Final Solution  

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"We were faced with the question: what about the women and children? – I have decided on a solution to this problem. I did not consider myself justified to exterminate the men only – in other words, to kill them or have them killed while allowing the avengers, in the form of their children, to grow up in the midst of our sons and grandsons. The difficult decision had to be made to have this people disappear from the earth." — Heinrich Himmler, Posen speeches

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The Final Solution (Endlösung) or Final Solution to the Jewish Question (die Endlösung der Judenfrage) was Nazi Germany's plan during World War II to systematically rid the world of its Jewish population through genocide. This policy was formulated in procedural terms at the Wannsee Conference in January 1942, and culminated in the "Shoah – the Holocaust of the Jewish people, the attempt to annihilate the Jewish people," as defined by Avner Shalev, director of Yad Vashem, which resulted in the killing of two thirds of the Jewish population of Europe.

In his account, The Origins Of The Final Solution: The Evolution of Nazi Jewish Policy: September 1939 – March 1942, Christopher Browning states that no area of Holocaust studies has been studied and debated as intensively as the nature and timing of the decisions that led to the Final Solution. Browning writes, "Most historians agree there is no 'big bang' theory for the origins of the Final Solution, predicated on a single decision made at a single moment in time. It is generally accepted the decision-making process was prolonged and incremental." Raul Hilberg has stated that in the first phase of the Final Solution, in the occupied USSR, the killers moved to the victims; in the second phase, across Europe, the victims were brought to the killers.

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