Nazi Hatred Survives in the Arab World

The Nazi influence in Arab reaction to Israel.

Shelomo Alfassa,

Shelomo Alfassa
Shelomo Alfassa
Arutz 7
As a Turkophile, who understands the history of the inter-relationships between both Jews and Muslims throughout the Ottoman Empire, I am saddened whenever I read an article that mentions or insinuates that Jews and Arabs never got along. What is known is that Jews and Muslims, in Arab, Persian and other Islamic countries, certainly did get along. The fact that there was never officially sanctioned, state-sponsored anti-Jewish attacks in the Ottoman Empire seems to have gotten buried among the piles of propaganda that are continually spewed out in the modern world media.

If one reads books by Sephardic Jewish authors, they will tell you of the many experiences - positive experiences - Jews enjoyed with their Arab neighbors and friends over the centuries. Was it perfect? Never. But there was never state-sponsored hatred of the Jews like there was in Christian countries.
"God in heaven; on earth, Hitler!" - WWII-era Arabic saying.

The virulent hatred that resonates today throughout the modern world, that ever-agonizing disgust felt for the Jewish people, is not an old-time Arab feeling toward the Jews. This hatred is a result of the Nazi influence, which never died. Although the Allies destroyed the Third Reich, what has lived on is the Nazi spirit. This spirit of hatred festered through the relationship between Amin Al-Husseini, the Grand Mufti of Jerusalem, and Hitler.

The relationship between Al-Husseini and the Nazis strengthened when the Mufti visited the German Consul General in Jerusalem in 1937. After that, he met with Adolph Eichmann when he visited Palestine. This was when the Nazis were examining the possibility of deporting German Jews to Palestine. It has been reported that, based on war-crimes testimony and the Eichmann trial transcripts, Eichmann and the Mufti enjoyed a close relationship. The Mufti would eventually become the spiritual leader of the Islamic legions that were trained by, and for, the Nazis.

The rise of Hitler to power in 1933 marked a turning point in the Mufti's activities. He sent a cable of congratulations to the Nazi leader and expressed support for the boycott of Jews in Germany. Soon after, Hitler's Mein Kampf was appeared in four different Arabic translations and circulated in Beirut, Baghdad, Cairo and Berlin. In the first few months of World War II, shops in the towns of Syria would frequently show posters with Arabic sayings: "In heaven, God is your ruler; on earth, Hitler." In the streets of Aleppo and Damascus, a popular verse in a local dialect said: "No more 'monsieur', no more 'mister' - God in heaven; on earth, Hitler!"

Anti-Jewish feeling continued to mount in the Middle East during the 1930s, as the fascist and Nazi regimes and doctrines made increasing sense to many Arab nationalists. Both the German and Italian regimes were active in propaganda in the Arab world. King Abdul-Aziz of Saudi Arabia sought German arms and contacts, and was favorably received. Various delegations of Syrians and Iraqis attended the Nuremberg party congresses; and there was much pro-German sentiment in Egypt.

Nazi propaganda broadcasts from Berlin and Stuttgart, as well as broadcasts from fascist Italy, added fuel to the ongoing anti-Jewish campaigns. The Mufti's radio broadcasts were some of the most violent pro-Axis broadcasts ever produced. He had at least six stations - Berlin, Zeissen, Bari, Rome, Tokyo and Athens. He used these radio broadcasts to tell Muslims across the world to commit acts of sabotage and kill the Jews.

The Mufti developed a world headquarters in Germany. In an office in Berlin, his activities included: 1) radio propaganda; 2) espionage and fifth column activities in the Middle East; 3) organizing Muslims into military units in Axis-occupied countries, in North Africa and Russia; and 4) establishment of the Arab Legions and the Arab Brigade. The latter groups were trained by the Nazis and used by them.

Hitler made it clear that the project of killing Jews was by no means confined to Europe. As he explained to the Mufti, "his hopes of military victory in Africa and the Middle East would bring about the destruction of Jews in the Arab world." In November of 1941, Hitler in
Nazi regimes and doctrines made increasing sense to many Arab nationalists.
formed the Mufti at a meeting in Berlin that he intended to kill every Jew living in the Arab world, including those in Palestine, as well as "Syria, Iraq, Iran, the Arabian peninsula, Egypt and French Northwest Africa." Hitler asserted that, in the event of a German advance into the Middle East, the German objective would be the "destruction of Judaism" in Palestine.

During 1941, in Mosul, Iraq, pro-Nazi Arab activists continued to propagandize against Jews. In Baghdad, when the war film For Freedom showed in cinemas, audiences cheered Hitler and booed Churchill.

In October 5, 1943, the Mufti arrived in Frankfurt, Germany, visiting the Research Institute on the Jewish Problem. There, he declared that Arabs and Germans were "partners and allies in the battle against world Jewry." The Mufti continued to beam radio sermons to the Balkans, the countries of North Africa and the Muslims in India. Arabs in Syria, Lebanon, Palestine, Iraq and Egypt were called upon for jihad against the British; his statements included the suggestion that Muslims could "save their souls by massacring the Jewish infidels" they came across.

In a letter to Heinrich Himmler, dated September 28, 1944, General Berger of the Waffen SS reported: "Today, the Mufti came to see me for a long talk. He talked about his work and noted happily that the day is nearing when he will head an army to conquer Palestine."

It was said the Mufti even visited Auschwitz and Maidanek. In both of these death camps, he paid close attention to the efficiency of the crematorium, spoke to the leading personnel and was generous in his praise for those who were reported as particularly conscientious in their work.

After VE Day, May 8, 1945, Nazi officials were prepared to allow Jews to be diverted from concentration camps and even let children go to Palestine via "illegal" ships - all in exchange for cash. Yet, Al-Husseini insisted they get dispatched to concentration camps. That same year, liberated Yugoslavia sought to indict the Mufti as a war criminal for his activities in Bosnia, but with help from the Nazi SS, the Mufti had already escaped Germany with other members of his clan.

While it is easy to reinvent history, it is not easy to overlook original, first-hand documents, tens of thousands of which show the Mufti of Jerusalem in bed with Hitler. As Dr. Bernard Lewis of Princeton University recently said, "The Nazi propaganda impact was immense. We see it in Arabic memoirs of the period...."

The fierce anti-Jewish hatred that was exacerbated by the Mufti in the Islamic context, fueled by the German war machine, continues to resonate today throughout the Arab and Persian world. Incitement, instituted decades earlier, remains a root cause of anti-Semitism, as well as the reason for hostility toward the State of Israel after its formation. This is the reason why over 900,000 Jewish people, born in Arab countries, were made refugees after 1948. Simply because, while the Nazis were destroyed and the Holocaust ended, the intense hostility instituted during that era lived on - and continues to live on in the Islamic world.