This villa sits at 56-58 Am Grossen Wannsee in the Wannsee suburb of southwest Berlin. It was here, on 20 January 1942, that SS Obergruppenfuhrer Reinhard Heydrich, head of the Reichssicherheitsauptsamt (Reich Main Security Office), chaired the Wannsee Conference. The conference gathered together the administrative heads of various government departments to ensure their cooperation in the Final Solution of the Jewish problem. By the end of the 90 minute meeting, the plans had been developed to transport the Jewish populations of East Europe to extermination camps as well as reduce the populations in occupied territories by 30 million people through forced starvation. A transcript of the proceedings survived, despite orders that all notes from the conference were to be destroyed, and provided considerable evidence against the defendants at the Nuremburg Trials. It's horrifying to read because these men discuss the elimination of millions of men, women, and children with the same emotional detachment as if they were talking about logistics for a corporation (puts what I write into perspective). Today the villa serves as a Holocaust memorial.
This is the main conference room in the villa where the discussions occurred. This was also the location where Kenneth Branagh's film Conspiracy was filmed.
Me standing the in the Wannsee Conference room.
After leaving the villa, we stopped at McDonald's to detox and lighten the mood. The beer they serve at McDonald's helped.
Next stop: Dachau.