Jun 16, 2014
For nearly 2,000 years, since the Roman destruction of Jerusalem, the Jewish people have roamed the Earth. By the Middle Ages, most wound up settling in Eastern & Southern Europe. It’s not a secret that anti-Semitic attitudes flourished throughout Europe from the Middle Ages onward.
By the 1800s, both Jewish Nationalists and Anti-Semites were looking for a place for the Jews to resettle. . . or to just stick them out of the way. One suggested location was Madagascar.
It was an idea that many had. British, Dutch, and Polish Anti-Semites had toyed with the idea since before the turn of the century. A fellow by the name of Paul de Lagarde was the first to suggest sending Jews to the African island. Throughout the first third of the 20th century, various countries looked into Madagascar. As late as 1937, Poland established a commission to see if it was practical to ship the Jews there. The Polish Commission figured that the island could only hold around 50,000 people. The Poles eventually decided that the idea was unfeasible.
It wasn’t long, however, before this idea was revisited. . .
The Nazi Party took power in Germany in 1933. Shortly thereafter, the attacks on Jews began. The Nazis did their best to ‘encourage’ German Jews to leave Germany of their own accord.
The higher-ups in the Party really liked the idea of sending any Jews that hadn’t left to somewhere overseas – the more desolate and remote the better. The wheels started turning on this plan in 1938 when Hermann Göring, Joachim von Ribbentrop, and several other high ranking Nazis begain planning the deportations. Madagascar was the ideal location. Franz Rademacher, head of Jewish Department of the Foreign Affairs Department, began to draw up plans.
Initially, settling the Jews on Madagascar posed some diplomatic difficulty. The island was a colony of France when the plan was being developed, and Germany would need French approval. After Germany defeated France in 1940, however, this was no longer an issue. As part of the surrender terms, France gave Madagascar to Germany so that it could be the resettlement location of all European Jews.
Shortly thereafter, notorious Nazi Adolf Eichmann got involved. As head of Jewish Affairs & Evacuation, he developed a somewhat different plan. For starters, he called for the complete deportation of Jews in Europe. Secondly, whereas the original plan called for the colony to be self-governing, this new plan maintained that the island would become a police state under SS control & operation. In effect, Madagascar would become a gigantic ghetto.
A new bank would be established which would confiscate and liquidate all Jewish assets to fund the deportation & resettlement. In order to transport four million Jews to Madagascar, the Nazis counted on taking over the British merchant fleet after their anticipated invasion of Great Britain.
When Germany lost the air war over England during the Battle of Britain and the invasion was shelved, the Madagascar Plan fell by the wayside. Hitler asked SS Chief Heinrich Himmler to think of a new plan for getting rid of the Jews.
At first he suggested shipping all European Jews to Siberia once the Soviets were defeated. This plan was also nixed when the German fortunes in the Soviet Union started collapsing in the Winter of 1941-42.
Growing impatient, Hitler decided that all Jews in Europe needed to be exterminated before the war ended. On 12 February 1942, Hitler brought up the Madagascar Plan for the last time. Now Jews were to be ‘evacuated to the East.’
Nine months later, the British liberated Madagascar from Vichy France, rendering the Madagascar Plan moot anyways.
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