A proposal to sterilize 2-3 million Jews

Himmler reviewing troops in Russia during May or June 1942

‘Soviet Union, North – Reichsführer-SS Heinrich Himmler standing in a car during a parade of a mounted military band of the SS Cavalry Division.’

On the 23rd June 1942 SS-Oberfuehrer Viktor Brack wrote to the Reichsfuehrer-SS Heinrich Himmler. He him told that he had provided Brigadefuehrer Globocnik with some of his men to assist with ‘special tasks’. Globocnik was organising the building and operation of the death camps in eastern Poland, including Sobibor. He had been asked to supply more men because of the need for speed with the task.

Brigadefuehrer Globocnik pressed the view that the whole action against the Jews should be carried out as quickly as it is in any way possible, so that we will not some day be stuck in the middle should any kind of difficulty make it necessary to stop the action. You yourself, Mr. Reichsfuehrer, expressed the view to me at an earlier time that one must work as fast as possible, if only for reasons of concealment.

However SS-Oberfuehrer Brack had heard of the labour shortages facing the Reich and he had another idea about how the Jews should used – as “labor-material”. He thought he had found a way to do this that was still consistent with the idea of exterminating all the Jews in Europe:

According to my impression there are at least 2-3 million men and women well fit for work among the approx. 10 million European Jews. In consideration of the exceptional difficulties posed for us by the question of labor, I am of the opinion that these 2-3 million should in any case be taken out and kept alive.

Of course this can only be done if they are in the same time rendered incapable of reproduction. I reported to you about a year ago that persons under my instruction have completed the necessary experiments for this purpose. I wish to bring up these facts again. The type of sterilization which is normally carried out on persons with genetic disease is out of the question in this case, as it takes too much time and is expensive.

Castration by means of X-rays, however, is not only relatively cheap, but can be carried out on many thousands in a very short time. I believe that it has become unimportant at the present time whether those affected will then in the course of a few weeks or months realize by the effects that they are castrated.

In the event, Mr. Reichsfuehrer, that you decide to choose these means in the interest of maintaining labor-material, Reichsleiter Bouhler will be ready to provide the doctors and other personnel needed to carry out this work. He also instructed me to inform you that I should then order the required equipment as quickly as possible.

Heil Hitler!

Yours

VIKTOR BRACK

Letter from SS-Oberfuehrer Brack to Reichsfuehrer-SS Himmler, June 23, 1942

See Document on the Holocaust: Selected Sources on the Destruction of the Jews of Germany and Austria, Poland, and the Soviet Union – Edited by Y. Arad.

Portrait of Viktor Brack as a defendant in the Medical Case Trial at Nuremberg. [Photograph ##07333]. Brack was convicted in 1947 and executed in June 1948.

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