühler believes to have accomplished by the end of his review of my book “Auschwitz, enquête sur un complot nazi”[1] for the most widely consulted platform on German history H-Soz-Kult. His review is peculiar in another sense: the general features of my argument are more or less accurately summarized; for a reason which escapes me, however, its details are almost always misrepresented. Yet it is these distorted details on which the refutation is based. I will address some of these distortions.

My book apparently forwards, according to Sandkühler, ‘problematic theses’ to further marked ‘apologetic tendencies’. Much hinges for Sandkühler on my citation of the polemical booklet of the crackpot pamphleteer Theodor Kaufman made use of by the Nazis, and above all Goebbels, in their propaganda. In “Germany Must Perish”[2], Kaufman proposed, amongst other things, the sterilization of the German people. By citing him, I thereby skirt ‘dangerously close to the propaganda of the extreme right’ [sic]. Sandkühler here entirely distorts my argument. I never wrote, as he would have it, that the ‘American Jew Theodor Kaufman was a source of inspiration for Nazi leaders’ [re-sic!]. It is evident for all and very clear in my narration that the idea, developed by Himmler at the start of 1941[3], of sterilizing all Jews in Europe emerges before the publication of this pamphlet in March of 1941 and its discovery in Germany in July 1941.

I have an entirely different purpose in mind in my use of this source. I argue following the example of a number of historians that the ‘extermination of the Jew’ was, within the public sphere, a slogan without precise meaning since Hitler refrained from outlining directly what this ‘extermination’ entailed[4]. Yet contrary to my predecessors I take seriously the fact that, inversely, Hitler, Goebbels or others explicitly and very regularly, often in connection to Kaufman, considered what the ‘extermination of the German people’ might entail in the case of the defeat of Germany: massive sterilization, reduction to slavery, the liquidation of the elites, deportation, the rape of women, acculturation and so on. From this I concluded that, in the public sphere, which is to say in the speeches of those from the highest echelons of the Nazi party and in its propaganda, the notion of the extermination of a people does not automatically refer to murder; rather to methods of gradual extinction which supposed the survival at least in the short term of the people in question.[5] Is it so scandalous to propose this analysis? Are we bound by political exigencies to such an extent that we must deprive ourselves of citing pertinent sources while trying to understand what, for the average German in 1942, the ‘extermination’ of the ‘Jewish people’ might have meant?

Indeed I would be the source of another scandalous statement by suggesting that the discourse of the "Reichssicherheitshauptamt" (RSHA) presenting deportation as a ‘putting to work in the East’ of the Jews might have been taken literally by a certain number of civil coordinators. In this respect, the distorted analysis which Sandkühler makes of my consideration of the report of Pohl, the “Wirtschaft- und Verwaltungshauptamt” (WVHA) head, of a meeting with Speer in September 1942 is illuminating. The goal of my demonstration was to show that this document in itself does not allow us to come to any conclusions concerning the level of frankness in the dialogue between the two men. Had they spoken of murder or simply ‘migration to the East’ as was written in the report?[6] To establish the contents of this meeting one would have to appeal to other sources, and this is exactly what Sandkühler does in his review, while imagining that my objective was to exonerate Speer. Manifestly this was not the case, since I wrote that ‘it was clearly either during an interview with Pohl in September 1942, or with Himmler at another time, that the Minister of Armaments was made aware of the true meaning of the program [7]’; that is to say, made aware of the intention of mass murder. It was therefore at such a moment that the secret concerning the murder of the Jews deported from the West was discovered within the Ministry of Armaments, and not one year later as Sandkühler interpreted me, once more wrongly, as stating.

The problem of knowing the implicit meaning, not only for the writer of the letter but also for its recipient, of expressions such as ‘migration to the East’, cannot in general and on principle be resolved. We must seek out the forms of interaction which enable us to reconstruct the thought processes of those actors faced with the policy of camouflage employed by the security services. As soon as we consider the problem in these terms, or in other words as soon as we no longer take it for granted that all these people knew how to read between the lines as well as we do decades later, we are confronted with what one might call anomalies; that is to say, facts which are not in keeping with the traditional narration of the ‘final solution of the Jewish question’. Yet of course we can also decide, in similar fashion to Thomas Sandkühler, that in the interests of a memorially correct Vergangenheitsbewältigung we pretend not to see such anomalies.

He gives us a clear example of such a strategy in raising the case of Wilhelm Stuckart, who plays an important role in my argument. The anomaly in this case is the following: Stuckart, who had participated ex officio at the conference of Wannsee, argued several weeks later against the assimilation of the Mischlinge to the Jews, on the grounds that these mixed German Jews, possessing a particular power by virtue of their German blood, if submitted to the same fate as the Jews, might ‘give birth to individuals on the enemy side who could put to the service of the enemy and therefore against the German blood, the superior qualities inherited from this blood’[8]. This was the argument in favour of the sterilization of those of mixed heritage, and of confining such mixed populations to German territory, that Stuckart sent to certain participants of Wannsee. Yet it would make no sense for Stuckart to produce such an argument if he had been informed at or before Wannsee or even after that all German Jews sent to the East would be put to death and therefore that the Mischlinge, promised the same fate, would face the same end. Indeed Stuckart repeats his argument in September 1942 in a personal letter addressed to Himmler.[9]

Sandkühler seeks to lay bare my reasoning in order to refute it, citing a document which, according to him, establishes that Stuckart was fully apprised of the genocidal program. Not wanting to undertake the ‘work of an executioner’, as it is put in this document, the secretary of State proposed sterilization. Sandkühler’s response is problematic from several perspectives. A first problem resides in the fact that neither, he nor the historians who make use of it before him [10], have ever taken sufficient time to assess the veracity of this very curious source, of private origin and entered very late into the Bundesarchiv. I do not have the time here to expose all the internal and external inconsistencies of this document. Yet I do believe that it is highly precipitous to see in it, following Sandkühler, definitive proof that the decision to murder the Jews had been taken and communicated to the highest echelons of the administration before Wannsee.

With regards to external inconsistencies, I will mention only that I find stupefying that on being informed during the month of December 1941 of the planned murder of the deported German Jews, as my German colleague believes, Stuckart might continue to reason as if those of mixed race who were deported, and promised the same fate as their Jewish relatives, would be a source of lasting harm for Germany, as he insisted twice in 1942 without ever being refuted. My colleague does not take the time to explain this entirely illogical behavior. Yet perhaps after all he considers that the Nazis were as people so strange that, in order to convince others, they chose to employ incoherent and counter-productive arguments.

The truth is that Thomas Sandkühler, faced with such anomalies, prefers to turn a blind eye rather than produce a coherent narrative capable of integrating them. I cite a certain number of other similar anomalies, drawn from the journal of Goebbels and the archives of the minister of Foreign Affairs, which seem to me to be equally powerful. They all date evidently from the period following the conference of Wannsee, this moment when, as Sandkühler and other historians would have it, the decision to murder the Jews had already been taken and was widely known.[11] If Sandkühler is right concerning the reconstruction of the chronology of the decision making process of Hitler, it will be necessary then for him or others to explain why the different leaders acted as if ignorant of what they should have already known. Inversely, if he is not capable of producing such a narrative, he will have to reconsider, as I have done myself, the traditional interpretation of Wannsee according to which the project of total murder was explicitly discussed within the state apparatus. He will then come to notice that, while this historiographical tradition concerning the decision making process is long, dating back to the Nuremburg trials, it is also more than a little fragile in terms of its documentary support.

