Seventy-five years ago, at a villa on the Wannsee, the Nazis planned the Holocaust. But this wasn’t a turning point, says Laurence Rees – they were already intent on genocide
On January 20 1942, one of the most infamous meetings in history took place on the outskirts of Berlin. Fifteen men attended the Wannsee conference and discussed the Nazis’ Final Solution – the extermination of the Jews.
Reinhard Heydrich, Head of the Reich Main Security Office, invited a number of functionaries in the Nazi state to assemble at an elegant villa on the shore of the lake [Wannsee]. They ranged from the relatively senior (Heinrich Müller, the head of the Gestapo) to the relatively junior (Adolf Eichmann, the so‑called Jewish expert among the Nazis who took the minutes of the meeting).