[Biuletyn Glowney Komisji Badania Zbrodni Hitlerowskich W Polsce (Warsaw, Wydawnictwo Prawnicze) XII, 1960, pp. 27F-29F.]
[Higher SS and Police Leader in Warthegau/SS-Major Rolf-Heinz Höppner]
Reich Security Main Office Office IV B 4
Attention SS-Lt. Col. Eichmann
July 16, 1941
Dear Comrade Eichmann,
Enclosed is a memorandum on the results of various discussions held locally in the office of the Reich Governor. I would be grateful to have your reactions sometime. These things sound in part fantastic, but in my view are thoroughly feasible.
L, Hö/S Poznan July 16, 1941
Subject: Solution of the Jewish question
During discussions in the office of the Reich Governor various groups broached the solution of the Jewish question in Warthe province. The following solution is being proposed.
1. All the Jews of Warthe province will be taken to a camp for 300,000 Jews which will be erected in barracks form as close as possible to the coal precincts and which will contain barracks-like installations for economic enterprises, tailor shops, shoe manufacturing plants, etc.
2. All Jews of Warthe province will be brought into this camp. Jews capable of labor may be constituted into labor columns as needed and drawn from the camp.
3. In my view, a camp of this type may be guarded by SS-Brig. Gen. Albert with substantially fewer police forces than are required now. Furthermore, the danger of epidemics, which always exists in the Lodz and other ghettos for the surrounding population, will be minimized.
4. This winter there is a danger that not all of the Jews can be fed anymore. One should weigh honestly, if the most humane solution might not be to finish off those of the Jews who are not employable by means of some quickworking device. At any rate, that would be more pleasant than to let them starve to death.
5. For the rest, the proposal was made that in this camp all the Jewish women, from whom one could still expect children, should be sterilized so that the Jewish problem may actually be solved completely with this generation.
6. The Reich Governor has not yet expressed an opinion in this matter. There is an impression that Government President Übelhör does not wish to see the ghetto in Lodz disappear since he [his office] seems to profit quite well with it. As an example of how one can profit from the Jews, I was told that the Reich Labor Ministry pays 6 Reichsmark from a special fund for each employed Jew, but that the Jew costs only 80 Pfennige.
This document is also quoted in the book Nazi Mass Murder (YUP, 1993), it being apparently the sole documentary evidence for the planning stage of the Chelmno death camp.
Professor Hilberg refers to SS-Major Höppner as the Higher SS and Police Leader in Warthegau, when this position was, in fact, held at the time by SS-Gruppenführer Wilhelm Koppe:
The Nazi Mass Murder book, whose chapter on Chelmno is authored by Dr. Schmuel Krakowski, relegates the SS-Major to "the staff of the chief of police (who was also the SS leader) in the Warthegau." In other words, SS-Gruppenführer Koppe was his boss.
So was this just a simple case of Professor Hilberg misattributing a job title? And was the appearance of this document, in a bulletin of the Polish commission for the investigation of Nazi crimes, in 1960, the year of the Eichmann kidnapping, mere coincidence?
In any event, the document duly made an appearance in the Jerusalem court, the following year:
With the Court's permission I shall now submit a number of documents and thereafter I shall produce witnesses bearing on the question of the Litzmannstadt Ghetto - in Lodz. The first document is a letter addressed to Eichmann from a man by the name of Hoeppner. Our number is 1410. The man writes "Lieber Kamerad Eichmann."
Presiding Judge: This will be T/219.
Attorney General: He writes from Posen on 16 July 1941: "Re: Solution of the Jewish Problem. In paragraph 1 he talks of 300,000 Jews of the Warthegau waiting in the camp. In paragraph 4 he talks of the fact that a danger exists that it would no longer be possible to supply food to the Jews, and hence it should be considered whether the most humane solution would not be to liquidate the Jews by some kind of rapid-action measure. At any rate, he says "it would be more pleasant ("waere doch angenehmer") than to watch them dying of starvation."
In paragraph 5 the man seeking the humane solutions suggests that the Jewish women should be sterilized so that in this generation the Jewish Question could be finally solved.
Judge Halevi: Where were these discussions, the discussions in the Office of the Reich Representative (Reichsstatthalterei) - what is that?
