Cover

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Title Page, Copyright

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Contents

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pp. vii-viii

List of Illustrations

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pp. ix-x

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Preface

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pp. xi-xiv

This book on the origins of the Final Solution is part of a wider project for a multivolume comprehensive history of the Holocaust. This role shapes its conception and format in three fundamental ways. First, within this wider project as conceived of by Yad Vashem, it is just one of three volumes devoted to an examination of the development of Nazi Jewish policy. Since it will follow a volume on the prewar years, ...

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1. Background

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pp. 1-11

In a brief two years between the autumn of 1939 and the autumn of 1941, Nazi Jewish policy escalated rapidly from the prewar policy of forced emigration to the Final Solution as it is now understood—the systematic attempt to murder every last Jew within the German grasp. The mass murder of Soviet Jewry had already begun in the late summer of 1941, ...

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2. Poland, Laboratory of Racial Policy

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pp. 12-35

The German invasion and conquest of Poland in September 1939 was an event of decisive importance in the evolution of Nazi Jewish policy toward the Final Solution. Over 2 million Polish Jews fell into German hands, and some 1.7-1.8 million remained at the end of the year when the border between the German and Russian zones was closed.1 Until then, the Nazis’ search for a solution to the Jewish question had been undertaken in reference to German Jews, ...

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3. The Search for a Final Solution through Expulsion, 1939–1941

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pp. 36-110

Two aspects of Nazi Jewish policy in Poland in the period between 1939 and 1941 are particularly prominent: expulsion and ghettoization. The first is what the Germans sought to do in this period, and the second is what they actually did. Too often, however, these policies and this period have been seen through a perspective influenced, indeed distorted and overwhelmed, by the catastrophe that followed. ...

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4. The Polish Ghettos

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pp. 111-168

The starting point of Nazi Jewish policy in eastern Europe had been Heydrich’s September 21 conference with the Einsatzgruppen leaders. On that occasion Heydrich had stipulated the immediate (within three to four weeks) concentration of Jews ‘‘in ghettos’’ in cities in order to facilitate ‘‘a better possibility of control and later deportation.’’1 ...

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5. Germany and Europe

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pp. 169-212

German-occupied Poland, as the demographic center of the Jewish population under Nazi control and the site of the regime’s first attempts to engineer the racial transformation of conquered Lebensraum, was the key ‘‘laboratory’’ for Nazi experimentation in racial persecution from September 1939 to June 1941. Given both the size of the population subjected to persecution ...

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6. Preparing for the "War of Destruction"

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pp. 213-243

Perhaps no area of Holocaust studies has been more intensively researched and debated over the past several decades than the nature and timing of the decisions that led to the emergence of the Final Solution.∞ Although many issues are still contested, there is widespread agreement among scholars in several areas. ...

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7. Operation Barbarossa and the Onset of the Holocaust, June–December 1941

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pp. 244-308

On June 22, 1941, the first day of Operation Barbarossa, German army units swept across the border into the Soviet Union. Within a few months the Wehrmacht had conquered a vast strip of land that extended from the Baltic Sea in the north via Belorussia to the southeastern Ukraine. Unlike previous campaigns, this Blitzkrieg did not proceed according to plan. Despite defeats in many battles and an immense loss of men and material, the Red Army ...

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8. From War of Destruction to the Final Solution

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pp. 309-373

In the first month of the Barbarossa campaign, the Germans experienced stunning and exhilarating success. On July 8 Goebbels confided to his diary, ‘‘No one doubts anymore that we shall be victorious in Russia.’’1 The following day he flew to meet Hitler, who pronounced the military situation ‘‘surprisingly positive ...

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9. The Final Solution from Conception to Implementation, October 1941–March 1942

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pp. 374-423

By the end of October 1941 the conception of the Final Solution had taken shape. The Jews of Europe were to be deported to secret camps designed to perpetrate mass murder by poison gas, though other possible methods of killing were not excluded. This program could not get fully underway until the spring of 1942, however, because neither the ‘‘factories of death’’ nor the ‘‘supply system’’ ...

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10. Conclusion

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pp. 424-434

In the five weeks between September 18 and October 25, 1941, events had moved rapidly. Hitler had reversed his earlier decision not to permit the deportation of Jews from the Third Reich until after the war and instead sought the unrealizable goal of a judenfrei Germany by the end of the year. The sites of the first extermination camps were selected. ...

Notes

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pp. 435-548

Bibliography

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pp. 549-578

Index

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pp. 579-616