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October 22, 2015 6:29 am

The Truth About the Grand Mufti, Hitler and the Holocaust

avatar by Abraham Cooper and Harold Brackman

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Screenshot showing a photo of Haj Amin al-Husseini meeting SS leader Heinrich Himmler,  with the dedication: To His Eminence the Grand Mufti as a memory; 4 VII: 1943; H.Himmler.

Screenshot showing a photo of Haj Amin al-Husseini meeting SS leader Heinrich Himmler, with the dedication: To His Eminence the Grand Mufti as a memory; 4 VII: 1943; H.Himmler.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu went too far in recent comments that Nazi collaborator Haj Amin al-Husseini, the Grand Mufti of Jerusalem before and during World War II, played a “central role in fomenting the Final Solution” by trying to convince Hitler to destroy the Jews during a 1941 meeting in Berlin. But Netanyahu was right on when he emphasized the Mufti’s Holocaust complicity and activities before, during, and after the war when the Mufti lied about alleged Jewish intentions to expel Muslim and Islam from Jerusalem’s Temple Mount — the same lie that Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas repeats today in support of the current “knife Intifada.”

Netanyahu was right to remind the world that the Grand Mufti was an enthusiastic supporter of Nazi Germany  but it is not true that the Fuhrer needed the advice of Islam’s leading anti-Jewish fanatic to implement the Final Solution. That was his dream as far back as 1919 as a letter that he authored and signed now on display at the Simon Wiesenthal Center Museum of Tolerance documents.

Prime Minister Netanyahu has been accused of “a dangerous historical distortion” and even “Holocaust Denial” from the predictable political quarters who even dismiss the Grand Mufti as “a lightweight” inconsequential in the history of the Holocaust. This claim wrongly mitigates the Mufti’s mindset and crimes as one of the Hitler era’s leading anti-Jewish haters.

Who was Haj Amin al-Husseini and what was his historical significance? A relative of Yasser Arafat as well as ally of Hassan al-Banna, originator of Hamas’ parent organization, the Muslim Brotherhood, the Grand Mufti was a moving force behind Palestinian Jew hatred, from the riots of 1920 and 1929 through the 1936-1939 bloody Arab Uprising against the Holy Land’s Jewish community, long before his WWII support of Nazi Germany.

According to Historian Robert Wistrich’s Hitler and the Holocaust (2001), the Mufti escaped British scrutiny in Jerusalem after the war’s outbreak for the more friendly confines of Berlin, where, in November, 1941, he had tea with Hitler who asked him “to lock in the innermost depths of his heart” that he (Hitler) “would carry on the battle to the total destruction of the Judeo-Communist Empire in Europe.” In 1942, Fred Grobba wrote approvingly of the Mufti’s visit with members of the Nazi elite to “the concentration camp Oranienburg . . . . The visit lasted about two hours with very satisfying results . . . . the Jews aroused particular interest among the Arabs. . . . It [the visit] . . . made a very favorable impression on the Arabs.”

In 1943, the Mufti extended his relations with the German Foreign Office and Abwehr directly to the SS Main Office. Gottlob Berger arranged a meeting between al-Husayni and SS chief Heinrich Himmler on July 3, 1943. Al-Husayni sent Himmler birthday greetings on October 6, and expressed the hope that “the coming year would make our cooperation even closer and bring us closer to our common goals.” The Grand Mufti also helped organize a Muslim Waffen SS Battalion, known as the Hanjars, that slaughtered ninety percent of Bosnia’s Jews, and were dispatched to Croatia and Hungary. The Mufti also made broadcasts to the Middle East urging Arabs and Muslims to honor Allah by implementing their own Final Solution.

After the War, Great Britain, the U.S., and Yugoslavia indicted the Mufti as a war criminal, but Yugoslavia dropped its extradition request to France, and legal proceedings were abandoned so as not to upset the Arab world. Escaping back to the Middle East, Al-Husseini continued his genocidal exhortations and rejectionist demands that the Jewish presence be erased from Palestine continued unabated before and during the 1948 War by five Arab states against Israel. Only then, did his influence gradually decline. He died in 1974, not long after Arab armies almost succeeded in destroying Israel in an attack launched on Judaism’s holiest day, Yom Kippur.

Far from “a light weight,” the Grand Mufti will be remembered as one the twentieth century’s most virulent Jew haters and a key cheerleader for Hitler’s genocidal Final Solution.

Rabbi Abraham Cooper is Associate Dean of the Simon Wiesenthal Center. Dr. Harold Brackman, a historian is a consultant for the Simon Wiesenthal Center 

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  • patrick

    I thought it was a given that the Grand Mufti was a player in the Final Solution. I’m hoping to see the day when being an Anti-Semite is looked down upon; these days it doesn’t seem to raise an eyebrow.