Dr. Servatius: I should like to ask where the name Hoeppner comes from? I have not found it in my document.
Presiding Judge: Where does it actually come from?
Attorney General: Your Honour, we think this was so, since he was the man who handled questions of removal of the population on behalf of the Accused, in that region.
Judge Halevi: Where did he reside?
Attorney General: In Poznan. If it was not Hoeppner, we shall be glad to hear from the Accused who it was.
Presiding Judge: We see here "Hoe."
Attorney General: Yes.
Judge Halevi: What is Reichsstatthalterei?
Attorney General: That was the provincial authority in Warthegau.
Dr. Servatius: There is also the name Hoefle which is of some importance.
Attorney General: If Defence Counsel is able to help us - we shall be very glad to receive his help. As far as we know, Hoefle was in Lublin. But it is possible that the Accused knows this better than we do.
http://www.nizkor.org/hweb/people/e/eic ... 23-04.html
The next document is exhibit T/219, document No. 1410. This is a communication from the Wartheland District, sent by a Sturmbannfuehrer - whose name, according to the reference, must be Hoeppner - to Eichmann. The stamped date of dispatch is not clear. There is a stamp at the top of the communication, 16 July 1941, and another communication, dated the same day, 16 July 1941, Posen, is attached. It is difficult to understand how a communication dated 16 July 1941, can already have an incoming stamp for the same day in Berlin.
This incoming stamp is not entirely legible, but next to it are the initials "UWZ" - Umwandererzentrale (migration centre). In the bottom left-hand corner, it says "Zu den Akten" (for filing). That is how I read this note. In other words, no action was taken. The contents of the communication are particularly significant. I would first refer you to paragraph 1. This states that, as far as the Final Solution of the Jewish Question is concerned, in discussions in the Reichsstatthalterei (Reich Commissioner's Office) - probably meaning Bohemia and Moravia - various references were made to solving the Jewish Question in the Warthe District of the Reich - therefore it was not Bohemia and Moravia, but the Warthe District. Then a proposal is made as to how to solve the problem.
I now turn to paragraphs 4 and 5, five, which are of interest here.
Paragraph 4: "There is a danger this winter that it will not be possible to feed all the Jews. It should be seriously considered whether the most humane solution would not be to do away with the Jews, unless they are capable of working, by means of some quick method. In any case, this would be more convenient than letting them starve to death." The proposal is also made that, in this camp, all the Jewesses who might bear children should be sterilized, in order to provide a total solution to the Jewish Question in this generation.
Witness, did you receive this communication? What steps were taken as a result?
Accused: Had I received the communication and actually held it in my hands, I am quite sure that, despite the twenty years which have intervened, I would have remembered it, because of its drastic contents. I can, therefore, state quite truthfully that I did not receive this communication. I should like, in addition to the explanations given so far, to try and ascertain whether this communication was dispatched at all. In the covering letter it says, "I would welcome your reaction." On the left it says, "z.d.A." - zu den Akten (for filing).
In such cases, normal bureaucratic practice was not to file the correspondence away, but to keep it available for renewed submission. In addition, this communication, if I had received it, would have been the first indication to me of the physical extermination of the Jews, whereas I can remember very clearly that the first reference to this I had heard, came from the Chief of the Security Police and the Security Service, Heydrich, and was made considerably later in time. Thirdly, and in conclusion, I may observe that, if this were the original of the document or the file minute, then it would be signed; if it were the duplicate, it would be initialled - and neither is true here, neither the first nor the last page is signed. That is all I wish to say.
http://www.nizkor.org/hweb/people/e/eic ... 78-01.html
We haven't been able to find out much about SS-Sturmbannfuhrer Höppner. He did appear as a defence witness for the SD in the main IMT trial at Nuremberg. Unfortunately, there was no mention of what he was doing in 1941. His interminable testimony does, however, bear out the truth of Mr. Reitlinger's observation that, "Of the distinctions between the Security Police and the SD and of the numerous ramifications of the Main Security Office, RSHA, the Nuremberg court could never make very much."
http://www.nizkor.org/hweb/imt/tgmwc/tg ... 2-08.shtml