In January 1942, Nazi officials met in Wannsee, a suburb of Berlin, under the direction of SS-officer Reinhard Heydrich. At this short conference, representatives of the SS and state agencies discussed how to implement efficiently the Final Solution.
The decision to exterminate Jews had been made earlier. The protocol of the Wannsee Conference, produced by SS-officer Adolf Eichmann, reports on how to facilitate this plan and to further coordinate this genocidal policy.
According to the protocol, the number of Jews living in Europe was estimated to be 11 million. Their murder was to be achieved, in Heydrich’s words, through “suitable form of labor deployment in the East.” Though somewhat euphemistic, the aim was clear. “A large number,” Heydrich continued, “will doubtlessly be lost through natural reduction. Any final remnant … must be dealt with appropriately.” The construction of killing centers would expedite the goals of the Final Solution.
More information on the Wannsee Conference:
Mark Roseman, The Wannsee Conference and the Final Solution (Metropolitan Books, 2002)