A rigorous examination of the documents available shows that 1. at the turning point of 1941-1942, the fate of the German and western European Jews was not thus yet bound to systematic murder, neither from the perspective of the RSHA nor the other administrative branches of the Nazi government (it was evidently otherwise for the Ostjuden in Poland and the USSR whose physical extermination had already been decided and the plans for which were common knowledge); 2. The rare policing plans dating from this time of which we have knowledge assume the survival of the Jews deported from the West at least until the following spring or the following summer – and without doubt, in my opinion, further in the future; 3. Deported German and Western European Jews were indeed for several months not assassinated but concentrated in ghettos; 4. It was necessary to wait until April 1942 for a policy decision concerning total murder to be taken and June for a decision on the setting in motion of the ‘final solution of the Jewish question’ within one year.

We should be clear on what is at stake in this focus on Wannsee: or to be more exact, on the end of the year 1941 when the general decision of Hitler, determining in its sweep the fate of German and Western Jews, was to have been taken and made public within the state apparatus. If this traditional interpretation is correct, my book is therefore a perfect example of an initial error of interpretation leading to a chain of subsequent errors. I would therefore lack the subtlety of mind required for understanding the deeper significance of the apparent anomalies on which I set such great store. The alternative is that this interpretation is not correct, and the totality of my questions are therefore pertinent – and legitimate. Pertinent and legitimate since there is no indication that, between Wannsee and the discourse of Posen on October 1943, the murder of all Jews was evoked during the course of inter-ministerial meetings, or in the speeches of Hitler or Himmler before the large assembly where the highest representatives of the Party and State were gathered, or through an order circulating outside of the RSHA and WVHA. Indeed, when at Posen, before the elites of the Party and the State, Himmler bluntly announced the murder of all the Jews of Europe, he concluded by saying: ‘you have now been made aware’.[12] Now?

Florent Brayard
Directeur de recherche au CNRS (Centre de recherches historiques, EHESS-CNRS, Paris)

Notes :
[1] Thomas Sandkühler: Rezension zu: Brayard, Florent: Auschwitz, enquête sur un complot nazi. Paris 2012, in: H-Soz-u-Kult, 24.01.2013, <hsozkult.geschichte.hu-berlin.de/rezensionen/2013-1-054>.
[2] Theodore N. Kaufman, Germany must perish, Newark, Argyle Press 1941.
[3] Brayard, Auschwitz, p. 38. See also Florent Brayard, La "solution finale de la question juive". La technique, le temps et les catégories de la décision, Paris, Fayard, 2004, p. 11-13, p. 322-323 and "To What Extend Was the "Final Solution" Planned ?", Yad Vashem Studies, (2008), 36, p. 78-79.
[4] See for example the reflections of David Bankier in "Signaling the Final Solution to the German People", in David Bankier and Israel Gutman [ed.], Nazi Europe and the Final Solution, Jérusalem, Yad Vashem 2003, especially from p. 32.
[5] Florent Brayard, Auschwitz…, op. cit., see chapter 4, "Le concept d’"extermination" dans la sphère publique", especially from p. 157.
[6] The entirety of Pohl’s report, dated the 16th September 1942, can be accessed via the following link: <www.holocaustresearchproject.org/holoprelude/pohl.html> (03.02.2014). See also Florian Freund, Bertrand Perz, Karl Stuhlpfarrer "Der Bau des Vernichtungslagers Auschwitz-Birkenau", in: Zeitgeschichte, 20 (1993), 5/6, p. 187-214.
[7] Brayard, Auschwitz, p. 396.
[8] Letter of Stuckart dated the 16th March 1942, Politisches Archiv des Auswärtigen Amt, Berlin, R 100.857, especialy from page 15. Partial reproduction in Kurt Pätzold et Erika Schwarz, Tagesordnung : Judenmord. Die Wannsee-Konferenz am 20. Januar 1942, Berlin, Metropol 1998, p. 121-123.
[9] Letter of Stuckart to Himmler, September 1942, reproduced in Walter Strauß, "Das Reichsministerium des Innern und die Judengesetzgebung (Dokumentation)", in Vierteljahrshefte für Zeitgeschichte 9 (1961), p. 298-301, <www.ifz-muenchen.de/heftarchiv/1961_3_4_strau%C3%9F.pdf> (02.03.2014).
[10] Wilhelm Lenz, "Die Handakten von Bernhard Lösener, "Rassereferent" im Reichsministerium des Innern", in Archiv und Geschichte 57 (2000) ; Christopher Browning, in collaboration with Jürgen Matthäus, Les Origines de la solution finale. L’évolution de la politique antijuive des nazis. Septembre 1939-mars 1942, Paris, Belles lettres 2007, p. 427. Michael Mayer, Staaten als Täter. Ministerialbürokratie und „Judenpolitik“ in NS-Deutschland und Vichy-Frankreich. Ein Vergleich, München, Oldenbourg 2011, p. 221-222 ; Hans-Christian Jasch, Staatssekretär Wilhelm Stuckart und die Judenpolitik. Der Mythos von der sauberen Verwaltung, München, Oldenbourg 2012.
[11] An exemplary resource on the historiography of Wannsee is Norbert Kampe and Peter Klein (ed.), Die Wannsee-Konferenz am 20. Januar 1942. Dokumente, Forschungsstand, Kontroversen, Köln, Böhlau 2013.
[12] Bradley F. Smith and Agnes F. Peterson (Hrsg.), Heinrich Himmler. Geheimreden 1933-1945, Frankfurt am Main, Propyläen Verlag 1974, S. 169.

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Re: Yet another Wannsee thread (with Brayard)

Postby nickterry » Fri Jul 10, 2015 10:45 pm

Balsamo wrote:I am well behind your guys, as i have read and digest all those posts.

First, i hope you will allow me a little interruption.

I find it amazing all the critics toward Florent Brayard who is a respected Historian, and maybe one of the best French specialist of the Holocaust and Nazism. I doubt any of you have read his recent work


Sorry, Balsamo, you're wrong about that. I've read all three monographs (on Rassinier, the FS and the 'Auschwitz conspiracy') as well as multiple articles and chapters by Brayard. There are lots of great points and some thought provoking ideas buzzing around, but the last two books suffer immensely from being very confusingly structured. The FS book is like a three card monte - its main parts are chronologically out of sequence, and while an elliptical approach can bring new insights, in this case it was a distraction, especially since the argument is significantly *about* timing.

Auschwitz, enquete sur un complot nazi is essentially a synthesis of literature written since the earlier FS book, without significant archival research - it could be considered a French counterpoint to Bloxham's book in some respects. Provocatively interesting, but not ultimately convincing because much of the argument seems to degenerate into semantics and definitionalism, and with further structuring problems - a big slab at the start on Goebbels on his own wasn't a great start.

French reviews and articles of the Auschwitz books are compiled into this useful clippings PDF
http://www.dimedia.com/dimpdf/auschwitz.pdf

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Re: Yet another Wannsee thread (with Brayard)

Postby Balsamo » Sat Jul 11, 2015 12:14 am

I will react to one last post by StatMec, which regards the previous post.

