Goering orders a ‘total solution of the Jewish question’ (1941)

In July 1941, Hermann Goering sent the following memorandum to Reinhard Heydrich, the chief of Reich security and deputy head of the SS. In this memo, Goering instructed Heydrich to organise a ‘total solution’ to the ‘Jewish problem’ in German-occupied territories. This memo is considered a cornerstone document in the evolution and implementation of the Final Solution:

The Reich Marshal of the Greater German Reich
Commissioner for the Four-Year Plan
Chairman of the Ministerial Council for National Defense
Berlin, July 31st 1941

To: SS-Gruppenführer Heydrich

“Complementing the task that was assigned to you on January 24th 1939, which dealt with a solution of the Jewish problem through emigration and evacuation as advantageously as possible, I hereby charge you with making all necessary preparations, with regard to organisational and financial matters, for bringing about a total solution of the Jewish question in the German sphere of influence in Europe.

Wherever other governmental agencies are involved, they are to cooperate with you. I charge you furthermore to send me, before long, an overall plan concerning the organisational, factual and material measures necessary for the accomplishment of the desired solution of the Jewish question.”

[signed] Goering