Seventy Years Since the Arab Mufti Haj Amin el-Husseini, Met Hitler
The Arab Nazi Mufti of Jerusalem met Hitler the other day 70 years ago, on 28 November 1941. The seventieth anniversary of a friendly, palsy meeting between the greatest mass murderer in history, Adolf Hitler [yes, Stalin gave him stiff competition] and a would-be mass murderer who took part in Hitler's genocidal crimes. We know what went on at the meeting since two written records were made, one by Hitler's secretary, one Schmidt, the other by the Mufti himself.
Here we quote from the German record:
The Fuhrer then made the following statement to the Mufti, enjoining him to lock it in the innermost depths of his heart:
1. He (the Fuhrer) would carry on the battle to the total destruction of the Judeo-Communist empire in Europe.
2. . . . the German armies would in the course of this struggle reach the southern exit from Caucasus.
3. . . . Germany's objective would then be solely the destruction of the Jewish element residing in the Arab sphere under the protection of British power. In that hour the Mufti would be the most authoritative spokesman for the Arab world. It would then be his task to set off the Arab operations which he had secretly prepared. . .
. . .
The Grand Mufti replied that it was his view that everything would come to pass just as the Fuhrer had indicated. He was fully reassured and satisfied by the words which he had heard from the Chief of the German State. . . .
The Grand Mufti thanked him. . . .
[translated text in Walter Laqueur and Barry Rubin, editors, The Israel-Arab Reader: A Documentary History of the Middle East Conflict (seventh revised & updated edition; London & New York: Penguin Books 2008), pp 54-55. The first edition of this book came out in 1969 with Laqueur alone as editor. The record of the Husseini-Hitler discussion has been in the book from 1969 through all the revisions and updatings.
The Mufti's own record of the discussion which he recorded in his diary was published in Joseph B Schechtman, The Mufti and the Fuehrer (New York: Yoseloff 1965), pp 306-308.]
A short film of the Mufti, Haj Amin el-Husseini [also spelled al-Husayni] arriving at Hitler's offices for the meeting is at this link with narration in French. The film is obviously of great documentary importance. It was no doubt made by the Germans in Berlin and then sent to the Vichy government of France who put in a French narration and most likely supplied it to movie theaters as a newsreel. TV was not in common use. Note that Husseini gives the Nazi salute [upraised arm] when he meets Hitler. Also see this video .
This site has a lot of documentation, photos and texts, about the Mufti.
Photos of the Mufti and his associates, including a German veteran fighting with the Arab forces against Israel in 1948 as a mercenary, are here.
Some background for Husseini should be known. He belonged to the Husseini clan, one of the most influential among the Arab-Muslims in Jerusalem. The Ottoman Empire gave members of the family high posts in government, first in the Jerusalem area, then in the government of the empire as a whole, one serving as a governor in Anatolia and elsewhere. Haj Amin el-Husseini served as an officer in the Ottoman army in World War I, but I don't know whether he was involved in the Armenian genocide perpetrated by that army. However, it was the British who gave him political predominance over the Arabs in the newly created Palestine, the territorial name for the Jewish National Home juridically erected at the San Remo Conference in April 1920 and endorsed by the League of Nations in 1922. In March 1921, the British made him mufti --chief Muslim judge-- of the Jerusalem area, and in December of that same year he was made president of the newly created Supreme Muslim Council which controlled the public money of the Muslim community in the newly created Palestine. This position gave him even more power than the first. Members of the Husseini family have been prominent in the PLO, such as Faisal Husseini, his great-nephew, and Leila Shahid, now the PLO spokeswoman and chief liar representing the PLO/Palestinian Authority in France, a grand-daughter of the Mufti.
The following books and articles are useful for info, documentation and pix on the Mufti and his collaboration with the Nazis:
M S Arnoni, Rights and Wrongs in the Arab-Israeli Conflict (1968). This book has a photo of Husseini with Himmler on which Himmler has written a dedication ["Seiner Eminenz dem Grossmufti -- zur Erinnerung"] plus a pix of Husseini & Nasser.
Zvi El-Peleg, HaMufti haGadol (Tel Aviv: MOD publishing House 1989). This has the cover page of the Nazi weekly, Wiener Illustrierte which shows the Mufti saluting Muslim units of the German army [probably the Bosnian Muslim SS division] plus a few other significant pix. El-Peleg's book came out in English too but I don't know if that edition has the pix.
Martin Gilbert, Exile and Return [Philadelphia: Lippincott 1978]. This book has a pix of the Mufti shaking hands with a Nazi official wearing a swastika armband, when he arrived in Berlin.
Jennie Lebel, Haj Amin uBerlin (Tel Aviv: 1996; in Heb.) This book in Hebrew has relevant pix, inc. documents in German. Much detail here about the Mufti's collaboration with the SS in Bosnia. Jennie Lebel is/was a collateral descendant of Theodore Herzl. She used much documentation in the Serbo-Croatian language which other researchers were not capable of using.
Joseph B Schechtman, The Mufti and the Fuehrer (New York: Yoseloff 1965).
The best on line source for photos on Arab-Nazi collaboration is the site Bibliotheque Proche-Orientale [ http://aval31.free.fr/ ] in both French & English [mostly French]. It also has a link to the short video [from a film] mentioned and linked to above of the Mufti coming to his meeting with Hitler in Berlin, with soundtrack in French. This site has a lot of material on the subject of Arab-Nazi collaboration, mostly French, plus pix.
Another online source of photos of the Mufti is here: http://users11.jabry.com/
These photos come from John Roy Carlson, Cairo to Damascus (New York: Knopf 1951)
Several useful books on Arab-Nazi collaboration and Nazi influence on Arab nationalism, including the Palestinian Arab movement, are here in French & English:
Matthias Kuntzel's book with links to Amazon in English & French:
Matthias Küntzel: Djihad et haine des Juifs : Le lien troublant entre islamisme et nazisme à la racine du terrorisme international
Martin Cüppers, Klaus-Michael Mallmann
Croissant fertile et croix gammée : Le Troisième Reich, les Arabes et la Palestine
Nazi Propaganda for the Arab World
Klaus Gensicke, The Mufti of Jerusalem and the Nazis, The Berlin Years (London: Valentine Mitchell 2011)
This is a very large subject that is often suppressed from school history books on World War II and the Holocaust, and from books and articles on Arab nationalism and the Middle East in WW2.
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LINK ADDED 1-16-2013 Jonathan Tobin on why the story of the Mufti Husseini is still important today [here]