The term Final
Solution (Die Endlosung) refers to the Germansí plan to physically
liquidate all Jews in Europe. The term was used at the Wannsee
Conference held in Berlin on January 20, 1942, where German officials
discussed its implementation.
While it is impossible to ascertain the exact number of Jewish victims,
statistics indicate that the total was over 5,830,000. Six million is
the round figure accepted by most authorities.
The world outside
Nazi Europe received numerous press reports in the 1930s about the
persecution of Jews. By 1942 the governments of the United States and
Great Britain had confirmed reports about the Final Solution -
Germany's intent to kill all the Jews of Europe. However, influenced by
antisemitism and fear of a massive influx of refugees, neither country
modified their refugee politics. No specific attempts to stop or slow
the genocide were made until mounting pressure eventually forced the
United States to undertake limited rescue efforts in 1944.
In Europe, rampant antisemitism incited citizens of many German-occupied
countries to collaborate with the Nazis in their genocidal policies.
There were, however, individuals and groups in every occupied nation who,
at great personal risk, helped hide those targeted by the Nazis. One
saved most of its Jews in a nighttime rescue operation in 1943 in which
Jews were ferried in fishing boats to safety in neutral Sweden.