Jews were were given a gradually harder and harder treatment from the moment the nazis rose to power. Each country that they overran became a very unwelcoming place for any jews in the clutches of nazi dominance, but the actual systematic mass killing of jews only started with the invasion of the Soviet Union, on the 22nd of June 1941. They were usually killed by so called Einsatzgruppen, with bullets, not gas. The gas came later.
By december of that same year, 1941, it was abundantly clear that the invasion had failed and that Germany and its allies were locked into a deadly war of attrition with the Soviets and pretty much the rest of the world.
You would think that the nazis would use all available resources to fuel their increasingly more desperate war effort.
Nope, that’s not how true evil reasons.
The reverse happened.
The annihilation efforts were stepped up. Imagine all the manpower, trains, infrastructure and resources that were needed to systematically wipe out millions.
Even as late as the spring of 1944 the nazis launched a very efficiently run operation to kill the Hungarian jews. Up until then they had been safe in Hungary, a German ally, but as the tide of the war went against Germany, it became disloyal and the Germans took over and almost immediately deported and killed most jews in record time…
‘From May 15 to July 9, 1944, Hungarian gendarmerie officials, under the guidance of German SS officials, deported around 440,000 Jews from Hungary. Most were deported to Auschwitz-Birkenau, where, upon arrival and after selection, SS functionaries killed the majority of them in gas chambers.’ Source: US holocaust memorial service.
All this when the regime was struggling to surive…
Sebastian Haffner, in his brilliant book, the meaning of Hitler, knew the war was lost as early as december 1941, and from that point out was fighting for more time to kill more jews. It’s true that the infamous Wannsee conference, where lots of nazis official were told about the final solution, was held relatively late, on the 20th of January 1942. The holocaust, apparently, really got up to speed only after it was clear that Germany might very well lose the war…
How evil do you need to be if you’d rather kill lots of people then use all your available strength to keep yourself alive?