  • Antoaneta

    Food for thought till Monday! Time for changing alliances.- be that Netanyahu is inclined to alleviate to some extent the guilt of Germany in exchange of some future concessions on Iran.Indeed Mrs Merkel somehow overdid things during the migration crisis..On the historical accuracy do not know the role of the Mufti-a catalyst or what…But this quote from November 1941 could it be that Hitler was that crazy at the time to say this about the Jews and about the USSR? His attack on the Soviet Union came somehow earlier due to misintelligence..

  • steven L

    The Mufti was a VIRULENT co-conspirator in antisemitic activities.

  • The Palestinian grand Mufti played a central role in plotting the pro-Nazi coup in Iraq.

    The Mufti was personally responsible for the deaths of 20,000 European Jews murdered in the Nazi Holocaust. He organised the killing of 12,600 Bosnian Jews by Muslims, whom he recruited to the Waffen-SS Nazi-Bosnian division. He personally stopped 4,000 children, accompanied by 500 adults, from leaving Europe and had them sent to Auschwitz and gassed; he prevented another 2,000 Jews from leaving Romania and 1000 from leaving Hungary for Palestine: they too were sent to death camps.

    Only three years after the end of WW ll, the members of the Arab League were bent on emulating the Nazis. They set about making the Arab Middle East Judenrein.They applied Nuremberg-style laws, criminalising Zionism, freezing Jewish bank accounts, instituting quotas, imposing restrictions on jobs and movement. The result was the mass exodus and spoliation of of a million Jews. Yet very few Arabs acknowledge they are to blame for the so-called Jewish nakba. Holocaust denial goes hand-in-hand with Jewish nakba denial.

    In 1945, the Mufti of Jerusalem should have been tried as a war criminal at Nuremberg. He was indicted, judged and convicted by Yugoslavia for crimes against humanity, arising from his pivotal role in the Handschar and Skandeberg SS divisions which deported Balkan Jews from Kosovo, Macedonia and Thrace. But the Allies shrank from offending the Arabs.

    Not only has the virus of Nazi antisemitism never left the Arab and Muslim world, it has grown exponentially. Muslim immigrants have carried the the virus of Jew-hatred back into European countries. Saudi petrodollars have financed the spread of Islamism, with its implicit antisemitism, worldwide.

    That is why today, in the Arab and Muslim world, Holocaust denial is alive and well.

    The ghost of Nazi-inspired, anti-Jewish bigotry was never exorcised from the Arab world. In fact Arabs became its torch-bearers. Adolph Eichmann himself hoped his “Arab friends” would continue his battle against the Jews who were always the “principal war criminals” and “principal aggressors.” He hadn’t managed to complete his task of “total annihilation,” but the Muslims could still complete it for him.

  • Fred

    There are still out there those who want to whitewash the Mufti. His followers like Abbas abound with hatred in their hearts.

  • SS Hauptsturmfuehrer Dieter Wisliceny, a close associate of Adolf Eichmann, in sworn testimony at Nuremberg makes clear the critical role the Mufti played in the framing of the Final Solution. He was positioned by history to know much more about the origins of the Final Solution than anny if Netanyahu’s critics.

  • Jack Tucker

    Yes, Husseini was a virulent anti-Semite. Yes, he was a cheerleader for exterminating the Jews. But to say that he was a“central role in fomenting the Final Solution,” that Hitler did not want to kill the Jews until Husseini talked him into it is ludicrous. Here is a speech Hitler gave in 1939, long before he had ever met with the MUfti:

    “In the course of my life I have very often been a prophet, and have usually been ridiculed for it. During the time of my struggle for power it was in the first instance only the Jewish race that received my prophecies with laughter when I said that I would one day take over the leadership of the State, and with it that of the whole nation, and that I would then among other things settle the Jewish problem. Their laughter was uproarious, but I think that for some time now they have been laughing on the other side of their face. Today I will once more be a prophet: if the international Jewish financiers in and outside Europe should succeed in plunging the nations once more into a world war, then the result will not be the Bolshevizing of the earth, and thus the victory of Jewry, but the annihilation of the Jewish race in Europe!”
    Adolf Hitler – January 30, 1939

    Hitler did not need any exhorting to exterminate the Jews. That Netanyahu said he did is a disgrace, and is an example of how his rhetoric ends up inflaming the Arabs and pouring oil on the fire of their hate.

    • The Mufti was working with Hitler long before 1939 – he simply didn’t meet him face-to-face until 1941.

