Mufti Amin al Husseini und Adolf Hitler
Mufti Amin al Husseini und Adolf HitlerBundesarchiv, Bild 146-1987-004-09A / Heinrich Hoffmann / CC-BY-SA

According to the news this week, it seems that Israel's minister of education, MK.Yoav Kisch (Likud) intends to dismiss former US consul Mr. Danny Dayan from his position of chairman of "Yad Vashem". The current chairman is accused by the minister of alleged "illegal management actions."

We are not sure of the details behind this grave accusation and will not express an opinion on it, but it struck me as an ironic turn of fate, perhaps a form of poetic justice. Why? Mr. Dayan and I go back a couple of years when I began my one man struggle against the prestigious behemoth institution and the political appointee at its head.

First , allow me to introduce you to a notorious Nazi SS general. He was not German and not even European but instead a leading Muslim cleric and the father of a very new nation - all in one. Haj Amin el Husseini was the powerful patriarch of the leading Arab clan in Palestine (as the western world referred to Eretz Yisrael, a geographic term without any connection to a specific people) in the first half of the twentieth century. He used his political power and religious influence for his life's motif - the murder of Jews.

In an attempt to "mainstream” Husseini, the British appointed him to an official position of power and responsibility as the "Mufti of Jerusalem ''. It did not work. It only gave him the platform and prestige to pursue his passion of killing Jews. This he accomplished on numerous occasions, most notably by instigating the barbaric nationwide massacres in 1929 (I encourage you to read this link) in which whole Jewish communities were wiped out. .

Note: in 1929, there was no Zionist "apartheid state”, no "occupied territories" nor "settlers"; just Jews of all ages living in places like Hebron, Jerusalem, Safed ,Jaffa.. and horribly and barbarically murdered by their long time neighbors at his instigation.

A Nazi sympathizer, he fled British controlled Palestine during the war. He led a Nazi coup in Iraq where he instigated the bloody "Farhud" pogrom , massacring the Jewish community of Iraq. He then fled to Germany where he was made an honorary SS general by Himmler and proceeded to do all he could in helping the Hitler regime kill Jews. He addressed the Arab world by radio from Berlin winning huge support for the Nazis.

He raised divisions of Muslims that fought in the Nazi army. One of their tasks was to guard so that Jews do not escape the trains to death camps. Husseini intervened in a deal that would have saved a train load of Jewish children for a bribe. Husseini would not allow one Jewish child to escape the gas chambers.

Together with Himmler he visited the death camps and drew plans to build a "facility" in the Dotan valley in Samaria where the half million Jews of Palestine would be gassed as soon as Rommel defeated the British. Eichmann was quoted as saying: "I am a personal friend of the Grand Mufti. We have promised that no European Jew would enter Palestine any more." The German defeat at El Alamein put an end to the Nazi plans to exterminate the Jews of Palestine.

After the war, SS general Husseini found refuge from war crimes in Syria. Wherever he appeared in the Arab world he was received as a hero and mentor. His Nazi credentials together with his clerical position were the calling card that opened every door in the Arab world.Yasar Arafat called him "the father of the (newly concocted) Palestinian people". PA authority president Abbas repeated this accolade.

Yad Vashem, the world's foremost Holocaust Museum and memorial, had a large photo of Husseini with Hitler on one wall. Opposite was a photo of Jewish soldiers from Palestine volunteering in the British army in the "Jewish Brigade" The contrast was clear. The message was important.

I say had, because when Yad Vashem was refurbished and expanded in 2005, the famous Hitler-Husseini photo was dropped from the new museum. As a tour guide since 1980, I have visited the old museum numerous times and remember clearly how my tourists were shocked and educated by the duo in the photo. A recent Yad Vashem retiree wrote to me that of course he and his colleagues saw the photo many times in the old museum. In the refurished museum, instead of the famous Husseini-Hitler photo there is a far smaller one of Husseini and Himmler, in a dark corner that no one sees. I finally located it after a painstaking search. I guarantee you , almost none of the visitors see it.

When I wrote to Yad Vashem and asked why they removed the photo from the new museum, I was told that, "the new museum concentrates on the victims and less on the perpetrators," a senseless remark in itself when referring to key perpetrators, but also mendacious.. Just a few feet from the tiny, secluded Husseini-Himmler photo is an entire wall of murderers - the architects of the "Wannsee Conference" - the plans for the "Final Solution of the Jewish problem". They are not Arabs, of course.

I asked a number of local official Yad Vashem guides about the photo. They either did not know of it or said it was "political" and they did not discuss it with visitors. They were clearly uncomfortable with my inquiry. I wondered if perhaps the explanation is that associating Palestinian Arabs with Nazis, althoough a historical fact, was no longer politically correct after the history-changing [failed] Oslo Accords with Arafat in 1993.

All this happened a few years ago. I felt then like I was fighting windmills by myself and so I put my efforts on pause. When a new chairman forf Yad Vashem,Mr. Dani Dayan, came to the position with "right wing " credentials, I renewed my dormant efforts. Israel's most Left wing government ever which for the first time, included the Muslim Brotherhood party, appointed Dayan. Naively , I wrote to him asking that he return the photo and asked for a meeting with him on the subject.

I was refused a meeting and told that there will be no changes made. I then encouraged people to write to Yad Vashem and request that the photo be returned. The letter writers were answered with a guarantee that there never was such a photo. Eventually emails began bouncing back to the senders. I enquired at Yad Vashem and was told that they just changed the email address. I was finally given the new one and the letter campaign resumed.

In mid-November 2021, Mr. Dayan addressed a well-known and affluent synagogue in Westhampton, NY. My brother, a member of the community, approached Mr. Dayan and told him of my concern. He said he was aware of it and assured him there is nothing to be concerned with and that it is not a political issue. My brother asked if he would meet me. He, at a cocktail party in the Hamptons, succeeded where I failed, and so I received a call from Dayan's office for a meeting. At the meeting Dayan told me he did not meet with me earlier because he did not like the tone of the letters written to him. He told me that "no one will lecture him on Zionism and love of Israel. His credentials speak for themselves."

I assumed that was true which is why I had expectations for a sympathetic hearing. He claimed that I was interested not in historical record but the politics of the Jewish-Arab conflict. I said it was both, which he did not accept.

He added that Yad Vashem is not a museum of the Arab-Jewish conflict, that Husseini played only a tiny part in the Holocaust and did not warrant more space than he has in the museum. He told me that he is in charge and won't bring the photo back, if there ever was one, a managerial decision of a very different kind.than the alleged ones the media described this week. His advisor chimed in: saying “there was never such a photo." She asked me if I had photographic proof and I reminded her that it was forbidden to bring cameras into the museum. I asked her if the many signed testimonies of veteran guides that I have gathered is proof enough and she said "it was a possibility."

It all got progressively worse in that officer. Dayan was frustrated that I continued to hold firm to my position. I told him that there are growing numbers of people, Jews and non-Jews, who want the truth not be hidden at Yad Vashem and the photo returned. He rose and insisted that I leave his office immediately. I continued my efforts to bring the full truth back to Yad Vashem but realized that I had hit a brick wall. I was surprised and disappointed. Sadly I felt power and apathy won the day.

I waited for a sign. Did I see that sign in this week's media?

Shalom Pollack is a veteran tour guide and author of "Jews, Israelis and Arabs" who says: "I have the opportunity to observe many sides of our beloved country. As a Jew who has come home, I am passionate about sharing my observations and thoughts." He can be reached [email protected]