The uniqueness of the Holocaust lies in its motivation - in the fact that for Nazi regime the removal of the Jews was a sine qua non of the survival of mankind, a matter of global, if not cosmic, importance, and not an ordinary political matter.2
The Final Solution and the Holocaust were unique genocides of the Jewish people, unique for its magnitude and the "rationality" of their processes. To achieve its goals of Jews' elimination, the Final Solution "rationally" targeted nation's most vulnerable and vital members - women and children.
On 20 January 1942, Chaired by Reinhard Heydrich, the Wannsee Conference played host to nine high-ranking officials, five senior SS chiefs, and local party bureaucrats from across the Third Reich. Serving as the chief dignitary and ranking member of the SS, Heydrich explained that "in view of the extreme importance of the subject, a consensus of opinion is reached regarding the "'Final Solution.'"3 From the historical perspective, there is an ongoing historical debate as to when the decision was made for the "Final Solution." Many historians argue that when Hitler made his "prophecy" speech of January 30th, 1939, he had already decided on the "Final Solution." Christian Gerlach has argued for a different timeframe, however, suggesting the decision was made by Hitler on December 12, 1941, when he addressed a meeting of the Nazi Party and of regional party leaders.4 In addition, Gerlach argued that Hitler had not decided on what the true "Final Solution" was until the euphoria of victory swept over the German leadership in the summer of 1942 in the wake of the anticipated victory over Russia.
Historians on the Holocaust largely agree that the policies and strategies of the Final Solution has been prepared and practically tested some time before the year 1942. They took the form of deportations, ghettos, and euthanasia programs. Although the deportations and the ghettos can be called murderous solutions in their own right, they were not the Final Solution. The ghettos themselves were just temporary holding pens until a more "permanent solution" was developed. The development of the "permanent solution" started with the Einsatzgruppen. The Einsatzgruppen were squads composed primarily of German SS and police personnel. Under the command of the German Security Police (Sicherheitspolizei or Sipo) and Security Service (Sicherheitsdienst or SD) officers, the Einsatzgruppen had among their primary objectives the elimination of those considered to be racial or political enemies found the occupied zones, Soviet Union territories particularly. These victims included Jews, Roma (Gypsies), and officials of the Soviet state and the Soviet Communist party. The Einsatzgruppen also murdered thousands of residents of institutions for the mentally and physically disabled. Many scholars believe that the systematic killing of Jews in the occupied Soviet Union by Einsatzgruppen and Order Police (Ordnungspolizei) battalions was the first step of the "Final Solution," the Nazi program to murder all European Jews. However, some scholars such as Dina Port contend that the Final