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Gassing Victims: Letter Stating the Use of “Gassing Devices” as Part of the Final Solution

(October 25, 1941)

Viktor Brack was a civil servant in the “euthanasia” program who had served in 1930 and 1931 as Heinrich Himmler’s driver. In 1934, he was appointed the head of Central Office II of the Chancellery of the Führer, where he oversaw the murder by gas of thousands of mentally and physically handicapped victims. The jurisdiction of the Central Office II was “State and Party Affairs,” under which Brack created a bureaucracy for the “euthanasia” to be imposed on Germany’s undesirable citizens. Together with his deputy, he oversaw many of the details of the T4 program. Hinrich Lohse was the Reich Commissar for the East - for the combined Baltic States and Russia. In 1941, he moved into his offices in Kovno, and then Riga. On October 4, 1941, Lohse sent a letter from Riga to court judge and Adviser on Jewish Affairs Dr. Erhard Wetzel, “re: the solution of the Jewish question.” Three weeks later, on October 25, Wetzel replied to Lohse.



The Reich Ministry
for the Occupied Eastern Territories

 Berlin, October 25, 1941

Expert AGR Dr. Wetzel


Re: Solution of the Jewish Question

1. To the Reich Commissar for the East

Re: Your report of October 4, 1941 in respect to the Solution of the Jewish Question

With reference to my letter of October 18, 1941, this is to inform you that Oberdienstleiter Brack of the Führer Chancellery has agreed to collaborate in the production of the required shelters and gassing devices. At this time, the envisaged devices are not available in sufficient quantity; they will first have to be manufactured. Since in Brack’s opinion, the manufacture of the devices in the Reich will cause much greater difficulties than doing it on the spot, Brack considers it most expedient to send his people to Riga, especially his chemist Dr. Kallmeyer, who will effect all further steps there. Oberdienstleiter Brack points out that the procedure in question is not without danger, so that special protective measures are necessary. In these circumstances, I request that you address yourself to Oberdienstleiter Brack in the Führer Chancellery through your Higher SS and Police Leader and request the dispatch of the chemist Kallmeyer and other assistants. I should inform you that Sturmbannführer Eichmann, the expert for the Jewish Question in the RSHA is entirely in agreement with this process. According to information from Sturmbannführer Eichmann, camps for Jews are to be set up in Riga and Minsk, to which Jews from the Old Reich territory may also come. At this time, Jews are being evacuated out of the Old Reich to Litzmannstadt (Lodz), and also other camps, to then later be used for labour in the east insofar as they are capable of work.

As things now are, there are no objections if the Jews who are not capable of work, are eliminated with the Brackian remedy. In this way, events such as those that, according to a report in front of me, took place on the occasion of the shootings of the Jews in Vilna, and which, considering that the shootings were carried out in public, can hardly be excused, will no longer be possible. On the other hand, those capable of work will be transported for labour in the east. It goes without saying that the male and female Jews capable of work will be kept apart.

I request a report on your further measures.

Source:Holocaust History Project