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Himmler's actions

CHRISTOPHER BROWNING: And what Himmler engages in is a series of plans for a continental-wide ethnic cleansing of the Jews. The first is the plan for a Lublin reservation stating that all the Jews in Germany and the German sections of Poland will be sent to the furthest extremity in the German empire, the small province of Lublin on the demarcation line of the Soviet Union. Then when they go to war with France and think they’re going to have the French colonial empire to dispose of, the next stage is the Madagascar Plan, to ship the Jews off to a island in the Indian Ocean that was a French colony. Now, this was an idea the lunatic fringe of  anti-Semitism had in their anti-Semitic pamphlets in the late 19th Century, and today’s equivalent would be to say we’ll send somebody to the moon. After all, it was the furthest imaginable place that you could have.

And the Nazis took this idea literally and actually make plans to ship Jews to Madagascar. But, of course, this required England to be defeated and to have access to the English merchant fleet. Neither of which happens so that plan is shelved after the Battle of Britain. The third plan is to expel all the Jews - as they were planning to invade the Soviet Union - and so expel all the Jews to the Arctic and Siberia; to do massively to Jews what the Tsars’ regime did selectively to dissidents in Tsarist Russia, and what Stalin was doing in terms of the Gulags. So there were a series of plans for massive expulsion, and any of these plans would have resulted in a massive decimation of the population. These were not benign plans, these were plans that would have involved a massive loss of life, but the ultimate goal was to get Jews out of Europe, and if more die in the process it is certainly not a detraction to the plan, but there is not yet the notion of a systematic plan to kill every last Jew that they can lay their hands on.

We have, for instance, the documents of the German inspector who went out dutifully to report back on the possibilities, and he reports back that Lublin would make a wonderful place for a Jewish reservation because the swampy nature of the land will predictably result in a vast decimation of the Jewish population. Though a murderous vision, it isn’t a vision of the 'Final Solution' as we know it from 1941- 42, but it is a major step in that direction. This is why I would argue that Hitler’s prophecy as understood by those closest to him seems to be a series of plans for expulsion; that’s what they bring to him and that’s what he approves.