Deportation of Stuttgart Jews to Riga, Latvia – Waiting in a Detention Camp on Killesberg Hill, Stuttgart (November 1941)
Until 1941, the Nazi regime pursued the goal of a "Jew-free German Reich" through mass deportations and expulsions. Between October 1939 and January 1940 alone, 78,000 Austrian and Czech Jews were forcibly resettled in the Polish district of Lublin. In certain cases, German Jews were also deported to Western Europe. For example, in October 1940, the Gauleiters of Baden and Saarland-Pfalz organized the deportation of 6,500 Jews to occupied France. At the same time, the "Reich Center for Jewish Emigration" (which was set up in the interior ministry after Kristallnacht) worked to promote Jewish emigration out of the Reich. But with the German invasion of the Soviet Union in the summer of 1941, Nazi Jewish policy in the German Reich took a dramatic turn. As of October 23, 1941, Jews living in the German Reich or in occupied areas were prohibited from emigrating. They were no longer to be driven out of the German sphere of power; rather, they were to be transported en masse to the occupied areas of Eastern Europe for the "final solution of the Jewish question." The systematic "resettlement" of Jews from the German Reich began on October 16, 1941. Only a few weeks later, the first of these Jews were killed in mass shootings near Kaunas (Lithuania) and Riga (Latvia). Other German Jews, together with Jews from all over Europe, were either deported to ghettos in the east or sent directly to concentration and extermination camps. According to data assembled by the "Reich Union of Jews," 164,000 Jews were living in the old German Reich in October 1941. By July 1944, only an estimated 14,500 remained.
© Bildarchiv Preußischer Kulturbesitz