his life Adolf Hitler was seized by an obsession with the Jews and he had
always been straightforward about his plans. His dream of a racially
"pure" empire would tolerate no Jews and he announced at many
occasions the "annihilation of the Jews" living in the territory
under his control.
In Hitler's mind, murdering millions of Jews could only be accomplished
under the confusion of war - from the beginning he was planning a war that
would engulf Europe ..
Hitler's very first political statement, his letter to Adolf Gemlich on 16
September 1919, already includes a clear declaration of his anti-Semitic
position: "Rational anti-Semitism on the other hand, must lead to a
systematic legal opposition and elimination of the special privileges that
Jews hold, in contrast to the other aliens living among us (alien's
legislation). Its final objective must unswervingly be the removal of the
In those early days he often spoke of how he would deal with the Jews. His
favourite words were Ausrottung (extirpation), Vernichtung
(annihilation), Entfernung (removal), Aufräumung (cleaning
up). Thus according to a police report of a NSDAP meeting on 6 April 1920
".. we have no intention of being emotional anti-Semites who
want to create the atmosphere of a pogrom. Instead, our hearts are filled
with an inexorable determination to attack the evil at its roots and to
extirpate it root and branch. In order to reach our goal every means will
be justified, even if we have to make a pact with the devil."
In another speech on 12 April 1922 he said, referring to the Jewish
Question: "Here, too, there can be no compromise - there are only two
possibilities: either victory of the Aryan or annihilation of the Aryan
and the victory of the Jew."
Hitler wrote Mein Kampf in Landsberg prison in 1924 and the
destruction of the Jews is advocated time and again:
"It is the inexorable Jew who struggles for his domination over the
nations. No nation can remove this hand from its throat except by the
sword ... Such a process is and remains a bloody one."
On 21 January 1939 Adolf Hitler told the Czech Foreign Minister
Chvalkovsky: "We are going to destroy the Jews ... The day of
reckoning has come."
avoided giving a clear written order to exterminate Jewish civilians and
he avoided speaking openly about killing in his entourage. On 29 April
1937 he told his Nazi leaders:
"Everything that can be discussed should never be put in
writing, never!" However, there is clear evidence that he was
deeply involved in the anti-Jewish policy before and during the war,
particularly when it reached a murderous stage.
Hitler was fully responsible for the order for the mass executions in
Poland in 1939 and 1940. He was also actively engaged in setting up plans
for a Jewish reservation in Poland and he backed the Madagascar plan. He
was continually preoccupied with further deportations and deportation
In 1941 Hitler ordered the extermination of the "Jewish-Bolshevist
intelligentsia" and the elimination of every potential enemy in the
occupied Eastern territories. He was fully aware of mass executions of
Jewish civilians in these territories.
In mid September 1941 Hitler ordered the beginning of mass deportations
from Germany to ghettos in Eastern Europe. During autumn 1941 and the
following winter, when preparation for the Final
Solution in Europe were in full swing, Hitler spoke at various
occasions openly about the annihilation of the Jews in Europe.
From a number of letters and speeches of SS Reichsfuhrer Heinrich Himmler
it becomes clear, that he referred to the Holocaust as a task which he had
to carry out on the behalf of the highest authority in the Third Reich -
In 1941, Himmler summoned Rudolf Hoess, SS Kommandant of the largest
killing center ever created, the death camp Auschwitz. He told him that
"the Fuhrer had given the order for a Final Solution of the Jewish
Question" and that "we, the SS, must carry out that order."
In December 1942, Himmler sent a note to Heinrich Müller, head of the
Gestapo, in which he stated:
"The Fuhrer gave orders that the Jews and other enemies in
France should be arrested and deported. This should take place, however,
only once he has spoken with Laval about it. It is a matter of 6-700.000
Private diaries of Nazi propaganda maestro Joseph Goebbels and Himmler
unearthed from the secret Soviet archives show that Adolf Hitler
personally ordered the mass extermination of Jews on December 12, 1941,
during a meeting of Nazi German regional governors in the chancellery.
As Goebbels wrote: "With regards to the Jewish Question, the
Fuhrer decided to make a clean sweep ..."
At the Klessheim conference on the 17 and 18 April 1943, according to
the protocol, Hitler noted, in regard to the Jews in Poland: "If the
Jews there don't want to work they will be shot. If they cannot work, they
must rot. They should be treated like tubercular bacillus which could
attack healthy bodies. That is not cruel - if one keeps in mind that even
innocent natural beings like hares and deer must be killed so that no
In Germany concentration camps were set up after 1933 to detain without legal
procedure Jews, Communists, Gypsies, homosexuals, and others. During world
war II extermination, or death, camps were established for the sole
purpose of killing men, women, and children.
In the most notorious camps -
Auschwitz, Treblinka, Sobibor
and Majdanek in Poland, Buchenwald and Dachau in Germany - more than 6
million people, mostly Jews and Poles, were killed in gas chambers.
Millions of others were also interned during the war, and a large
proportion died of gross mistreatment, malnutrition, and disease.