photography by swartz



11. "The Final Solution"


Reinhard Heydrich was the blond, arrogant, and ruthless Head of the Reich Security Service and Executor of German rule in occupied Czechoslovakia. On July 31, 1941, Heydrich received instruction from Gring which charged him to bring about the solution to the "Jewish Problem." The first methodical gassings of Jews began on December 8, 1941 at the death camp in Chełmno in Poland.

On January 20, 1942, Heydrich convened a meeting of fifteen high-ranking Nazi officials. The task of the Wannsee Conference was to "coordinate...a final solution to the European Jewish question." Treblinka, Sobibr, and Bełżec death camps strictly for Jews were put into operation. Between 1942 and 1945, more than 3,000,000 Jews were annihilated in these extermination camps.

On May 27, 1942, Heydrich was severely wounded in an assassination attempt in a suburb of Prague by Czech agents Jan Kubi and Joseph Gabčik. He died of his wounds on June 4, 1942. The assassination of Heydrich called for "retaliation" against the Czechs. On June 9, 1942, Hitler personally ordered the destruction of the quiet mining village of Lidice, near Prague. The next day the town was burned to the ground after an extermination squad had killed all male inhabitants. All women and children were arrested and sent to concentration camps.

In memory of Heydrich, the "Final Solution" was given a new name "Operation Reinhard."

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Last modified: 07/15/03