Today I visited the house where the Wannsee conference took place back in 1942. For those who don’t know, this conference determined to find an answer to the Jewish question, and decisions were made on the extermination processes that continued over the remaining three of the Nazi regime.
It was as absorbing as it was shocking: whenever you feel you’ve learned all you can about the atrocities of the Holocaust, something new appears. I’ve visited Auschwitz and jewish memorials and museums in London, Italy, Germany and the USA, but to be at the point where so many decisions were made brought a lot of reality to me.
While the museum – which only opened in the 1990s – focused mainly on the history of anti-Semitism in Europe, the conference only took up two of the 14 exhibition rooms. What became clear was how hard the founder worked hard to achieve the opening and recognition of what had occurred back in 1942, and to remember the millions of victims of the 90 minute meeting.
The other striking point was that those who attended were mostly deputies – and Heydrich and Eichmann aside – much lesser known members of the party. It doesn’t take the biggest names and egos to achieve something, in fact it turned out that the only disagreements were regarding how to define those of mixed Jewish blood.
As with all of the Jewish memorials I’ve visited, this was humbling and I’m glad I was able to see this place which whilst it only served as a notable place for such a short time, its impact affected generations. It’s important that this is recognised, remembered and never forgotten.