The Madagascar Plan was a proposal by the Nazi German government to relocate the Jewish population of Europe to the island of Madagascar. Franz Rademacher, head of the Jewish Department of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs for the German government, proposed the idea in June 1940, shortly before the Fall of France. The proposal called for the handing over of control of Madagascar, then a French colony, to Germany as part of the French surrender terms.
The idea of deporting Polish Jews to Madagascar was investigated by the Polish government in 1937, but the task force sent to evaluate the island's potential determined that only 5,000 to 7,000 families could be accommodated, or even as few as 500 families by some estimates. As efforts by the Nazis to encourage emigration of the Jewish population of Germany before World War II were only partially successful, the idea of deporting Jews to Madagascar was revived by the Nazi government in 1940.
Rademacher recommended on 3 June 1940 that Madagascar should be made available as a destination for the Jews of Europe. With Adolf Hitler's approval, Adolf Eichmann released a memorandum on 15 August 1940 calling for the resettlement of a million Jews per year for four years, with the island governed as a police state under the SS. They assumed that many Jews would succumb to its harsh conditions should the plan be implemented. The plan was not viable due to the British naval blockade. It was postponed after the Axis lost the Battle of Britain in September 1940, and was permanently shelved in 1942 with the commencement of the Final Solution, towards which it had functioned as an important psychological step.