The Final Solution: The House of the Wannasee Conference.
Set in serene surroundings, on the lakeside district of Wannasee the mansion at Großen Wannsee 56-58 was the location for a conference with earth-shattering consequences. In 1942, leading figures in the Nazi government and SS meet here to discuss their so-called Final Solution to the Jewish Question. The exhibition in the House of the Wannsee Conference gives an insight into this criminal meeting, and how the plan was put into practice. It details the genocide perpetrated on the European Jews through the use of original documents and audiovisual presentations.
In 1914, pharmaceutical manufacturer Ernst Marlier builds his new luxury villa on the outskirts of Berlin, and a few years later anti-Republican and right wing industrialist Friedrich Minoux takes ownership of it. He sells the villa to an SS foundation in 1941 for use as a guest house. The following year, National Socialists are already planning the Wannsee Conference. After the Second World War, the villa is handed over to the political party SPD who establish an educational centre called the August-Bebel-Institute. It serves as a school between 1952 and 1982. In 1982, Richard von Weizsäcker, Berlin's mayor, designates the house a memorial, and since 1992, on the 50th anniversary of the Wannsee Conference, it becomes an official museum and educational centre.
The first impression of the mansion is deceptive; the House of the Wannsee Conference is like any other provincial country estate – a magnificent mansion built in the Italian country house style. Inside, the rooms are well-lit and elegant, giving no hint of the events which happened here. The first exhibition room gives information about the people who attended the conference, along with documents about anti-semitism and racism in the 1920s.