The Influence Of The Wannsee Conference

1016 Words 5 Pages
Adolf Hitler was once quoted as saying, “How fortunate for governments that the people they administer don’t think” (BrainyQuote). Hitler and his top administrators relied on this presumed ignorance in their execution of the “Final Solution,” the systematic extermination of Europe’s Jews. At the Wannsee Conference in 1942, high-ranking Nazi Party and government officials met to discuss the coordination and implementation of the “Final Solution” (“Wannsee Conference”). It was through the bureaucratic coordination of multiple sectors of the government and particularly the use of railways in deportation and transport that Hitler and the Nazis were able to successfully execute the Holocaust. Prior to the Wannsee Conference, the primary method …show more content…
Packing the Jews onto the trains like animals and stripping them of all of their belongings contributed to the process of complete dehumanization. By depriving deportees of the most basic necessities of life, they were weakened to the point where they could not fight back against their oppressors. The efficiency of the trains coupled with the use of massive extermination camps such as Auschwitz-Birkenau created a much faster way to execute mass genocide. It is estimated that 1.1 million people - 90% of them Jews - were gassed to death at Auschwitz-Birkenau alone (“The Killing Evolution”). In order to accommodate such huge masses of people arriving at Auschwitz-Birkenau, it became necessary to lay railroad tracks right into the camp - right at the doorstep of death (“Auschwitz Transport and …show more content…
In May 1945, Julius Dorpmüller, the former General Director of the Reichsbahn, reportedly said to one of his subordinates, “Tell me Pleß, did you know about that [the Holocaust]. I didn’t” (Mierzejewski). Dorpmüller’s denial of the Holocaust illustrates the myth that railway personnel were unaware of the Nazi regime and were used as pawns by the government, when there is massive evidence to the contrary (Mierzejewski). As early as 1934, Dorpmüller negotiated a deal with the Nazis under which the railway would be left alone to conduct its own affairs and move traffic in return for conforming to Hitler’s policies (Mierzejewski). The Reichsbahn used approximately 2,000 trains to move about 3 million people to death camps and shooting locations in eastern Europe. Knowledge of the Jewish transports and deportations was especially well known on the Ostbahn, the railway that operated in occupied Poland

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