Rashid Ali al-Gaylani and Haj Amin al-Husseini speaking at the anniversary of the 1941 coup in Iraq in front of black-white-green banners in Berlin. (Source: Yad Vashem, http://collections.yadvashem.org/photosarchive/en-us/18955.html)
The SS-Leader’s Anti-Balfour Cable to the Grand Mufti
In March the National Israeli Library blogged Himmler’s re-discovered telegram to the grand mufti of Jerusalem Amin al-Husaini. Contrary to the comment there that Nazi Germany did not declare its support for the Arab independence, I argue, it did. This cable further recognized the Islamist movement of the cleric who lived from 1941 to 1945 in Berlin. He realized with the Axis powers his main goals against the Jews and Allies, also in the Mideast. The thesis that his only success was preventing “a few cases of Jews departing Europe for Palestine” denies his admissions and ideological role. He described the fate of Jews who were forced to remain in Europe after his protests, especially of Hungarian Jews. I will shed historical light on this cable.
On the 26th anniversary of the Balfour-Declaration, Heinrich Himmler sent his best wishes for success to the Mufti’s related “protest meeting” that took place in Berlin’s city. Of course, such public support for al-Husaini would have been impossible without Hitler’s prior consent. It would come swiftly, for he and the Mufti had agreed on a 1941 anti-Jewish pact of genocide.
*Dr. Wolfgang G. Schwanitz is a Visiting Professor at the Rubin Center, @wolfggschwanitz, and a Middle East historian and Hochberg Family Writing Fellow at the Middle East Forum of Philadelphia. He is author of Islam in Europe, Revolts in the Middle East, Middle East Mosaic 2013, and Middle East Mosaic 2014 (all in German). He is also editor of Germany and the Middle East, and co-author (with Barry Rubin) of Nazis, Islamists and the Making of the Modern Middle East.