  • Rabbi Manuel Gold

    The Grand Mufti is responsible for much more than Cooper and Brackman suggest. As someone who grew up in the 1930s and 1940s, and followed the daily reports in the Yiddish press, the Mufti was already an arch villain and anti-Semite. He was the first to insist that the Western Wall was part of the Muslim Sharam (our ancient Temple Mount) and proposed that the British Mandate government forbid Jews to worship at the Wall which was only available in a narrow alley. (The historical details are horrific.) This was a part of what lead to the 1929 massacre of Jews.

    Note, that this claim, that the Wall is part of Muslim holy space, and has been illegally expropriated by Jews, has again been revived and proposed to a UN agency (and then dropped).
    We’re back to the Mufti’s virulent attacks of the Nazi era.

    Also omitted by the authors is the fact that the the Mufti, in the early 1940s told the Nazis that they should reject proposals to ransom hundreds of Jewish children from nazi occupied countries since they would come to Palestine, condemning the to death in the camps.
    Although the Mufti may not have been the source of the “final solution” he was complicit.
    He met with Hitler in the fall of 1941. The Wannsee Conference which finalized and the implementation of the death camps and ovens did not take place until February 1942, so Netanyahu can be forgiven for his conflation of the details. There is no doubt that the the virulent hatred of many Palestinians today mirrors the Mufti’s plan to kill all the Jews of Palestine/Israel.

    The Mufti’s influence in creating today’s terrorist violence continued long after WW II, when he fled to the safety of Egypt and Lebanon, and didn’t end with his death in 1974. The Muslim Brotherhood and its many offshoots, Hamas, Hezbollah, etc. owe their birth in great part to the
    Mufti. So the assault on Netanyahu by so many Jewish organization, and the New York Times is destructive to the defense of Israel at this precarious time. Also there are many other historical studies of the Holocaust period that emphasize variant views of the role of the Mufti. One book alone does not present the whole story in its entirety.

    Rabbi Manuel Gold

  • Atilla

    So where did PM Netanyahu go too far ??!!

    Facts are facts, don’t split hairs over exact wording for the sake of petty historical ” accuracy “. Your comments confirm Netanyahu’s

    You are supposed to be on the same side

  • michelle kahn

    It is a demonic revolving door! Incitement and hatred are so intense that unless HaShem creates a miracle these emotions cannot be erased from a people whose children have grown up being taught inschools to hate and kill Jews. Bottom line: may the “Shomer she olam shomer His beloved nation and my His beloved nation do tshuva and “Shomer HaShem’s diary – that being the Chumash and all related teachings.

  • Esther Berkowitz

    Very interesting article. Where can I read more about the Grand Mufti?

    Thank you.
    Esther B.

  • Meron Medzini

    Where did you get the idea that Arab armies almost suceeded in destroying Israel in the 1973 Yom Kippur War? The Egyptians did not intend to destroy Israel, they told Kissinger on day 1 of the war that it will be a limited war (and it was).

    • HamanSlayer

      Yes, Meron. It was “limited” to the Hava Sinit (Chinese Ranch) in Sinai and to the 105th km. on the road to Cairo. Oh, and of course, to the section of the Golan Heights near Kuneitra, right? I suppose ANY war is “limited…”

    • john train

      Of course they said that. Had they said otherwise then US reinforcement would have started sooner. The war was limited because the Egyptians got clobbered the Israelis were told to stop in place.

  • So basically Bibi was right.

  • So, basically Bibi was right.

  • Bibi’s statement was important to attack Palestinian lies: it’s the condos; no, it’s the settlements; no, it’s the “occupation”; no, it’s Israeli self-defense. The BDS movement is a travesty; Jewish kids on campus fight it daily. Our press is one-sided – every battle to obtain fair coverage hard fought and short-lived. It was the best offense to-date, because it is getting coverage and drowning out Palestinian faux victim hood.

  • When you get run out of one or two bars you can make the excuse that it’s the Bar.When you get Run out of 127 Bars maybe you should reflect on why it is, So it is with Jews , Time to wonder why Jews have been run out ot hundreds of Countries over the centuries , Sometimes Twice out the same Country.
    Please look in the mirror , People are not Born Anti-Jewish !

    • Reform School

      Like you, most learn hatred from their own environment. How long before meeting any did YOU learn to hate Jews?

    • HamanSlayer

      William, what nonsense. Don’t you know that the reason Jews were persecuted — mostly in Christian countries — because they killed Jesus? And because they drink Christian children’s blood on Passover? (Well also, perhaps, because they mostly have hooked noses…)

      I do not know if people are or are not born anti-Jewish, but just for a second, stop and investigate: why are some people in areas where there are no Jews at all anti-Semitic?(I have come across writings which said that anti-Semitism is often genetic, but I don’t believe it.)
      It’s what they were brought up with — whether in Europe, or in places where the likes of Hajj ya Kalb Amin Husseini teach hatred coupled with fear.

      What’s YOUR reason for being anti-Semitic, William?