StatMec wrote:

In his book on Wannsee, Mark Roseman (a historian whose work I admire) informed readers that Bernhard Lösener, who worked for Stuckart, testified after the war that Stuckart got "precise knowledge" of the FS, as we understand it today, at Wannsee. IIRC Stuckart himself gave postwar explanations for his radical views on compulsory sterilizations at Wannsee - saying that they were a way to subvert or get around the policy of "evacuation." At the Ministries trial Stuckart denied ever receiving the protocol although he was at the meeting. Roseman points out that the protocol was delivered with invitations for the 2nd FS conference, to which Stuckart had delegated IIRC Feldscher to attend. I don't see how we can credit much to Stuckart's post-war "explanations" and rationalizations given this and given Sandkühler's note below (nor to Brayard, given my footnote on Lösener). According to Roseman, Stuckart's post-war version of Wannsee was that Heydrich had called the Wannsee conference to resolve problems with Mischlinge and Jews in mixed marriages; that argument is patently absurd but it is what Brayard is trying to sell - and Balsamo is buying.*


Who then relies on post war testimonies? I don't, and Brayard neither as far as i have read of his book.
Those Nazis testimonies are so typical and can be summed up as "i knew nothing, but HE knew all of it. HE is guilty, not me". How to believe that Losener who was working for Stuckart and represented him at the 29th of Jamuary meeting, able to summarize the result of Wannsee there, did not know about anything about extermination finality of the Solution presented at the meeting?
Stuckart knew - and oh surpise! he lied at his trial - but then those who were sent to represent him at the following meetings also knew, as no responsible politician would send a representative not aware of what is at stake. Of course, Stuckart was not lying when he said that Heydrich called out the conference to resolve problems with Mischlinge, he was just not saying the whole truth.
As you don't seem to have a fullish knowledge about what Brayard is trying "to sell", and by the way, as ususal, i am not buying anything. Some points make sense, other are more dubious, just like in 99% of history monography.

Here are some points from Sandkühler’s review of Brayard’s book that flesh out Roseman’s observations on Stuckart (right, none of this is new, as Sandkühler points out, in exasperation - Roseman’s book was published after all over a decade ago and was synthetic, not ground-breaking):


The ironic part here is that you basically won't be able to answer the questions i will ask.

- according to Sandkühler, Brayard failed to assess the range of sources available and required for understanding the conference


Does he say which ones? Nope.
Understanding the conference is almost not his point. By saying that Sandkuhler suggest understanding the FS, which is not the topic of Brayard book.
All he does is to point out some documents which contest the way those miserable eddited minutes are interpreted.

- on 19 December 1941 Lösener had a conversation with Stuckart concerning departmental issues, relations to the RSHA, and the shooting of deported German Jews in Kaunas and Riga - that is, German Jews


Brayard addresses this point, so i don't see any relation with Wannsee. But being informed of mass murders which had repercussion, even within the SS circles, does not make it evident that a new policy was put in place.

- Brayard argues, according to Sandkühler using Lösener's unreliable testimony, that these shootings, pre-dating an extermination program targeting the European Jews, challenge the prevailing interpretation of the Wannsee Conference, especially as to the inclusion of western Jews in the FS (I may have this a bit garbled but I think the overall thrust here is in keeping with Sandkühler's review)


I am not even sure to understand this accusation . So maybe You did have it a bit grabled. Now it is maybe not the time to reassess the whole thing, but he never tried to exclude whatsoever the Western Jews from the Final Solution.

- Sandkühler counters Brayard using an important contemporary document which Brayard's ignored

Which ones?


- that contemporary document, found in Lösener's files, is a note written by Lösener describing his discussion with Stuckart, as mentioned above (Lösener, says the note, had heard about the 30 November shooting of 1,000 deported Reich Jews near Riga from Feldscher, his assistant, as Roseman also wrote in 2002)


Astonishing situation were some murderous cases are known by all the Ministry of the interior, from Stuckart to Feldscher, including Losener himself of course, but then later he'll ignore all what happened. I really don't understand this, as Brayard never claimed that Stuckart was not aware of those killings. Those were noisy incidents, and those shootings were momentarily stopped until well after Wannsee.

- on account of this outrage, which offended Lösener** (Lösener felt that the extension of the murders from Polish and Russian Jews to German Jews was unacceptable), he requested a transfer out of the department - again, on account of the inclusion of the German Jews in what he understood to be the FS


Which basically could prove my point that is that eastern Jews and German Jews were considered differently at least for some people, even among the Nazi, that what was acceptable when imposed on Russian and Polish Jews, was less acceptable for German Jews. And that is indeed a point made by Brayard, but as the caricature provided by Sandkuhler, and that i share up to a certain point. This does not have any influence on what will happen, as it so often reduced to, the intent, and no one denies that, was after a Decision to treat all Jews equally. Brayard only says that it constitute one more transgression to overcome.

- here I try using Sandkühler’s wording, rough translation: “For Lösener the cruel shooting of the Berlin Jews was a sign that the Reichssicherheitshauptamt [RSHA] had now taken the Jewish question to the stage of "Endlösung" [Final Solution] and which the desk officer for racial law fittingly described as 'bestial death in the shortest time'"


Typical of a post war reflection, shared to all after the fact when everything is clear to everyone. He knew, but shut up, proposed his transfer and kept on serving the regime really well. How those kind of craps are taken into such a consideration is beyond me.

“bestial death in the shortest time”...is this what transpired from the Wannsee protocols? Was that the policy exposed? Losener and Eichmann post war testimony, that is for sure. So are we supposed to look to this document with those testimonies in mind?
If it was understood by anyone, even by Losener, that the plan was "bestial death in the shortest time" why worry about a potentiel influence of German blood on those doomed?

- Sandkühler makes clear that Stuckart didn't challenge Lösener’s observation but instead informed him that the action against the "evacuated Jews" was based "on a decision made on the highest level”


Well, as far as i know, the term "evacuated" as in "evacuation to the east" was not in use, as it was presented at Wannsee to them.
Again, much focus on those pre-Wannsee mass murders of German Jews to challenge a interpretation of the meeting. Well i do it to, in a different direction, but again i should check the exact wording, as all this passed through Google translate which is quite incompetent with language such as German.
Anyway, Stuckart reaction was what should be expected from a Nazi State-Secretaries, the mantra "Jews responsible for the war and the shed of Good German blood", and the obervation that such an action could only have been commanded by higher authority - fact that is still subject to debate.
His reaction is one of a good Nazi which he was. Those guys were sincere when they thought that the Jews was a danger, a threat to civilization, a virus among superior people. And as all good Nazi, he put his trust in Adolf Hitler, so the Fuhrer's decision were just not to be discussed in any way, even if such possibility had existed, and that was not the case.

Here Sandkühler

1) raises a very important challenge to Brayard’s “Mischlinge” thesis concerning Wannsee by impeaching star witnesses Stuckart and Lösener.


What are you talking about. Brayard does not use those Nazi gentlemen post war testimonies. He uses documents they wrote. Brayard do not defend any "Mischlinge thesis"...he analyze a letter.

2) shows how to read post-war testimony, interrogating what the witness has claimed using contemporary sources whenever possible


there must be a great misunderstanding. It is Sandkuhler who uses post war testimonies in order to dismiss Brayard interpretation of contemporary documents by those Nazis. Brayard don't trust post war testimonies.

3) provides grounds for readers, like me, who are not familiar with Brayard’s work to approach it with extra caution due to potential bias and/or inadequate research


Well i hope you'll pay attention to Brayard response i posted above.
A rebuttal is not a good source to judge a collegue's thesis. Again, as a matter of rule in Historical sciences, any thesis are exposed to be refuted.


