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Adolf Eichmann Proposes Madagascar Plan, 1940

On This Day in Jewish History: August 15, 1940


On August 15 1940, Adolf Eichmann proposed the Madagascar Plan: the turning of the island into a huge Jewish Ghetto where Jews would die out. The Madagascar Plan was a proposal by the German government to forcibly relocate the Jewish population of Europe to the island of Madagascar. “With Adolf Hitler's approval, Adolf Eichmann released a memorandum on 15 August 1940 (Reichssicherheitshauptamt: Madagaskar Projekt) calling for the resettlement of a million Jews per year for four years, with the island being governed as a police state under the SS”[1]. The idea to forcibly relocate the Jewish population of Europe was conjured in June 1940 with plans initiated on August 15.


Resettlement plans for European Jews to Madagascar had existed since the late 19th to early 20th century; it was not exclusive to the Nazis. Once France had fallen to the Nazis by June 1940, their colony, Madagascar, was adopted by the Germans as an ‘ideal’ location for the ‘Final Solution’ and solving the ‘Jewish Problem’. The prospect of gaining colonial territory and merchant fleets from the defeated allied powers appealed to the Nazis as an opportunity to expel the Jews and establish a “‘Grossghettos’”[2] (a super ghetto).


The plan “spread like wildfire”[3] amongst the Nazis. It also appeared very promising – indicatively since Hans Frank, the governor of the General Government, cancelled deportations of Jews into Poland on July 10, 1940, and the construction of the Warsaw ghetto was, seemingly unnecessary, and in turn halted.


“The plan was not viable due to the British naval blockade. It was postponed after the Nazis lost the Battle of Britain in September 1940, and it was permanently shelved in 1942 with the commencement of the Final Solution”[4]. After which, the Madagascar Plan was considered “impossible”[5].


The establishment of ghettos in Polish cities, such as Warsaw, resumed. “In its place, for the first time the destination of Jewish expulsion was designated vaguely as ‘a territory yet to be determined"[6].


[1] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rumbula_massacre#cite_note-FOOTNOTEEzergailis1996b239-1 (OR) ‘HOLOCAUST: THE NAZI PERSECUTION AND MURDER OF THE JEWS’, book by Peter Longerich

[2] https://bhecinfo.org/wp-content/uploads/Christopher-R.-Browning-The-Origins-of-the-Final-Solution_-The-Evolution-of-Nazi-Jewish-Policy-September-1939-March-1942-2004.pdf

[3] https://bhecinfo.org/wp-content/uploads/Christopher-R.-Browning-The-Origins-of-the-Final-Solution_-The-Evolution-of-Nazi-Jewish-Policy-September-1939-March-1942-2004.pdf

[4] https://archive.org/details/originsoffinalso00brow/page/n9/mode/2up

[5] ‘The Origins of the Final Solution’ By Christopher Browning

[6] https://bhecinfo.org/wp-content/uploads/Christopher-R.-Browning-The-Origins-of-the-Final-Solution_-The-Evolution-of-Nazi-Jewish-Policy-September-1939-March-1942-2004.pdf


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