From the outside, it just looks like a beautiful villa…
The word Wannsee refers to the big lake where the villa is located. Quite an idyllic place, wouldn’t you say? It is hard to imagine that one of the most decisive moments of World War II took place here.
Ever heard of the Wannsee Conference? Wikipedia gives an elaborate definition:
The Wannsee Conference (German: Wannseekonferenz) was a meeting of senior government officials of Nazi Germany and Schutzstaffel (SS) leaders, held in the Berlin suburb of Wannsee on 20 January 1942. The purpose of the conference, called by the director of the Reich Main Security Office SS-ObergruppenführerReinhard Heydrich, was to ensure the cooperation of administrative leaders of various government departments in the implementation of the Final Solution to the Jewish question, whereby most of the Jews of German-occupied Europe would be deported to Poland and murdered. Conference attendees included representatives from several government ministries, including state secretaries from the Foreign Office, the justice, interior, and state ministries, and representatives from the SS. In the course of the meeting, Heydrich outlined how European Jews would be rounded up and sent to extermination camps in the General Government (the occupied part of Poland), where they would be killed.
Nowadays, the villa functions as a museum and a memorial. It does not only provide an insight into the conference itself, but also into the events that preceded it: the rise of Nazism and its impact on Jews.
And there it is: the room where the conference itself took place. The museum provides lots of information about the participants (with a complete biography) and the documents they signed that day.
The final part of the exhibition pays attention to the events that took place after the conference: the concentration camps and how they affect us nowadays.
After this overload of information Lars and I were quite shaken and took a short stroll in the garden.
When we went back to the bus stop, we noticed something familiar: the Wannsee lion! We had actually been here some years before… Read about it here.
I took some quick snaps of the Wannsee. Those ominous clouds brought quite a storm with them!
For more information about the villa and the conference, have a look here.