EDIT TO NICK TERRY :

Sorry but i was not wrong, i was not informed.
I am glad to hear that your hear the book (see my last sentence), but you did not share your refutation and critics, you only pointed a link to StatMec to Sandkuhler rebuttal, which i have read as well as i am finishing Brayard, and which i don't hold on great esteem personally.
Now i agree with you about the lack of structure of most of his work, and most of them are really reserved to people in the known about what he is talking about as his book are incomprehensible to a common reader. But ironically, it is what i like in them: you follow his mind, his way of approaching things for the better and the worse.
Indeed, it can be attached to the new movement (Bloxham) which tries to push things provocativally to discover where it leads; most of important historical events have been treated like that at some point, and it was long due that the Holocaust being submitted to this exercise. It shows that the topic and the field of research is alive and well and has some future.
We should never forget that the former generation, among them Browning faced the same kind of critics and apprehension in their times, even more illustrative is Martin Broszat through his exchange with Friedlander. New approaches are rarely well received, and often full of mistakes (although I don’t like the term when it comes to Historical sciences), met with resistances, suspicions until they are finally integrated in the boarder reflection. It is common to all historical events, but stronger when it comes to the Holocaust.
Anyway, this unstoppable evolution is the strongest argument against Deniers belief of a “official narrative”.
As you have read the book, you know that Brayard is being modest about his pretention, but as I said in an early post, the simple fact that there are still discussion about Wannsee involving the younger generation of Historians proves that at the very least the case is not written in stone and that other perception are not only possible, but should also be supported and of course submitted to refutation as every new thesis should be, but the refutation should be done without any preconceptions of any kinds.
And for I have read in this thread, I do not feel that Brayard has been treated as he deserved to be.

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Re: Yet another Wannsee thread (with Brayard)

Postby nickterry » Sat Jul 11, 2015 1:50 am

Balsamo wrote:Sorry but i was not wrong, i was not informed.
I am glad to hear that your hear the book (see my last sentence), but you did not share your refutation and critics, you only pointed a link to StatMec to Sandkuhler rebuttal, which i have read as well as i am finishing Brayard, and which i don't hold on great esteem personally.
Now i agree with you about the lack of structure of most of his work, and most of them are really reserved to people in the known about what he is talking about as his book are incomprehensible to a common reader. But ironically, it is what i like in them: you follow his mind, his way of approaching things for the better and the worse.
Indeed, it can be attached to the new movement (Bloxham) which tries to push things provocativally to discover where it leads; most of important historical events have been treated like that at some point, and it was long due that the Holocaust being submitted to this exercise. It shows that the topic and the field of research is alive and well and has some future.
We should never forget that the former generation, among them Browning faced the same kind of critics and apprehension in their times, even more illustrative is Martin Broszat through his exchange with Friedlander. New approaches are rarely well received, and often full of mistakes (although I don’t like the term when it comes to Historical sciences), met with resistances, suspicions until they are finally integrated in the boarder reflection. It is common to all historical events, but stronger when it comes to the Holocaust.
Anyway, this unstoppable evolution is the strongest argument against Deniers belief of a “official narrative”.
As you have read the book, you know that Brayard is being modest about his pretention, but as I said in an early post, the simple fact that there are still discussion about Wannsee involving the younger generation of Historians proves that at the very least the case is not written in stone and that other perception are not only possible, but should also be supported and of course submitted to refutation as every new thesis should be, but the refutation should be done without any preconceptions of any kinds.
And for I have read in this thread, I do not feel that Brayard has been treated as he deserved to be.


Historians have been seeking provocative new theses about the Holocaust since the 1980s; recent historiography is absolutely littered with reinterpretations and challenges. I find it bizarre that you think the Holocaust was "long due" to "being submitted to this exercise" when we have seen e.g. the Aly/Heim thesis, then Aly's Endloesung with a different tack, followed by Aly's Hitlers Volksstaat winding people up once more, not to mention Jersak's Atlantic Charter argument, Peter Klein being misunderstood re the establishment of Chelmno when he wrote an essay in 1999, Alon Confino's plea for a cultural history of the Holocaust, and so on.

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Re: Yet another Wannsee thread (with Brayard)

Postby Statistical Mechanic » Sat Jul 11, 2015 2:11 am

Balsamo wrote:Who then relies on post war testimonies? I don't, and Brayard neither as far as i have read of his book.

Nor do I. You seem now to be adopting a position that postwar testimonies, memoirs, etc are never to be used. (To use carefully is not the same as to rely on; ironically, Jeff's charged me with ignoring postwar testimonies!)

Balsamo wrote:Those Nazis testimonies are so typical and can be summed up as "i knew nothing, but HE knew all of it.

There are particulars in the relationship between Lösener and Stuckart that make your general rule suspect in this case. And this generalizing doesn't well fit at least Lösener's NMT testimony, which was contradictory but also expressed that he had been "pessimistic" about what was happening to the Reich Jews.

Balsamo wrote:Stuckart knew - and oh surpise! he lied at his trial - but then those who were sent to represent him at the following meetings also knew, as no responsible politician would send a representative not aware of what is at stake.

You are making assumptions about Lösener.

Balsamo wrote:Of course, Stuckart was not lying when he said that Heydrich called out the conference to resolve problems with Mischlinge, he was just not saying the whole truth.

No, Stuckart was trying to deflect from the full truth by giving a small truth - the Wannsee conference wasn't called to resolve problems with Mischlinge - insofar as the Mischlinge issue was addressed, it was addressed in the context of the FS, which is what Stuckart was at pains to hide. Your arguments now have taken on the whiff of desperate special pleading.

Balsamo wrote:As you don't seem to have a fullish knowledge about what Brayard is trying "to sell", and by the way, as ususal, i am not buying anything. Some points make sense, other are more dubious, just like in 99% of history monography.

I am going mainly by what you've posted here. If you don't want us to dig into Brayard's thoughts, when you know we've not read him, then don't friggin' organize a thread around them!

Balsamo wrote:Does he say which ones? Nope.

Actually - to name two - he focuses on a note of Lösener's (see below). And he also mentions documentary evidence of how far into the German population knowledge of the killings spread. IIRC Sandkühler cited Himmler's summer 1942 "wrap it up" order. He alludes to others. I myself thought of contradictory parts of Lösener's NMT testimony.

Balsamo wrote:Understanding the conference is almost not his point.

But it is the point of this thread. Which you gave the title "Yet another Wannsee thread (with Brayard)."

Balsamo wrote:By saying that Sandkuhler suggest understanding the FS, which is not the topic of Brayard book.

This doesn't make any sense if you believe, as I do, that the Wannsee conference was a step in the process of organizing the FS.

But you introduced Brayard’s book as a prominent piece of your argument about Wannsee – and now chide us for reacting to . . . Brayard.

Balsamo wrote:All he does is to point out some documents which contest the way those miserable eddited minutes are interpreted.

Sandkühler says that, according to Brayard, Goebbels only learned of the FS at the Posen speech. Which is a very significant claim. It is not simply pointing out a few loose ends or contesting documents. Sandkühler also makes the criticism that Brayard doesn't really explain what the Wannsee conference was about - which seems to track with what you're now saying - but that Brayard suggests that the question of the Mischlinge, the deportation of Jews for labor, and sterilization were the key issues, which also tracks with things you've written in this thread.

But you are further confusing me. You opened this thread writing
What finally decided me is that Brayard propose a very new analysis of this conference, which I am proud to say goes a bit in my understanding, but only to make me realize that I was also wrong on many points, again according to one view. it is important to keep in mind that all perspectives and analysis are only relative.
.
Now you tell us that all Brayard does is point out some dissonant documents.

