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Even up until 1941 it was possible for Jews to leave Germany and what had been Austria. Many were imprisoned, many were killed but there was no policy to attempt to exterminate them. It is believed that Hitler planned to move the entire Jewish population of Europe to a place at the extreme of Russia, once he had conquered it. However, the invasion of Russia in 1941 marked a watershed in the treatment of Jews. From this moment on the organised murder of Jewish communities in the eastern territories occupied by the Germans began.

When Poland was conquered in 1939 it was divided into two parts, one of which was to be a "dumping ground for Jews, Gypsies and Poles unsuited to the Reich". The policy, carried out by Heydrich, was simple and applied to 2,000,000 Jews:

  1. Move all Jews as fast as possible into cities.
  2. Move all Jews out of the German Reich into Poland.
  3. Move the remaining 30,000 Gypsies into Poland
  4. Eject all Jews from German territories in freight cars.

From random killings and massacres, a new policy developed which would finally lead to the extermination of millions of Jews from across Europe.