The Encyclopedia Germanica. (Extract.)
“Europe since 1945”
III. Europe’s international relations.
- The Final Solution of the Jewish Problem in Europe.
The Treaty of Berlin (11 November 1940) included among its provisions the transfer from France to Germany of sovereignty over the Indian Ocean island of Madagascar. A meeting of principals (q.v. First Wannsee Conference) decided that Madagascar should be denominated as the “national home for the Jewish people,” with appropriate safeguards for the people of Europe. These safeguards included the presence of a German peacekeeping force on the island, the appointment of a German governor-general with full powers, and strict controls on travel to and from Madagascar.
The Jewish population of German Europe (Germany and Austria, the General Gouvernement, the Protectorate of Bohemia and Moravia, Slovakia, France, Holland, Belgium, Hungary, Rumania, Bulgaria, Greece) was evacuated to its new home in the course of 1941. In light of the looming Judeo-Bolshevik attack on the Reich (q.v. War of the Bolshevik Succession), this transfer of populations had to be carried out with dispatch. The Fuhrer appointed General of the SS Erich von dem Bach-Zalewski to implement the evacuation. Subsequently, the Jewish populations of Western Russia and the Baltic territories also were evacuated. Unexpectedly, the British declared their desire to evacuate the Jewish immigrant population in Palestine in order to pacify the Arab population. The general pattern was for rural populations to be concentrated in urban transit facilities; the urban transit facilities were evacuated as rail transit facilities to ports of embarkation (Odessa, Salonika, Marseilles) became available; and the evacuees were transferred to such shipping as could be made available to complete the journey through the Suez Canal.
The unanticipated expansion in the number of Jews to be evacuated, the difficult straits in which many of the Jews had been left by military operations in eastern Poland and western Russia, and the disruptions of rail and ship transportation by war all created immense problems for those administering the evacuation. Under these conditions, the transfer did not go as easily as might have been desired by all those involved. Nevertheless, it represented a remarkable achievement. In light of his success in managing the evacuation, General Bach-Zalewski was appointed as the first Higher SS and Police Leader and Governor-General for Madagascar.