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June 16, 2005
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The Nazis wanted to deport all Jews to the Soviet Union, a newly discovered document suggests. Russian historian Pavel Polian, now at the University of Freiburg, said German officials apparently approached Moscow in early 1940 with the idea of shipping all Jews in the German Reich to Birobidjan — a Siberian area that Stalin had designated as a Jewish autonomous region — and western Ukraine. Two letters, one from Berlin and another from Vienna, are mentioned in the February 1940 correspondence from Yevgeny Chekmenyov of Moscow’s Department of Resettlement to Viatcheslav Molotov, then foreign minister and head of the Soviet government. In Chekmenyov’s letter, which Polian found in the Russian national archive, he asks Molotov’s advice on how to answer the German request, but mentions that he thinks the USSR already has enough Jews of its own.

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