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Today In History : January 20, 2022

On This Day In History
January 20th is the official date for inaugurating a newly elected president of the United States. January 20, 1937 was the first time this law was enacted when Franklin Delano Roosevelt was inaugurated to a second term. On January 20, 1941, FDR was inaugurated to an unprecedented third term as president of the United States.

The following year on January 20, 1942 Nazi officials met to discuss the details of the “Final Solution” of the “Jewish question.”

In July 1941, Hermann Goering, writing under instructions from Hitler, had ordered SS General Reinhard Heydrich to submit “as soon as possible a general plan of the administrative, material, and financial measures necessary for carrying out the desired final solution of the Jewish question.”

Heydrich met with Adolf Eichmann, chief of the Central Office of Jewish Emigration, and 15 other officials at Wannsee, a suburb of Berlin. The agenda was to devise a plan that would render a “final solution to the Jewish question” in Europe. Various gruesome proposals were discussed. Heydrich proposed simply transporting Jews from every corner Europe to concentration camps in Poland and working them to death. Some objected to this plan because they thought it would take too much time.

The word “extermination” was never used at the meeting. But the implications were clear: the “final solution” was to rid Europe of all Jews.

The “gas vans” in Chelmno, Poland, which were killing 1,000 people a day, proved to be the “solution” they were looking for. It was the most efficient means of killing large groups of people at one time.

The minutes of this conference later provided key evidence during the Nuremberg war crimes trials.

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