Plans for emigrationAs from the founding of Hitler’s party, the N.S.D.A.P., control of Jewry was a very important point on the program. Jews were unwanted in the Third Reich and since Hitler (Bio Hitler) had come to power in 1933, their rights were severely limited. Jews were no longer allowed to use public transport, for example, they were not allowed to have relationships or sexual contacts with Arians or were banned from certain professions. It was however, Hitler’s ultimate goal to expel the Jews from the Third Reich and Eichmann was given the task to investigate where Jews could emigrate to.
Eichmann visited Palestine in 1937 but as Great-Britain had the mandate over this territory, his efforts to negotiate with Zionist leaders yielded little success. In the report he drafted about Jewish emigration to Palestine, he also stated that the establishment of a Jewish state would not be in the interest of Germany.
In Germany, Eichmann advocated increasing the pressure on Jews by forcing them to give up their economic activities and leave. In January 1937, Eichmann had suggested in a long memorandum that pogroms (organised and violent attacks on Jews as well as on their properties) were the most successful method to boost Jewish emigration. Increasing this pressure and the use of violence would become the accepted method to drive Jews out of Germany. Soon, Eichmann would establish offices responsible for the forced emigration of Jews. This would take place in Austria that had been annexed by Germany on March 12th, 1938.
Central office for Jewish emigrationWhen Austria was annexed, the German emigration policy concerning Jews was continued here. On August 26th, 1938, the Zentralstelle für Jüdische Auswanderung (Central Agency for Jewish Emigration) was established in Vienna. Eichmann, meanwhile 32 years of age, was in charge of this government department from the former Rothschild Palace on Prinz Eugenstrasse. At this office Jews were able to buy emigration papers for a fortune. In addition, their possessions were confiscated and extreme high rates of exchange were charged for the foreign currency the emigrants needed.
In order to get the emigration of Jews under way, Jews were being humiliated and the use of physical violence against them was no longer the exception. Just like in Germany, anti-Jew laws were being introduced, resulting in 8.000 Jewish enterprises being Arisiert (Arianized) and 30.000 Jews fired. In addition, Jewish physicians and lawyers were no longer allowed to practice and 12.000 families were evicted from their homes. Many Jews saw no perspective in their future and committed suicide. Within the course of a few weeks, 98.000 Jews, almost half the Jewish population of the country, left Austria. All those departing Jews left their money and possessions behind and so the emigration office became an enterprise yielding millions for the Third Reich.
Eichmann’s office was the model for the entire emigration policy of the Third Reich. Reinhard Heydrich (Bio Heydrich), chief of the SD and the future chief of the RSHA was highly satisfied with this very efficient way to drive the Jews out. Heydrich hated chaos and the bureaucratic Zentralstelle was the exact opposite. On January 24th, 1939, Göring (Bio Göring) ordered Heydrich to set up an office in Berlin, similar to that of Eichmann’s emigration office. Heinrich Müller, future chief of the Gestapo, was put in charge of this office. Under Müller’s direction 40.000 Jews were evicted from Germany in 1938 and 78.000 the next year. On July 26th, 1939, a Zentralstelle was set up in Prague, also under Eichmann’s direction. In October 1939, these Zentralstelle were combined and renamed Reichszentrale für Jüdische Auswanderung.
Head Office of State SecurityIn December 1939, Eichmann was appointed chief of Referat IV B 4 of the RSHA (Reichssicherungshauptamt). This office was responsible for Räumungsangelegenheiten (Evictions) and Jüdische Auswanderung (Jewish Emigration). As chief of this section, Eichmann obtained an important function within the Nazi terror organisation. He co-operated closely with Reichsführer-SS Himmler and the chief of the RSHA Reynhard Heydrich.
Removal of the Jews from the Third Reich was still mainly focused on forced emigration of the Jews. As Germany occupied a large part of Poland in September 1939, the number of Jews in the Third Reich increased. Eichmann drafted two separate plans for emigration, aimed at the removal of Jews from the ever expanding Third Reich. These were the Plan Madagascar and the Plan Lublin.
The Plan MadagascarThis plan was aimed at deporting Jews from Europe to Madagascar, an island under French rule off the southeast coast of Africa. It was no novel plan because it had already been suggested after the First World War by British, Dutch and Polish anti-Semites. In 1937, the Polish government dispatched a committee to Madagascar to look into the possibilities and Eichmann did the same in 1938. Only in 1940, as Hitler occupied part of France and the rest of the country was ruled by the Vichy government which collaborated with the Nazis, this plan came under the attention of high ranking Nazis. The plan was never to be carried out however because the non co-operative Vichy government did not want to give up its colony. Moreover, the British Navy enjoyed supremacy at sea which would thwart the execution of the plan.
The Plans Nisko and LublinThese plans were developed after Germany had invaded Poland on September 1st, 1939 and unleashed the Second World War. According to the agreement between the Nazis and the Soviet Union of August 1939, Poland was divided between the two powers. Germany annexed part of western Poland which was inhabited by some 600.000 Jews and also ruled the General Government in central Poland where 1.5 million Jews resided. The two plans, developed by Eichmann and his SS colleague Franz Stahlecker were aimed at the establishment of a Jewish state under German rule in the region Lublin in the General Government. Jews from all over the Third Reich were to be deported to this Jewish reservation via the Nisko transit camp.
The Nisko and Lublin plans were soon aborted owing to technical problems. "Technical problems" probably meant that no work could be found for the ethnic Germans who were to replace the Jews in Poland. The plan was also abandoned because Hitler was no longer interested in a Jewish reservation. Another, final, solution had to be found for the Jewish question. As it was, this plan was the prototype for the mass deportations of Jews in the coming years of the war. The General Government remained the assembly area for deported European Jews but they were not allowed to live in their own, German ruled state. They were housed in ghettos and labor camps where many died from the bad living conditions, starvation and maltreatment.