We all seek simple answers to complicated questions, and, ever since 1947, the meeting at the villa on the shores of the Wansee, west of Berlin, has been seen as a pivotal moment in the Second World War. It was,apparently where the Final Solution was discussed and planned.
Which is why actually reading the portentously-named Wansee Protocol comes as a bit of a surprise, and even a disappointment, to those who were expecting the "smoking gun" described by those who discovered it in the German archives. In fact, it is a rather ordinary set of minutes of a meeting organised by Eichman and chaired by Heydrich, the head of the RHSA. The meeting was briefed on the SS's plans for dealing with the "problem" of Polish and Soviet Jews behind the German front lines, crammed into unhealthy ghettoes, and posing, in Heydrich's view, an unacceptable threat to German plans for conquest and domination of the area west of the Urals. The proposed solution, in line with Nazi racial policies, was to ship them off to the east, and work them to death in support of the German war effort.
As we know, this plan was never put into effect, and fate of these Jews, though equally terrible, was actually quite different. In the end, the episode is less interesting for itself than for what it tells us about the tendency of historians, just as much as the ordinary interested public, to see what they expect to see, rather than what is actually there.