The House Where the Jewish Genocide was CoordinatedYou’ve arrived at the Villa Wanse (Haus der Wannsee-Konferenz), known also as "Wannsee Conference House."
This is the house where representatives of the Nazi administration gathered during the World War II and decided to implement the "Final Solution," the plan for the mass extermination of European Jewry.
This was done in parallel to World War II. At the same time as waging World War II, the Nazi regime, all hatred and racism, devoted massive efforts and funds to the destruction of the Jewish people. Until then, the murder of the Jews took place at a rate that did not satisfy hitler and the Nazi leaders. They wanted the killing to be done faster, bigger and more efficient. They wanted industrialization of the killing, and German efficiency in the liquidation of the Jewish people.
It was on January 20th, 1942, when 15 Nazi officials gathered at the Villa Wannsee to organize and streamline the program of transports and murders of European Jewry, the program that was born a year earlier and was dubbed the “Final Solution.”
The inconceivable contrast between the monstrous conference and the satanic decisions that were made on it that day, and the calm tranquility and enchanting lake view from the window, is hard and comprehend.
About the History of the HouseThis villa is located in a suburb of Berlin, which in the 1920's housed many wealthy Berliners, including many Jews. Among the residents of the neighborhood were quite a few artists, actors and nouveau riche, rich newcomers who made a lot of money in industries that developed at the turn of the century. The houses in the huge neighborhood were then built as castles surrounded by gardens, with views of the surrounding blue lake.
In the 1920’s, Villa Wannsee belonged to an anti-Semitic German industrialist who was an avid supporter of Hitler. In 1923 he volunteered the house for the design of Hitler's famous Putsch to replace the Bavarian regime. The putsch failed and Hitler went to jail. But the amazing thing is that from prison he emerged a famous figure, as the writer of the successful book "Mein Kampf", an anti-Semitic book full of evil and terrible ideological racism.
At the end of the 1930’s, the same industrialist found himself in debt and was thrown into jail. The Nazis were already in power at the time, and he, who needed money quickly, sold his villa to the Reich Security Office, which was then headed by his Nazi friend Reinhard Heydrich.
After the war and unlike the ruined Berlin, the house was preserved as it was. The villa remained closed and the pressure to turn it into a memorial site was not answered. The fact that some of the participants of the conference remained alive, apparently led to the German authorities refrained from reminding the public of their actions.
Only in 1988 did the room where the terrible meeting was held was opened for visitors. Over the years, informational centers were also added to the house, as well as an exhibition, and a library on the Holocaust and the Final Solution. In the green park next to the house a memorial site was erected for the victims of that terrible meeting.
About the Terrible Conference at Villa WannseeOn January 20th, 1942, Heydrich invited senior SS representatives from the Nazi Party and relevant government ministries to discuss the effectiveness of the title of the "Final Solution” for the “Jewish Problem." The decision to implement the final solution was made in 1941 and the meeting was intended to coordinate the implementation. The participants were senior executives and coordinators.
Both of Heydrich's goals in the conference were to receive official recognition of his position as the commander responsible for the deportation of European Jewry (which in effect was the destruction of the Jews), and coordinate and involve the various bodies in the ministries. All his goals were achieved, and all participants promised the full cooperation of the bodies they represented and headed.
Thus, the entire leadership of the Nazi regime became a partner to the most atrocious war crime in human history. The person who wrote the protocols for the conference was Adolf Eichmann.
The discussion here was about special issues, first up was the issue of deportation and the elimination of "mixed children", those who were Jews in half, or spouses, one of whom is Jewish. A decision on the matter was not decided here and was delayed to another meeting.
In preparation for the conference, Eichmann prepared a list of the number of Jews in all the European countries that the Nazis had conquered, or planned to conquer. There were over 2 million Jews in Poland, and 5 million Jews in the Soviet Union. Overall there were 11 million Jews the Nazis planned to destroy.
Those present discussed Hitler's directive to deport all European Jews to Eastern Europe. The protocol does not speak openly of annihilation, but of what the Nazis defined as forced labor in which, they hoped, most Jews would die. At the meeting it was hinted that none of the remaining Jews should be left alive, so that no seed would be left for the renewal of the Jewish people.
The conference protocol was duplicated and sent to all participants. Toward the end of the war, they all destroyed their copies. In the archives of the Foreign Office, one document was found in 1947, a copy that was left and was not destroyed, because its owner was in prison at the end of the war and could not destroy it.
TipsYou can get off the same train that arrives here on platform 17 at the Grunwald railway station. This is the station to stop either before or after the Wannsee Villa, from which the Jews of Berlin were sent to the death camps, and a memorial site.