Alfred Rosenberg and the “Final Solution” in the Occupied Soviet Territories
Alfred Rosenberg was a virulent hater of Bolshevists and Jews and influenced Hitler to believe that the Jews were plotting to take over the world and should be driven out of Europe. Before the Nazi invasion of Russia, he was appointed Commissioner for Eastern European territory and already made provision for transporting Jews to ghettos and labor camps. Immediately after the invasion of the USSR, the killing of Jews commenced. Rosenberg was now appointed minister for the occupied territories in the East. Himmler and Goering were given authority over Rosenberg, who was not part of Hitler’s inner circle, and conflict arose between Rosenberg’s civilian authority, Himmler’s SS groups and the SD (security service), each claiming jurisdiction over the Jewish question. In September 1941 Rosenberg published “The Brown Portfolio” for Ostland and Ukraine in which he detailed directives for civil restrictions as applied to Jews. He referred to isolating Jews in ghettos and to permitting certain cultural and economic activities, being unaware of Hitler’s decision to totally annihilate Soviet Jewry. In November 1941 Rosenberg and Himmler met and Rosenberg readily agreed that Himmler would be in charge of the rapid and total biological annihilation of Soviet and European Jewry. The Brown Portfolio was amended accordingly, giving preference to liquidation over economic considerations. During 1941 most of the Jews in the Baltic States were liquidated and in 1942 the Jews in Ukraine and White Russia suffered the same fate. Even on the eve of the liberation of the camps, Rosenberg gave the orders to murder the last of the Jews.