THE Madagascar Plan
July 3, 1940
In May 1940, Heinrich Himmler advocated sending the Jews to Madagascar ‘to a colony in Africa or elsewhere’ and discussed his proposal with Hitler who responded that the plan was ‘very good and correct’.
Although some discussion of this plan had been brought forward from 1938 by other well-known Nazi ideologues, the Nazis still had no specific plan for Madagascar. So Ribbentrop ordered Franz Rademacher to create one. His plan was set down in the memorandum, ‘The Jewish Question in the Peace Treaty’ on July 3, 1940:
- French would give Madagascar to Germany
- Germany would be given the right to install military bases on Madagascar
- The 25,000 Europeans (mostly French) living on Madagascar would be removed
- Jewish emigration was to be forced, not voluntary
- The Jews on Madagascar would operate most local governmental functions but would be responsible to a German police governor
- The entire emigration and colonization of Madagascar would be paid by Jewish possessions confiscated by the Nazis
Once learning of the new potential of the plan, Adolf Eichmann, who headed the sub-office of Jewish evacuation, became involved. He released a draft, calling for the resettlement of one million Jews per year over four years, and abandoning the idea of deporting Jews into Poland. As of July 10, all such deportations were cancelled, and construction of the Warsaw ghetto was halted, since it appeared to be unnecessary.
They also expected a quick end to the war so they could start the transfer. But as the battle lasted much longer than planned and with the Invasion of the Soviet Union in fall 1940, the Madagascar Plan became unfeasible.