Balsamo wrote:Brayard addresses this point, so i don't see any relation with Wannsee. But being informed of mass murders which had repercussion, even within the SS circles, does not make it evident that a new policy was put in place.

That's not exactly the point: the point goes to the "natural leaders" expression, which according to you Brayard explained as Stuckart's not being aware that Jews were being murdered in the East ("There would not be any danger if the Jews were to be killed within a year or two."). But, first, according to Lösener's files, Stuckart knew that Jews were being killed already in December and supported this and, second, Stuckart had been using this phrase since 1935, something you didn't tell us but which undermines its special significance, as Brayard and you argue.

Plus for this idea to hold water, you need your speedy annihilation of the Jews - and we've seen that this was neither contemplated nor in the cards.

Balsamo wrote:he never tried to exclude whatsoever the Western Jews from the Final Solution.

You tried to use Stuckart's 16 March letter to argue that he didn't know Reich Jews were being killed off in the East (you argued that the March letter proved that for the Reich Jews a territorial solution was still the policy and that they would be alive at least a generation). The note which Sandkühler cites undermines this argument (Brayard hints something late in the day and fishy about the note, but doesn't show his hand). It's not really complicated.

Balsamo wrote:
- Sandkühler counters Brayard using an important contemporary document which Brayard's ignored

Which ones?

Only one, not ones. The one we're discussing! Lösener's note on his December "resignation" meeting with Stuckart. I don't know the date, but it isn't trial testimony. Browning describes this as a "file note" (Origins, p 513); Fleming cites a corroborating document from Feldscher's files as well as the note (Hitler and the Final Solution, pp 106-107).

Balsamo wrote:Astonishing situation were some murderous cases are known by all the Ministry of the interior, from Stuckart to Feldscher, including Losener himself of course, but then later he'll ignore all what happened. I really don't understand this, as Brayard never claimed that Stuckart was not aware of those killings. Those were noisy incidents, and those shootings were momentarily stopped until well after Wannsee.

I've not read the note, of course, just excerpts; Sandkühler summarizes the note as registering Lösener's despair that the policy of killing Polish and Russian Jews had been extended to Reich Jews. You may want this to be insignificant, but it really isn't.

Balsamo wrote:Which basically could prove my point that is that eastern Jews and German Jews were considered differently at least for some people, even among the Nazi, that what was acceptable when imposed on Russian and Polish Jews, was less acceptable for German Jews.

In Lösener's mind, the Reich Jews should be kept out of it – but not according to what Lösener believed was now becoming the Reich’s policy.

You've made a very different argument to all this, about legality, etc, but let's leave that aside. Do you really not understand that, according to Sandkühler, Lösener was protesting The Policy - and trying to resign on account of it. Further, he was lectured by Stuckart that this was the Führer's policy and it was a necessary harshness. If this is so, it destroys - not "could prove" - your position, in fact.

So damaging is the file note to your point, in fact, that Brayard hints that there’s something suspicious about it.

Balsamo wrote:And that is indeed a point made by Brayard, but as the caricature provided by Sandkuhler, and that i share up to a certain point. This does not have any influence on what will happen, as it so often reduced to, the intent, and no one denies that, was after a Decision to treat all Jews equally. Brayard only says that it constitute one more transgression to overcome.

You are not understanding this. The burden of the note cited by Sandkühler and of Lösener's examination is that the murder of the Reich Jews was a watershed for Lösener.

Balsamo wrote:
- here I try using Sandkühler’s wording, rough translation: “For Lösener the cruel shooting of the Berlin Jews was a sign that the Reichssicherheitshauptamt [RSHA] had now taken the Jewish question to the stage of "Endlösung" [Final Solution] and which the desk officer for racial law fittingly described as 'bestial death in the shortest time'"


Typical of a post war reflection, shared to all after the fact when everything is clear to everyone. He knew, but shut up, proposed his transfer and kept on serving the regime really well. How those kind of craps are taken into such a consideration is beyond me.

Sandkühler is not writing here about "a post war reflection, shared to all" but a note from Lösener's files (I don't know the date). Again, you're not following what Sandkühler wrote - and you aren't grasping the issues at stake. Lösener did indicate his pessimism, as you say here to dismiss his testimony, whereas earlier you said that all these testimonies went, "I knew nothing, he knew everything."

Balsamo wrote:“bestial death in the shortest time”...is this what transpired from the Wannsee protocols? Was that the policy exposed?

No, this was Lösener's reaction to what Felscher told him in December.

Balsamo wrote:Losener and Eichmann post war testimony, that is for sure. So are we supposed to look to this document with those testimonies in mind?

No, but Lösener's post-war testimony "shared to all" also (grudgingly) admitted his pessimism during those months.

Balsamo wrote:If it was understood by anyone, even by Losener, that the plan was "bestial death in the shortest time" why worry about a potentiel influence of German blood on those doomed?

You're applying a strictness of expression and a fictional clarity that is anachronistic. The Reich Jews sent to Riga were shot right off - and that was what Lösener was expressing his reaction to - in the note and also to Stuckart - and what made him think there'd be an extension of the mass murder to the Reich Jews.

Balsamo wrote:all this passed through Google translate which is quite incompetent with language such as German.

Yes, the language of the note is important but you want to overinterpret it - there's no need for it to align with, or not, Wannsee wording, it was an expression of his thoughts about what Feldscher told him and what he was telling Stuckart - nothing more. And, no, I didn't run this through Google Translate and my posts explained that.

Balsamo wrote:Anyway, Stuckart reaction was what should be expected from a Nazi State-Secretaries, the mantra "Jews responsible for the war and the shed of Good German blood", and the obervation that such an action could only have been commanded by higher authority - fact that is still subject to debate.
His reaction is one of a good Nazi which he was. Those guys were sincere when they thought that the Jews was a danger, a threat to civilization, a virus among superior people. And as all good Nazi, he put his trust in Adolf Hitler, so the Fuhrer's decision were just not to be discussed in any way, even if such possibility had existed, and that was not the case.

Stuckart said all this to straighten out a subordinate threatening to resign over what both men were taking as an extension of the mass murder to Reich Jews, a fact which is fatal to your (Brayard's) reading. Like Sandkühker, Fleming quotes from Lôsener that Stuckart told Lösener, "Herr Lösener, don’t you realize that all of this is being done on order from the highest level?" It is actually more plausible that, this contretemps occurring just a week after Hitler's speech and meetings, discussed by Gerlach, Stuckart was warning Lösener which way the wind was blowing.

Balsamo wrote:What are you talking about. Brayard does not use those Nazi gentlemen post war testimonies. He uses documents they wrote. Brayard do not defend any "Mischlinge thesis"...he analyze a letter.

Brayard argued, according to you, the centrality of the Mischlinge issue to the purpose of the conference; he used Stuckart and Lösener as his star witnesses. I believe that what Sandkühler cited and what I added undermine this whole argument.

Balsamo wrote:
2) shows how to read post-war testimony, interrogating what the witness has claimed using contemporary sources whenever possible


there must be a great misunderstanding. It is Sandkuhler who uses post war testimonies in order to dismiss Brayard interpretation of contemporary documents by those Nazis. Brayard don't trust post war testimonies.

This was an aside to Jeff, part of an ongoing debate we are having, in which he 1) argued that I ignore postwar testimonies and 2) has used statements of Stuckart's without interrogating them as I explained.

