On 21 January 1939 Adolf Hitler told the Czech Foreign Minister Chvalkovsky: “We are going to destroy the Jews … The day of reckoning has come.”

Hitler avoided giving a clear written order to exterminate Jewish civilians and he avoided speaking openly about killing in his entourage. On 29 April 1937 he told his Nazi leaders:”Everything that can be discussed should never be put in writing, never!” However, there is clear evidence that he was deeply involved in the anti-Jewish policy before and during the war, particularly when it reached a murderous stage.

Hitler was fully responsible for the order for the mass executions in Poland in 1939 and 1940. He was also actively engaged in setting up plans for a Jewish reservation in Poland and he backed the Madagascar plan. He was continually preoccupied with further deportations and deportation plans.

In 1941 Hitler ordered the extermination of the “Jewish-Bolshevist intelligentsia” and the elimination of every potential enemy in the occupied Eastern territories. He was fully aware of mass executions of Jewish civilians in these territories.

In mid September 1941 Hitler ordered the beginning of mass deportations from Germany to ghettos in Eastern Europe. During autumn 1941 and the following winter, when preparation for the Final Solution in Europe were in full swing, Hitler spoke at various occasions openly about the annihilation of the Jews in Europe.

From a number of letters and speeches of SS Reichsfuhrer Heinrich Himmler it becomes clear, that he referred to the Holocaust as a task which he had to carry out on the behalf of the highest authority in the Third Reich – Adolf Hitler.

In 1941, Himmler summoned Rudolf Hoess, SS Kommandant of the largest killing center ever created, the death camp Auschwitz. He told him that “the Fuhrer had given the order for a Final Solution of the Jewish Question” and that “we, the SS, must carry out that order.”

In December 1942, Himmler sent a note to Heinrich Müller, head of the Gestapo, in which he stated:

“The Fuhrer gave orders that the Jews and other enemies in France should be arrested and deported. This should take place, however, only once he has spoken with Laval about it. It is a matter of 6-700.000 Jews.”

/Louis Bülow