Sunday, September 22, 2013

The Dark Legacy of Haj Amin al-Husseini

It was known during the war that Jews in Europe were being exterminated. It was known that the ex- Mufti had a hand in the massacres of Jews in the Arab countries. But it was not known until after that war that Haj Amin’s anti-Jewish activities had extended beyond the incitement stage. It has now been established that five million seven hundred thousand Jews in Europe were exterminated in Nazi concentration camps. It has now also been established that the Mufti of Jerusalem, Haj Amin el Husseini, played an active role in that unprecedented massacre of a people. Records found in Nazi archives and evidence produced at the Nuremberg trial reveal in specific terms that the ex-Mufti was a leading henchman of the SS Obersturmbannfuehrer Eichmann, principal executive officer in the liquidation of European Jewry. It is now established that, but for Haj Amin, the scale of murder might not have been so extensive, and hundreds of thousands of Jewish lives might have been saved. Suspicions that the ex-Mufti’s voice was not being used for the microphone alone were first aroused in 1942 when the first European Jewish refugees managed to reach Palestine. They brought stories from some of Europe’s ghettoes where German Templars were reported to be in charge of the liquidation of Jews under the supreme direction of Eichmann. Eichmann, who had himself spent some years in Palestine as a Nazi agent, was an expert on Jewish affairs, and he had directed the Gestapo department of Jewish affairs at the Gestapo head office in Berlin since 1936.It was he who before the war had directed the expropriation and dispatch to concentration camps of German Jews. It was he who after the war had started organized the deportation of Jews from Germany and the occupied territories to what eventually became the extermination camps in German, Czechoslovakia, and Poland. It was he who planned the gas chamber method of mass murder. It was assumed that there might be some connection between Haj Amin and Eichmann as soon as it was learned that he had roped in the Palestinian German Templars as some of his key men. This assumption was strengthened bt a Radio Berlin broadcast of 5th October, 1943, which reported that “Haj Amin el Husseini, Mufti of Jerusalem, has arrived in Frankfurt for the purpose of visiting the research Institute on Jewish Problem. At the time of his visit, Haj Amin declared that the Arabs and the Germans are partners and allies in the battle against world Jewry.” Subsequent German broadcasts showed that the ex-Mufti was a leading figure at most of the anti-Jewish conventions in Germany and the occupied territories. In July, 1943, the Nazis announced that, unable to attend that Nazi conference of journalists held in Vienna, the Mufti had sent them a message “congratulating them on the success of their anti-Jewish campaign and conveyed special greetings to Arab and Indian delegates.” Then came a hint in one of Haj Amin’s broadcasts which was not fully understood at the time. In a Berlin radio speech on 21st September 1944, the ex-Mufti asked: “Is it not in your power, O Arabs, to repulse the Jews whose number does not exceed eleven millions?” Why “eleven millions”? No one outside Germany knew at the time the scale of Jewish extermination. It was known that before the war the Jewish population numbered nearly seventeen millions. The ex-Mufti’s figure was written off at the time as a slip of the tongue, or an error in the script. But now the facts are known. It was no arithmetic error. Haj Amin knew then what only Hitler, Himmler and Eichmann knew: that more than five million Jews had been liquidated.

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