Regarding Martin Luther's Memorandum of 21 August 1942 about diplomatic progress toward the "Total Solution" of Europe's Jewish Problem
Germany's Undersecretary of State Martin Luther was in charge of Section D III, which dealt with foreign states in regard to the Jewish question and racial policy, and provided information about events in Germany to representatives of foreign governments.
In a memorandum that later became Nuremberg document NG-2586-J, Luther gives a report on what had been accomplished diplomatically as of August 1942 in terms of the "total solution" of the Jewish problem. It was Luther's job to persuade governments to cooperate in this project. At the time, the project was encountering less than complete cooperation from Hungary and Italy, some resistance due to the influence of Jewish money, and some interference from Catholic clergy in Slovakia. In Italy's case, perhaps despairing at the lack of cooperation, Luther suggests the compromise of asking Italy keep its Jewish citizens within its own borders. The memorandum concludes with a request for permission to continue negotiations.
The "total solution" of the Jewish Problem in this document means getting the Jews out of the heart of Europe, and eventually out of Europe altogether. This is consistent with statements attributed to Hitler in the Tischgespräche.
Luther narrates how the policy changed in response to circumstances, but at its core remained essentially the same. At first, it was a matter of encouraging Jews to leave Germany:
"The principle of the German Jewish policy after the seizure of power consisted in promoting with all means the Jewish emigration. For this purpose in 1939 Marshal General Goering in his capacity as Commissioner for the Four Year Plan established a Reich Control Office for the Jewish emigration and the direction was given to Gruppenfuehrer Heydrich in his capacity as Chief of the Security Police."
In June 1940 when Germany suddenly achieved continental hegemony, the continent as a whole became Germany's concern. Instead of Jewish emigration from Germany, Jewish emigration from Europe was now sought:
"The fact that the Fuehrer intends to evacuate all Jews from Europe was communicated to us as early as August 1940 by Ambassador Abetz after an interview with the Fuehrer.... Hence the basic instruction of the Reich Foreign Minister to promote the evacuation of the Jews in closest cooperation with the agencies of the Reichsfuehrer-SS, is still in force and will therefore be observed by D III."
It was always a matter of "evacuation." The only thing that changed was the destination. In 1940, Madagascar seemed an opportune location for a Jewish homeland, because it was among the prospective sites mentioned by the founder of Zionism, Theodor Herzl, and it just happened to belong to France. Since France was under Germany's thumb at this point, it was a fait accompli, if only Britain, which controlled the sea between Europe and Madagascar, could be persuaded to make peace.
In a letter of 24 June 1941, two days after the commencement of Operation Barbarossa, Heydrich informs the Reich Foreign Ministry that a "territorial final solution" has superseded the Madagascar Plan. If Barbarossa had succeeded, as seemed unquestionable in the first weeks, it would have placed large expanses of sparsely populated land at Germany's disposal. On 31 July 1941 (a time when Germany's forces were advancing rapidly into Russia) Goering tells Heydrich to make preparations for the deportation of the Jews in that direction. Thereafter Heydrich arranges the Wannsee Conference (20 January 1942) for the coordination of all agencies involved in the project.
"In the conference Gruppenfuehrer Heydrich explained that Reichsmarschall Goering's assignment to him had been made on the Fuehrer's instructions and that the Fuehrer instead of emigration has now authorized the evacuation of the Jews to the East as the solution...."
The Wannsee Conference was called because there was now the imminent expectation of a simpler alternative to the Madagascar Plan for separating Jews from European society. Luther gives more detail about the new plan in the penultimate paragraph:
"The deportation to the Government General is a provisionary measure. The Jews will be moved on further to the occupied Eastern territories as soon as the technical conditions for it are given."
Although Luther eight months earlier had attended the Wannsee Conference, where, it has been alleged, the destruction of all European Jews was planned, killing is neither mentioned nor implied anywhere in this document: it says the opposite.
The so-called Wannsee Protocol, a very questionable document for reasons detailed by Professor Robert Faurisson*, also does not mention any active measures to be taken to kill Jews, but it contains some sinister passages. This document, the Luther Memorandum, has the very great merit that there is no obvious reason to doubt its authenticity.
* "I observe that, for some time, it has been realised that these strange minutes (for the word "Protocol" is a misnomer) are full of oddities and that they lack any guarantee of genuineness. They were typed on ordinary paper, with no indication of place or date of issue, no indication of point of origin, no official letterhead, no reference, no signature." From Faurisson's letter to Le Monde
dated 26 February 1979.