Balsamo wrote:
3) provides grounds for readers, like me, who are not familiar with Brayard’s work to approach it with extra caution due to potential bias and/or inadequate research


Well i hope you'll pay attention to Brayard response i posted above.
A rebuttal is not a good source to judge a collegue's thesis. Again, as a matter of rule in Historical sciences, any thesis are exposed to be refuted.

I have a reply drafted - and you will not like it.
Last edited by Statistical Mechanic on Sat Jul 11, 2015 3:42 pm, edited 6 times in total.
Nazism conspired to create a sense of festival time. . . . Tragically for humanity, the party generating it was the type not associated with the coloured costumes of the Brazilian Carnival, but with the brown-shirted thuggery of the NSDAP. The contrast between the dance and the march, between the samba and the strains of the Horst Wessel Lied, points to the gulf separating a life-asserting community from a community which exists only by creating a demonized other. - RG '97

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Re: Yet another Wannsee thread (with Brayard)

Postby Statistical Mechanic » Sat Jul 11, 2015 2:23 am

Balsamo wrote:I find it amazing all the critics toward Florent Brayard who is a respected Historian, and maybe one of the best French specialist of the Holocaust and Nazism. I doubt any of you have read his recent work, and to base the critics and judgements on one single rebuttal read and understood through Google translate, without even posting a link, and worse without posting Brayard's response to it, does not seem really ethical to me.

To be blunt, you put it out there, so it is your responsibility to defend it, as we are only responding to your presentation of Brayard - and I for one am not going to type out "Brayard as presented by Balsamo."

I didn't base my reactions to your presentation on Sandkühler's review, either - and, in any event, as I posted, the part I focused on - the part I found most relevant to your earlier posts - was translated for me by a friend. I had already explained to you my objections to what you've been arguing - Sandkühler happened to echo many of them as well as add in others.

I understand that Brayard is a "respected historian" but appeals to authority usually betray a weak case. You wouldn't accept it from someone quoting or presenting Lipstadt - and you shouldn't, just as no one here should stifle questions and criticisms just because you tell us Brayard is respected.

Rather than debating, you seem to be digging in your heels.

Balsamo wrote:I am not going to comment this rebuttal here, it is clearly not the topic of this thread

What I posted from Sandkühler is relevant - and so is what I added from my own reading. I don't think there's a good answer to the many objections raised, but you are actually commenting by posting the rebuttal, no?

At any rate, it is hardly unethical for me, for example, not to have posted a rebuttal I wasn't aware of. I see you're frustrated, but let's not get carried away. Your point on this is just weird, seemingly a product of frustration and certainly not really about ethics.

Balsamo wrote:without giving any attention to Brayard's defense, is astonishing.

But you have been defending Brayard here - and we are paying a lot of attention to your defense. You even titled your thread "with Brayard," knowing we haven't read his book. Are we supposed to sit back and simply ingest what we're fed?

Balsamo wrote:So far, i have used only a tiny part of his argumentation, not enough to expose him to critics which are basically addressed to me. But to critic Brayard only through how I have integrated some of his points into my perception, that is through me, is absurd, as I did not even presented Brayard approach in such a way that you would know what you are criticizing. A rebuttal might seem enough for some, but to adopt an clear stance only on that basis does not make much sense.

What is this - a claque for Brayard? We are discussing the Wannsee conference, I thought, and as well Brayard's ideas about it, presented by you. On your initiative, frankly. But the focus isn't "Brayard - meaningful or not?" - the focus is on Wannsee and its place in things. So I don't understand your lecturing us about what are legitimate and not legitimate thoughts.

On Brayard's reply to Sandkühler . . .

Balsamo wrote:"I argue following the example of a number of historians that the ‘extermination of the Jew’ was, within the public sphere, a slogan without precise meaning since Hitler refrained from outlining directly what this ‘extermination’ entailed[4]. Yet contrary to my predecessors I take seriously the fact that, inversely, Hitler, Goebbels or others explicitly and very regularly, often in connection to Kaufman, considered what the ‘extermination of the German people’ might entail in the case of the defeat of Germany: massive sterilization, reduction to slavery, the liquidation of the elites, deportation, the rape of women, acculturation and so on."

I take from this argument more reason to think that Sandkühler's criticism of Brayard on Kaufman is apt: NS Judenpolitik was not responsive to Kaufman's pamphlet, as was explained at length to been-there in his WUF thread. Kaufman was a device the NS used to put across their Judenpolitik: why cannot Brayard get this sensible and evident proposition out in clear text? The reasonable version of what Brayard seems challenged to say was put far better by Herf.

Balsamo wrote:"He gives us a clear example of such a strategy in raising the case of Wilhelm Stuckart, who plays an important role in my argument. The anomaly in this case is the following: Stuckart, who had participated ex officio at the conference of Wannsee, argued several weeks later against the assimilation of the Mischlinge to the Jews, on the grounds that these mixed German Jews, possessing a particular power by virtue of their German blood, if submitted to the same fate as the Jews, might ‘give birth to individuals on the enemy side who could put to the service of the enemy and therefore against the German blood, the superior qualities inherited from this blood’[8]. This was the argument in favour of the sterilization of those of mixed heritage, and of confining such mixed populations to German territory, that Stuckart sent to certain participants of Wannsee. Yet it would make no sense for Stuckart to produce such an argument if he had been informed at or before Wannsee or even after that all German Jews sent to the East would be put to death and therefore that the Mischlinge, promised the same fate, would face the same end. Indeed Stuckart repeats his argument in September 1942 in a personal letter addressed to Himmler.[9]"

This is not very convincing - and certainly doesn't deal with what I said in my post on this, especially given that Stuckart's informant, Lösener, expressed (during the Ministries trial) that he was "pessimistic" about the fate of German Jews during the crucial months (yes, I will keep using testimonies, critically). Brayard's splitting of hairs and, as Xcalibur said, over-interpretation doesn't cut it here.

Balsamo wrote:"Sandkühler seeks to lay bare my reasoning in order to refute it, citing a document which, according to him, establishes that Stuckart was fully apprised of the genocidal program. Not wanting to undertake the ‘work of an executioner’, as it is put in this document, the secretary of State proposed sterilization. Sandkühler’s response is problematic from several perspectives. A first problem resides in the fact that neither, he nor the historians who make use of it before him [10], have ever taken sufficient time to assess the veracity of this very curious source, of private origin and entered very late into the Bundesarchiv. I do not have the time here to expose all the internal and external inconsistencies of this document. Yet I do believe that it is highly precipitous to see in it, following Sandkühler, definitive proof that the decision to murder the Jews had been taken and communicated to the highest echelons of the administration before Wannsee."

Brayard's impeachment of the document cited by Sandkühler is abortive and thus far from convincing- if he wants to use the 16 March Stuckart letter to float his ship, he needs to do better than this. And nothing here touches on the formulaic use of the natural-born-leader trope by Stuckart, according to Lösener, since 1935!

Balsamo wrote:"With regards to external inconsistencies, I will mention only that I find stupefying that on being informed during the month of December 1941 of the planned murder of the deported German Jews, as my German colleague believes, Stuckart might continue to reason as if those of mixed race who were deported, and promised the same fate as their Jewish relatives, would be a source of lasting harm for Germany, as he insisted twice in 1942 without ever being refuted. My colleague does not take the time to explain this entirely illogical behavior. Yet perhaps after all he considers that the Nazis were as people so strange that, in order to convince others, they chose to employ incoherent and counter-productive arguments."

With all due respect, he is simply re-digging his hole. This doesn't solve for my numerous objections, posted before and after reading Sandküler, to what Brayard is trying to do with Wannsee.

