Der Mufti von Jerusalem und seine Freunde

Zu den neusten Angriffen auf Netanyahu seitens der linken Israelfeinde eine Klarstellung aus Israel:

Netanyahu, Husseini, and the Historians

by Jeffrey Herf

The Times of Israel
October 22, 2015

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s comments about Haj Amin al-Husseini’s impact on Hitler’s decision-making about the Final Solution in Europe do not stand up to the consensus of historical research. Husseini’s importance in Nazi Berlin lay far more in assisting the Third Reich’s Arabic language propaganda toward the Arab world and in mobilizing Muslims in Eastern Europe to support the Nazi regime. That said, Netanayhu’s comments about Husseini’s lasting impact on Palestinian political culture are very much on the mark.

In his now famous comments at the World Zionist Congress in Jerusalem on October 20, Netanyahu claimed that Haj Amin al-Husseini convinced Hitler to change his anti-Jewish policy from one of expulsion to one of extermination. „Hitler didn’t want to exterminate the Jews at the time [of the meeting between the mufti and the Nazi leader]. He wanted to expel the Jews,“ Netanyahu said. „And Haj Amin al-Husseini went to Hitler and said, ‚If you expel them, they’ll all come here [to mandatory Palestine],'“ continued the prime minister. „‚So what should I do with them?‘ He [Hitler] asked,“ according to Netanyahu. „He [Husseini] said, ‚Burn them.'“

Netanyahu overreached in pushing back against efforts to diminish Husseini’s role as Nazi collaborator.In the Knesset in 2012, the prime minister asserted that Husseini „was one of the leading architects of the Final Solution,“ and that „he, more than anybody else, convinced [Hitler] to execute the Final Solution, and not let the Jews leave [Europe]. Because, God forbid, they would come here. Rather that they would be annihilated, burned, there.“

Having spent many years working on the history of modern Germany and on the period of Nazism and the Holocaust, I was surprised to see these quotes and this interpretation. I’ve never seen these comments cited before in the vast literature on the subject. This interpretation of the events of November 1941 is not supported by the scholarship on Holocaust decision-making. The prime minister overreached in his effort to push back against efforts to diminish Husseini’s role as a collaborator and ideological soulmate with Nazi Germany.

Hitler and Husseini in Berlin, November 1941As this newspaper has helpfully published the English translation of the German record of the meeting between Hitler and Husseini on November 28, 1941 in Berlin, I will place the conversation in historical context. Amidst the vast scholarship on Hitler’s decisions to implement a Final Solution of the Jewish question in Europe, the work of two historians stands out in particular. In his 1991 study, Architect of Genocide: Himmler and the Final Solution, Richard Breitman drew on Himmler’s appointment calendar to make a compelling argument for an „early“ decision, that is, one that was emerging in spring 1941 before the invasion of the Soviet Union and became more obvious with the Einsatzgruppen murders that began immediately after that invasion in June 1941.

Subsequently, Christopher Browning, in works that are summarized in The Origins of the Final Solution: The Evolution of Nazi Jewish Policy, September 1939-March 1942, addressed in more detail the evolution of Hitler’s thinking and decision-making. Browning’s now widely accepted conclusion is that in the midst of „euphoria“ over the seeming victory over the Red Army in summer 1941, Hitler took a series of decisions to implement the Final Solution at the latest by October 1941. The historical reconstruction of the decision-making process is complex and well beyond the scope of a newspaper column. There is no substitute for reading Breitman and Browning along with the synthesis of the issue in Saul Friedlander’s second volume of Nazi Germany and the Jews, 1933-1945: The Years of Extermination.

Husseini meets with SS-Reichsführer Heinrich Himmler, April 1943.In my own The Jewish Enemy: Nazi Propaganda during World War II and the Holocaust, a study of propaganda within Germany, I pointed out that by summer and early fall of 1941 Hitler’s fiction of an international Jewish conspiracy waging war against Germany, a fiction which Hitler had repeatedly mentioned since a speech in the Reichstag on January 30, 1939, seemed in his own eyes to be taking shape in the form of the alliance of Britain with the Soviet Union following his invasion of Russia in June 1941. The anti-Hitler coalition confirmed in his mind the truth of his conspiracy theory. As „international Jewry“ appeared intent on waging a war of extermination against Germany, so he would „exterminate the Jewish race“ in Europe in retaliation. He had been discussing these ideas since early 1939. They reached a fever pitch in summer and early fall of 1941 before he met with Husseini.

Hitler made the decision to implement the Final Solution well before his November 1941 meeting with Husseini.The now widely accepted international consensus among historians of the Holocaust is that Hitler had both made the decisions to implement the Final Solution and had communicated those decisions to key actors in the Nazi regime at the latest a month before his meeting with Husseini on November 28th. Husseini owed his life to Mussolini and Hitler, both of whom aided his escape from British forces chasing him after the British overthrew the pro-Nazi government he had helped to establish in early 1941. While he agreed with Hitler about fundamental ideological issues, he was in no position to have a major influence on decision-making about German policy toward the Jews in Europe.

I examined Husseini’s meeting with Hitler in my Nazi Propaganda for the Arab World. As the text published by this paper yesterday indicates, Hitler told the Mufti that when the German armies drove south from the Caucuses, „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.“ Hitler had referred to „the total destruction of the Judeo-Communist empire in Europe,“ a typically vague and sinister reference to his anti-Jewish policies in Europe. Yet he was very clear that he was eager to enlist Husseini in his plans to extend the final solution beyond Europe to encompass the Jews of North Africa and the Middle East. It is in this effort to extend the Final Solution beyond the shores of Europe, not its implementation within Europe, that Husseini came to play a prominent role.   Weiterlesen:


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