By December 30, 2020 Read More →

The Association between Nazism and Arab Antisemitism

June 1941. The Wehrmacht attacks the Soviet Union, for Hitler the center of the Jewish world conspiracy. From there, he intends to push further towards the Middle East. For this plan, Hitler finds an ally in the Arab world. The Fuhrer received the Grand Mufti of Jerusalem, one of the most influential men within Arab nationalism. 

Here, in the Reichskanzlei, a cooperation of many years between Hitler and the Grand Mufti takes off. Both have the same enemy: The Jews. 

[Professor Robert Wistrich, Chair, Sassoon Center for Antisemitism] Here is a critical point that is generally overlooked. The antisemitism of the Nazis has a great appeal already in the mid-1930s to many Arab nationalists and Islamic fundamentalists.

[Sir Martin Gilbert, Author and Historian] From the mid-30s, from 1936 on, Hitler and his propaganda sections made a great effort to win over the Arab peoples of the Middle East. 

[Wistrich] We see that the undisputed leader of the Palestinian Arab national movement of the 1920s, 1930s and ‘40s, Haj Amin al-Husseini, the Mufti of Jerusalem, was a fervent admirer of Adolf Hitler. 

[Gilbert] The Mufti was one of the founders of the radical Islamic movement, and Hitler saw at once that this man not only could serve his purpose, but wanted to serve his purpose. 

[Wistrich] There is a very important meeting between Hitler and the Mufti of Jerusalem on the 28th of November, 1941, of which we have a full protocol, and what Hitler explains is that this is first and foremost a war of extermination against Jewry. And he tells him to lock this secret in his heart. He’s revealing it to the Mufti. It’s extraordinary he should choose the leader of the Palestinian Arab national movement for this revelation, which is in an official German document. 

[Alfons Heck, Former Hitler Youth Officer] It seems strange to us that the Mufti, who was not a pure Aryan, was being received by Hitler. But they said no, he has the same goal, which was the extermination of the Jews. 

The Mufti calls for holy war under the swastika. He takes the lead of the Bosnian SS-division called “Handzar.” Zvonimir Bernwald is one of the last soldiers of this unit who is still alive. 

The Grand Mufti came early in 1943 to Zagreb, Sarajevo-Banjaluka, and made a lot of propaganda for the Handzar Division. 

The Muslim SS-soldiers are supposed to be brought in line with the National Socialist ideology. They are taken to Postdam for training purposes. In a villa formerly in Jewish ownership, the Mufti spreads his Muslim National Socialist ideology. Attending as interpreter: Zvonimir Bernwald.

The Grand Mufti somehow stipulated what the common grounds of National Socialism and Islam in general were.

[Gilbert] The Mufti was sent to the Balkans, where he raised a Bosnian Muslim SS-division. 

[John Loftus, Former Justice Department Prosecutor] We had several SS-divisions. There was the Handzar division, for example. Well, they have nominally Croation officers, but the rank and file unit were entirely Muslim, Arab Muslim, and they were bringing them in from all over the world. 

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