The Final Solution was the name of the Nazis' plan to kill all the Jews of Europe. It was carried out mainly by mobile killing squads and in ghettos, concentration camps and death camps.

The systematic humiliation, inhuman treatment and murder of European Jews did not start with the final solution. As early as 1919, Adolf Hitler wrote a letter to Adolf Gemlich, in which he stated that the Jewish problem would eventually be solved through a process of systematic deprivation of Jews of their privileges and having them classified as foreigners. He concluded by saying that "The final goal, however, must stedfastly remain the removal of the Jews altogether."

From 1932 through 1942, Jews' rights diminished whenever they were under Nazi occupation. They were segregated, deported, put in ghettos and murdered. When the Einsatzgruppen (special task forces) entered the Soviet Union behind the invading armed forces in late June 1941, they began shooting Jews where they were found. Roughly 500,000 Jews were killed in this way between July and December 1941.

But the administrative planning for the Final Solution was finalized at the Wannsee Conference on January 20, 1942 in Wannsee, a Berlin suburb. Here all the details of the Final Solution were worked out. The meeting was convened by Reinhard Heydrich, who was the head of the S.S. main office and S.S. Chief Heinrich Himmler's top aide. The purpose of the meeting was to coordinate the Nazi bureaucracy required to carry out the Final Solution. This constituted:

The girls won't touch me cause I got a misdirection,
and livin at night isn't helpin my complexion
The signs all say it's a social infection
A little bit of fun's never been an insurrection

Mom threw me out til I get some pants that fit
She just don't approve of my strange kind of wit
I get so excited I always gotta lose it,
then they pack me off & make me take the cure
But I don't need a cure,
don't need a cure
don't need a cure,
need a final solution

Buy me a ticket to a sonic reduction
Guitars gonna sound like a nuclear destruction
It seems I'm the victim of natural selection,
or maybe just another slide in another direction
I don't need a cure,
don't need a cure
don't need a cure,
need a final solution


Thomas-Bell-Pere Ubu
©1978 EMI Music (ROW),
Bug Music (US/Can)
Lyrics by David Thomas

Final Solution is considered to be one of post-punk band Pere Ubu's finest songs. It was their second single, and proved to be a massive success, helping propel them to a recording contract. The song itself dates back to the precursor of Pere Ubu, Rocket From The Tombs. When the members of Rocket From The Tombs split into the artistic Pere Ubu, and the punk The Dead Boys, Ubu took the songs Final Solution, Life Stinks, and 30 Seconds Over Tokyo. It ended up on the set list when Rocket From The Tombs reunited in 2003.

The song itself, however, deals with a case of suburban isolation. In Ohio, during the early 70s, the generation gap had begun to grow. While the rust belt began to form, disaffected youth took over the unwanted, abandoned downtowns of cities like Akron, and Cleveland. They helped rise to a new culture, spawning art and music movements. Music was especially prominent in the Ohio scene, creating some of the most legendary bands of any era, Devo, Pere Ubu, The Numbers, The Dead Boys, Rubber City Rebels, and a host more that never made it.

Of course, outside of the cities, in depressed suburbs, teenagers living with their folks were unaware of what was brewing in town. Either through their own ignorance, or parental disapproval, there was a rift between the youth of the suburbs and the cities. When someone in the suburbs was turned on to the growing scene, it was liable to distance them from not only their parents, but their peers as well. The lyrics of Final Solution deal with the narrator's reactions to his peers, his parents, and the world at large.

Because he's weird, the girls aren't interested. He stays out at night, and is pale. He doesn't understand the reaction, either. He just wants to have a little bit of fun! Even worse, is the reaction of his parents. He's thrown out for flaunting the fashion of the punk scene. They try and pack him off to military school to make him conform to society's demands. The lyrics draw a parallel between parental disapproval and Hitler's Final Solution to deal with the Jews. Just taking care of one punk isn't enough. They had to destroy the society.

In the end, our narrator sneaks to a concert, and escapes the drudgery of suburban life. He is among his own kind, in another world. This is his own final solution. It is a story in which any teenager who has felt ostracized for being in a subculture can relate to. Be they a geek or a goth or a punk, Final Solution is a timeless classic that will always speak to the disaffected.

Final Solution can be found on the Pere Ubu singles compilation, Terminal Tower, and in the box set Datapanik In The Year Zero.

CST Approved

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