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BERLIN 20 Jan 2012 Nazi annihilation of Jews approved 70 years ago
On 5 Jan 1942 at the Wannsee Conference near Berlin, 15 high-ranking Nazis approved the “Final Solution of the Jewish Question,” the

January 20, 2012 - NULL

BERLIN 20 Jan 2012 Nazi annihilation of Jews approved 70 years ago
On 5 Jan 1942 at the Wannsee Conference near Berlin, 15 high-ranking Nazis approved the "Final Solution of the Jewish Question," the systematic annihilation of Europe's Jews. The plan moved the killing, already under way, to an industrial level. Later known as The Holocaust, it wiped out millions - homosexuals and Roma people as well as Jews. As the trials of perpetrators dwindle with passing time, the Wannsee and related anniversaries become more important for keeping the memory alive.
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BERLIN 20 Jan 2012 "Final solution" for

BERLIN 20 Jan 2012 Nazi annihilation of Jews approved 70 years ago
On 5 Jan 1942 at the Wannsee Conference near Berlin, 15 high-ranking Nazis approved the "Final Solution of the Jewish Question," the systematic annihilation of Europe's Jews. The plan moved the killing, already under way, to an industrial level. Later known as The Holocaust, it wiped out millions - homosexuals and Roma people as well as Jews. As the trials of perpetrators dwindle with passing time, the Wannsee and related anniversaries become more important for keeping the memory alive.
full story

BERLIN 20 Jan 2012 "Final solution" for Jews decided 70 years ago

On 5 Jan 1942 at the Wannsee Conference near Berlin, 15 high-ranking Nazis approved the "Final Solution of the Jewish Question," the systematic annihilation of Europe's Jews. The plan moved the killing, already under way, to an industrial level. Six gas chamber-equipped death camps were built for the program. Later known as The Holocaust, it wiped out millions - homosexuals and Roma people as well as Jews. As the trials of perpetrators dwindle with passing time, the Wannsee and related anniversaries become more important for keeping the memory alive.

A special anniversary exhibition can be expected at the venue of the meeting, a grand villa on Berlin's Lake Wannsee, and at Holocaust memorials, synagogues and museums around the world. The villa opened as memorial site and museum in 1991 to mark the 50th anniversary of the meeting. The Memorial exhibition includes a reconstruction of the room where the discussions took place, the minutes of the conference taken by Adolf Eichmann and the photographs of the civil servants and SS officers involved. The rest of the exhibition is a chronicle of the events and the horrors surrounding the Holocaust from the deportations to the exterminations in the concentration camps.

Most key Nazis are long gone, some executed, and some, such as Nazi mastermind Adolf Hitler, committed suicide. Others, such the chair of the Wannsee Conference, Reinhard Heydrich, were assassinated. The chief of the security police, Heydrich was assassinated by Free Czech agents in 1942. Surviving until 1962, Adolf Eichmann, who took the minutes at the Wannsee meeting, came close to dying of old age. He fled to Argentina, was captured by Israeli Mossad operatives and taken to Israel to face trial on 15 criminal charges. He was found guilty and executed in 1962.

One Nazi death camp guard has come close to dying of old age, though it is likely to be in prison. The 91-year-old convicted Nazi death camp guard John Demjanjuk was convicted in a Munich court in May of helping to kill more than 28,000 people at the Sobibor camp in Poland during the Holocaust. Demjanjuk emigrated to the United States in the early 1950s and became a naturalized citizen in 1958, working as an engine mechanic in Ohio.

The Demjanjuk trial could be the last of the Holocaust-related trials because of the age of the accused. Several have escaped justice. The Nazi-hunting Simon Wiesenthal Center maintains that political will, not age, are the major obstacle in Nazi prosecutions. The center still has a "most wanted" list. It is headed by Alois Brunner, the Adolf Eichmann deputy responsible for deporting Jews to death camps from Austria, Greece, Slovakia and France. He was last seen in Syria, where he sought postwar refuge, in 2001. If he is still alive, he is 99. (WRITTEN May 2011)

RELATED READING:

Full text of the Wannsee protocol
http://fcit.coedu.usf.edu/holocaust/resource/document/DocWanns.htm

Wannsee Conference (Encyclopedia Britannica)
http://www.britannica.com/EBchecked/topic/635490/Wannsee-Conference

Wiesenthal Center: Will, not age, major obstacle in Nazi prosecutions (JTA 5 May 2011)
http://www.jta.org/news/article/2011/05/05/3087576/wisenthal-center-will-not-age-
major-obstacle-in-nazi-prosecutions

Date written/update: 2012-01-20