Balsamo wrote:"The truth is that Thomas Sandkühler, faced with such anomalies, prefers to turn a blind eye . . ."

Actually, there are no anomalies of the sort Brayard claims.

Balsamo wrote:"I cite a certain number of other similar anomalies, drawn from the journal of Goebbels and the archives of the minister of Foreign Affairs, which seem to me to be equally powerful. They all date evidently from the period following the conference of Wannsee, this moment when, as Sandkühler and other historians would have it, the decision to murder the Jews had already been taken and was widely known.[11]"

This is unhelpful for the same reasons I explained to been-there two years ago and reviewed a bit earlier in this thread.

Balsamo wrote:"A rigorous examination of the documents available shows that 1. at the turning point of 1941-1942, the fate of the German and western European Jews was not thus yet bound to systematic murder,"

This strikes me as sophistic word gamemanship.

Balsamo wrote:"3. Deported German and Western European Jews were indeed for several months not assassinated but concentrated in ghettos"

We've been over all this in detail. This objection is simply not relevant to the arguments – about the execution and implementation time line - made in this thread - and, indeed, by me in the France and Morgen Crackhead threads. It's either tendentious or not thought through, IMO.

This rebuttal reinforces my evolving view, 2nd hand as its been, of Brayard, sorry to say. It certainly doesn't turn it around. I just don't see a lot of there there. Brayard, as you present him and as Sandkühler reviews him, sounds like Bloxham - a bit of a gadfly, interesting points, ultimately not satisfying. But I am going by "introductions," not an in-person meeting, so to speak.
Nazism conspired to create a sense of festival time. . . . Tragically for humanity, the party generating it was the type not associated with the coloured costumes of the Brazilian Carnival, but with the brown-shirted thuggery of the NSDAP. The contrast between the dance and the march, between the samba and the strains of the Horst Wessel Lied, points to the gulf separating a life-asserting community from a community which exists only by creating a demonized other. - RG '97

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Re: Yet another Wannsee thread (with Brayard)

Postby Jeff_36 » Sat Jul 11, 2015 2:46 am

FOR EVERYONE
here is my NEW definitive, gap bridging timeline

December 1941: Hitler, in an explosive rant, demands the destruction of European Jews. Means not specified.

January 1942: Heydrich holds the Wannasee conference wherein he presents a general vision of this new deadly intent towards Jews. Several suggestions permeate the general air. Most hold that GG Jews are doomed, while German and other European Jews are to be killed via deportation to the East (Occupied Soviet Territories) and either forced to work or killed. The surviving ones were to be killed.

January-March 1942: THE existing structure in the GG is expanded (previously locally directed, in the Lublin district) and the first killings of nonworking GG Jews begin.

Febuary- March 1942: the general intention towards European Jews (see above) is adopted and changed. Himmler sends many to KL camps, while Heydrich briefly considers sending them to die in the former SLON camps of the USSR. A. Buehler document still gives the impression that the GG is to be a stopping point.

March-April: Various difficulties basically shelve the wannasee approach and force the Nazis into a new direction involving the existing structure in the GG.

May-July: hurdles are cleared an the Improvised FS is impimented gradually.

August 1942: Game on

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An appeal for unity

Postby Jeff_36 » Sat Jul 11, 2015 4:50 am

I encourage the posters of this forum to be united against denial ,for I fear a second deathcamps.org breakup. If such thing were to happen to this site it would be disastrous for historical understanding in my opinion.

therefor I urge unity. We have the same objective. It would be best If we were too resort to a more collegial tone on the particular thread tro treat it as a collective investigation as opposed to a ferocious bust-up.

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Re: Yet another Wannsee thread (with Brayard)

Postby Balsamo » Sat Jul 11, 2015 3:48 pm

@ NICK TERRY: You are right, my mistake. I guess i was under the influence on the spririt of this thread and i had just read Sandkuhler rebuttal which i find very aggressive. I was also referring to another time frame outlining that generation changes take time.

@StatMec:

This is getting more and more unpleasant. Part of the problem, I think, is that I truly can't figure out what you are advocating. I am trying. You're making a lot of points - some seem to contradict others, some seem not to be germane - but I can't really tell. I am replying to it all, which might be a mistake . . . but there are so many oddities and so many misleading, IMO, statements . . . oh well.


I agree with that, and I think that part of the problem is that I am trying to gather too many points in one single post. So a small disagreement might lead to a complete rejection, and of course confusion, with suspicions toward what I am suspected of going to, which might inspire you to reply to all my point individually although they are supposed to be part of a whole, in response I do the same with your objections…Basically, we communicated the same way we both did or do with Deniers. In fine, we wasted a lot of time and earned only more misunderstanding.
The fact that i don't have much time at the moment, but instead a couple of free time spread across the day, that is i start in the morning, continue one hour in the afternoon, and eventually finish a post in the evening, does not help neither.

Anyway,

What i was trying to present through this thread, it is first the legitimacy of different understanding of the Wannsee conference. It is legitimate first because there are already different points of view, and legitimate if a new reading is based on a new appreciation of a legitimate source.
It does not mean that it has to lead to a new global adhesion to this new vision, but that the new windows opened should at least be discussed without full rejection from the start.

So i will use this quote of you as a start:
As an aside, since Longerich and Gerlach, for example, disagree on key points, it comes across as polemical of you to keep using the term the "consensual reading." As to Longerich, it isn't solely how long so-called natural diminution would take - as I read him, in January 1942 the FS is to be understood as attritive labor/forced diminution + killing unfit Jews (during the war) + killing all the Jews (after the war). He even says specifically forced labor + mass murder. Etc. This is where his May 1942 "acceleration" comes into play.


I still wonder why and how you see my perception as a black and white one. I basically only pointed out that there cannot be just one understanding of the conference, hence there are many which one agrees or disagrees with, that the understanding will be influenced by the historian’s intuition and perception of the Final Solution. Why? Because all we have about this meeting are edited minutes which have to be given substances through other sources. Again, depending on the sources chosen, new divergences appear. The level of credit one gives to Eichmann post war trial testimonies is decisive. Was the Final Solution so openly discussed as he pretends or not?

As I wrote, it is a funny thing that almost all articles about the Wannsee conference will quote Jackel wondering why the meeting took place, just for fun it seems as the question is never addressed. Two lines below, Gerlach also quote Wolfgang Scheffer famous phrase: “No other document from the National socialist Regime set out so clearly the complete plan for the extermination of European Jewry”. I guess that we have here the two extremes.
To make myself clear, when I speak of consensual reading are the reading of the facts contained in the Minutes. And I have never read any author contesting that the “appropriate treatment” reserved for those Jews who passed the natural selection and survived was their death by murder. Yes it is about the FS, its european scope, etc.

What is less consensual is for example is, just like Scheffer consideration, Gerlach assumption that the Conference was a
“precondition not just for the execution of the “eastern Jews”, but also for the extermination of the German and western European Jews.”

My English might no be excellent, I still think that precondition is a very strong concept which is not to be found in Longerich.
In order to clarify the discussion, let’s address some of those less consensual points.

FS (as presented at the meeting) = attritive labor + killing of the unfit during the war + killing the survivors after the war.


