The Origins of “Operation Reinhard”: the Decision - Making Process for the Mass Murder of the Jews in the Generalgouvernement
The question of how the decision-making process regarding the murder of the Jews of Europe during World War II developed is still debated by scholars. Recent research has shown that the decision followed a complex, gradual process, and that most of the important decisions were taken in the summer and fall of 1941. This article focuses on when the operative decision was taken to murder the 2.5 million Jews of the Generalgouvernement in Poland. The author argues that the orders were given during the first half of October 1941, based on an initative by Odilo Globocnik, the SS- und Polizeiführer of the Lublin District and the man whom Himmler appointed to head the operation. The decision was closely tied to plans being developed to Germanize the Lublin District and later all of the Generalgouvernement.