On 20 January 1942, the nazi top leaders convened a conference at the guesthouse of the Sicherheitspolizei (security police) at Wannsee (a lake near Berlin) during which the Endlösung (final solution) to the Jewish question was discussed. The conference was lead by Reinhard Heydrich and fourteen top officials were present: a number of Ministers of State, senior civil servants, and several SS officers, including Adolf Eichmann. Hitler was not present. According to Heydrich, all the Jews in Europe had to be transported to the east (Poland) as soon as possible. The number of Jews would be decimated there through heavy forced labour, especially in road construction. The operation required a hunt for Jews throughout Europe, from east to west. The details for carrying this out were discussed per country. The Wannsee conference was a turning point in the fate of the Jews living in countries occupied by the nazis. ‘Evacuation to the East' was the formula used to disguise extermination. The year following the Wannsee conference was the bleakest year in Jewish and European history.