When people think of the Holocaust they mostly think of Hitler as the grand orchestrator. In fact Hitler was often not involved in the decision making. “His hands (Hitler’s) appear only rarely in the actual decision making of Jewish policy between 1933 and 1938. In part the vagaries and inconsistencies of Jewish policy in the first five years of the Nazi rule stem from his failure to offer guidance. ” Hitler relied on his top officials to make the policy and decisions for “a solution to the Jewish question. These top officials, excluding Hitler himself, are the ones that made the Holocaust possible, these individuals include: Hermann Goering, Heinrich Himmler, and Reinhard Heydrich. Hermann Goering was the man at Hitler’s right side; he was there from the beginning.
In Hitler’s first cabinet meeting there were only two individuals from the Nazi party that made it into the cabinet, Goering was one of them. Goering was an instrumental part of the Holocaust. His hand in the Jewish policy making was enormous, he often would disagree with Hitler and sway his opinion. Goering, in numerous private conferences with the Fuehrer, was often successful in swaying the opinion of a vacillating Hitler. ” Goering’s goal was to eliminate Jews from the German economy and to facilitate their emigration out of Germany and the other countries that Germany now had control over. Goering was convinced the Aryanizing of all Jewish money, property, and business was key to Jewish elimination out of the economy. Goering often had disputes with Joseph Goebbels, the propaganda minister.
After the attempted assassination of a German official in Vienna, Goebbels orchestrated the “Kristallnacht” (the night of crystal). This event was to “punish” the Jewish community for the attempted assassination by destruction of Jewish property, this night alone was several hundred million marks, 24 million of those were from the broken glass alone. Goering saw this event for what it was, an assault on the German insurance agencies. The Jewish victims filed insurance claims for the damage, the pay-out would only damage the German economy more.
Even though the Jews were never compensated he still thought this an irrational response and problem more for the Germans than the Jews. “The insurance question settled, Goering returned once more to the matter of Jews participating in the economy. Effective January 1, 1939 Jews would be prohibited from operating retail or wholesale establishments as well as independent artisan shops. The law also enjoined them from having employees or offering goods on the market. ” Goering imposed taxes, stripped the Jews of their money, homes and businesses.
Goering took everything away from the Jews that linked them to the German economy, in doing this it started the Nazi’s down the road of the mass genocide that would become the Holocaust. Heinrich Himmler also played a crucial role in the creation of the Holocaust. Himmler was chief of the SS, the former SA. Himmler used his SS to enforce the Jewish policies that Goering was making above him as well as some of his own policies. Himmler pushed for emigration very fiercely, rather expulsion than emigration.
He began by expelling the Soviet Jews first, “Himmler’s order to expel the Soviet Jews indicated that “harsh pressures” has become appropriate. ” His order allowed Soviet Jews only a short time frame, a matter of weeks, to emigrate out of Germany. This was not adequate time, “Finally in May, Himmler ordered the arrest of all Soviet Jews still in German and had them sent off to concentration camps. ” This is were it began, the systematic exportation of Jews to concentration camps, these camps would later become death factories.
As Chief of SS, and large contributor to Jewish policy making and enforcement, Himmler was another key player in the events that finally lead to the concentration camps. Reinhard Heydrich was the last of the top three that made the Holocaust so very possible. Heydrich was selected by Himmler to lead the Gestapo and the SD. He would prove just as intense with anti-Semitic policy making and enforcing as his chiefs above him. Heydrich was involved in all of the large scale Jewish arrests and the problem solving for the final solution.
Goering placed the responsibility of the final solution squarely on Heydrich’s shoulders, “The time had come, he (Goering) informed Heydrich, “to make all the preparations in organizational, practical, and material matters necessary for the total solution of the Jewish question in territories under German influence. ” Moreover, said Goering, “I am asking you to prepare and submit to me in the near future, a master plan for carrying out the final solution of the Jewish problem. ” Goering had laid the fate of the Jews in Heydrich’s hands. All three of these men played a crucial role in the creation of the Holocaust.
These men made and enforced the Jewish policy, taking everything that bound the Jews to Germany. The stripping of rights, property and liberties left Jews no way of survival, the next step of Ghettos and camps only seemed realistic to Nazi leaders. “Clearly the police network of SS, Gestapo, and SD headed by Himmler and Heydrich, along with Goering who controlled the economy, outmatched any contenders for control of Jewish policy. ” There were many people that helped create the Holocaust but none as important as the men mentioned above.