On this day: January 1942

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January 20

Reinhard Heydrich, chief of the Reich Security Main Office (RSHA), convenes the Wannsee Conference in a villa outside Berlin. There he presents plans to coordinate a European-wide “Final Solution of the Jewish Question” to key officials from the German State and the Nazi Party.

The "Final Solution" was the code name for the systematic, deliberate, physical annihilation of the European Jews. At some still undetermined time in 1941, Hitler authorized this European-wide scheme for mass murder. Heydrich convened the Wannsee Conference to:

  • inform and secure support from government ministries and other interested agencies relevant to the implementation of the “Final Solution,” and
  • disclose to the participants that Hitler himself had tasked Heydrich and the RSHA with coordinating the operation.

The attendees did not deliberate whether such a plan should be undertaken, but instead discussed the implementation of a policy decision that had already been made at the highest level of the Nazi regime.

January 29

Rosa Holländer, Anne Frank's maternal grandmother, dies of cancer. Rosa had been living with the Frank family in Amsterdam since she moved from Germany in 1939. 

Sources and Related Links

Edith Frank

Timeline of Events: Wannsee Conference

1942: Key Dates

Holocaust Encyclopedia: Wannsee Conference and the "Final Solution"

Holocaust Encyclopedia: Reinhard Heydrich