The Mufti of Jerusalem and the Nazis: The Berlin Years
Amin al-Husaini (1895/97-1974), the Mufti of Jerusalem, was the religious and political leader of the Palestinians. In the 1930s and 1940s he collaborated openly with the Nazis, and lived in Berlin from 1941-45. His national extremism, rabid anti-Semitism and his alliance with fascism continues even today to discredit the Palestinian cause. During the British Mandate he used violence, intimidation of his own people, murder and the abuse of religion as political weapons to cement his position, and this policy has, in essence, remained unchanged in the Palestinian camp.
Convinced that the Axis would win the Second World War and that he would be allowed to return to the Middle East and wield considerable power, his immediate objective was to eliminate the Jewish National Home and make sure that no Jews were allowed to escape from Nazi-occupied Europe. Even when it became clear that the Axis was losing the war, he intensified his collaboration by recruiting Muslim soldiers in Bosnia for Himmler's SS. They became notorious for their savagery. He was determined to return to a Palestine where there would be fewer Jews than when he fled in 1937, and he kept pressing the Germans to bomb Tel Aviv and Jerusalem. In due time, he planned to solve the `Jewish question' in a similar manner to the Germans.
After the war the Allies were engaged in pursuing their own political ambitions and refrained from accusing the Mufti of war crimes. Although he was not allowed to return to Palestine, he exerted considerable influence from Egypt, a country that had afforded refuge to many Nazis, and soon terror and interecine killings reigned once more in Palestine.
Klaus Gensicke is the first author to make extensive use of primary source materials from German archives. The book gives great insight into the behaviour of the Mufti and his intrigues in the Axis countries. The brutally anti-Jewish tenor of his public speeches and broadcasts defies description. There can be no doubt that he knew of and approved of the Nazis' `final solution of the Jewish question'. The official documents give evidence of his knowledge and collaboration and his ruthlessness in removing anyone who might stand in his way. He never made any secret of his contempt for `democracies' and saw tyranny and terror as the most valid means of achieving his ends. This was and continues to be his legacy to the Palestinian leadership.
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