This is clearly Gerlach position, which is shown by his allusion to mass murder involved. Longerich seems to have reevaluated his position a bit, but in his article from 2000, much more moderate than Gerlach, noted on this question:
“Conspicuously, Heydrich did not explain in his speech what should happen to any Jews who were 'unfit for work', particularly children and mothers looking after them. (…)Conversely, it seems extremely unlikely that, by January 1942, Heydrich was already in possession of a complete plan to murder those Jews who were 'unfit for work' in extermination camps. No efforts can be detected prior to the spring of 1942 indicating any general build-up of the extermination camps for such a pan European murder programme.”


More nuanced, indeed, but also less clear on the question if mass murder were clearly presented as part of the FS during the meeting.
12 years later, in his bio on Himmler, he writes:

“Heydrich left open the question of the fate awaiting those Jews who were capable of work, in particular the woman and children, though it is clear from the context that these people would have to be killed in order to avoid creating a “gem cell of a Jewish reconstruction”.

and
“The Jewish question (…) would be solved only after the war through a combination of forced labor and mass murder”.


There is a clear nuance between the two positions, although I sense a stronger stance in 2012 than in 2000. This is what I meant when I said his position was not clear. Given the undetermined time frame (after the war is very vague).
Of course, as according to him, the Final Decision was not taken before later in 42, there is no reason why the topic of killing women and children would have been addressed, although he does not exclude it.
Anyway, the minutes are silent about that question. So it can only be speculated about that, and of course, rely on other sources.

If one accept Eichmann testimony:
I cannot remember it in detail, Your Honor, but they spoke about methods for killing, about liquidation, about extermination. I was busy with my records. I had to make the preparations for taking down the minutes; I could not perk up my ears and listen to everything that was said. But it filtered through the small room and I caught fragments of this conversation. It was a small room so from time to time I heard a word or two.


Then the minutes look very different.

If you don’t believe what Eichmann is saying there, then the perception of all other elements of this meetings change as well.
And there is a paradox here, if this meeting was as violent and direct as Eichmann described it, then the minutes are even less conform to what happened, and therefore less reliable.
If we believe Eichmann, we are forced to conclude that the Minutes are all about “code language” and that it was all about direct forms of extermination and therefore very close to what was about to take place.
On the other hand, if one is of the opinion that Eichmann is only making this up to reduce his role as the poor Obertsurmbahnfuhrer, so humble and lost about this blood thirsty elite, then one is allowed to consider the minutes more literally.

This is the fundamental issue, as I repeated many times: Was the extermination as it will take shape a couple of month later clearly presented to the attendees?

Again, if we accept Eichmann testimony, then of course and why not, the meeting was truly directly about the extermination of the unfit Jews, including children and their mothers. That is that mass murders of those innocents were clearly addressed and agreed and why not decided at the meeting, each one proposing a good way to liquidate them. Of course, if that was the case, one can wonder why it was decided to spare the old but to kill the woman and children.

To stick with this very precise point, and taken my position that I don’t believe Eichmann testimony, it is not illegitimate to ask the very same question within another perspective: why spare the eldery – for fear of public reaction and political repercussions – and agree to kill women and children? Would that really be more politically acceptable and manageable for the attendees?

One question is not a refutation.

But if we try to introduce Stuckart's letter of march 16th which is a document and a pure historical source into both considerations.

If Eichmann is right, and all the attendees were indeed debating about how to liquidate the Jews, this letter and the arguments make no sense at all. So why would he have written such a thing?

I'll repeat the arguments here:
With the expulsion of half-Jews, we also abandon the half of German blood(…) I have always held for extremely dangerous, in a biological perspective, to provide our enemies with German Blood. This Blood is capable of giving birth, on the enemy side, to personalities who could put at the service of the enemy, and by consequence against the German blood, their high qualities inherited through this German blood.
As we know, their good intelligence as well as their good education, associated with their Germanic genetic inheritance, would turn those half-Jews, if put outside of the German people, into natural born Fuhrers, that is very dangerous enemies.


One has to remember that Heydrich proposition was that those first degree or half Jews were to be treated like the Jews, and NOT in a specific way.
It is Stuckart who is promoting a specific way for those half Jews.
In Heydrich Jews, the Mischlinge question should be integrate into the Final Solution. And this is the context of Stuckart's arguments. That is if we do that, we introduce capable German blood among the ennemy (the Jews) with the risk to introduce tough leader among the doomed, which could be dangerous in the long haul.

As i said, this argument is absurd, if we accept Einchann version and the logic it induces. Because the risk put forward by Stuckart, that is that the German blood part might have a dangerous effect on the Jews (the enemy), is irrelevent if their fate was to be sealed within two years or so, as it will be decided a couple of months after (depending on your view). It makes even less sense if one accepts the thesis that Hitler had decided the extermination in December 1941 before 50 people and that everyone should know that by January 42.

On the other hand, the arguments do make sense if the expected extermination through extinction and postponed mass murder would happen in a period of time long enough to allow this kind of risks to appear.

This is the base of Brayard questioning.
Nor Brayard, and even less I, give any credit to Stuckart and Losener post war testimonies, as I have read, quite the contrary.

If we give this questioning enough credit, then it is not illegitimate to consider that, Eichmann being a liar, the Minutes might reflect what had been told, to suppose that the question of the unfit Jews was not even mentioned.
Which would the reduce the Final Solution as presented at the meeting as
FS= death by attrition and natural elimination + delayed mass murder of the survivors after the war. (that is with no direct mass murder involved)

Of course, and i am the first aware of that, it would then raise the question how to integrate what was already happening in the East and in Poland. And of course, i am equally aware that new problems would arise, but that should not be enough to ignore or reject the point and the questioning put forward by Brayard about the arguments contained in Stuckart's letter.

So can anyone, please, tell me how to integrate this Letter and its arguments into your respective logic?

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Re: Yet another Wannsee thread (with Brayard)

Postby nickterry » Sat Jul 11, 2015 5:49 pm

Balsamo, the Stuckart circular of 16.3.42 regarding Mischlinge was drafted by Loesener (the letter was sent out "I.V." Stuckart) and included arguments that had already been rehearsed in October 1935 in the context of the original Nuremberg Laws (see Hans-Christian Jasch, Staatssekretär Wilhelm Stuckart und die Judenpolitik. Der Mythos von der sauberen Verwaltung. Munich, 2012, p.219), specifically the argument about Mischlinge benefiting the enemies of Germany by becoming their leaders.

The fact that Loesener did the drafting could easily suffice to explain why a letter sent out by Stuckart contained a nonsensical argument; despite Loesener having heard of the Rumbula massacre (which is beyond reasonable doubt), he wasn't at Wannsee. The debate over Mischlinge in the spring of 1942 expanded to include many civil servants well beyond the immediate circle of state secretaries, so it does not necessarily follow that the content of the position papers necessarily reflects what was discussed at Wannsee.

Moreover, there is an internal contradiction in the apparent argumentation of the Stuckart letter: Mischlinge would supposedly prefer sterilisation to the chance to become anti-Nazi leaders, if we're meant to take the letter literally. That makes as little sense as the 'anomaly' Brayard is trying to conjure up with this point.

A parsimonious explanation is therefore that older arguments were recycled in broken-record fashion. This is reinforced by the fact that Stuckart repeated the same nonsensical argument in October 1942 when writing to Himmler about the Mischlinge.

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Re: Yet another Wannsee thread (with Brayard)

Postby nickterry » Sat Jul 11, 2015 6:17 pm

Another problem with the 16.3.42 Stuckart letter: there is nothing in the WP or any other document about expelling Jews over the frontline to the Soviets, nor is it plausible that Stuckart was anticipating a Nazi defeat or retreat when writing in March 1942.


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